4 August 2012

Tanzania: East Africa Gets Tougher With Illegal Immigrants

Dodoma — TANZANIA and neighbouring countries have formed a taskforce to check illegal immigrants in the region.

Home Affairs Minister Emmanuel Nchimbi told the National Assembly here that the taskforce would work jointly with countries where the illegal immigrants originate. Dr Nchimbi expressed concerns, however, that some Tanzanians were involved in transporting the illegal immigrants through the country.

Winding up his ministry's 2012/13 budget estimates, Dr Nchimbi also said Tanzania's porous borders as well as lack of national identity cards made it possible for illegal immigrants to enter the country.

"The taskforce would also engage countries where the immigrants are usually destined to. We should, however, admit that we also have problems of illegal immigrants in our country," the minister explained.

A number of illegal immigrants originating from Tanzania,mostly youths, have been detained in various countries and deported back home. "Addressing the problem requires joint cooperation from everyone since most of the illegal immigrants live among us," he said.

The budget estimates had been suspended in the eleven the hour due to the MV Skagit tragedy towards the end of last month.

In another development, the minister refuted claims by some opposition MPs that the Immigration Department has been used to clamp down on the Opposition by declaring that some of their members were non-citizens.

"There are also several members of the ruling party (CCM)who have been declared non-citizens and applied for citizenship. It is thus nottrue that the Immigration Department has been cracking down on the opposition," Mr Nchimbi explained.

He added that if one is declared a non-citizen itis the responsibility of that person to prove his/her citizenship. Dr Nchimbi cited the example of Nyamagana MP, Mr Ezekiel Wenje (CHADEMA), andMr Ally Keissy Mohamed (Nkasi North-CCM) who had once been declared non-citizens but later proved their citizenship.

The minister urged Tanzanians to shun mob justice in dealing with crime suspects, noting that some 600 people were killed through mob justice last year alone. He stressed that no one is guilty until proved so by the courts of law.

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