TANZANIA has expressed concern for being sidelined in meetings held by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam, the Minister for East Africa Cooperation, Mr Samuel Sitta, said although the East African Community (EAC) Treaty provides for bilateral ties, it also requires members to communicate through the EAC Secretary General.
Mr Sitta said although there has been a series of meetings by the subgroup on a number of issues, including infrastructure and political integration, Tanzania was not given any feedback.
"Article 7(e) of the EAC Treaty allows for progression in cooperation among groups within the community for wider integration schemes in different areas and at different speeds, however, the sub-group must inform the others through the secretariat in Arusha, this has not been done," he explained.
Mr Sitta said Tanzania as a member of EAC has been involved in discussions of various projects, citing an example of construction of railway, road and electricity infrastructure.
"Under former President Mwai Kibaki we had discussed and agreed to construct a railway line from Ruvuma to Rwanda, Uvinza to Burundi border and put up electricity polls of KV 400 from Namanga through Kenya, so how do we give them electricity when we don't know if they want it or not.
So it is important that we get feedback," the minister said. Mr Sitta explained that the EAC partners should ensure decisions taken are channelled back to those EAC member states that are not involved.
Tanzania has been left out of several meetings - the latest being the one held in Mombasa, Kenya where the three presidents; Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) met to discuss cross-border infrastructure projects.
It was also decided that the subgroup would fast-track the East African political federation in the absence of Tanzania within the EAC to push for faster integration. Present in the meeting were ministerial delegations from Burundi and South Sudan, which has applied to join the EAC.
Tanzania was also not invited in the first infrastructure summit held in Entebbe, Uganda, however officials had explained that the two countries had not been invited because the projects under discussion involved only three states. These projects include oil pipeline and a standard gauge railway line.
Mr Sitta explained that Tanzania has a good experience on issues of political federation which came with its own challenges, stressing that the country will stick with its earlier recommendations of finalising other aspects of the EAC, such as the monetary union before going on to Political Federation.
"Tanzania is also not ready for single visa or the use of National Identification Cards as travel documents, within the EAC member states," he explained.
Meanwhile, Mr Sitta will be at the Burundi-Tanzania and Rwanda- Tanzania borders on October 1, this year, to iron out differences that have emerged in the ongoing operation to flux out illegal immigrants.
The minister has cautioned local government officials to exercise good governance and respect human rights while conducting the operation.
"Although this operation is justified, it should ensure that it protects the country's image by respecting human rights, through following the country's laws for those who have been married and have stayed in the country for long," he explained.
Citing an example, Mr Sitta said a Rwandan woman who has been married to a Tanzanian for more than 30 years and has one of her sons in the Tanzania's People's Defence Forces (TPDF) has been deported back to her country.