AS reports regarding what is feared to be yet another 'breakup' of the East African Community continue to go rife around the region, particularly from local media outlets, the Arusha-based EAC Secretariat has released an official statement allaying fears of separation triggered by recent Kenya-Uganda-Rwanda triumvirate that cut-off Tanzania and Burundi.
The EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera stated here that he has already consulted the five Partner States regarding this state of affairs and that all concerns will be addresses by the East African Council of Ministers summit later this month adding that the deliberations would be made public by the Heads-of-State summit at the end of this November.
"On the side-lines of the 19th Sectoral Council of Ministers Responsible for East African Community Affairs, the Ministers in the spirit of consolidating and strengthening East African Integration have discussed and assessed progress occasioned by the arising challenges," said Dr Sezibera.
He also admitted that both Burundi and Tanzania had aired concerns regarding 'separate' meetings held by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda at Heads of State level.
"There have also been persistent press reports including misrepresentations on the matter but East Africans are urged not to be unduly alarmed because the challenges are being addressed and will be further considered by the Council of Ministers at its 28th Meeting scheduled for 28th November 2013 and make recommendations to the Summit," maintained Dr Sezibera.
And as far as the Secretary General is concerned, the EAC Partner States are still committed themselves to implement the protocols on the Common Market and the Customs Union, and in particular laying the requisite infrastructure, and removal of barriers to the free movement of goods, services and people.
However the signing of the Single Customs Territory in Kigali, by Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda, left out Tanzania and Burundi.
Tanzania recently spoke against the move by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to sign tripartite agreements secluding it and Burundi, to the extent that Dar started mulling own closer ties with the other EAC split victim; Burundi, and the mineral rich Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Dar, apparently, isn't about to be the loser either, because Tanzania occupies more than 52 per-cent of the total area (182 million square kilometres) covered by the five EAC Member states of Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and itself.
The minister for East African Co-operation, Mr Samuel Sitta stated that Tanzania will not recognize any EAC agreements made by other member states in its absence, reinforcing that there are clear signals that the country is being sidelined alongside Burundi.
At the moment Tanzania is keen to develop the railway line project that will connect Uvinza in Kigoma along the shores of Lake Tanganyika to Msongati in the DRC.
The minister added that, Tanzania- Burundi closeness will come in handy and cost-effective for Bujumbura's business community members, because Dar es Salaam port, is much closer to the land-locked country compared to Mombasa harbour of Kenya being used by its neighbour, Rwanda cutting down the distance by a whopping 900 kilometres.