Tanzania: We Didn't Expel EU Diplomat - Mahiga

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Augustine Mahiga,

THE government has dismissed claims that it had expelled European Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Tanzania, Roeland van de Geer, over allegations of being critical of the government.

Speaking here yesterday, Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga, deemed such claims as baseless and unfounded, saying the diplomat had been summoned back in Brussels for some consultations.

According to Dr Mahiga, recalling of foreign envoys was not a strange occurrence in the diplomatic world. "Tanzania hasn't expelled anyone and neither does it intend to do that," clarified the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister while fielding questions on the sidelines of the second Arusha International Organisations Open Day, held at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism).

He further urged members of the public to disregard such claims, saying they were hell bent not only on tarnishing the country's image but sowing seeds of hatred. "It is very normal for such envoys to be recalled back to give account of the assignments they have done on foreign countries," he explained.

The Minister's assertion comes two days after claims that the EU had recalled its chief representative in Tanzania to Brussels for discussions, following reports he had been asked to leave by the government.

In the same vein, Dr Mahiga commended international organisations operating in Tanzania for earmarking such a day to the public. He said such a day serves the general public a reminder of what the MICT has been doing in its mandate of carrying out a number of essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) after the completion of their respective mandates.

He called upon the public to refrain from hate speeches that are likely to incite one community against the other, lest genocide repeats itself. Dr Mahiga further urged MICT to equip would-be lawyers with the right knowledge on areas of good governance and human rights.

Earlier on, United Nations System Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Tanzania, Alvaro Rodrigues commended Tanzania for being on the right course towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The annual event aimed at providing the general public with an opportunity to learn more about the mandate and functioning of the various international institutions based in Arusha.

Apart from the Mechanism, other international organisations that featured in the event which is open to the public include, the African Court forHuman and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR), the African Institute of International Law, the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) the East African Community (EAC) in its constituent institutions.

Established by the Security Council of the United Nations in 2010, the Mechanism is mandated to carry out a number of essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) after the completion of their respective mandates.

Both the ICTY and the ICTR were meant to be temporary institutions that would conclude after their mandate to investigate crimes and prosecute individuals was completed.

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