8 November 2018

Tanzania: Speaker Turns Down MP's Question On EU-Tanzania Relations

Dar es Salaam — The speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai on Thursday November 8 said he found it difficult to allow a question directed to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa from an MP who sought to determine the government's stance on the recalled European Union (EU) envoy to Tanzania, Mr Roeland van de Geer.

During the Question and Answer Session to the Premier in the house, the Ndanda MP, Mr Cecil Mwambe (Chadema) sought an explanation on the country's relationship with the international community in the context of the recalled EU delegate.

"Recently we witnessed the EU ambassador being recalled to Brussels. The EU says it wanted to review its relations with Tanzania on matters to do with human rights and rule of law. What's the government's stance and what's the fate of the country's relationship with the international community?" the MP asked.

But, in an unexpected move, Speaker Ndugai didn't give a chance to the premier to comment on the matter.

"I'm getting trouble allowing this question because, according to your details, the envoy was recalled. So, what do you want the premier to respond to?" said the speaker and went on to conclude the session as a section of MPs in the house banged tables.

On November 3rd the government said it 'did not expel' the EU Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Van de Geer, and noted that the decision to recall him was taken after mutual discussion by authorities from both sides.

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation minister Augustine Maia broke the silence on the saga shortly after addressing a meeting of international organizations working in the country.

News on the abrupt exit of Mr Van de Geer, who also doubled as EU's representative to the East African Community, broke on Friday night even though word on the matter had been on the grapevine since midweek.

The news quickly spread and attracted wide debate on various platforms as commentators offered contrasting views about the manner of the envoy's exit and what it may portend.


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