Tanzania: Magufuli Pardons Over 1,700 Imprisoned Ethiopian Migrants

(file photo).
25 January 2021

Tanzanian President Joseph Magufuli on Monday ordered the release of 1,789 Ethiopians imprisoned for entering the country illegally.

According to diplomatic sources who spoke to the Nation, Mr Magufuli's pardon came after his meeting earlier on Monday with his Ethiopian counterpart Sahle-Work Zewde, who is on an official tour of Tanzania.

"Ethiopians can go home today if they want to," he said, adding there were no conditions for the release of the foreigners who lacked proper travel documents.

Route to South Africa

Encouraged by some successful peers, hundreds of Ethiopian migrants take dangerous routes across several African countries every year in their dream to reach South Africa for work.

Last year, hundreds of them were flown back home from Tanzania with the support by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative).

The initiative backed by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been set up in close cooperation with 26 African countries.

According to the United Nations, the programme that brought the illegal Ethiopian migrants home was part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible management by migrants.

This is through development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.

Other key matters

Tanzania and Ethiopia reportedly also discussed ways to increase investment in both countries.

President Magufuli said his country is keen to learn from Ethiopia's successful experiences in the manufacture of leather products.

The nations are expected to hold talks on the establishment of the Nile Basin Commission.

Tanzania was among the first few countries that signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which outlines principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources.

Other countries which signed the agreement include Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. Addis Ababa ratified the CFA in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Tanzanian President proposed that Ethiopia begin teaching the Swahili language.

President Zewde said the proposal will be considered.

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