In the last two pieces, I have shown how Tanzania has abandoned its foreign policy by deciding to side with the rich to the detriment of the oppressed. But all has not been lost as there is still opportunity to rectify the mistakes.
But there are other opportunities which Tanzania might use to return to its old foreign policy. Maintenance of global peace is one of areas which Tanzania can utilise to harness its position internationally as a pioneer in global peace.
Currently, Tanzania contributes a lot to global peace and it has been paying the price. For instance, on the night of December 9, 2017, some 14 Tanzania People Defence Forces (TPDF) soldiers were killed while in peace keeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Few days ago we heard about the death of another peacekeeper who was serving the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca).
Tanzania contributed immensely in maintaining global peace, its soldiers are in about eight different countries around the world for peace keeping missions. This gives Tanzania a special position, and possibly influence, in the international arena as well as in the UN.
In the past recent, the world has witnessed war calamities in different countries such as Libya, (where President Jakaya Kikwete has been picked as a mediator), Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen.
What is happening in Qatar and what is about to happen in Iran should be rebuked immediately as a way of ensuring that the world remain peace prevails. Tanzania, given its contribution in peacekeeping, is well poisoned to lead other nations to condemn any actions which jeopardises world peace.
In his Budget Speech, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga congratulated Iran, US, China, Russia, UN and EU (notably UK, France and German) for the agreement on Iran nuclear programmes which lead to the lifting of sanctions against Iran. The agreements were indeed important to defuse the situation which was getting out of hand.
But, in an unexpected move, US has decided to pull, out of the agreement and threatened to impose new sanctions against Iran. Other parties to the agreement still maintain Iran innocence noting that the country is still committed to the agreement. The International Atomic Energy watchdog, IAEA, has also not noted any wrongdoing by Iran as far as implementation of the agreement is concerned.
What the US is doing is not promising at all. It rescinds efforts and achievements which have been recorded in establishing global peace. It is a bad decision which should be contended by all peace loving nations.
Our government should use its position and influence in the UN to oppose this decision and ask US to return to the agreement for the same of global peace.
Another example. On July 26, 2017 Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the Middle East Crisis after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt placed air sanctions over Qatar. The government supports reconciliation lead by Kuwait Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Jaber. This is good position
But more should be done, the government should come out and clearly condemn oppression against Qatar. Travel, air and economic sanctions against Qatar are uncalled for. The sanctions hurt innocent people.
For about ten months now Qatar people have been enduring these sanctions. They are no longer free to travel to their four neighbours and this is just not right. Conditions which have been imposed for the sanctions to be lifted also contravenes Qatar autonomy as a country.
In addition to support the reconciliation process, the government should also put pressure for the lifting of the sanctions as they don’t serve any purpose. The sanctions should be lifted without any conditions because they hurt innocent civilians.
In conclusion, let me insist that the foreign policy and positions taken by our founding fathers were what shaped and made Tanzania as it is known today. We will be shooting ourselves in the foot if we decide to abandon them. We will be subjecting our reputation and integrity to question, something which we can avoid by returning to our old ways.
Mr Kabwe is MP for Kigoma Urban and ACT Wazalendo Party Leader