Dar es Salaam. Opposition ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe has said the bilateral relations between Tanzania and Mozambique should be improved to boost business and social activities between the two countries that share a common border.
The party leader, who is also running for the Kigoma Urban Constituency seat in the October 28 General Election, made the statement yesterday during a campaign rally in Tunduru Constituency where the party’s candidate Abdallah Mtutura is contesting.
He said currently the border between Tanzania and Mozambique has shifted from being an economic opportunity to rather an impediment for residents of the two countries.
According to Zitto, one of the challenges that complicates the relationship between the two countries is the dismissal of about 400 Mozambique citizens who were reportedly turned back to their country through the Mtambaswala border in Nanyumbu District recently.
Mr Zitto said: “That is why, in order to promote positive business relations between Tanzania and Mozambique, ACT’s election manifesto has promised to construct an oil and gas investment centre in the region”.
He added: “It’s thousands of kilometres from gas sources in Palma (Mozambique) to Maputo, while its only 80 kilometres from Palma to Mtwara”.
He further said that the party manifesto has also promised to establish a customs union between the two countries so that people and goods can move freely. When asked about the repatriation claims, Mr Moses Machali, who is the district commissioner for Nanyumbu refuted them saying he was not informed of such incident.
“Maybe you should ask him (Zitto) where he got the information. From what I know citizens of the two countries in our district work together in harmony and they cooperate in economic activities such as agriculture.”
Speaking to Mwananchi, Mr Machali said claims that 400 Mozambican citizens were thrown out of the country would be untrue because foreign citizens can only be dismissed if they were apprehended by immigration authorities for illegal entry.
“If that is the case then it’s normal because, same has happened in 2018 where a group of Tanzanian citizens who entered Mozambique illegally were returned back home, “he said.