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Tanzania envoy clarifies on EU committee debate

Saturday November 21 2020
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Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania ambassador to Belgium, Jestas Abuok Nyamanga, has refuted social media reports that the European Union (EU) parliament has resolved to suspend the provision of loans and other forms of aid to Tanzania.

Mr Nyamanga also denied reports that discussions were underway aimed at imposing economic sanctions on Tanzania, including restricting exports to EU member states.

In a recorded video clip seen by this paper, Mr Nyamanga said no meeting of the EU parliament has been convened recently - adding that it was the parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs that held a meeting on Thursday.

“The committee held an ordinary meeting to discuss the Tanzanian situation after the general election - which is normal among key development partners,” he says in the video clip.

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"There are no ongoing discussions in the European Union parliament or resolution made by the committee to impose sanctions against Tanzania". Abouk Nyamanga | Ambassador

During the meeting, only five out of 71 committee members aired their opinions, he said, adding that no resolution or agreement was reached on Tanzania. There are some malicious people behind the false reports aimed at misleading the public.

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He also said that the people involved in the fake news dissemination claimed that the EU parliament had resolved to cancel its aid package to Tanzania, which is normally provided annually.

It is not true that the EU provides a fixed annual aid to Tanzania as claimed. So, it cannot be true that such aid has been suspended, he said, adding that implementation of development projects in Tanzania continues unabated.

“There is no ongoing discussions in the EU parliament, or a resolution made by the committee to impose sanctions on Tanzania. Also, no resolution has been reached to restrict exports of Tanzanian goods to EU member countries,” he clarified.

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"United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello has been asked to investigate any election allegations before, during and after elections". David McAllister | EU Foreign Affairs

According to him, the two parties continue to enjoy cordial bilateral relations that have existed for the last 45 years, he stressed.

In his introductory remarks, the EU Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, David McAllister, said that, despite incumbent President John Magufuli emerging victorious by 84 percent in the October 28 elections this year, there were allegations that political opposition candidates didn’t have a level playing field during the election processes.

“Moreover, there are reports of irregularities and violence. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, has been asked to investigate violations before, during and after the elections,” he told committee members.

He said the opposition presidential candidate Tundu Lissu had fled to Belgium, revealing that they had spoken together on the ’phone.

Debating the matter, Mr Quintin Bernard said the election campaigns in Tanzania were smooth, with opposition politicians, including Tundu Lissu, being given equal opportunity to campaign.

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"I think as a committee we should come back and consider provision of aids through proper channels". Michael Gahler | EU Committee

However, he noted that suspending campaigns by some opposition candidates by the electoral authorities in the Mainland and Zanzibar was among the shortcomings.

“The EU issued a statement encouraging inclusive dialogue among opposition parties, Civil Society Organizations and other players,” he said.

Mr Hans Stausboll, head of unit Eastern Africa, Horn of Africa at the DEVCO, said a few years ago the EU had policy problems with Tanzania that made EU recall its head of delegation in Tanzania. “However, our efforts to dialogue with the government didn’t jell, forcing us to reduce some of our programmes in Tanzania. Let’s rethink how to directly support Tanzanians - and the private sector,” he suggested.

Another member, Mr Carlos Zorrinho, said the president’s pledge for free, fair and transparent elections wasn’t met.

“How do we improve the situation? We should finally increase our support to opposition political parties, CSOs and human right defenders,” he argued.

Mr Nacho Sanchez Amor questioned how the situation was going to inflict changes on the EU policies to Tanzania, suggesting also that insurgents at the Mozambique and Tanzania border should be investigated.

For his part, Mr Michael Gahler said since the October 28, General Election has indicated a systematic dismantling of democracy; the EU should consider supporting the country through trusted channels.

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By Louis [email protected] [email protected]

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