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Zimbabwe will overcome: Ambassador
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Herald

TANZANIA has been at the centre of efforts to mediate the dispute between Harare and London with President Mugabe choosing former Tanzanian president Mr Benjamin Mkapa as mediator. At the end of March Sadc heads of state and government met in Tanzania to discuss the peace and security situation in the region, and at the end of the extra-ordinary summit they came up with a historic resolution on Zimbabwe. In their communiqué, Sadc leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and the legitimacy of President Mugabe, condemned the illegal Western sanctions and urged Britain to honour its colonial obligations, among other things. The Herald caught up with Tanzanian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Adadi Rajabu – whose country chairs the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security – to discuss this and other things.

QUESTION: Ambassador your country recently celebrated its 43rd Union Anniversary, 43 years since the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar on April 26 1964, some of our readers may not know, can you briefly tell them what necessitated the union and what the situation was like before Tanzania came into being?

ANSWER: Tanganyika got its independence from Britain on December 9 1961 under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere while in Zanzibar, the people's revolution against sultanate took place on January 12 1964 under the leadership of Mzee Abeid Amani Karume. After the formation of the new Afro-Shirazi party government of the People's Republic of Zanzibar, the Tanganyika and Zanzibar leaders met to discuss Union between the two countries with a view to restore, both officially and constitutionally, the fraternity and unity which had existed between the peoples of the two counties before the colonial era. The countries then united on April 26, 1964.

Q: How different was Tanganyika from Zanzibar?

A: In fact there was no difference between Tanganyika and Zanzibar before the Union due to the fact that the two countries were under colonial rule before their respective independence dates and they share issues of common interest.

Q: We have seen so many African countries torn apart by divisions and conflicts, what is the secret behind Tanzania's success in this regard?

A: The union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was a union of the people, created by the people, under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere and Mzee Abeid A. Karume, for the people. We share a common culture, language, customs and political conviction. The Union Government came into begin after the two Presidents had signed the Union Treaty.

Q: Your country recently hosted an Extra-Ordinary Summit on the Peace and Security situation in the region, and came up with historic resolutions, how did you receive the resolution on Zimbabwe?

A: The resolutions by the Extra-ordinary Sadc summit on Peace and Security Situation in the region were a positive move by the region to handle its matters, issues of concern by the region should be addressed by the region itself.

Q: How much movement has there been since the Summit to address the problems in the three countries that were reported on, DRC, Lesotho and Zimbabwe?

A: As you are aware that for the case of Zimbabwe we have seen the visit of Sadc Executive Secretary who was tasked to deal with economic challenges. On political matters we know that President Thabo Mbeki will also be on the ground soon. I have not received any developments on the DRC and Lesotho.

Q: Harare and London are barely on talking terms, and the latter even ignored the initiative proposed by President Mugabe to have your former president Mr Benjamin Mkapa mediate in the dispute, will that be resuscitated in the context of Dar Es Salaam?

A: At the moment let's give time, and support the Sadc initiatives, however, this does not mean to put aside the proposal by President Mugabe to have our former President Benjamin Mkapa mediate in the dispute between Harare and London.

Q: Zimbabwe says there is a bilateral dispute, while the British government says the dispute lies between Zimbabwe and the world, how do you think Sadc should get around the problem?

A: It is a fact that there is a sour relationship between Harare and London that started during the Land Reform Programme, disputes are always resolved by bring the conflicting parties to the negotiating table.

Q: Sadc also pledged a rescue package to mitigate the effects of the sanctions, what do you think such a package should entail?

A: The Sadc Executive Secretary after visiting and having extensive consultations with relevant authorities in Zimbabwe will come up with advice on how Sadc can come in with assistance. However, the regional leaders appealed for the lifting of all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Q: How do you evaluate the socio-economic situation in the country, the prospects for improvement?

A: The current economic situation in Zimbabwe is very challenging. It is a matter of time; Zimbabweans will overcome these difficulties. Zimbabweans should regard it as a challenge to all of them.

Q: Integral to the problems in the three countries discussed in Dar Es Salaam is the problem of irresponsible opposition parties, how do you think that can be solved?

A: All opposition parties and Zimbabweans in general should follow the laws and regulations of the country, failure to that, the law will take its course.

Q: You chair the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security; how far has the proposed Mutual Defence Pact moved?

A: Most of Member States have not ratified the mutual Defence Pact.

Q: At the Summit in Lesotho, Sadc Heads of State and Government expressed concern over the region's reliance on external funding for developmental projects, in light of peace and security challenges what is your comment on that and what can be done to curb it?

A: Reliance on external funding for development projects will definitely compromise peace and security in the region. Member States should pull up their socks by increasing their contributions to the regional block which will enable it to fund its projects.

Q: The extent of bilateral relations?

A: Zimbabwe/Tanzania bilateral relations should put more emphasis on Trade and Economic Co-operation through holding permanent joint commission meetings, we have to improve our peoples' standards of living by promoting trade. We have had warm and cordial political relations for years, this must now reflect on business links between the two countries.


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