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Dar relations with Kenya and other EAC states to improve

By Sekou Otondi | November 6th 2015

The recently concluded presidential election in Tanzania has not only been a watershed in the country’s fledgling multiparty democracy, but also provides its ruling elite with a perfect opportunity to define the way forward.

John Pombe Magufuli’s win has in essence not led to a transfer of power since CCM, which has ruled Tanzania since independence, will continue to rule for the next five years. Nevertheless, the mere change of guard within CCM’s top leadership should provide an opportunity to reassess Tanzania’s role within the EAC and more particularly with deepening and widening of the integration process.

Indeed, one of the most significant policy decisions that President Magufuli will have to grapple with involves Tanzania’s role as a member of the EAC, and how it can play a role in fast tracking the dream of a political federation.

It’s significant to note that under outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania has had troubled relations with its peers within the regional bloc. While these drawbacks have in most cases been downplayed by both the EAC regional secretariat and individual member States, they have in reality undermined the smooth pace of the integration process.

Therefore should Magufuli decide to choose Kikwete’s approach, Tanzania will not only face further sidelining within the community, but will also escalate the uncertainty of EAC’s future.

It’s therefore significant that with the change of guard in Tanzania, the incumbent makes serious commitments to strengthen its relations with other EAC member states, and actively participate EAC integration efforts, with an aim of eventually establishing a political federation.

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