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Kenya, Tanzania Agree To Remove Trade Barriers

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Tanzania Head of State Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Kenyan counterpart have on Tuesday agreed to remove all trade barriers that hinder business between the two coastal countries.

The decision was arrived at today at State House, Nairobi during bilateral talks led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Tanzania Head of State Samia Suluhu Hassan.

A joint team of experts will be set up to address the disjointed enforcement of cross-border Covid-19 containment protocols, one of the most pronounced non-tariff trade barrier between the two nations.

President Samia Suluhu said, “we have agreed that our Health Ministers need to sit down and come up with a structured system of testing our people at the border points to allow easy movement of our people so as to do their businesses.”

Presidents Uhuru and Samia noted that Kenya and Tanzania need to develop modalities for mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results, noting that the lack of harmonized protocols has hampered free flow of goods and people.

“We noted that trade between Kenya and Tanzania is facing some administrative challenges. They include non-tariff barriers and other restrictions which are frustrating trade and investment between our two countries,” President Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya and Tanzania were not only geographically conjoined but have a common culture, common language, shared heritage and a common ancestry.

“Your visit has given us the opportunity to renew our relations and we want to assure you that the Republic of Kenya and my Government will be in the forefront working together with you and your Administration to ensure our unity especially as East African nations and neighbours, will continue to grow and be strengthened for the benefit of our people,” President Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya and Tanzania had agreed to rejig their Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) to enable it deal with issues affecting trade, adding that the two countries had agreements on importation of natural gas from Tanzania to Kenya, and another on cultural exchanges.

“We have agreed to re-energize the Joint Commission for Cooperation between our two countries, and we have directed our Ministers to meet regularly to ensure that they continue strengthening our relations by sorting out minor problems affecting our people as they do business and interact with each other.

“They (JCC) need to ensure that investors coming from either Tanzania or Kenya do not face hurdles by ensuring a structured system is put in place to help us build our countries for the mutual benefit of our people,” President Kenyatta said.

President Kenyatta also spoke about shared infrastructure saying Kenya and Tanzania had agreed to improve their connectivity through new roads, aviation and maritime transport so as to hasten economic growth.

“We will strengthen aviation, railway, sea and lake transport as well as roads. We also discussed the need to hasten the construction of the Malindi-Lungalunga-Bagamoyo Road to ease movement of goods and people,” he said.

On the signed agreement on natural gas imports from Tanzania, President Kenyatta said the resource will help Kenya meet its growing energy demand.

“We also agreed to build a gas pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa that will lower energy costs in Kenya and help our industries to access environmentally friendly energy,” he said.

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Politics

Russian Forces Accused of Gross Abuse In CAR

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Russian forces currently deployed in Central African Republic have been exposed for presiding over a score of abuses according to a UN report released.

President Faustin Archange Touadera has received a report from the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA detailing abuses committed between December 2020 and April 2021.

Central African Republic Government spokesman Ange Maxime Kazagui said in a statement early this week that the report carries accounts of  “arbitrary/extrajudicial executions, torture, sexual violence, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment (and) arbitrary arrest.” 

However, the Central African Republic described UN information about abuse by CAR troops and Russian forces as “denunciations,” but promised to investigate them.

Kazagui, whose statement was dated April 30 but was issued on national radio on Monday, said, ” The government considers this document as being mere denunciations.”

He added, “the government was not informed at any moment about an investigation or investigations being carried out on its soil.”

“However, given the seriousness of the allegations against the defense and security forces and allied forces… the government has instructed the minister of justice to open a judicial inquiry, in conformity with the law.”

MINUSCA spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said, “there isn’t a report, but we did give the government information to draw its attention to certain facts.”

Public prosecutor Eric Didier Tambo said the justice ministry had issued instructions to set up a “special commission of inquiry” which would bring in the country’s three prosecutorial services.

Russia has since 2018 openly supported the Touadera regime, which only controls about one-third of a deeply poor country wracked by partisan and communal strife.

Most of the territory is divided among numerous armed bands. Under a bilateral defense accord, Russian paramilitaries from the Wagner Group, a shadowy private military company, operate in the CAR.

Their official status is to train the country’s army.

They were joined last December by hundreds of other Russian paramilitaries, along with Rwandan troops, who played a key role in thwarting a rebel advance on the capital Bangui ahead of presidential elections.

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Tanzania’s Ruling Party Confirms President Samia As National Chairperson

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Reliable information reaching Taarifa’s Political Desk confirms that Tanzania’s ruling CCM party has held an extraordinary National Congress and installed President Samia Suluhu Hassan as its national chairperson this Friday.

President Samia’s name was endorsed on Thursday by the CCM National Executive Committee (NEC) that convened after a meeting of the party’s Central Committee (CC) earlier on Wednesday.

This has been the standard procedure observed for decades within the country’s largest political party.

It is therefore important for the president to also serve as the CCM national Chairman for the effective control of government and party.

“This tradition within CCM was introduced for the President to have full confidence, control and influence on whatever has to be done,” says Dr. Richard Mbunda a lecturer at University of Dar es Salaam.

He argues that if the president didn’t have control of the party,  there would result sabotage and delay in implementation of development projects.

“The President leads others to implement the party’s election manifesto, and she has her own style, so it is crucial for her to serve in both positions as it has been done in the past,” says Dr Paul Loisulie a lecturer at University of Dodoma.

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Chadians Storm Streets Demanding For Civilian Rule

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The Military Transitional Council currently ruling Chad has come under intense pressure from citizens that are demanding they hand over power to civilians and the military returns to barracks.

At least five people have been killed, and several dozens injured in Chad on Tuesday, in protests demanding the country’s transitional military government transfer power back to civilians.

Tensions have been mounting since the death of President Idriss Deby Itno on 19 April, while he was visiting troops fighting rebels north of the capital, N’Djamena. Deby had ruled the country for three decades.

Following Deby’s death, a military council headed by his son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, took control of the country, drawing immediate criticism from political opponents and resistance from some Chadians.

The military council has said that it will oversee an 18-month transition to elections.

In a statement released on 22 April, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) expressed its deep concern “about the evolving situation in Chad and the potential threat to peace, security and stability.”

The AU also expressed “grave concern with respect to the establishment of the Military Transitional Council” and urged Chadian defense and security forces to “respect the constitutional mandate and order, and to expeditiously embark on a process of restoration of constitutional order and handing over of political power to the civilian authorities, in accordance with to the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Chad, and create conducive conditions for a swift, peaceful, constitutional and smooth transition.”

Mahamat Deby, in his first official address on Tuesday as the new military transitional leader said that the council was set up to face the absolute urgency of defending the nation and ensure the continuity of the state in order to guarantee national cohesion.

He also promised inclusive national dialogue and assured the nation’s allies that Chad will maintain its responsibilities in the fight against extremism and respect all of its international commitments.

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