Tanzania is re-organising itself to fully engage in integration within the East African Community (EAC), according to National Assembly Speaker Anne Makinda.
Pointing out that Tanzania is a big country with long borders and a population of more than 45 million people, she said full integration into the EAC needs careful implementation.
“We are actually not reluctant. We need more time. There is need to educate our people properly on the whole process,” Makinda said on Monday at a meeting of regional parliamentary speakers in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
She said the idea of integration is good but it is equally important to lay a solid foundation to enable the people to effectively play their part in the process.
Makinda pointed out that Tanzania has a major challenge of first making its citizens understand the initiatives to make the process sustainable.
She said Tanzania aims at first issuing national identity cards for its nationals before embracing other general integration policies, adding that it could take up to two years to have them available.
Rwanda’s Senate president, Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said lawmakers should try within their mandate to accelerate the integration process.
He said as much as there is need to be patient, it is equally important to set and beat deadlines if partner countries are to benefit from the integration.
“We need to achieve what we have agreed and if we do not speed up the process, it would lose meaning and one would wonder why we started the initiative in the first place,” Ntawukuriryayo underscored.
Kenya’s Speaker, Kenneth Marende said the progress made so far is reasonable and that there is no need for member states to harbour unfounded fears, noting that the issue of being distinct from each other has no place in the future.