Envoys return delayed by funds availability, says minister

07Mar 2016
Felister Peter
The Guardian
Envoys return delayed by funds availability, says minister

Financial delays have prevented the government from bringing home ambassadors who were representing the country in Italy and Japan as ordered by President John Magufuli back in January, it has been learnt.

Dr Augustine Mahiga

The president directed that three Tanzanian envoys - Dr Batilda Buriani (Tokyo, Japan), Dr James Msekela (Rome, Italy) and Peter Kallaghe (London, United Kingdom) - be recalled from their duty stations with immediate effect.

Only Kallaghe has returned to the country so far, according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, East African, Regional and International Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday shortly after briefing journalists on the expected official visit of Vietnam president Truong Tan Sang to the country starting tomorrow, Mahiga said the logistics involved in repatriating ambassadors and other diplomats were sometimes complicated.

“It is expensive and difficult to send Dr Buriani and Dr Nsekela back home at once as we need to organize the transportation of their luggage and other financial privileges. We are finalizing the process and hope the money will ready soon”, said the minister.

He explained that Kallaghe will automatically be assigned other duties at the ministry since he is a diplomat by career and has not reached retirement age.

Msekela and Buriani, however, were not career diplomats and so the president will decide on whether to assign them other duties at the ministry or elsewhere.

According to Mahiga, ambassadors who are career diplomats can be re-appointed to similar positions for an extra two years after official retirement.

Following the repatriations in January, there are now six key Tanzanian embassies without representatives. These are London (UK), Rome (Italy), Tokyo (Japan), Brussels (Belgium), Kuala Lumpar (Malaysia), and Brasilia (Brazil).

In mid-February, President Magufuli appointed three new envoys who are yet to be assigned to any embassy. They are Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, Mathias Chikawe, and Dr Ramadhani Dau.

Meanwhile, on Vietnamese president Truong Tan Sang’s visit, Mahiga said he will be accompanied by his wife Mai Thi and a delegation also including five cabinet ministers and 51 businessmen. The ministers are for water, health, industry, agriculture and communications.

The delegation is scheduled to touch down at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday night and an official reception will be hosted by President Magufuli at State House on Wednesday.

Mahiga said the two leaders are expected to sign an agreement that aims to improve business ties like the removal of double taxation on goods transported between Tanzania and Vietnam. Vietnam has increased its per capita income to $200,000 from $100 in the 1990s.

While in the country, President Sang is also scheduled to visit the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Ubungo in Kinondoni district, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) headquarters, and to meet the party chairman, retired President Jakaya Kikwete.