Tanzania issues tough rules for diplomats’ local movement

Thursday February 4 2016

Tanzania's President John Magufuli. Tanzania has slapped stringent restrictions on all diplomatic, consular missions and international organisations meetings with its officials as well as political leaders in the country, it has emerged. FILE PHOTO | DANIEL HAYDUK

Tanzania's President John Magufuli. Tanzania has slapped stringent restrictions on all diplomatic, consular missions and international organisations meetings with its officials as well as political leaders in the country, it has emerged. FILE PHOTO | DANIEL HAYDUK AFP

By SYRIACUS BUGUZI

DAR ES SALAAM

Tanzania has slapped stringent restrictions on all diplomatic, consular missions and international organisations meetings with its officials as well as political leaders in the country, it has emerged.

The government says it will now clear all the planned activities of the foreign missions and international organisations, including who and when they meet leaders of the various political parties.

Also affected include appointments seeking audiences with the political leaders and members of Parliament during the ongoing Bunge sessions in Dodoma, says an official circular issued last week and seen by The Citizen.

The ministry of foreign affairs will be responsible for enforcing the rules that are spelt out in the notice issued to the institutions on January 28.

The move by the same ministry has apparently raffled members of the diplomatic corps, who were reportedly still not sure how to respond.

The circular further directed all members of the diplomatic corps to seek permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Co-operation, before traveling upcountry and meeting any local government authorities or grassroots organisations.

From now henceforth, the government will not accept or process matters forwarded or copied to its from the embassies or organisations. The ministry will only accept and process original applications that should not also be copied beforehand to any entities.

“The Ministry is charged with forwarding the same to the relevant authorities and providing feedback. All communication that shall arrive at the Ministry bearing copied notification or that shall be submitted to the Ministry with notification of third party, not channelled through the Ministry as per procedure, shall not be accorded due diligence.’’

INTERNAL AFFAIRS

Those breaking the rules, the notice warns, would be deemed as interfering with the internal affairs and politics of the the United Republic of Tanzania.

It was not immediately clear why the notice was being issued right now even though it is not the first time that such pressure has been exerted on the foreign missions, except that the net has been cast wider.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Augustine Mahiga told The Citizen in an interview on Wednesday from Dodoma that the circular was issued as a reminder to the government leaders and politicians on the normal standards of diplomatic practice.

He noted that the government was concerned about some “inexperienced politicians’’ who were not aware of some of the diplomatic procedures and noted that it was about time the politicians were reminded on how to operate with the diplomatic community.