By Peter Nyanje (citizen)
The way Rwanda reacted to the suggestion is not proper. Rwanda could have turned down the advice and no one would have had a problem with that.
Dodoma. Tanzania has asked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to mediate in its spat with Rwanda.
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda made the revelation in Dodoma yesterday when responding to a question by the Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament, Mr Freeman Mbowe.
Mr Mbowe, who is also the Hai MP, wanted to know what was being done to normalise relations between the two East African Community (EAC) member states.
He said Rwanda had apparently convinced other EAC member states to sideline Tanzania.
Mr Mbowe asked the government to clearly state its position and measures being taken to address the situation.
Mr Pinda told Parliament that President Kikwete had sought President Museveni’s mediation to prevent relations from deteriorating further. “It is our hope that wisdom will prevail and this issue will be solved amicably…if these efforts will not bear fruit, we shall consider another course of action, but we are committed to resolving this peacefully,” he said.
But Mr Pinda accused Rwanda of overreacting, saying Tanzania had no reason to differ with its neighbour. He added, however, that Tanzania does not believe that it is being sidelined from EAC matters as a result of its strained relations with Rwanda.
There was no official EAC engagements from which Tanzania had been sidelined, the PM said.
Mr Pinda reiterated that President Kikwete made it clear in his latest end-of-the-month speech that Tanzania had no intention of entering into conflict with Rwanda.
“And let me emphasise that as far as Tanzania is concerned, we have no problem with Rwanda. But listening to what Rwandan leaders are saying, it is obvious that they are still not happy with President Kikwete’s suggestion that they should talk to rebels as a way of bringing lasting peace to Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region.
“The way Rwanda reacted to the suggestion is not proper. Rwanda could have turned down the advice and no one would have had a problem with that,” Mr Pinda said.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries began to sour in May when President Kikwete urged Rwanda to engage FDRL rebels in talks. He made the suggestion during a meeting of Great Lakes Region countries, which met on the sidelines of the Africa Union Summit in Addis Ababa in May.