- Tanzanian President Samia Suhulu will on Monday arrive in Kigali for her first visit state to Rwanda.
- One of the most crucial topics of interest between the two countries now is the instability in Mozambique, where Rwanda has deployed 1000 soldiers and policemen to fight Islamist insurgents.
- President Suluhu’s first trip was to Uganda in April, followed by Kenga in May.
Tanzanian President Samia Suhulu will on Monday arrive in Kigali for her first visit state to Rwanda.
During the two-day visit, she is expected to hold private talks with President Paul Kagame.
President Suluhu’s visit follows recent high-level meetings between top officials from the two countries.
The most recent meeting occurred on July 16, when Rwanda’s Minister of ICT, Paula Ingabire, met her Tanzanian counterpart, Faustine Ndugulile, to review submarine cable infrastructures in Tanzania that support communication services to Rwanda.
On July 9, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Major General Charles Karamba, met Tanzania’s Minister of Defence Elias Kwandikwa in Dodoma, where they discussed “mutual interest” topics.
One of the most crucial topics of interest between the two countries now is the instability in Mozambique, where Rwanda has deployed 1000 soldiers and policemen to fight Islamist insurgents.
Tanzania also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Mozambique – signed in November 2020 – to jointly battle against Islamists in Cabo Delgado Province.
Rwanda’s deployment of troops to Mozambique was not entirely supported by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with reports indicating that the bloc expressed concern over a non-member deploying soldiers to the region without its approval.
Suluhu’s visit now provides Rwanda with an opportunity to woo one of SADC’s core members – Tanzania – on her side on matters related to the instability in Mozambique.
High on the agenda for talks between Suluhu and Kagame will also be the Isaka-Kigali standard gauge railway line, which has experienced delayed construction due to lack of funds.
The 532km railway line linking Rwanda to Tanzania and DRC is expected to cost up to $2.5 billion, with Tanzania paying $1.3 billion and Rwanda $1.2billion.
Rwanda and Tanzania have enjoyed cordial ties since 2015.
Before that both countries had a tumultuous past, at the height of which Rwanda accused Tanzanian officials of supporting rebels, while Tanzania also expelled thousands of Rwandan settlers in 2013.
They have been largely on the same page since 2015.
The most recent notable point of contention came in mid-2020 over disagreements on how to control border crossings during the coronavirus pandemic.
After back and forth interactions, the impasse was solved in May when Rwanda agreed to draw back its proposed swapping of drivers at Rusumo border, a proposal that had angered Tanzania’s truck drivers’ association.
Both countries also agreed to mandate the testing of truck drivers at their starting point in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19 across borders.
President Suluhu’s first trip was to Uganda in April, followed by Kenga in May.
Earlier in July, she visited Burundi, and with her visit to Rwanda, she will have visited all members of the East African Community – except South Sudan – within the first four months of her presidency.
This also means that she has visited more countries than her predecessor, John Pombe Magufuli, did in his first full year as president.
Source: The East African
U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted a two-day visit to Tanzania, July 27-28, where he met with senior defense officials and opened the first joint special forces training exercise between the two nations since 2017.
“Tanzania remains an African security leader and a partner of U.S. Africa Command. Our defense forces have a long history of working side by side. This visit is a symbol of our desire to strengthen that partnership,” Townsend said.
On July 28 Townsend joined with General Venance Mabeyo, Chief of Defence Forces, for the opening ceremony of a Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) between a U.S. Special Forces Detachment and members of Tanzania’s Marine Special Forces at the Peacekeeping Operations Training Center in Kunduchi. The six-week exercise is the first of its type between the U.S. and Tanzania since 2017. The U.S. and Tanzanian forces will train side by side to strengthen skills such as small unit tactics, marksmanship, medical treatment, unit maneuver, the Law of Armed Conflict, and the preservation of human rights in combat.
“U.S. Africa Command is committed to working with the Tanzanian military on regional challenges. We are strengthening our military ties through joint operational training and exercises,” Townsend said. “It’s important we develop our partnership with Tanzania to advance our shared goals and security objectives.”
Townsend’s visit also included a stop at the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) headquarters in Upanga, where he was welcomed by an honor guard and met with senior leaders. In addition, Townsend visited the U.S. Embassy where he met with U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Donald Wright and other Embassy personnel.
According to Ambassador Wright, the training exercise and Townsend’s visit are evidence of the importance that the U.S. places on its strong security cooperation with Tanzania.
“General Townsend’s visit reaffirms the broad and longstanding security partnership between the United States and Tanzania. As we celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Tanzania, this visit underscores the importance of security cooperation to that relationship based on mutual respect and shared values.”
In a major breakthrough for one of the world’s last countries to embrace COVID-19 vaccines, Tanzania’s president kicked off the nation’s vaccination campaign Wednesday by publicly receiving a dose and urging others to do the same.
The East African country’s government under former President John Magufuli had long worried African health officials by denying the pandemic. Magufuli, who insisted the coronavirus could be defeated with prayer, died in March. The presidency went to his deputy, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who has since changed Tanzania’s course on COVID-19.
Hassan, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, expressed confidence in the safety of vaccines and said the country of more than 58 million people will pursue more. The United States on Saturday announced the delivery of more than 1 million doses via the COVAX global initiative aimed at supplying low- and middle-income countries.
Tanzania went well over a year without updating its number of confirmed virus cases but has now resumed reporting the data to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed 858 cases in the country as of Wednesday.
Critics of Tanzania’s past stance on COVID-19, however, have long warned that many more people have been infected.
Tanzania’s current president also has pledged to invest in vaccine manufacturing, according to the Africa CDC; the agency’s director, John Nkengasong, met with Hassan on Tuesday. African countries, hit hard by so-called vaccine nationalism as rich nations prioritize doses for their own citizens, are embracing the need to have more control over vaccine production.
Just two African countries still have yet to start COVID-19 vaccinations, Burundi and Eritrea. Burundi, whose late President Pierre Nkurunziza also had been criticized for downplaying the pandemic, has said vaccines aren’t needed yet. And Eritrea has long been criticized by human rights groups as one of the world’s most closed-off, repressive countries.
Rwandan forces have allegedly killed 30 insurgents after fierce fighting in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Mozambique’s president Filipe Nyusi has shared his appreciation to African countries for sending troops to help fight insurgents.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) agreed in June to deploy troops to help quell the insurgency in the northern part of the country.
Rwandan soldiers, who arrived in Mozambique last week, have fought a series of engagements against the extremists resulting in the death of at least 30 insurgents.
Reports claim the insurgents have retreated towards the Tanzanian border.
The Rwandan troops are the first foreign military force in a direct combat role in the conflict.
Islamic State-linked militants have been waging an insurgency in Mozambique’s gas-rich northern zone for five years.
The size of the SADC deployment, as well as the number of soldiers sent by each member country, is not yet known.
According to the Mozambique government reports, the violence in Cabo Delgado has driven more than 800 000 people from their homes and claimed more than 2 000 lives.