Saturday, July 09, 2011

Tanzanians living abroad illegally may be rescued'

From MARC NKWAME in Arusha, 8th July 2011 Daily News.

TANZANIANS living abroad illegally and who are afraid of returning back lest they be prosecuted as illegal immigrants will soon have nothing to fear. 

''We are making arrangements to bring all Tanzanians living in the Diaspora together, form associations based in their countries of residences through which several of their concerns will be addressed,'' stated the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr John Haule. 

Speaking here shortly after officially gracing the Diaspora Coordinating Meeting at the Arusha International Conference Centre, Mr Haule admitted that there are many Tanzanians overseas who are still not accounted for, having gone there through unofficial means and even those who followed the right channels have not bothered to register themselves at the country embassies there. 

''It is through such associations that the government intends to work with the Tanzanians abroad to see how such people can be accommodated,'' said the permanent secretary but was non-committal when asked if the ''illegal immigrants'' will automatically be pardoned. 

''Let us first work with the said associations to see how this problem can be addressed before announcing whether or not the Tanzanians living as fugitives abroad will be allowed here without being penalized for leaving the country through dubious means,'' he said, adding that his Ministry was also working to come up with database of nationals who are living and working overseas. 

The issue of dual-citizenship also propped up again during the Arusha-held Diaspora meeting, with delegates voicing their concern, saying that unless Tanzania allows twin-nationalities, potential investment projects being planned by the Diaspora may never be realized. 

Special seat Member of Parliament, Ms Leticia Nyerere and Ms Rehema Mtingwa of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation pointed out that it was high time dual-nationality was allowed if the country is to make any progress in Diaspora investments. 

''Tanzanians living abroad have been remitting millions just to assist their families, which means they are capable of sending here billions if they are assured of good investment,'' said Ms Mtingwa. 

''We are wasting large percentage of human resources through denying children born abroad by Tanzanian parents the freedom of coming here as they wish, and it is a shame that Tanzanians have to seek residential permits for their own children born overseas,'' complained Ms Nyerere. 

''There is a lot of pressure at the moment but the issue of citizenship isn't as easy as people make it, because it has been stipulated in the constitution which means the constitution either has to be changed or reviewed to accommodate it,'' said Mr Haule. 

''It is also important to note that the idea of dual nationality cross-cuts the Tanzanian union which is made up of both the Mainland and Isles, and must be discussed and unanimously agreed by the two countries before any decision is made on the matter,'' he maintained.

No comments: