The rising divide between Christians and Muslims in Tanzania

In early May, “an act of terrorism” disrupted the consecration of a church in Arusha. A bomb blast outside this Roman-Catholic church killed two and injured 30 people. Until today, it is not yet clear who carried out the attacks, although six people have been taken into custody, among them two Christians from Tanzania and four individuals from Saudi Arabia. During the past years, Tanzania has been passing through increased religious bigotry, although the country experienced for decades a high degree of toleration between the two main faith communities in this East African country.

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M23 clashes in Eastern Congo

Today, fighting has resumed in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the most troubled regions in the world. The BBC reported that the M23 rebel movement attacked government troops outside of Goma. These are the first clashes ever since M23 withdrew its forces from Goma in November last year. The incident happens just days before United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon planned to visit the city.

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Kenya’s request to re-introduce impunity

The recent statement of Kenyan United Nations (UN) Envoy Macharia Kamau in New York is odd. Mr. Kamau did not simply ask for a deferral of the cases against Kenya’s new president Uhuru Kenyatta and his vice president William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC). One of Kenya’s most important diplomats requested in very strong words an outright determination of the ICC case because they were a threat to Kenya’s national security and undermined the country’s sovereignty. However, it did not come as a surprise that the UN Security Council could not discuss the matter because it has no authority over the request. Therefore, a senior diplomat called the Kenyan move “slightly bizarre.”

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One currency for East Africa

Believe it or not: already in August the East African Community (EAC) wants to conclude a monetary union that should be signed by November 2013. The five head of states decided in Arusha, Tanzania, just one week ago that they want to achieve a further step in regional integration, hoping that a High Level Task Force consisting of senior experts will finish all negotiations in some months and resolve the outstanding issues. According to Rwanda’s “The New Times,” Rwanda’s Minister for EAC Affairs Monique Mukaruliza said that the issue of a single currency was in its final stages of conclusion.

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South Sudan still waiting to join the EAC

A week ago, the head of states of the East African Community (EAC) came together for a summit in Arusha, Tanzania. The main issue on the agenda was the establishment of a monetary union that ultimately will be necessary to achieve a federation among the five member states (see my article). However, one of the most pressing issues was not addressed as “The East African” pointed out: the future membership of countries waiting in line to become part of the most dynamic regional organization in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Tanzania celebrated a unity that is under threat

On Friday, Tanzania celebrated its 49th birthday. I spent the day in Tanga, the third biggest city in Tanzania, a humid city at the coast of the Indian ocean. Tanga was known as one of the industrial centers of the country, but experienced a break-down from which it never recovered. I was not able to discover any enthusiasm, any special event nor any parade dedicated to the anniversary. Yes, some people were gathering around TVs to watch the big parade in Dar es Salaam, headed by President Jakaya Kikwete. However, such gatherings would also take place when a popular show would run on TV and for sure many more people would be around when an English Premier league match would have been shown.

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