Saturday, April 4, 2009

Respect constitution, Tanzanian President advises Comorians

By Juma Thomas, Moroni, The Gardian, 26/03/2009

President Jakaya Kikwete has appealed to the people of the Comoros, an archipelago nation that has seen over 20 coups since independence in 1974, to respect their country`s constitution and save themselves any further political turmoil. 

Speaking at a rally here yesterday, the president said it was upon Comorian politicians and the larger population to guarantee the country peace and tranquility. 

``If the political class wants the Comoros to become a peaceful country it will become one, but if they want to make it turn chaotic they also have the power to do so,`` he noted. 

President Kikwete called on politicians to choose and fight for enhanced peace and tranquility for the betterment of their country and its people. 

Last year African Union troops led by Tanzanian commanders resorted to military action to oust rebel leader Mohammed Bacar from Anjouan after he had flatly rejected calls to relinquish power following the expiry of his tenure. 

President Kikwete said it was of fundamental importance for politicians to respect the constitution and whatever agreements they were party to that were meant to help their countries have lasting peace, enjoy the rule of law and good governance and guard themselves against unnecessary turmoil. 

He added that it was necessary to tame greedy politicians bent on seeing their countries plunge into chaos. 

Proposing a vote of thanks to President Kikwete and the Tanzanian people for having helped the Comoros government restore democracy in Anjouan, Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Mohammed Sambi said his country would forever cherish the support. 

``This generation and many others to come will not forget Tanzania. You have proved that you are indeed friends in need,`` he stated, noting that the support extended by Kikwete in his twin capacity as Tanzanian president and AU chairman had enabled the Comoros to restore its respect in the international arena. 

President Kikwete doubled as AU chairman when the AU troops carried out a military operation in Anjouan, one of the three islands forming Comoros, which sent rebel leader Bacar and his accomplices fleeing. 

The Comoros leader appealed to Tanzania to continue helping his country in its endeavours to revitalise its strife-damaged economy. 

President Kikwete is in the Comoros to grace celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the restoration of democratic rule in Anjouan made possible by the intervention of the AU forces. 

AU troops made a smooth landing in Anjouan on March 25 last year and forced Bacar to flee to Mayotte, an island under French rule. It was a bloodless operation that lasted only a few hours. 

Meanwhile, President Kikwete has said Tanzania would open a consular office in Moroni as part of a drive to bolster diplomatic relations with the Comoros. 

Currently, Tanzania`s diplomatic mission in Mozambique also caters for the Comoros. 

There would be high-level consultations with the Comoros government on the modalities of minimising ``cumbersome procedures`` impeding interaction between the people of the two countries, he added. 

He explained that he would explore with his host the possibility of reducing the respective visa fee, now standing at 60 euros, as well as enhancing cooperation between the two countries particularly with respect to education, health and economic relations.