– Dar es Salaam
Preparations to celebrate Uganda’s 55th Independence Anniversary are underway in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as both countries move to strengthen bilateral ties.
Ambassador Richard Kabonero who was recently sent to Tanzania tells ChimpReports good relations between the two countries are “anchored by a shared sense of history in the Joint Liberation of Uganda by the citizens of our two countries as well as shared Pan African ideology and independence in our foreign policy.”
Uganda and Tanzania recently signed an agreement to construct the oil pipeline from Hoima to Tanga at the cost of $3.5bn.
The two countries are also cooperating in the areas of gas exploration, education, security, tourism, cultural development and cross border trade.
Speaking to ChimpReports on Saturday afternoon, Kabonero says the celebration will also serve as an opportunity to “reflect on our achievements and look at the opportunities” that exist.
“It’s an opportunity to look at the 55-year journey since we got self determination and celebrate the strong bilateral ties between Uganda and Tanzania,” he adds.
Kabonero was recently deployed as Uganda’s top diplomat to Tanzania after serving ten years as Ambassador to Rwanda.
On his arrival in Tanzania, Kabonero hit the ground running, initiating the construction of Uganda’s Chancery in Dar es Salaam.
He says the strengthened bilateral ties have boosted cross border trade between the two countries.
“Our trade is increasing. For example Bakhresa who deal in grain are interested in going to Uganda,” says the Ambassador.
The Embassy is trying to establish direct air links between Tanzania and Entebbe.
Kabonero says Precision Air, which runs three direct flights from Entebbe International Airport per week, is being encouraged to increase its frequency to ease travel through Dar es Salaam.
Asked to explain the challenges he has encountered at his new workplace, Kabonero says the Mission is “working within a resource envelope that is not adequate.”
He says the expanded Embassy oversees the implementation of the construction of the oil pipeline and other key infrastructural projects.
“We have to participate in all EAC meetings,” he adds.
The Embassy in Tanzania has multiple accreditation to cater for Uganda’s interests in Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Mauritius and Comoros.
“It’s a wide area,” says Kabonero, who admits that the challenges are not exclusive to his Mission, adding, “We are stretched thin.”
Uganda and Tanzania recently agreed to expedite completion of reaffirming their boundary and signed several agreements for power purchase and construction of power dams.