Tanzania planning to pull out from TAZARA

TAZARA Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority
TAZARA Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority
TANZANIA is reportedly planning to pull out of the joint railway operation with Zambia after its partner introduced a domestic passenger train from the Copperbelt to Nakonde against the agreement between the two countries.

Tanzania Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said his government wanted to pull out after Lusaka ignored.

Former TAZARA Managing Director Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika says blame and credit for any split of the joint venture railway company should be shared between Zambia and Tanzania.

Tanzania Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has been quoted saying his government wants to pull out from TAZARA after Zambia ignored calls to stop using the cross-border line for national locomotives.

Mr. Mbikusita-Lewanika says he also thinks that going by the various positions taken at SADC level, the policy direction is the opposite of what is under consideration for TAZARA.

He has told Qfm news this is because the policy direction of SADC is towards free access arrangement where there would be facilitation of movement on each other’s railway tracks, on the basis of payment of agreed access fees.

Mr. Mbikusita-Lewanika says to this effect there has, for many years, been a private South African train that takes tourists to and from, between Cape Town and Dar es Salaam.

He says this therefore means that even with passenger trains being split between Tanzanian and Zambian regions, there is no reason why a Zambian passenger train should not go all the way to Dar es Sallam, and a Tanzanian passenger train go all the way to Kapiri or even Ndola on the basis of having to pay agreed access fees to each owner of the railway track used.

The Former TAZARA Managing Director says he is of the view that this should be the direction of Pan-African thinking articulated at SADC level, even at a stage when each country has its own railway system.

He says it is it in line of thinking that Zambia Railways has asked and been allowed to run trains from the Copperbelt to Nakonde.

Mr. Mbikusita-Lewanika notes that the same principle can apply with regard to the passenger trains under different TAZARA country regions even if the ultimate motivation is the splitting of the railway system along nation-state lines.

( Wednesday 27th August 2014 )