Listen to People, Cancel “ratified contract”: Catholic Bishops on Tanzania-Dubai Agreement

Members of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC). Credit: AMECEA

Catholic Bishops in Tanzania are calling on the government to cancel the “ratified contract” of the Tanzania-Dubai Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that the parliament of the East African nation approved in June.

On June 10, Tanzania's National Assembly approved the IGA, which the Tanzanian government entered into with the Emirate of Dubai in October 2022, Human Rights Watch reported August 7 about the agreement “concerning economic and social partnership for the development and improving performance of sea and lake ports in Tanzania.” 

The Human Rights Watch report indicates that the agreement would “allow a logistics company controlled by the Emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to manage major Tanzania ports.” 

Several persons have been arrested and detained in Tanzania for criticizing the agreement, the August 7 Human Rights Watch report further indicates.

In a collective statement shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, August 22, members of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) urge the President Samia Suluhu-led government to listen to people’s demands to cancel the deal.


“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” TEC members say, and add, “We the Catholic Bishops of Tanzania who are responsible for managing the welfare of every human are asking the Honorable President of the United Republic of Tanzania, with the authority she has, to stop the submission of this ratified contract to the other party, and also the Parliament to cancel their consent to this frowned upon Agreement.”

The Catholic Church leaders reiterate, “We emphasize that the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD, so listening to the people and making decisions as much as they want will bring the government great honor for being responsive to the people.”

“It is good, wise, and prudent for the Government to listen to the people because not listening to them is to bring about bigger problems in the near future because these same people will want future generations to get rid of this exploitation, as we now see in many ongoing cases at the international commercial courts regarding contracts which were terminated by the Government of Tanzania,” TEC members say in their statement dated August 18.

They call on the government to “create the necessary environment to allow Tanzanians to run and manage their resources for their benefit and those of future generations.”

“It is a must that projects such as this one (on port development) are run and managed by Tanzanians themselves while inviting partnerships that they will themselves control,” Catholic Bishops in Tanzania say, adding, “This is what citizens have been crying for, so that we can improve our own capacity to manage critical investments.” 

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They continue, “Because we have already analyzed the shortcomings in how we run our ports, we can work on them while the means of the economy remain in our hands.”

“We see it as the responsibility of the government to listen to the people who want this contract to be canceled. Since we have shown that in Tanzania we have invested and developed ports, railways, and land ports; it’s up to Tanzanians to run these projects themselves while we welcome ventures that we control ourselves,” TEC members emphasize.

The cancellation of the ratified contract, they reiterate, “is what the people are crying for so that we can build our own capacity. Now that we have identified our port operating deficiencies, we can work to correct those deficiencies while the economic means remain in our hands.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.