On Thursday, March 30, 2023, U.S Vice President, Kamala Harris encouraged Tanzania’s fragile progress toward a more inclusive government.
Harris arrived in Tanzania late Wednesday, March 29, 2023, from Ghana.
Standing alongside Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s first female President, Harris cited recent decisions from Tanzania such as lifting a ban on opposition rallies and encouraging more press freedom as “important and meaningful steps” toward democratic reforms.
Hassan has undone some of Tanzania’s more oppressive policies even though she came to power as a member of the ruling party.
“The United States will continue to work alongside democratic governments in support of democratic aspiration and the democratic aspirations in particular of the people of this continent.”Kamala Harris
The leaders planned to discuss matters of good government, long-term economic growth in Tanzania and the climate crisis.
Hassan noted Tanzania’s participation in a virtual summit on democracy hosted by the White House this week, saying it “sends a clear message that the fathers of democracy recognize our efforts in building a democratic nation.”
Hassan asserted that the meeting with Harris was “another milestone” and would be an “inspiration and a testimony to Tanzanian young girls.”
Hassan is finishing out the term of President John Magufuli, who earned a reputation for stamping out dissent, arresting critics and forcing them into exile, before he died in office.
Hard-liners have been uncomfortable with some of Hassan’s changes, however, which could cost her in the next election two years from now.
Noteworthy Show Of Support From The U.S
The meeting between Hassan and Harris, the first woman to be America’s Vice President, was a noteworthy show of support from the United States as it deepens its outreach to Africa.
Harris announced $560 million in U.S. assistance for Tanzania, some of which will require congressional approval. The money is intended to expand the countries’ trade relationship, as well as encourage democratic governance.
Tanzania-based analyst, Mohamed Issa Hemed said, “There’s so much excitement here, and people are saying; it’s like madam President’s efforts in changing the country are being rewarded with recognition from an economic and political superpower that is the U.S.”
During a previous meeting in Washington, Harris told Hassan that “we welcome the progress that you have made during the course of your leadership and, in particular, the work you have done to empower women leaders in Tanzania and the work you have done to support human rights.”
The time with Hassan will provide Harris with another opportunity to highlight women’s issues in Africa, something she has done repeatedly over the course of her trip.
During her previous stop in Ghana, Harris met with female entrepreneurs and stated that women need leadership opportunities.
The future, Harris said, should be a place “where women are not just treated equally but are able to thrive.”
Harris Visits ‘Hope Out of Sorrow’ Memorial
After her meeting with Hassan, Kamala Harris visited a memorial to the U.S. Embassy bombing in Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998; the day a simultaneous bombing took place in Kenya.
At the memorial, called “Hope Out of Sorrow,” Harris shook hands with staff who were present during the attack in Dar es Salaam, as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from that time, Charles Stith.
Harris paused in front of the memorial, where there was a wreath adorned with white flowers, to pay her respects. “Thank you all for a continued life of service,” Harris told embassy staff.
The bombing in Tanzania killed 12 people and wounded 77.
Harris will conclude her weeklong trip with a stop in Zambia, another country that is striving to strengthen its democracy. She plans to return to Washington on Sunday, April 2, 2023.
Like Tanzania, Zambia has made uneven steps toward democracy since its independence. However, there has been a burst of hope after the country elected Hakainde Hichilema, a former opposition leader who once faced charges of treason.
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