Uganda and Tanzania have reaffirmed commitment to further strengthen their enduring bilateral relations and economic cooperation.
“We will always be together in good times and bad times,” said Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Prof John Aidan Palamagamba MwalukoKabudi.
“We have fought, suffered and died together,” he added.
In an emotional speech that attracted a standing ovation from the audience, Kabudi said there was no other country where Tanzanian has “lost gallant sons” than Uganda.
Kabudi spoke at Uganda Independence Day celebrations at Serena Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on Friday night.
Tanzania is a strategic partner of Uganda in many areas, particularly trade, security, education, agriculture and energy.
Both countries are both founding members of the East African Community (EAC) and are working on joint infrastructure projects in including the East African Oil Pipeline to transport crude oil from Hoima in western Uganda to Tanga Port on the shores of Indian Ocean.
Uganda has proven crude oil reservesof 6.5 billion barrels, about 2.2 billion of which is recoverable.
Kabudi recalled that when Idi Amin attacked Tanzania, the country had no option but to wage war and topple the dictator.
He said the blood of Tanzanian soldiers killed in the war against Amin cemented the two neighbours’ relations.
He further revealed that former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere tried to persuade the British government to delay Tanzania’s Independence so that it could be declared on the same day with Uganda and Kenya to enable the formation of the East African Federation.
However, the British colonialists turned down the request.
“There would be no Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania but East African Federation,” said Kabudi as guests listened attentively.
He said Uganda and Tanzania continue to work together in airline business and construction of power plants to facilitate economic growth.
The event was graced by diplomats, military attaches, business community and government officials from both Tanzania and Uganda.
On his part, Kabonero reassured Kampala’s commitment to deepen bilateral ties to enhance economic development of both countries.
“We have heeded the call by President Magufuli made during the recently-concluded Uganda-Tanzania Business Summit where he said “tumekelewa (we are late),”’ said Kabonero.
“And therefore, we at the mission, are speeding implementation of joint infrastructural projects,” said Kabonero.
Trade between Uganda and Tanzania now stands at $400m, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa.
President Museveni has this year visited Tanzania thrice to attend events including the Business Summit.