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ICC rigidity undermines its support in Africa, Kikwete

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KikwetePresident Jakaya Kikwete has joined other African leaders in speaking out against the way the International Criminal Court is handling the Kenyan cases.

“The ICC continues to ignore repeated requests and appeals by the African Union,” he said, citing the cases of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

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The Tanzanian president pointed to a “rift” between the Hague based court and Africa.

“This attitude has become a major handicap that fails to reconcile the court’s secondary and complementary role in fighting impunity,” President Kikwete declared.

“Indeed, the court’s rigidity has proven counterproductive and stands to undermine the support it enjoys in Africa.”

Millennium Development Goals

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Kikwete said Tanzania has made “significant progress” in implementing the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals.

Mr Kikwete devoted most of his address to the MDGs, noting that Tanzania has already reached four of the eight goals and is likely to hit the target of reducing the HIV/Aids infection rate prior to the 2015 deadline.

The millennium goals of universal enrolment in primary schools and gender parity in both primary and secondary schools have been met, the president said.

Reaching the goal of sharply reducing child mortality was “a big achievement indeed,” Mr Kikwete told the UN.

He however said it is “depressing” that the country is not on track regarding improvements in maternal health.

Tanzania is meeting objectives in providing safe drinking water for the urban population but not for those living in rural areas, he said.

The country also lags behind in expanding access to sanitation, he added.

Brave soldiers

The head of state also mourned the loss of nine Tanzanian “brave soldiers” who had been assigned to the UN peacekeeping units in Sudan’s Darfur region and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tanzania ranks as the world’s twelfth-largest contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts, with some 2500 soldiers deployed in Lebanon, Darfur and the DRC, Mr Kikwete noted.

He described the nine slain Tanzanian peacekeepers as “national heroes who sacrifices are not in vain.”-nation.co.ke

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