|Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation|
12 January 2007
|Preceded by||Asha-Rose Migiro|
|Deputy Minister of Energy and Minerals|
17 October 2006 – 12 January 2007
|Deputy Minister of Home Affairs|
6 January 2006 – 16 October 2006
|Member of Parliament
9 November 1953 |
|Alma mater||UDSM (BA)
Johns Hopkins (M.A.)
|Allegiance||United Republic of Tanzania|
|National Service||Oljoro Military Camp, Arusha|
Bernard Kamillius Membe (born 9 November 1953) is a Tanzanian CCM politician and Member of Parliament for Mtama constituency. He is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Early life and education
He was educated at Rondo-Chiponda Extended Primary School and Namupa Seminary Secondary School for his O Levels. He attended Itaga Seminary High School for his A Levels. He studied political science at the University of Dar es Salaam and international relations at Johns Hopkins University. He did his national service for one year at Oljoro Military Camp in Arusha Region.
Membe served as a national security analyst at the President's Office from 1978 to 1989. He thereafter attended Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. where he studied international relations from 1990 to 1992. He then returned and worked as an advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 2000 he was elected as a CCM member of parliament representing Mtama constituency in the general election. He was re-elected in 2005 and 2010. He was appointed as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs by President Jakaya Kikwete after the 2005 general elections. After a cabinet reshuffle in October 2006, he was appointed as Deputy Minister of Energy and Minerals .
In January 2007, he was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation after his predecessor Asha-Rose Migiro was appointed as the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General by the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He has also served as a member of the National Executive Committee of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party since 2007; having been re-elected in 2012 at the 8th CCM Congress in Dodoma.
In January 2013, Membe informed his constituents that he would not be vying for a seat in the next parliamentary elections in 2015 thus giving rise to speculation that he may be considering to run for the presidency.
In June 2008, Membe spoke on behalf of three SADC countries saying that if the Zimbabwean runoff election were to be held it would never be free and fair due to the violence. Joram Gumbo of the ruling Zanu-PF accused Membe of bias. On 2 September he said that Tanzania would like to see a 50-50 power sharing agreement in order to avert the Zimbabwean economic crisis.
In November 2010 at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People held in Dar es Salaam, he said that Israel needed to halt the siege of Gaza, cease illegal construction in the occupied land and also dismantle the separation wall. He was also dismayed by Israel's excessive use of force saying that the Palestinians fight using stones and catapults but the Israelis retaliate with disproportional power by using bullets and bombs. In October 2011, Membe stressed that Tanzania fully supports Palestine's bid to join the United Nations.
In May 2011, Membe rejected BAE Systems decision to pay Tanzania the ex gratia amount of £29.5 million via a charity. The amount in question was due to the sale of an overpriced radar to Tanzania in 2002. He insisited the charity would not be allowed to operate in the country if the payment was to proceed. Membe was quoted as saying, "These people are desperately trying to exonerate themselves of a graft scandal and pass the buck to the government, for the world to believe that Tanzania is so corrupt that it cannot be trusted."
On 21 September 2011, Membe appeared on the Straight Talk Africa talkshow hosted by Shaka Ssali. He was asked if Tanzania had helped to overthrow the Seychellois President James Mancham in 1977 and put into power the socialist France-Albert René; Membe responded by saying that Albert Rene had asked for Tanzania's assistance and Tanzanians did not hesitate to go all the way to Seychelles to transform that archipelago.
Chairman of the AU Executive Council
As foreign minister, Membe served as the chairman of the Executive Council of the African Union for one year when Tanzania assumed the rotating chair of the continental body in January 2008. During his tenure, Mauritania and Guinea had their membership suspended after the 2008 Mauritanian coup d'état and 2008 Guinean coup d'état respectively. Their delegations were barred from attending the biannual summit in January 2009. Membe was quoted as saying, "There is no good coup or bad coup. A coup is a coup and it cannot be tolerated." He also said the AU was against the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court.
Lake Nyasa border dispute
In July 2012, Membe informed his Malawian counterpart that oil and gas exploration on the eastern side of Lake Nyasa (also known as Lake Malawi) should henceforth cease immediately until the ownership of the lake is resolved. Tanzania maintains that the international border runs through the middle of the lake whereas Malawi insists the border is at the Tanzanian shore citing the Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty of 1890. In December 2012 he presented a letter of application for mediation on Tanzania's behalf to Joaquim Chissano, the chair of the Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government requesting the forum to mediate the dispute. He ruled out the belated intervention by the Malawi Council of Churches and the Christian Council of Tanzania to mediate as the matter had now been handed over to the African Forum.
Honours and awards
- Tanzania: Medal for Operation Democracy in Comoros, December 2008
- Comoros: Medal from Comoros, March 2009
- "Member of Parliament CV". Parliament of Tanzania. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Muhiddin, Hassan (2006-01-05). "JK’s beefed up team". The Guardian (IPPMedia Ltd). Archived from the original on 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
- "CCM`s new line-up in place". IPP Media. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Membe fuels 2015 election speculation". Mwananchi Communications. 5 January 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Africa turns up heat on Zimbabwe". BBC News Online. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "AU's patience with Zim wears thin". Mail & Guardian. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Tanzania touts Middle East peace". Daily News (Tanzania). 30 November 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Tanzania Supports Palestinian Bid to UN". Palestine News Agency. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "TANZANIA rejects BAE radar pay plan". Daily News (Tanzania). 17 May 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Straight Talk Africa talkshow" on YouTube (See 03:28) VoA. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2013
- "AU to drop Mauritania after coup". BBC News Online. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "AU Bars Mauritania, Guinea; Condemns Pending ICC Warrant for Bashir". 51voa.com. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "Tanzania tells Malawi to respect diplomatic resolution on Lake Nyasa". Daily News (Tanzania). 29 July 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Lake Nyasa border dispute goes to African Forum". Daily News (Tanzania). Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Churches cannot solve border dispute". Daily News (Tanzania). 26 December 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
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