A new British High Commissioner for the UK in Tanzania, Mr David Concar, took up his post in August.
Mr Concar previously served as Director of Protocol at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as UK Ambassador in Mogadishu, Somalia between 2016 and 2019, and as the FCO head of international organisations department and commonwealth envoy between 2014 and 2016. He also worked as the FCO’s head of climate change and energy department between 2012 and 2014 and from 2006 to 2012 as the counsellor responsible for prosperity, climate change and energy, science and innovation in Beijing, China. Before joining the FCO he was a science journalist.
Mr Concar tweeted that he was “really excited to be returning to Africa, to start work with the UK’s wonderful team at the High Commission.” He replaces Sarah Cooke, who had served as UK High Commissioner in Dar es Salaam since 2016, during a time of sometimes strained relations between the diplomatic community and the government of Tanzania. Over this period, western diplomats in Tanzania have grown increasingly concerned about declining respect for democracy and the rule of law in the country, and have on occasion spoken out publicly with their criticism of the Tanzanian government.
Ms Cooke’s departure comes shortly after she attracted some controversy in Tanzania by meeting with opposition leader Zitto Kabwe of the ACT Wazalendo party. The Registrar of Political Parties wrote to Mr Kabwe demanding assurance that the meeting did not violate Section 6C(4) of the Political Parties Act, Cap 258. The Registrar’s office says the law prohibits non-citizens from holding meetings with leaders of Tanzanian political parties. ACT General Secretary Ado Shaibu responded by saying that “they held private talks, after all, he (Kabwe) is free to meet any person and talk about anything as provided under the country’s constitution.”