Tanzania has contributed uniformed UN peacekeepers in various parts of the world since 1995. It currently contributes peacekeepers in six UN missions in Africa and UNIFIL in Lebanon. Tanzania’s contributions are largely informed by its history of African liberation, conflict prevention and peace processes, especially in African countries. Regionally, Tanzania has shown willingness to participate and contribute both in terms of security and military cooperation. Under the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), Tanzania is part of its African Standby Force’s (ASF). Specifically, Tanzania, falls under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in 2007 signed the agreement to become part of the SADC Standby Brigade.
In 2013, Tanzania was one of three states that contributed a battalion of soldiers to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) as part of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The FIB was established in March 2013 following the signing of the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security, and Cooperation for the DRC and the Region and UN Security Council Resolution 2098. It was one outcome of a larger debate about the need for more robust use of force by some UN peacekeeping missions. The Intervention Brigade subsequently helped in defeating the M23 rebels. Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Bernard Membe said his country’s contribution of a battalion of troops as well as the first FIB commander, Brig. Gen. James Mwakibolwa, was “to help our neighbors and be advocates for peace”. However, Tanzania’s contribution was seen as a geopolitical balance and a counter to the Rwandan government, which was accused of supporting the M23 rebel group. Bernard Membe had also directly accused the Rwandan government of funding the M23 rebels and stated that the M23 rebels were “Rwandan citizens.” Tanzania’s contribution also came at a time when the country’s President Jakaya Kikwete had suggested at a meeting of the Great Lakes countries that Rwanda should negotiate with the FDLR rebels in eastern DR Congo, which further strained the Rwanda-Tanzania ties.