Ten days after the two countries reopened the Namanga border, Tanzania has now announced that it cannot trade with Kenya if she continues to breach agreements. The two countries agreed to reopen their borders on May 22 after a tense week marked by a heated trade conflict caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Tanzania on Wednesday claimed their truck drivers with certified Covid-19 test certificates are forced to retest before crossing the border. Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo and his Longido District colleague Frank Mwaisumbe told the Star on the phone that Kenya has reneged on what the two countries agreed on.
In a taped telephone interview, Mwaisumbe – who said he is airing the views of his boss Gambo and that of President John Magufuli – said, “Tanzania is an independent state and should not appear to be convincing another state to do business with her.”
“President Magufuli and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya requested concerned ministers from both countries to meet and iron out the issues that were blocking the smooth flow of business at the Namanga border, and that was done,” Mwaisumbe said.
Mwaisumbe said the problem started on June 1 and that their effort to talk to Kenyan authorities hit a snag after their inquiries failed to get attention. But Kenya’s government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said the country had not received any official communication from the Tanzanian authorities on the issue.
Before this development, travel guidelines and restrictions rekindled a festering trade war that had seen both countries impose sanctions on each other and ban the trade of certain goods. Government officials from both countries, who met in Namanga on May 22, had resolved to facilitate a seamless cross-border movement of goods and end the stand-off.