Uhuru, Magufuli discuss border tussle on phone
Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
Tanzanian President John Magufuli revealed on Wednesday that he had phone talks with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta on border closures.
Speaking on a roadside stop in Singida, Tanzania, President Magufuli said that there is no need for the tiff on testing of truck drivers to escalate into full-blown trade crisis.
The Tanzanian leader said that they agreed to have the issues ironed out by Trade ministers and regional administrators so that cross-border trade can continue amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Magufuli said that the team from Tanzania will include the Trade Minister Isaack Kamwele, Finance PS Dotto James and the five regional administrators (Provincial Commissioners) for Mwanza, Mara, Kilimanjoro, Arusha and Tanga. The five regions share a border with Kenya.
Last week, President Kenyatta ordered the Kenya-Tanzania border closed, except for cargo, following rising cases of Covid-19 infections among Tanzania truck drivers, an issue Magufuli has downplayed.
"Our discussion was based on the ongong disputes in borders. Kenyans are our relatives. We have Maasais in Kenya and Tanzania. We have Luos in Kenya and Tanzania. We have Kuria in Kenya and Tanzania. Covid-19 should not be the source of misunderstandings between our two countries," said Magufuli.
On Tuesday, Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe revealed that 182 people who tested positive on the Kenya-Tanzania border were turned back.
But on Wednesday, through the East Africa Community Secretariat, the German government donated nine mobile testing laboratories for use in the region. Kenya's received two of the mobile labs, with one set to use at the Namanga border point.