Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has refuted claims that there is a rift between the Kenyan and Tanzanian Government following recent harsh utterances by a Tanzanian administrator who banned Kenyan truck drivers from entering Tanzania.
The recent clip that went viral on social media showed Tanzanian Tanga Regional Commissioner Martin Shigela furiously directing the security officers to restrict Kenyan cargo trucks entering Tanzania alleging most of the drivers had tested positive for Corona Virus
Natembeya said the two countries had only one enemy in common, Corona Virus, that they are currently fighting saying though their approach is different the objective is just the same.
“We are just battling one enemy, this doesn’t mean that because our approaches are so different the two countries have lost their close relationship that used to exist between them before the virus came,” said Natembeya.
The regional Commissioner spoke yesterday when he toured AngataBarikoi area in Trans Mara West Sub County at the border of Kenya and Tanzania to monitor the security situation.
“This is not the time to be infuriated, it is the time we all put measures that will contain the spread of the disease that is now here with us,” reiterated Natembeya.
He observed that this is the time the two countries should sit down and find a solution to the current challenge in order to resume their normal businesses.
“Our common challenge is to strategize on how to resume our businesses without contacting the disease as we are all under the East Africa Community,” he continued.
Accompanied by Rift Valley Regional Police Commander Marcus Ocholla and Narok County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti, Natembeya warned residents against entering into Tanzania through illegal routes saying those who entered the neigbouring country illegally risk being arrested.
“I understand in this area there are four ‘Panya routes’ that people use to enter the neigbouring country. I want chiefs and the Nyumba kumi elders to be very vigilant and monitor our borders to ensure no inter-country movements through the illegal routes,” continued Natembeya.
At the same time, the Regional Commissioner issued 15, 000 masks from the national government to the border residents and asked them to use them properly to avert the spread of Covid-19.
He challenged the local leaders to help in purchasing masks for the residents saying most of the residents could not afford the important piece.
On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta banned all movement across the borders of Tanzania and Somalia but exempted cargo trucks drivers with a condition that they get tested for Covid-19.
The decision came as the East Africa Community struggle to have a common policy on limiting the spread of Covid-19 while allowing free movement of goods.
By Ann Salaton