Sabotage: Tanzania-Kenya Border Row Gets Murkier With New Accusation

  • Trucks at the Namanga Kenya-Tanzania border town.
    Trucks at the Namanga Kenya-Tanzania border town.
    The Standard
  • The Government of Tanzania has accused Kenya of falsifying truck drivers' Covid-19 results in order to kill tourism in the country.

    A statement released on Wednesday, May 20, from Arusha Regional Commissioner, Mrisho Mashaka, levelled grave accusations against Kenya. 

    "In efforts to confirm the reliability of Covid-19 test results, we took samples from 19 drivers from Tanzania who had been tested and declared positive by Kenya authorities at Namanga border on the Kenyan side.

    Trucks held up at a traffic snarl-up along a highway.
    Trucks held up at a traffic snarl-up along a highway.

    "After these samples were submitted to our Main National Laboratory in Dar es Salaam, the results came back as negative for all these drivers from Tanzania.

    "Arusha region is confident that this is a deliberate sabotage strategy designed by Kenya against our tourism industry in Arusha and Tanzania at large," the statement reads in part.

    The press release also published results of truck drivers arriving from Kenya on Thursday, May 14, Saturday, May 16 and Monday, May 18.

    Results from Monday showed that 14 drivers tested positive with 11 being Kenyan, one from Uganda and two others had their nationalities withheld.

    On Saturday, from the 23 samples, the 10 who tested positive were all Kenyans, the Monday results were yet to be published.

    These accusations come even after Kenya announced a directive that all truck drivers should have a certificate showing their Covid-19 status before embarking on any journey. 

    The border standoff saw the Kenyan Ambassador to Tanzania Dan Kazungu on Tuesday, May 20, issuing a statement of solidarity from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    "President Uhuru Kenyatta says he does not look at Tanzania as a neighbour, he instead looks at Tanzania as brothers, in his heart Tanzanians are not neighbours, Tanzanians are brothers.

    "Let's be more understanding because people are the same, let us do business, we thrive, let us fight poverty and get opportunities for our children to get jobs," noted the Ambassador

    President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday, May 16, ordered the closure of borders with Tanzania and Somalia as cross-border Covid-19 infections continued to rise, allowing only truck drivers.

    This announcement appeared to rub Tanzania the wrong way as they responded on Monday, May 18, by banning the entry of Kenyan truck drivers in the country. 

    Long distance truck drivers line up before crossing into Uganda.
    File image of long-distance truck drivers lining up in Busia County before crossing into Uganda.