Magufuli Bans Kenyan Flights in Retaliation to Uhuru's Decision

  • File image of President John Pombe Magufuli (Tanzania)
    File image of President John Pombe Magufuli (Tanzania)
    File
  • Tanzania under President John Pombe Magufuli retaliated to Kenya's decision to exclude her from countries allowed to fly their nationals to Kenya following the resumption of international flights.

    On Friday, July 31, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) stated that it had nullified the approval for Kenya Airways for three months, with the ban taking effect from Saturday, August 1 to October 24.

    Director-General Hamza Johari stated that this decision was landed upon after they noted through a number of media reports, that Tanzanians would not be allowed to travel to Kenya.

    "The authority regrets to inform you that, on a reciprocal basis, the Tanzanian Government has decided to nullify its approval for KQ flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salam/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar until further notice. 

    File image of Kenya Airways
    File image of Kenya Airways
    File

    "This letter also rescinds all previous arrangements that permit KQ flights into Tanzania," Johari stated.

    He added that the Kenyan Government was served with the letter as a notice of the decision made.

    On Thursday, July 30, Transport CS James Macharia unveiled a list of countries that will resume air travel to Kenya. Country's whose citizens were cleared to travel into Kenya include China, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Rwanda, Uganda, Morroco, Namibia, UK, France and Qatar. 

    Macharia stated that the decision was drafted in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive and was completed by a multi-agency team and approved by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on July 14.

    The CS stated that the countries had been cleared because they recorded declining Coronavirus (Covid-19 cases). Tanzania has been cagey on her Covid-19 status, with Magufuli declaring the country Covid-19 free. 

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, however, stated that the decisions relating to the resumption of flights were not about diplomatic ties and relations but the safety of Kenyan nationals. 

    This new development is poised to worsen Kenya's ties with Tanzania which have been rocky for far too long. Several issues have severed ties between the two nations in the past months.

    On Tuesday, July 28, Tanzania sent back Kenyan officials sent to represent the government at the burial of former President Benjamin Mkapa. The Transport Ministry shifted the blame on mechanical issues in a move to save face. 

    Another scenario was when President Uhuru Kenyatta seemingly launched a thinly veiled attack at Tanzania by stating that Kenya was better than nations which do not announce their Coronavirus tally and even gagged the media from reporting on the pandemic. Kenyatta spoke on Monday, July 27, while addressing the nation. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Tanzania President Pombe Magufuli (right) enjoy a light moment after the former visited the later in Tanzania in July 2019
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Tanzania President Pombe Magufuli (right) enjoy a light moment after the former visited the later in Tanzania in July 2019
    PSCU