Tanzania and Kenya agree to meet over a border dispute

Tanzania and Kenya agree to meet over a border dispute

Tanzanian President John Magufuli and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta have agreed that ministers from the two countries should meet to resolve an on-going border dispute over coronavirus testing.

Speaking in Singida, central Tanzania, Mr Magufuli ordered the transport minister and regional commissioners (RCs) of border towns to meet with officials from Kenya to resolve any underlying issues.

“This is a time to build the economy, coronavirus did not start in Africa and so it shouldn’t be a source of wrangles within the East Africa Community lest we fail to do business because of this disease,” he said.

Striking a reconciliatory tone, Mr Magufuli asked RCs at border towns to refrain from being driven by emotions and instead put patriotism and the consideration of economic interests first.

This top-level intervention comes only four days after Mr Kenyatta closed Kenya’s border with Tanzania, except for vehicles carrying cargo.

Until Saturday, any driver had been able to cross as long as they tested negative for Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

Mr Kenyatta’s move was prompted by an increase in positive tests.

In response two RCs have stopped all Kenyan lorry drivers from crossing the border, saying their cargo should be unloaded and collected by Tanzanian drivers for delivery.

There is a fear that an escalation of the dispute could pose a threat to the economies of both countries.

Business between Kenya and Tanzania forms the biggest share of trade between nations within the East African region. Article share tools

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