Amid border closure tussle, President Uhuru Kenyatta has maintained that Kenya and Tanzania are neighbours beyond friends.
Uhuru’s statement comes two days after Kenya shut borders with Tanzania and 24 hours after Tanzania retaliated to the closure.
Kenya’s ambassador to Tanzania Dan Kazungu delivered the Head of State’s message on Tuesday. Mr. Kazungu said President Uhuru does not consider Tanzania only as a neighbour but a ‘brother’ too.
“President Kenyatta has sent me here and he says he does not consider Tanzania as a neighbour country but a brother. We are not enemies, our enemy is the coronavirus,” said Mr. Kazungu.
On Saturday, Mr. Kenyatta announced the closure of Kenya’s borders with Tanzania except for cargo vehicles. The president said the move was necessitated by increasing coronavirus infections among drivers coming from Tanzania.
In retaliation, Tanga regional commissioner Martin Shigella banned Kenyan cargo trucks entering Tanzania.
“Some people have names symbolizing independence but they have locked their countries. Our President Magufuli has allowed us independence. As a regional commissioner, I ban all trucks originating from Kenya immediately,” said Mr. Shigela.
In his address to Tanzanians on Tuesday, Mr Kazungu said the two countries must continue doing business even as coronavirus spreads havoc.
The ambassador, however, maintained that truck drivers crossing borders must be tested and be declared coronavirus free before clearance to continue the journey.
Mr. Kazungu also revealed that Uhuru had planned to visit Tanzania in April but coronavirus disrupted the plans.
“Our president had planned to visit Tanzania on April 26, during Union Day celebrations and he planned to stay here for one week,” said Mr. Kazungu.
It is expected that the border tussles may calm following the redress.