ARUSHA – The Tanzania Government has accused Kenya of using the fight against COVID-19 pandemic to sabotage its tourism industry.
Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo in a statement issued on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, accused Kenya authorities of lying about the COVID-19 test results of 19 truck drivers at the Namanga border.
Kenya announced that 19 truck drivers from Tanzania had tested positive for COVID-19 between May 14 and May18, with Tanzania refuting the results.
“We took samples from 19 drivers from Tanzania who had…been declared positive by Kenya authorities. After these samples were submitted to our main National Laboratory in Dar es Salaam, the results came back negative for all the drivers from Tanzania,” said Gambo.
Gambo further said that owing to this scenario, “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 move came hot in the heels of Kenya government’s closure of its boarders with Tanzania and Somalia over fears that the entry points were turning into hot-spots of infections. Kenya also ordered a 30 days cessation of the movement of pedestrians and passenger vehicles. Tanzanian officials have so far restricted the entry of Kenyan truckers along the Namanga, Holili, Sirare and Horohoro boarders, citing Covid-19 testing. They have, however, said truckers from other countries were free to enter.
On Tuesday, in Dar es Salaam, Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Dan Kazungu, appealed for calm and said the two countries would seek to solve the boarder tiff through diplomatic channels. He said he had reached out to Tanzania International Affairs and East Africa Cooperation minister, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, over the matter. The envoy said Kenya and Tanzania were confronted with a common enemy in the coronavirus pandemic which called for a common front to fight.