In a letter dated May 20, 2020, the Tanzanian government said that 15 of its truck drivers that had been blocked from entering Kenya after reportedly testing positive for coronavirus disease, had tested negative in Tanzania
All is not well in the region
spat is brewing in the East African Community as some partner states say
positive tests of their nationals in neighbouring countries are meant to sabotage
their tourism industries.
In a letter
dated May 20, 2020, the Tanzanian government said that 15 of its truck drivers that had been blocked from entering Kenya after reportedly testing positive for coronavirus
disease, had tested negative in Tanzania. On the basis of this, the Tanzanian Regional Commissioner Mrisho
Mashaka Gambo said that Kenya was declaring Tanzanian drivers positive to sabotage it's tourism industry.
Gambo said in efforts
to confirm the reliability of COVID-19 test results, Dar es Salaam took samples from 19
drivers from Tanzania who had been tested and declared positive by Kenya
authorities at Namanga border on the Kenyan side.
samples were submitted to our Main National Laboratory in Dar es Salaam, the
results came back as negative for all these drivers from Tanzania.” Gambo wrote
that “Arusha region is confident that this is a deliberate sabotage strategy
designed by Kenya against our tourism industry in Arusha and Tanzania at large.”
In the same
letter, Tanzania refuses to disclose the name of another country it says it had
also, two more truck drivers who tested positive from “another country whose name
shall be kept private in this document.” This brings
to the fore the simmering mistrust that regional leaders had been covering.
videoconferencing early this month, leaders of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and South
Sudan participated but Burundi and Tanzania did not. There was no explanation
over their non-participation.
Shinyekwa, a researcher in regional integration at the Economic Policy Research
Centre (EPRC), said there appears to be two factions in the region on how they
are approaching coronavirus issues. He said
Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya seemed to be moving together guided by World Health Organisation guidelines
but Tanzania and Burundi have rejected these. Shinyekwa said
there is an indication all was not well in the region.
recently declared WHO representative in the country persona non grata and asked
them to leave the country.
Kampala, Nairobi, and Kigali seem to be moving together, the mistrust issue
seems to be alive. A representative of a transport agency transporting fuel
from Kenya through Uganda to DRC told URN that their drivers were being
subjected to various tests in each country they enter into. This is because none
of the countries is trusting results from the other state.
Tanzania say they are being looked at as the problem wherever they go in the
region. Tanzania had stopped testing, therefore kept partner states in the dark over the situation there.
the integration in the EAC region have been alive even before COVID-19. Kenya
still not accepting Uganda’s milk while Tanzania only recently accepted to take
just 20,000 tones of Sugar from Uganda.