President Kenyatta orders release of maize held at the Tanzania border
President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the release of maize imports stuck at the Tanzania border within the next two weeks.
This as a first move to ending hostile trade relations between Kenya and Tanzania with the order coming on the backdrop of Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu’s two-day State visit in the country which ends later on Wednesday.
Additionally, President Kenyatta asked Health ministers in the two countries to harmonize COVID-19 testing and certification to end the congestion of truckers on the border crossing.
“Mawaziri wanaohusika watatue jam ambayo iko kule Taveta-Holili na Namanga, magari yaweze kutembea. Kama ni certificate za COVID, mawaziri wa afya wajue vile wanaweza kufanya. Certificate ikiwa checked Tanzania basi hio certificate iwe sawa aingie Kenya,” President Kenyatta said during a high -evel business forum on Wednesday.
“Hio mahindi imelala hapo mpakani waziri (Betty Maina) mimi nakupatia wiki mbili yote iwe imefunguliwa na hio maneno yote iishe. Hakuna haja ya kuumiza watu wetu jamani.”
Kenya banned maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania in early March citing high levels of aflatoxin in samples tested from the pair of markets.
Despite lifting the ban, trucks transporting maize across the border have remained stranded for days on the Tanzanian side of its border with Kenya adding to the congestion witnessed from the COVID-19 certification clearance.
Congestion along the border has moreover remained the norm since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year with the two countries differing on the management of the pandemic.
The situation is nevertheless tipped to shift for the better with Tanzania’s new regime under President Samia Suluhu moving to end frosty relations with its East African Community (EAC) partners.