There is no diplomatic tiff between Kenya and Tanzania, says CAS Ababu Namwamba

Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba at JKIA on August 1, 2020

Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba has said there is no diplomatic tiff between Kenya and Tanzania.

Reacting to President Pombe Magufuli’s administration decision to suspend Kenya Airways flights in Tanzania on reciprocity grounds that Nairobi had not cleared flights from Tanzania, Ababu maintained that the relationship between the two countries was intact.

“I want to make it clear that the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania is immutable, is indispensable, it is something that is permanent with us,” Ababu said on Saturday at JKIA.

Kenya and Tanzania are joined at the hip, he said.

He spoke after flagging off flight KQ100 to London at Terminal 1 as Kenya resumed international flights.

Kenya has excluded Tanzania from the list of countries allowed to operate international flights starting August 1.

“The Authority regrets to inform you that, on a reciprocal basis, the Tanzanian Government has decided to nullify its approval for the Kenya Airways (KQ) flights between Nairobi and Dar/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar effective August 1, 2020 until further notice. The approval was granted to KQ vide our letter,” a letter Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority boss Hamza Johari said.

He further denied claims that the delegation to the funeral of former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa was turned back, maintaining that the aircraft developed technical problems.

“There is no coincidence in this, the was a technical hitch with the aircraft that was heading to the final ritual of the former president of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa… Kenya and Tanzania are joined at the hip and we will continue moving forward together because Kenya and Tanzania are certainly, definitely, unequivocally and indispensably stronger together,” Ababu added.

The delegation was led by West Pokot Senator and Senate Majority leader Samuel Poghisio.

The two states have differed on the handling and testing for Covid-19.

UHURU’S REMARKS

On Monday, Uhuru fell short of mentioning Tanzania as one of the countries hiding Covid-19 information.

Speaking during the 10th Presidential Address on Covid-19 pandemic, Kenyatta told Kenyans not to think that countries not releasing their coronavirus data are doing better in handling the crisis.

“Some of you are asking why we are doing this [escalating Covid-19] and other countries are doing okay. But we are in a democracy and as I said, we will tell you the truth. We will not hide information to create an impression that we are doing fine,” Uhuru said in Kiswahili.

He further noted that as an open democratic society, Kenya does not suppress what the media reports.

“The fact that countries don’t report what happens in their countries does not mean they are fine, we are an open society and we have to tell our stories,” Uhuru said.

This is what was linked to the supposed diplomatic tiff.

This also comes two months after Kenya and Tanzanian governments moved to resolve their border standoff that has paralysed transport for several days over Covid-19 testing procedure that locked out many Tanzanian drivers.

The stand-off escalated when Uhuru announced the closure of the Namanga border and all other routes to and from the country following increased cases of Covid-19 by drivers from the neighbouring country.

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