Governor Lenku finally closes Kajiado-Tanzania borders

Monday, May 4th, 2020 00:00 |
Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku (right) issues 15,000 masks, sanitisers and hand-washing detergents to residents of Loitoktok on Saturday. Photo/PD/CHRISTINE MUSA

Christine Musa

Kajiado county government has indefinitely closed its three border entry points to Tanzania to avert a possible spread of coronavirus from the neighbouring country.

Governor Joseph ole Lenku said the entry points at Namanga, Loitoktok and Shompole pose a threat to the fight to tame deadly virus because too many illegal immigrants from Tanzania are entering Kenya through them.

Kenya also shares border crossing points with Tanzania—whose Covid-19 infections now stand at 480 with 16 reported deaths at Lunga Lunga, Isebenia, Taita Taveta and Holili.

However, Tanzania has been accused of taking a lacklustre approach in the fight against deadly respiratory flu, with reports that President John Magufuli was considering restarting the Tanzania Premier League matches after a six-week break. 

Yesterday, Magufuli whose government has been criticised for being secretive and dismissive on pandemic and has previously asked Tanzanians to pray the coronavirus away, said the figures of positive are questionable, claiming the testing kits had “technical errors”. 

He said the kits had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw. 

In mid March, the country closed all schools and extended a ban on public gatherings including schools, football leagues, sports, music events, political meetings and community events. 

And on Saturday, Tanzania’s leading opposition party called for the suspension of Parliament after three legislators died from unknown causes in the past 11 days.

Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania’s minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs died on Friday with no official explanation over his death. The others are Getrude Rwakatare and Richard Ndassa.

And speaking at Tarakea Loitoktok yesterday, Lenku also directed the suspension of trading between residents of the two neighbouring East Africa Community states. 

“Tens of people are using panya routes to enter our country and specifically Kajiado county. We cannot allow any compromise on issues of our health,” said Lenku. 

He stressed that despite the existing EAC bilateral trade links that allow free movement of people across the two countries, the county cannot allow further trade. 

He further banned livestock trade, which see thousands of cattle from Tanzania make their way to Ilbisil market and Shompole markets every market day. 

“We understand the directive will have adverse economic effects to all of us but we better struggle to revive an ailing economy than lose lives through ignorance,” said Lenku. 

He also urged security officers manning the border points to observe stringent measures of ensuring only essential services trucks enter the country. 

The governor further wants truck drivers delivering food stuff warned against making stopovers along the way and having the drivers escorted to places of offloading and back to their country. 

Lenku has urged Kenyans to also stop movement to Tanzania warning that they are exposed to high risks of Covid-19 since Tanzania has not put safety measures to fight the virus. 

Small-scale trade between the neighbouring countries have been going on in the wake of Covid-19 and free movement of people to and from Kajiado. 

On the other foreigners are said to have been using the illegal routes to enter the country. 

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