Fear has gripped Namanga border town on Monday night following claims Tanzanian authorities were planning to kick out Kenyan nationals.
Uhuru Sirote, a Kenyan Nyumba Kumi initiative ambassador at the border town, told Kajiado News Update early Tuesday; “The situation is complicated and Kenyans who have lived in that country since time in memorial are panicky.”
Sirote claimed some Kenyans living and doing business in Longido District in Tanzania are confused that they are being told to pack and leave the country.
Samuel Nkeserai, a Kenyan national whose parents he alleges migrated to Tanzania in early 1960s, said he received a quit notice from the authorities in that country after President John Pombe Maghufuli was elected.
“I was born in Longido District and I own all my property here along with my livestock and shops,” Nkeserai told KNU in Kiswahili language laced with a deep Kikuyu accent.
When KNU contacted Kajiado County Commissioner, Harsama Kello for comment over the impasse at the Kenya/Tanzania border, he confirmed the panic.
Kello however said; “Yes there are issues at the border town but what I have officially confirmed is that authorities in Tanzania are profiling the number of Kenyans living and owning property there.”
He went on; “This is a normal practice in any country to conduct a census of aliens. They want to know how many Kenyans own what in terms of businesses, land property and other statistics for their own use.”
The commissioner said after checking with the Kenyan immigration department, he did not find anything incriminating Kenyans living in Tanzania and therefore added that no one has been issued with any quit notice.
“I confirm there was panic on Monday night, but the official statement is that; there is no cause for alarm. It other issues will come up, they will be addressed diplomatically. The relation between us and our counterparts in Tanzania is cordially perfect,” said Kello.
Official records at the border indicates that there more than 600 Kenyans owning small businesses in Namanga, Tanzania while the number of alien farmers in the entire Longido District has not been documented.
Unconfirmed reports say a number of Kenyans are registered voters in Tanzania and that authorities want to establish how they acquired them prior to the last general elections.
President Maghufuli is on record that his resolve is to fight corruption in the country he says has been “messed up by corrupt government officials”.
The border between Kenya and Tanzania is porous and authorities from both countries do not have official number of people crossing it from both ends.
There are many Tanzanians living and working in Kenya as business men and women with slightly more working as bar and house-helps in Nairobi city and surrounding suburbs.