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Food Prices Soar in Namanga After Border Impasse

Namanga Assistant County Commissioner, Alex Mutua and a senior Tanzanian immigration official who refused to identify herself during a meeting in Mamanga town on Thursday evening.
Namanga Assistant County Commissioner, Alex Mutua and a senior Tanzanian immigration official who refused to identify herself during a meeting in Mamanga town on Thursday evening.

Prices of foodstuff have shot in Namanga town, four days after hostilities rocked the area over the listing of Kenyans by Tanzanian authorities in their country.

Kenyans living in Namanga claimed yesterday, Tanzanian businessmen who deal with popular with Kenyans, ‘Chaguo la Mama’ maize flour, has now shot up from Sh1,150 to Sh1,500 in the last four days.

Residents of Namanga, Kenya, have been depending on foodstuff from Tanzania which they consider is cheaper than the local brands.

They claimed that they are being charged a tax of Sh30 for every packet of maizemeal bought across the border by the Tanzanian revenue authorities.

Peter Kimweli, who is a landlord in Namanga town, claimed the increased taxes and prices were directed to Kenyan people after they reacted on Monday against Tanzanian authorities that have begun listing Kenyan nationals in their country.

Kimweli said a 25kg bag of rice from Tanzania that used to sell at Sh1,600 has gone up by Sh400 to sell at Sh2,000.

The hostilities, that have rocked the normally vibrant town of Namanga, started on Monday when Tanzanian authorities arrested three Kenyans living in Tanzania and allegedly arraigned them in court for claims they had no valid immigration documents.

Kenyans at the border, angered by the action, took to the streets and converged at the exit and entry point at the border and barricaded the rout after burning tyres.

President John Magufuli, early in March, announced that the neighbouring country would start registering its citizens by April this year and that all foreigners should be listed.

The announcement caused a lot of tension among Kenyans living in Tanzania, some of whom were born in that country and have never known any other home.

Kenyans on Tuesday cut off a main water pipe that water the towns of Longido and Namanga, Tanzania, following the impasse.

The water that comes from Oldonyorok Hills on the Kenyan side has been serving the Tanzanian towns from the 1940s.
Kenyan authorities have been playing down the impasse at Namanga by supporting the action being taken by Tanzanian authorities by terming it “normal.”

The situation became ugly when more Kenyans living in Tanzania were forced to proof their identities or pay Sh75, 000 per year/per person to live in that country.

Top officials from the two governments were expected to have a joint public rally in Namanga town yesterday at 10am but was postponed to 3pm after a word came from the Tanzanian Presidency that their officials would be arriving late.

Meanwhile, Tanzanian authorities are still withholding the three Kenyans detained last week.

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