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Kenyan Maasais Irked by Tanzanian Authorities’ Order to Brand Livestock

Community livestock in Elerrai area of Nkama in Kibini enjoy a sip of water from a borehole. Livestock from Tanzania also use the same water source in Kenya.
Community livestock in Elerrai area of Nkama in Kibini enjoy a sip of water from a borehole. Livestock from Tanzania also use the same water source in Kenya.

All the livestock belonging to various communities in Tanzania will be branded for identification purposes, Tanzanian authorities announced in Longido District on Thursday.

A senior official, who sought anonymity, said the government has decided to brand all the livestock so it can control the on-going upsurge of livestock crossing its international borders.

He said the order from the Presidency is aimed at controlling livestock theft from and into Tanzania and that the exercise is expected to start before April 5 and end in May.

During the branding, Tanzanian authorities warned that all the livestock in the country will be branded and any animals from foreign countries will be assumed to belong to Tanzanians.

Once the branding is done, the official said, no livestock from outside the country will be allowed into the country starting from June.

The announcement came one week after the authorities in Tanzania started a listing exercise for all aliens in the country.

Kenyans living Tanzania have been urged to register and apply for residence permits which will attract an annual fee of Ksh75, 000 or an equivalent of Tsh1.6 million.

Most Kenyans have opted to leave the country while those who have failed to register have been arrested and arraigned in courts for being in the country illegally.

The announcement about the branding of livestock has caused fears among the Maasai communities living along the borderline.

Wilson Parmuat, a resident of Mailua in Kenya’s Matapato South said he was forced to return back some of his 500 heads of cattle that were grazing in Longido District, Tanzania for fear that his livestock could be branded and retained by authorities there.

Speaking in Namanga on Thursday evening, Parmuat said Kenyans with livestock in Tanzania were shocked to hear the announcement aired on the national radio.

Parmuat claimed that the Maasai communities living along the Kenya/Tanzania border have been crossing either direction with their livestock in search of grass from time immemorial.

“Right now, there more than 100, 000 cows belonging to Tanzanians grazing in Mashuuru Sub County of Kajiado County. We have no problems with Tanzanians grazing on our land because they also assist us whenever we are overwhelmed by drought in Kenya,” said Parmuat.

He claimed that the District Commissioner of Longido in Tanzania has also banned the entire livestock crossing into Kenya along the Namanga border and demanded that they should cross 70 km north of the district.

Tanzanian authorities have also ordered that Kenyans living in Namanga should be taxed for all the goods they buy from the Tanzanian side.

No Kenyan will be allowed to cross into Tanzania without reporting to the immigration department for clearance after giving sufficient reasons on what they intend to do in that country.

Before the new rules were slapped on the Kenyans, people used to cross over on vehicles and on foot to the shopping centre on the other side without being questioned.

Tanzanians have no national IDs and President John Magufuli announced recently that all aliens be listed before the nationals are issued identification cards.

People in that country use voters cards for all government transactions and Kenyans who have lived in that country do also have voters’ cards.

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