Kenya has formally protested to Tanzania over what Nairobi terms “a policy shift that condones hostile actions against Kenyan citizens and their business interests”.
On Monday, Foreign Affairs Political and Diplomatic Secretary Tom Amollo criticised Tanzania’s decision to burn chicks imported from Kenya as well as auction animals from Kenyan herders without involving authorities in Nairobi.
He said such actions risked soiling historical relations between the two countries.
The move followed the summoning of Tanzanian High Commissioner Pindi Chana by Kenyan foreign officials for “Tanzania’s unilateral actions on issues affecting the two countries”.
“Kenya-Tanzania relations are longstanding, rich and complex and should not be jeopardised by a hardening of positions over minor issues that can be easily resolved through candid and open dialogue,” he told the Tanzanian envoy during a meeting in Nairobi.
“There may be need to urgently convene the Kenya-Tanzania Joint Border Commissioners/Administrators Committee Meeting to address emerging cross border issues,” he added.
The issue arose from a move last week by the Tanzanian Livestock ministry to burn 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya, apparently to prevent the spread of bird flu.
But the act was condemned by animal enthusiasts from both sides.
Kenya complained that no case of the bird flu had been reported within Kenya’s borders.
While Tanzania said the importation of the chicks was not supported by paperwork.
In October, Tanzania auctioned 1,325 head of cattle belonging to Kenyan herders after they were confiscated for grazing in Tanzania.
Nairobi protested that the move was a “blatant disregard of the plight or interests of the affected Kenyan citizens” despite appeals from Kenya officials to delay it.
Dr Chana said 70 head of cattle had been seized in Tarakea, and herders fined for illegal grazing and environmental degradation, but they failed to raise the fine.
Kenya argued the decision violated historical relations between the two countries.
“Cross-border grazing happens not only along the border with Tanzania, but also along our borders with Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, yet none of these countries has resorted to such drastic action against the property of citizens of a neighbouring and friendly country,” Mr Amollo said.