Kenya government has sent a protest note to Tanzania seeking explanation over the sale of 1,300 cows in Arusha and burning of 6,400 chicks last week. The protest letter is over and above seeking compensation for the affected herders and traders among other strategies to be fast-tracked to end the simmering diplomatic row.
More than 1,300 head of cattle were auctioned near Arusha last week for about Sh93 million. Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed yesterday confirmed that Kenya released the protest letter to the Tanzanian government during an EAC meeting in Arusha early this week.
The letter, a source told People Daily, was presented by Phyllis Kandie, CS Ministry of East African Community (EAC), Labour and Social Protection. A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmedthat Tanzania High Commissioner to Kenya Batilda Buriani was summoned to the ministry last week.
Amina said in addition to the protest note, ministers of agriculture, trade and foreign affairs from both countries will be involved in solving the matter to quell a looming diplomatic row between the two East African countries.
Confirmation by the CS demonstrated Kenya’s displeasure over the manner in which Tanzania has handled issues touching on the country for the last two years. Amina, who was speaking at a Nairobi hotel, after meeting Irish Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Simon Coveney said Kenya is not satisfied with the way Tanzania has handled the matter despite the presence of dispute resolution instruments.
Late last month, authorities said 2,700 head of cattle crossed into Tanzania and 1,400 were taken back to Kenya by their owners. But 1,300 remained in Tanzania because the owners ran away.
Tanzania’s Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Luhaga Mpina said they feared the cattle would spread dangerous diseases. He added that the livestock were causing environmental damage, including erosion, and contributed to land-based conflicts between farmers and pastoralists in the country.
But Kenyan veterinarians say such claims are absurd. Last week, veterinarians in Tanzania condemned the country’s decision to burn 6,400 chicks which were illegally imported from Kenya. The chicks worth Sh577, 000 (Tsh12.5 million) were impounded on Monday at Namanga Border Post in Longido District, Arusha region, before they were later burnt on Tuesday.
“We do common interventions along the border with Uganda and Tanzania to prevent diseases. There was absolutely no risk from the Kenyan animals,” honorary secretary of the Kenya Veterinary Association Kenneth Wameyo said.
Maasai herdsmen from Nairebuk, Olmesutye, Enkeju Enirai and Ngoyeengalai crossed over early this month to Tanzania in search of pasture. Expressing his concern, executive director of a non-governmental organisation, Tanzania Animal Welfare Society Thomas Kahema said there were ways to curb outbreak of animal diseases such as bird flu apart from burning the imported chicks.
Kenya government officials complain that Tanzania has in the recent past frustrated implementation of the East African common market protocol that allows free movement of people, goods and services in the region.