President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli address a joint press conference at State House, Nairobi, on October 31, 2016.
By John Namkwahe
DAR ES SALAAM — Diplomatic and trade relations between Kenya and Tanzania appear to be going through turbulent times, with both imposing tit-for-tat bans on each other’s exports.
Kenya has banned Tanzanian wheat flour and gas exports, citing safety and quality concerns and Tanzania has reciprocated by slapping a ban on Kenyan tyres, margarine and fermented milk.
Tanzania has also banned overland transport of maize from Zambia into Kenya, which is experiencing one of the severest shortages of the staple in years.
The trade tiff is strange, given the huge volumes of goods flowing between the two countries and the potential harm that trade disputes could cause.
Last week, Tanzania maintained that Kenya must lift the ban on its gas and wheat flour exports, warning that it was weighing retaliatory measures.
Industry, Trade and Investment Permanent Secretary Adolf Mkenda said no action has been forthcoming from Nairobi since February and June when the two countries agreed that the ban be lifted.
Kenya has argued that wheat imports from Tanzania were outside the common external tariff benchmarks to allow free entry into the country.
But Prof Mkenda accuses Kenya of bad faith, breaching agreements between the two countries and ignoring directives from EAC secretariat.
“Tanzania will not sit idly as its traders are denied entry into Kenya for no good reason. This will not happen. We are weighing all our options and they are several which I may not want to state,” the PS told The Citizen in an interview on Friday.