Kenya and Tanzania in chicken and cows dispute

The good old days: Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli at State House Nairobi October 31, 2016. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The dispute between Kenya and Tanzania over pasture has deepened with the latter's President John Magufuli declaring that his country is not grazing land for foreigners' livestock.

President Magufuli was reacting to a controversy generated by the decision of a Tanzanian court to auction 1,300 cows belonging to Kenyan Maasais that had been confiscated for grazing across the border.

In a press statement issued from State House, President Magufuli said Tanzania followed the law by arresting and auctioning the cows.

“Let them (Kenyans) also take similar action if cows from Tanzania are arrested in their country,” he said, without mentioning Kenya by name.

Continues to sabotage

The Tanzanian President’s edict did not go down well with Kenya's Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku, who accused him of sabotaging good neighbourliness.

“This man (President Magufuli) is a disgrace to East Africans. He continues to sabotage good neighbourliness with his government officers harassing Kenyans over flimsy grounds,” said Mr Lenku.

“I have lobbied for diplomacy to apply when issues arise in mutual respect of East Africa citizens. However, Maasai Morans are being driven to defend themselves. We can’t tolerate this anymore.”

The auctioned cows belonged to farmers from Loikitokitok, in Kajiado South.

Suffer his actions

Loikitokitok DC Abdi Jaldesa told the Daily Nation that the herders had crossed over to Tanzania, with their livestock in search of pasture following prolonged drought on the Kenyan side. He added that it was a common practice among Maasais residing on either side of the border.

“Herders from Tanzania also get into Kenya whenever they experience drought. These people are brothers and sisters,” said Mr Jaldesa.

Mr Ole Lenku said that the Tanzanian President needs to appreciate the fact that there were more Tanzanian cows on the Kenyan side.

“If he can’t appreciate the neighbourliness we have enjoyed, then we can cut short our ties. He has made citizens from both counties to suffer his actions. He must not provoke us further,” said the governor.

Last week, Tanzanian Livestock ministry burnt 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya to allegedly to prevent the spread of bird flu.

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