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Kenya-Tanzania flight bans, go back to drawing table

THERE is an African proverb that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers that implies that the weak get hurt in conflicts between antagonising giants.

Localising this proverb in the recent game where Kenyan government decided against including Tanzania in a list of countries whose passengers would be allowed to enter the country, when commercial flights resumed on Saturday following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions and Tanzania reciprocating, is a sheer disruption of business activities and lives of the citizens of the two nations.

These are two nations in the same bloc and share a lot of things in common, from culture to trade traits; you name them, which form the mainstream of their co-existence.

Tanzania needs Kenya in one way or another and vice versa Kenya needs Tanzania so that their people enjoy the benefits of peaceful co-existence their nations’ co-founders longed to be maintained.

Just a quick look, yesterday this paper ran a collection of views of academicians and the general public, who were of the view that the minor difference be solved amicably.

Speaking to the ‘Sunday News’ yesterday over the phone, they said holding talks to resolve the matter is advantageous to both nations in reviving their economies during the post Covid-19 period.

For instance, a professor of economics, researcher and consultant   at Mzumbe University, Professor Honest  Ngowi, said it was important for the two countries to hold discussions as there were enormous advantages for them reviving their economy after Covid-19. 

“Let the two sides sit together and see the way forward to resolve the row as the decision made by both sides has no winner but losers.

When the planes land they pay landing fees, businessmen travel, people go to meetings, both countries receive tourists, hotels receive customers and all these mean money to each country,” he added.

Though this is not the time to portion blames, according to University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS) Dean, Prof Ulingeta Mbamba, Kenya should have avoided triggering the crisis if they had approached authorities in Tanzania before making their decision, however, Tanzania should also have gone to a negotiation table before reciprocating.

Whichever way one might look at it, this kind of musical chairs game only makes people at the grassroots to suffer a lot and in turn make the two countries individually bear the brunt.

AS political temperature mounts ahead of the October ...

Mwandishi: EDITOR


  • avatar
    Lucy Koeble

    Conflicts can happen. There's no need of tippitoeing The issue of undugu is overtly emphasized and many times over used and even misused and abused! Even sibblings and/or the best of friends do have some. It's part of growing to interact with one another, especially if a health relationship -at any leve- is envisioned. We can't force ourselves to sweep matters under the rug. And yes, it is not bad at all to find out how and with whom the issues began? It is not about serving ill will; it is a healthy process in solving --problems. It is good for the grass's sake to have conflicts solved constructively, albeit the grass may get hurt when giants/elephants fight. Respectfully, the grass gets hurt when giants/elephants make love, also. May I also respectfully add that this would even be more harmful when the giants make love in unwholesome situation. This doesn't make our leaders bad or good. They have decisions to make. Let's hope that the ones they make are sound. Whether the loses we may have at this time, they could be necessary loses. What shall we do when such scenarios happen and/or so that they may never happen again? What lessons can we draw out of this situation? To not lose dividends from animal migrations according to seasons I think we could look into having municipal zoos. This way we may not lose to deterred flights and tourists altogether. If we're already into electronics for wild animal tracking and monitoring, we could use this to better plan/prepare our business. If we aren't in there yet, the idea is not bad to explore. It has many benefits, pros and cons. We may be able to find out why our animals are not where we want them to be, among other things.

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