Tag Archives: Corona virus

COVID-19: Yet ANOTHER REASON FOR Kenya-Tanzania squabble

The spat between Kenya and Tanzania is the latest twist in the uncomfortable relationship between these two East African neighbours. The situation has always been tense and these countries merely tolerate each other despite the fact that they need each other and trade with each.

Tanzania is blocking Kenyan trucks at the Lunga Lunga/Horohoro and Taveta/Holili border points in response to Kenya’s demand that truck drivers be tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to cross into Kenya.

Tanzania has been charting its own path with regard to Corona virus with President Magufuli insisting on prayers, very doubtful testing and no reporting of positive cases for over 2 weeks . As a result, the neighbouring countries have been routinely detecting positive cases from Tanzanian truck drivers.

Trade between the two neighbours annually reaches Ksh 62 Billion. The people living near the borders routinely cross from side to side in search of livelihood. The Kenyan minister for East African affairs, Adan Mohamed is downlplaying the tiff:

We are aware that there are a few trucks of Kenyan registration that have been denied access and entry into Tanzania, but we have not stopped processing vehicles coming from Tanzania into Kenya

The Business Daily reports

Goods trucked from Tanzania – including fresh produce such as onions and oranges – last year jumped by more than half, growing 53.79 percent to Sh27.70 billion from Sh18.01 billion in 2018

In comparison:

Goods trucked into Tanzania by Kenyan companies and traders last year increased 12.99 percent to Sh33.86 billion, trade data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows.

Kenya and Tanzania can huff and puff as much as they want but it seems two truths will remain:

  1. The two countries need each other more than they are willing to admit
  2. Both countries are led led by idiots who place ego above national welfare and are too proud to talk to each other like grown-ups

Penniless KEMRI

It is official. The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is broke and the Daily Nation has reported the same.

The research agency is so broke that it cannot replenish Covid-19 testing materials, protective gear and the much-needed reagents

The folks at KEMRI do a good job and even the Africa CDC recognises their dedication. It is a pity that the government of Kenya does not see value in them.

The institute has also been nominated by Africa CDC as a centre of excellence in evaluation of Covid-19 diagnostics in the continent

The Ksh 158 Mn Covid-19 funds that the government had allocated to KEMRI has run out. What a time to run out! The institute has now requested Ksh 950 Mn to hire personnel, buy equipment and fund other programmes. Of this amount Ksh 540 Mn will be used to buy coronavirus reagents and screening materials. Ksh 100Mn will be used to hire 62 more scientists.

It is now close to 2 months since Covid-19 was detected in Kenya and close to 6 months since the first case was detected in Wuhan. This was more than adequate warning for Uhuru Kenyatta and his team to get their act together. Yet, with all that time, the government of Kenya has not seen a need to ensure uninterrupted funding to an agency that is on the frontline of fighting this crisis. However, there has been time to take tea and snacks worth $40,000 in one month.

This is a country that has a new Minister of Health who spends his time in front of the cameras because he loves the spotlight but he cannot be bothered to ensure there is a proper program of response in the backend. Is it for this sparse funding that a top scientist at KEMRI who had stood firm in asking for funding, was demoted? He is surely vindicated by this turn of events.

If anything, this shows what value the government attaches to the lives of Kenyans – 0.