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Economy

Normalcy slowly returns at Kenya's Namanga border after standoff

Protests at the Namanga border point last year.
Protests at the Namanga border point last year. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A sense of business normalcy slowly returned at Namanga border town after three days of standoff as Kenyan traders decried harassment by Tanzania authorities.

This followed the intervention of Kenya border management committee, who held a crisis meeting at the border town town to address the problem.

The committee comprises officers Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards officers and other government agencies manning the border.

The committee has agreed to look into grievances raised by Kenyan traders and give a comprehensive report in a week's time.

"The grievances are being addressed by the border management committee to get to the root course of the standoff.

Losses

The three-day standoff has caused traders losses running into millions of shillings.

We would like Kenyan traders to use the committee as dispute resolution mechanism instead of barricading roads,’’ said David Kipkemei, Kajiado county commissioner who was acting as the committee spokesperson.

Tanzania authority has a replica border management authority. The two bodies meet quarterly.

The committees are expected to meet by next week to address the problem.
In the last two days, Kenyan traders protesting alleged harassment by Tanzania authorities have been barricading the busy Namanga road, paralysing transport.

The protests followed the arrest of several milk vendors on Saturday in Tanzania.

The Kenyans were arraigned in a Tanzanian court for being in the country illegally.

Demanding release

Kenyan traders operating from the border town are demanding for the release of their colleagues.

The Kenyan traders are still in custody, making some Kenyan traders pessimistic on free trade between the two neighbouring countries.

"It seems the purported free bilateral trade between Kenya and Tanzania is a pipe dream.

"We would like to have a friendly business competition’’ said Agnes Marikua of Ushanga Traders at Namanga town.

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