On Wednesday, during Samia Suluhu’s visit to the country, Kenya waived work and business permits for investors from its neighbour Tanzania, as Uhuru’s counterpart made similar overtures in a thawing of often frosty relations between the two countries.
“We would like to see many investors from Tanzania coming to do business in Kenya. And I want to say this, Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits,” Kenyatta said during a Kenya-Tanzania business meeting in Nairobi.
“The only thing you will be required to do is to follow the laid down regulations and the laws,” he told the meeting, attended by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
However, despite these heartfelt reassurances, on the very same day (Wednesday evening), two Kenyan boats were impounded and six fishermen arrested while on a fishing expedition.
The fishermen from Kibro Beach in Muhuru Bay, Migori County were rounded up by Tanzanian police officers who took them to Sota beach in in Northern Mara District.
Kibro Beach Management Unit Chairman Maulid Joel said that the authorities demanded Sh50,000 for each boat in order release them.
“We sent our representatives to seek the release of the two boats and the fishermen and they were told they have to pay. The boats had the day’s catch and other fishing gears,” Mr Joel said.
He expressed shock that the arrests came at a time when the Tanzanian president was in the country for bilateral talks to mend frosty relations and enhance working ties between the two countries, which had deteriorated during the reign of former president John Pombe Magufuli.
“The heightened cases of arrest by Tanzanian security officers are yet to be resolved. We would like the government to assure us of our safety while conducting our businesses,” Mr Joel said.
Muhuru Bay MCA Hevron Maira said the arrests were an insult to the bilateral talks and peace efforts between the two countries.
“We are also tax paying Kenyans and the talks by the two presidents should be felt by the common wananchi, especially we who live along the Kenya-Tanzania border,” Mr Maira said.