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File photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart President John Magufuli. Photo: Courtesy

No diplomatic row between Kenya and Tanzania; Ababu Namwamba insists.

The Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ababu Namwamba has on Saturday August 1 clarified that Kenya and Tanzania are not embroiled in a diplomatic row.

While addressing the media, Namwamba has stated that the relationship between the two countries is indispensable.

“I want to make it clear that the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania is indispensable and it is something that is permanently with us.

“You need to know that we engage continuously. Just a year ago, the president was a special guest of Magufuli’s rural home. Let me assure you that the relations between nations, even if there are issues, there are channels where they are dealt with,” Namwamba stated.

Further, Namwamba reiterated that the Kenyan delegation to President Benjamin Mkapa’s funeral turned back due to a technical hitch that was experienced with the Kenyan plane.

“There was a technical hitch with the aircraft and because of the hitches, they could not arrive on time…Kenya and Tanzania are joined at the hip and we will continue moving forward together,” Namwamba noted.

His sentiments comes just a day after the Tanzanian government through the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, nullified flights by Kenya Airways into Tanzania citing Kenya’s exclusion of the country from the list of countries whose people will be allowed into the country when international flights resume in Kenya.

“The Authority (TCAA) regrets to inform you that, on a reciprocal basis, the Tanzanian government has decided to nullify its approval for the Kenyan Airways flights between Nairobi and Dar/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar effective 1 August 2020 until further notice”, part of the TCAA circular read.

Speculations have been rife of the strained relationship between the two countries in recent times.

While addressing the nation on Monday, July 27, President Uhuru Kenyatta indicated that Kenya was better than countries that failed to announce their Covid-19 tally and gagged the media from reporting on the pandemic. His speech left many speculating that he was talking about Tanzania.

When Transport CS James Macharia unveiled a list of countries that would resume air travel to Kenya, Tanzania was significantly missing on the list.

Responding to the issue, however, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe indicated that the decision was not made from diplomatic ties but the safety of Kenyan nationals.