27 June 2012

Kenya: Taveta Traders Protest Border Harassment

Cross border traders in Taveta town have complained of harassment by Tanzanian authorities whenever they do business in the neighbouring country. This was heard during a ministry of East African Community awareness creation workshop chaired by Kenyan ambassador in Tanzania, Mutinda Mutiso at green park hotel in Taveta on Monday. "We the small scale traders are getting a lot of losses whenever we go to trade in Tanzania due to the many trade barriers they impose on us.The authorities there harass us and impose several illegal taxes and sometimes confiscate our passports," said Victoria Bili.

According to a Muslim for Human Rights activist in Taveta, Kelly Aduo,Tanzania traders were not facing the barriers Kenyans face when they cross the border to trade. "We want a level play ground for traders from both countries. 15 years ago Taveta was booming with business but now most traders have abandoned the trade due to the frustrations and losses they get," he said.

Aduo said that the integration process had not been achieved since the authorities did not involve people at the ground. Mutiso told the traders that he will sit with authorities from Tanzania to ensure that the problem was solved amicably in order to promote the integration process. "Next month, immigration officials from the five member states will have a meeting in Mombasa to address such issues and we hope a consensus will be reached," Mutiso said. He also promised to address the problem of banking, Kenyans do not enjoy the freedom of opening bank accounts in Tanzania thus forcing them to risk move around with large sums of money in their pockets.

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