Tanzania: Kenya-Tanzania Flight Bans, Go Back to Drawing Table

THERE is an African proverb that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers that implies that the weak get hurt in conflicts between antagonising giants.

Localising this proverb in the recent game where Kenyan government decided against including Tanzania in a list of countries whose passengers would be allowed to enter the country, when commercial flights resumed on Saturday following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions and Tanzania reciprocating, is a sheer disruption of business activities and lives of the citizens of the two nations.

These are two nations in the same bloc and share a lot of things in common, from culture to trade traits; you name them, which form the mainstream of their co-existence.

Tanzania needs Kenya in one way or another and vice versa Kenya needs Tanzania so that their people enjoy the benefits of peaceful co-existence their nations' co-founders longed to be maintained.

Just a quick look, yesterday this paper ran a collection of views of academicians and the general public, who were of the view that the minor difference be solved amicably.

Speaking to the 'Sunday News' yesterday over the phone, they said holding talks to resolve the matter is advantageous to both nations in reviving their economies during the post Covid-19 period.

For instance, a professor of economics, researcher and consultant at Mzumbe University, Professor Honest Ngowi, said it was important for the two countries to hold discussions as there were enormous advantages for them reviving their economy after Covid-19.

"Let the two sides sit together and see the way forward to resolve the row as the decision made by both sides has no winner but losers.

When the planes land they pay landing fees, businessmen travel, people go to meetings, both countries receive tourists, hotels receive customers and all these mean money to each country," he added.

Though this is not the time to portion blames, according to University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS) Dean, Prof Ulingeta Mbamba, Kenya should have avoided triggering the crisis if they had approached authorities in Tanzania before making their decision, however, Tanzania should also have gone to a negotiation table before reciprocating.

Whichever way one might look at it, this kind of musical chairs game only makes people at the grassroots to suffer a lot and in turn make the two countries individually bear the brunt.

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