After auctioning cows from Kenya, the Tanzanian government is again on the bad side of Kenyans and this time for allegedly arresting and detaining fishermen from Kenya and later demanding 1.3 million.
36 Kenyan fishermen were on Sunday arrested and detained by Tanzanian for alleged trespassing.
The neighbouring country is also asking for Ksh.200,000 for each of the ten boats seized during the operation on Lake Victoria.
This comes barely two months after six other fishermen were arrested, detained and arraigned before Tanzania court where they were released after paying Ksh.37,000 each.
It will be remembered that President Magufuli once supported his administration’s auctioning of over 1000 cattle belonging to Kenyan pastoralists which had trespassed into his country. In a no-regrets tone, Magufuli said his administration would not spare foreign livestock finding its way into Tanzania.
He said his country had for long been made a grazing field by neighbouring pastoral communities who have encroached on some parts of Tanzania’s parks denying his nation tourism revenues. He said though Tanzania had vast grasslands, it could not be used as a grazing ground. Magufuli said his administration was responsible for protection of the country’s parks and environment to attract tourists and would do so at all costs.
It will also be remembered that Tanzania seized and burnt alive 6 500 chicks that had been brought into the country by a trader, fearing they would spread disease.
This fresh controversy surrounding Fishermen will most likely affect the diplomatic relations between Kenya and Tanzania. President Magufuli is yet to comment of the latest wave of arrests.
Nyatike Member of Parliament Tom Odege has appealed to top government security officials to help in securing the release of the 36 fishermen from Migori County, further challenging the East African community countries to get long lasting solutions to border issues.
Mr. Odege said harassment meted against Kenyans in Lake Victoria is watering down the good relationship which East African countries have enjoyed for a long time.