Tanzania-Kenya border endorsement takes shape

REAFFIRMATION of 769-kilometre border between Tanzania and Kenya is on right track, with the two East African Community (EAC) member states expecting to conclude the exercise before 2022.

Speaking ahead of a five-day meeting of a Technical Joint Committee (JTC) at Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), leaders from Kenya and Tanzania teams expressed their commitments to iron out all differences and come out with one voice.

They stressed that the reaffirmation of the international border will not jeopardise the interaction of citizens from the two countries, maintaining that there is need to reaffirm the existing boundary marks but not to interfere with the way nationalities interact daily.

Director of Kenya International Boundaries Office (KIBO) in the Presidency Justa Nkoroi said that while they are working as experts in land, map, survey and law, they will be following footsteps of Presidents John Magufuli and Uhuru Kenyatta. “Kenyan delegation is very grateful for the reception accorded to us here.

We follow the footsteps of our Presidents Magufuli and Kenyatta. We hope to pick from where we left in the first phase and the meeting in Narok in February,” she said.

The exercise is meant to address border issues between Tanzania and Kenya by reviewing and reaffirming their territorial demarcations.

The two nations share the 769-kilometre long territorial border and the process will entail replacing decrepit and missing beacons as well as developing outlook posts along the border.

The 134 year old border was drawn up by colonialists back in 1884 and has since remained un-altered. Now the joint inspection is meant to iron out demarcation creases and identify missing border marks.

While the national borders may be imaginary lines only drawn on maps, on the ground, the countries are placing beacons 100 metres apart while five-metre vistas will be cleared.

The aim is to make the boundary visible and allow movement of security personnel manning the border from either side.

Ms Nkoroi said that a lot of work has been done, but still a lot more is to be done, adding that the team needs to go by the requi red swiftness, otherwise the work will not be completed by the 2022 deadline by the African Union (AU).

“We need to sort out the pending issues, we need to work hard in these five days …a lot has been done really but still a lot need to be done if we are to get done by the 2022 AU deadline,” said Ms Nkoroi.

It is understood that there were some issues in some areas like the shores of Lake V ictoria to Lake Natron, whereby a review for the reaffirmation and demarcation of the international boundary between the two East African countries was called for.

Tanzanian Team Leader Hamdun Mansour mentioned other pending areas as Serengeti and Maasai–Mara.

He reaffirmed Tanzania readiness to complete the business soon, expressing optimism that Kenya will allow Tanzania to put marks on the potential border areas.

WITH only one day to go before tomorrow's ...

Author: DEUS NGOWI in Arusha

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