Two Kenyan journalists arrested in Tanzania fined Ksh46,000 as border row escalates

A gavel. [Photo courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order for the closure of Kenya-Tanzania borders to control the spread of coronavirus has sparked a border row that sucked in two Kenyan journalists.

The two journalists, cameraman Clinton Isimbu (22) and reporter Kaleria Shadrack of Elimu TV were arrested in Kisongo, Longido District without a work permit over the weekend.

The two journalists were interviewing locals on the state of things following coronavirus pandemic which has necessitated the closure of borders for both Kenya and Tanzania.

However, Arusha Police Commander Jonathan Shanna said the two journalists sneaked into Tanzania through panya routes.

Watuhiwa hao waliingia nchini kwa kutumia njia za panya. Kwa sasa watuhumiwa wote wawili tumewakabidhi Idara ya Uhamiaji Mkoa Wa Arusha kwa hatua zaidi za kisheria,” he said in a statement.

They were arraigned at an Arusha court and were fined TShs500,000 (approximately Ksh.23,000) each. They had been held at Longido Police Station.

This comes after an escalating row between Kenya and Tanzania over orders to close borders.

On Saturday, Uhuru directed that all borders to Tanzania and Somalia be closed with the exception to cargo movement.

However, Tanzanian authorities said that Kenya is irrational in its decision since some Kenyans have tested positive for coronavirus while on Tanzanian soil.

On Monday, closed with immediate effect its border crossing at Horo Horo crossing point.

 Tanga Regional Commissioner Martine Shigella said that 19

Kenyan truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19.

“Since Friday we have recorded 19 Covid-19 positive cases, all Kenyans. I am hereby directing the provincial immigration department and all security apparatus to close our borders, including all unofficial entries. We cannot continue allowing sick people from Kenya to bring us Covid-19 by taking advantage of our freedom,” Shigella stated.