, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu now says Kenya’s bilateral relations with Tanzania are cordial.
Addressing the media on Wednesday afternoon at State House, Nairobi, he dismissed calls for meditation between the East African countries saying there is no dispute.
“Let me state that Kenya’s bilateral relations with Tanzania are in good shape. There have been some voices calling for mediation but the very crystal clear point is that there is no dispute to mediate,” he said.
He noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzania counterpart Jakaya Kikwete had a meeting in Johannesburg over relations between the two countries.
“President Kenyatta held a one-on-one meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart in Johannesburg last week, over our bilateral relations and the East African integration agenda,” he affirmed.
He added; “Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed subsequently met Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe to follow up on the issues agreed by the Heads of State. We laud Tanzania for its unequivocal support and commitment to the East African Community (EAC), which we are equally committed to.”
Esipisu said Kenya’s goal has been and remains to facilitate free movement of people, goods and services across our region.
“That’s the essence of regional integration,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged leaders of the East African Community to appoint a panel of statesmen to resolve the impasse with Tanzania and Burundi.
Addressing the press on November 5, Odinga said Kenya risks being locked out of Central and Southern Africa markets should Tanzania and Burundi feel their grievances have not been adequately addressed and decide to pull out of the EAC.
“To trade with Malawi which is landlocked, with Zambia and beyond you need Tanzania as a transit… it is in our economic interest to have Tanzania as a friend and partner,” he said.
Odinga went on to caution that a coalition between Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) posed a real threat to the EAC.
“We must make no mistake about the potential might of DRC, Tanzania and Burundi put together,” he said.
Together with his counterpart, former vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Odinga had expressed their readiness to lead a panel in a bid to resolve the impasse with Tanzania and Burundi.