To             : Editors Media Houses

From       : Public Communications Officer

Date         : 28.9.2015

By Maurine Ntari/Sammy Kwichichi Wekesa

OSBPPHOTOANAMANGACommunities living within the radius of ten kilometers along the common boundaries of the East African Community member states have been allowed to move freely with their goods and services without being subjected to customs regulations.

A communiqué singed between Republic of Kenya and United Republic of Tanzania ion 22nd February 2012, allows for example communities living between Ilbisil in Kenya and Longido in Tanzania to move freely without being subjected to the rigors of the movement permits.

The announcement was made recently during a 2nd Joint Border committee meetings for Kenya and Tanzania held at the Namanga border post, Tanzania. The meetings were coordinated by the Kenyan and Tanzania’s Revenue Authority officials. They were co-chaired by revenue station managers Mr. Dishon Njuguna (Kenya Revenue Authority), and Mr. Aminiel Lewis Malisa (Tanzania Revenue Authority.

A ten man committee was formed during the meeting to come up with cross border procedures and regulations for the peaceful co-existence between the pastoralist Masai community and other stakeholders, to ensure that livelihood amongst the local communities was not disrupted, as the move would impact negatively the success of the EAC integration.

Mr. Malisa challenged the border committees to come up with simplified trade regime, to enable the community living along the common border move with ease. He stressed that an effective and more agreeable agreement by all stakeholders and the coordinating committee would create a lasting harmony and peace amongst the pastoralist and business communities.

The move comes after the Masai community raised concern about some taxation imposed against their livestock while they crossed the border in search of pasture. A representative of the community Mr. Keria Ole Mandina stressed the need of involving them in the integration journey which was a pre-curser to the operationalization of the One Stop Border Posts.

Mr. Njuguna stressed the importance of security and safety of the community living and operating along the two border posts. He called on the Joint Border Management committees to step up sensitization of the border communities their rights and their role in the success of the integration process.

An Integration officer Mr. Juma wakhungu said there was need to honor working agreements between communities living along the common borders so as to live in harmony. He said there also need to validate the procedures, rules and regulations so that the journey to EAC integration process succeeded.

Amongst the issues that were raised by the Joint Border Coordinating committee included the removal of illegal structures within the ‘no-man’s land” so as to address the rising insecurity in the area.