Public Communications Unit
The need for at least a One Stop Border post connecting Kenya and Tanzania is evident in Narok County. This became apparent during a recent tour to the County by the Kenyan Legislators from the East African Assembly. The members who engaged in intensive three-day consultations across the county got the crucial need for the Border post in the County to facilitate movement of residents and enhance trade across the two partner states.
Accompanied by the area National Assembly members, the EALA members held open barazas in Opusmoru and Olmesutie border points where they engaged the local business community and local leaders, and the general public who passionately expressed the need to have administrative centers in the area. The barazas engaged publics and leaders from Kenya and Tanzania.
Speaking in Opusmoru, Narok west Member of National Assembly Hon. Patrick Ole Ntutu elucidated the need to have the Border post put up as fast as possible as a panacea for the major impediments currently experienced by the locals. He cited the urgency for important facilities like the immigration and Kenya Revenue Authority offices key for the pastoralist community. The legislator elaborated on the underlying economic potential of the locals which has been curtailed due to the long distances in search of these crucial services.
Ntutu further underlined the need for an improved road network to facilitate transportation of animal/animal products to external markets. He indicated that the area which breeds numerous number of livestock also need a factory to process their products locally. “There’s need for a meat and milk processing factory and plant respectively, we cannot be producing here and our cattle are transported all the way to Kenya Meat Commission in Athiriver” Ntutu said. With a local population of 22 Million and 17 Million livestock (Tanzania and Kenya respectively); he said that most of them die on their way to the nearest factory which has become a major holdup to the economic growth of the community and region.
In a closed door meeting with the County Governor H.E Samuel Tunai and Commissioner Magu Mutindika, the legislators were taken through an elaborate geometry of the county and the potential that lay in its operations. The county bosses stressed the need to have centralized and coordinated operational framework due to the nature of the economic landscape of the area which entirely depends on livestock farming and tourism. They indicated that the entire Narok County has no Border post with the nearest being in Namanga (Kajiado) and Isebania (Migori) which has curtailed Tourism-the main economic activity.
Tunai added that though the natives co-existed through marriages and otherwise there was an urgent need for a controlled way of engagements across the borders. “A border post will help us control what’s being imported into the country and stop smuggling in addition to enhancing security” Tunai. The EALA Members were challenged by the Narok CEC of trade to champion legislations favorable to the partner states’ citizenly. He observed that the county is endowed with great wealth and with tremendous potential to trade but there were myriad of bottlenecks that ought to be checked including axle loads, Volumes, double taxations, Rules of origin and Non tariff Barriers.
As a demonstration of their resolve to have the One Stop Border Post the Community has put up a committee comprising of the County Government and the local Community leaders. The Olmesutie Border Community which borders Loliondo in Tanzania has voluntarily donated 100 hectares and willing to donate more if deemed so. The locals led by their area Member of National Assembly Hon Lemei presented a Memorandum of Understanding for consideration by the regional Assembly and other concerned institutions. The MOU indicate that the Loliondo (Tanzanian) side has approved of the site as an OSBP awaiting the Kenyan side to do the same for the works to kick off. The area is designated as a focal point for tourist visiting Maasai Mara and Naimina Enkiyio Forest. If the petition to have the OSBP is approved by the Assembly, Kenya will be linked to its neighbors through;
Kenya/Tanzania – Lungalunga/Horohoro
Kenya/Uganda – Busia/Busia
Kenya/Uganda – Malaba/Malaba
Kenya/Tanzania – Isebania/Sirare
Kenya/Tanzania – Taveta/Holili
Kenya/Tanzania – Namanga/Namanga
Kenya/Tanzania-Proposed Opusmoru, Olmesutie, Sand River (Kenyan side)
In their further engagements with the public, the EALA members held an open sensitization forum in Narok town, delving on the benefits in an integrated EAC and the opportunities presented by the 160 million population across the six partner states. Maasai Mara University students, who were part of the audience, expressed optimism but with a challenge of the need to practice democracy and rule of law in the respective partner states if the ultimate political federation was to be practical and real. Hon. Abubakar Zein, an EALA member challenged the participants to embrace each other beyond ethnic groups to make EAC Integration beneficial to all. The members indicated election observer Missions as some of measures taken by the assembly to ensure credible and fair processes. The youth were challenged to take part in the Assembly Proceedings which is open to the public, and get to learn more on the “People Centered, Market Driven” EAC