Kenyan officials who were denied entry to the Tanga port and had their passports confiscated on Wednesday have recounted their ordeal at the hands of Tanzanian authorities.
Sources within the delegation that was led by Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter told the Nation they were dressed down and subjected to repeated headcounts by security officials for one hour.
“They treated us like prisoners,” said a member of the delegation who declined to be named for fear of straining diplomatic relations between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
“They would repeatedly count us. They even had the audacity to tell our Cabinet secretary that they would not return our passports,” he said.
Another member of the delegation recalled: “They told us we were intruders and that they would only allow the Ugandan delegation into the port. They said they did not know what we wanted at the port as we had not notified them of our visit.
“They told us bluntly that we had not invited them to the Lamu meeting, so they would also not allow us entry into the Tanga port.
“We were simply unwelcome. It was a nasty experience.”
But upon arrival at a Mombasa hotel later that Wednesday, Mr Keter had played down the incident, telling the Nation: “We were not harassed. Our stay in Tanga was okay.”
Uganda’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Irene Muloni, who was not subjected to similar treatment, also played down the incident, saying relations between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania remained cordial.