Taveta airport project sparks diplomatic row with Tanzania

Former PM Edward Lowassa is among those entirely against the proposed Taveta airport project.
Former PM Edward Lowassa is among those against the proposed Taveta airport project. PHOTO/FILE
A diplomatic row is brewing between Kenya and Tanzania following Kenya’s plan to build a modern airport at Taveta near Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

Kenya’s decision to build the ultra-modern Taveta International Airport, about 120 km from KIA, has angered Tanzania which laments that the move is equivalent to sabotaging its economy.

The proposed Taveta airport estimated to cost US$119 million will be the third in an area already served by two international airports: the Moi International Airport in Mombasa and KIA in Tanzania. The construction of the airport is scheduled to begin later this year.

According to diplomatic affairs analysts, Kenya’s move is against the spirit of East African Community (EAC) which discourages member states from creating investments that compete. It is believed that the new airport will open up stiff competition to KIA – the second largest airport in Tanzania.

Tanzanian parliament’s house committee chaired by Former Prime Minister, Edward Lowassa, is entirely against the proposed Taveta airport project. The committee is reported to have instructed the minister for EAC affairs, Samuel Sitta, to refer the matter to the EAC Council of Ministers attention.

“We are against the move by Kenyan authorities and this is not going to stop here, our minister will execute the resolution. We have KIA in Tanzania, and they plan to build yet another airport close to ours? That is sabotage,” Lowassa is on record as saying.

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