From now onwards East African nationals who pass across Tanzanian borders will not have to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
Likewise, non-East Africans, when travelling within the region, do not have to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate in the country.
This was announced in Tanga recently by East African Cooperation Minister Samuel Sitta during his one-day tour of Horohoro, a Tanzania-Kenya border post in Tanga region.
Sitta was responding to a report from Mkinga district commissioner Rashid Ndaile, who said one of the challenges border health workers had been facing was reluctance by some passengers to undergo yellow fever vaccination, while crossing the border.
"Our law stipulates that every visitor crossing our border should either possess a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to show that they have been vaccinated or to be vaccinated at the border post but most of them are not ready. As a result, there are misunderstandings everyday between the health border workers and visitors," lamented Ndaile.
However, Sitta replied to the DC's report that there was no law, which required a visitor to undergo a yellow fever vaccination, when crossing a Tanzanian border. “So, there is no need to be bothered by a thing, which creates unnecessary disturbance to the visitors.
Health workers at our borders pretend are serious on this matter of yellow fever because they profit from it but practically there is no yellow fever threat to the East African region. Even when you tell Europeans about yellow fever they ask what yellow fever is," clarified Sitta.
He further said in other East African countries visitors crossed borders without having yellow fever certificates except in Tanzania and it was a high time for Tanzanians to be without them.
He urged border workers to deal with illegal businesses and crime across the border to keep the Tanzanian border easy to cross for eligible visitors.
"You have been trained and you know a person with evil motives even the way one answers questions. Use your skills to check crime at our borders. We want our borders to be safe but don't concentrate on minor issues that create unnecessary disturbances to people," he stressed.
Speaking about passports, Sitta said people living at border villages did not need to have a passport, when crossing the border to either part of the two countries.
He said residents living at border villages had established a friendly relationship even before colonialists established the borders so they should not be asked passports, when crossing the border.
"Sometimes you have to use your common sense. You may know the face of a person, who possess a passport and of a local people around. Leave them free to share their brotherhood.
You Tanzanians have got beautiful sisters. Sometimes they come to marry your sisters, so let your sisters be married and do not ask for a passport for every person even to the indigenous," said Sitta.
He had his first tour of Horohoro border post since he was appointed to be Minister for East African Cooperation.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN