Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kenyan cartoons elicits diplomatic row

THE newly appointed Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Boaz Mbaya, has distanced his government from a spate of negative Kenyan media reports on Tanzania, and advised the government to take urgent measures through diplomatic channels.

The envoy who had just called in yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Dar es Salaam to officially introduce himself, described the published materials as 'bad taste'.

He admitted that he was aware of the negative coverage already published, especially the cartoon carried out by one weekly Kenyan recently.

"Would you please take it from me that I was personally disturbed with them, and my government has no connection with any of the sentiments expressed? I implore Tanzanian envoy to Kenya to follow up the matter, to enable appropriate action to be taken", he said.

Mr Mbaya added that since Kenyan media enjoy their freedom, Tanzanian government should now contact the management of concerned papers, alongside the Kenya government to hold them accountable if necessary.

In less than two weeks, there has been negative reports by a section of Kenyan media, with one attacking President Kikwete 'to stop poking his nose on Kenyan politics whereas matters are not as cool in his own backyard in Zanzibar' and another one portraying the local media as president's boot-lickers.

Ambassador Mbaya has taken over from his predecessor Mr Muburi Muita who left the country in August.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Mr Anthony Ngaiza, has described the belittling media as 'very unfortunate' and urged restraint to prevail with the country's leadership as well as the media.

He said that the timing of such unwarranted outbursts was bad, taking into consideration how East Africa is contemplating to enshrine cooperation to Federation levels. He said the media should have been the last group to create bad blood.

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