Two Kenyan journalists arrested in Tanzania on Saturday while interviewing locals on coronavirus have been charged.
The two men from Elimu TV; cameraman Clinton Isimbu (22) and reporter Kaleria Shadrack were on Tuesday charged with illegal entry into the country and working without the appropriate permit.
They pleaded guilty to both charges.
They were fined Sh23,000 (Tsh500,000) for each offence which means they will have to part with Sh46,000.
Should they fail to pay the fine, Isimbu and Kaleria risk serving a 3 year jail sentence.
On Monday, Arusha Police Commander Jonathan Shanna said the Kenyans sneaked into the East African country through “panya” routes.
“Watuhiwa hao waliingia nchini kwa kutumia njia za panya. Kwa sasa watuhumiwa wote wawili tumewakabidhi Idara ya Uhamiaji Mkoa Wa Arusha kwa hatua zaidi za kisheria,” he said.
Longido District Commissioner Frank Mwaisumbe, on Sunday confirmed their arrest noting that they were detained at Longido Police Station.
On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta closed the Tanzania border over an upsurge of COVID-19 cases.
In retaliation the Tanzanian government banned Kenyans even cargo drivers from crossing over to the country.
Tanzania Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu said that only goods belonging to Tanzanians will be allowed in, though they will be loaded into another truck on the Tanzanian side at the border.
“All trucks with goods owned by a Tanzanian, and need to enter Tanzania, or they belong to someone else but the order was made by a Tanzanian, find another truck to take the goods to the final destination. Vehicles from any other countries will not be allowed,” said the Minister.
The John Magufuli led country has downplayed the status of COVID-19 in the country.
While the state keeps mum on the situation, it is said that Tanzania is overwhelmed by cases of coronavirus.
Last week, the U.S. warned its citizens living in Tanzania on the high risk of contracting Covid-19.
“The risk of contracting Covid-19 in Dar es Salaam is extremely high. Despite limited official reports, all evidence points to exponential growth of the epidemic in Dar and other locations in Tanzania,” read a statement from the US Embassy.
Tanzania last gave an update on cases of coronavirus on April 29. Then, cases stood at 509.