Magufuli’s anti-foreigner stance infuriates Kenyans

BULLDOZING EAST AFRICANS: President John Magufuli has ordered a crackdown on illegal immigrant workers

BULLDOZING EAST AFRICANS: President John Magufuli has ordered a crackdown on illegal immigrant workers

Kenyans have been irked by Tanzania’s President John Magufuli’s recent statement that foreigners working in Tanzania should “surrender jobs to the nationals.”

Officials in Tanzania say the government’s “operation Timua Wageni” is aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants living and working in the East African nation in order to free up jobs for Tanzanians but Kenyans are taking offense given the fact that majority of the victims of the infamous operation that began this week are Kenyan private teachers practicing their trade in the neighbouring country.

The move has sparked outrage in Kenya many urging the Kenyan government to respond by deporting Tanzanians working in Kenya.

“They (Tanzanians) should also leave Kenya to take up the vacant posts which the foreigners have left and create space for the Kenyans,” one James Zipporah said

The Tanzanian government directive warned this week foreigners working illegally should leave the jobs with immediate effect or risk serious legal implications.

“The Immigration department through this notice would like to remind all individuals, companies institutions and employers that it is illegal for any foreign citizen to continue working or doing any activity without residence permits…anyone who will go against this law, strict legal action will be taken against them,” the directive read in part.

A work permit in Tanzania costs a staggering $2000 making the most expensive in the East African Community. The measure if followed is likely affect Magufuli’s popularity within the region. The new Tanzanian leader has earned kudos for his anti-corruption and government spending initiatives but the perceived anti-foreigner plans might force many to take another look at “The bulldozer.”

The initiative also is likely to hamper East African Community Economic Integration agenda, analysts say.