Of trials and tribulations when visiting Tanzania

This article in the news broadcast by In2EastAfrica deserves to get some wider publicity, as it reflects on constant murmurs of similar treatment, of travellers arriving and leaving from Tanzania.

This correspondent in fact recalls an incident in the 1980’s,when PTA currency unit travellers cheques were an accepted way of payment across Eastern Africa, except that is for Tanzania immigration in Dar es Salaam, who refused to accept payment with PTA travellers cheques for the Visa fee and for the added payment then extracted from travellers for a minimum foreign exchange – if correctly recalled some 200 US Dollars equivalent – and bundled me back on my Kenya Airways First Class seat to Nairobi for allegedly ‘NOT WANTING TO PAY THE FEES’ … I travelled the next day via Namanga by road to Arusha, flew from JRO to DAR, attended my meetings and then, lo and behold, met the same stupid immigration chap who had denied me entry four days earlier … had his bottom jaw not been firmly attached to the rest of his face he would probably have dropped it into the dust … so here we go with John Njenga Karugia’s tale …

John Njenga Karugia: I cry for Tanzania

By In2EastAfrica Reporter

Stupidity is worse than drunkenness. Stupidity remains, drunkenness goes away. Wait until you meet a stupid Tanzanian immigration official and you wish he was drunk. It happened to me in August 2013. I have met so many intelligent immigration officers around the world and in Tanzania as well and so, meeting a stupid one hit me like a tornado. Luckily, I lived to tell of my unforgettable encounter with first class stupidity at Julius Nyerere International Airport, in Dar es Salaam, the city of peace, but not peace of mind, at least at the airport.
Julius Nyerere International Airport

Julius Nyerere International Airport

I hold a Kenyan passport. Otherwise, earth is my home. I just happen to live in a random place called Germany. I left Frankfurt am Main end of June 2013, flew to Nairobi through Dubai, stayed in Kenya for two weeks and mid-July, I travelled to Tanzania by bus from Mombasa through Lungalunga border where wonderful Tanzanian immigration staff took my fingerprints, registered me in their computer and after a friendly chit-chat I left, spent some days living with a most generous Tanzanian family, their children call me uncle, and I still hear voices of uncle, uncle. I left for unforgettable Zanzibar, for Iringa, then I visited the astounding Ruaha National Park for a beautiful day and rushed back to Dar es Salaam to catch a flight to Frankfurt.

I was booked on an Emirates flight to leave Dar es Salaam on the first of August for Frankfurt am Main.
I queued with other passengers. As I got my boarding pass, an airport check-in officer quipped “you are Kenyan, why are you flying from Dar es Salaam” to which I respectfully answered, “Apart from other interests, I studied with many Tanzanians in Germany and whenever I am in East Africa, I pass by to say hallo, or to join friends from Germany that might be around.” He slapped my passport at the desk and took a long time to say “you are welcome” to my “thank you.”
I again queued at the immigration control and this is where the definition of stupidity has its home. A friendly immigration officer Mr. Joachim H. Mhonde asked me how I got into Tanzania. I answered “by bus.” He answered “that is a problem. You cannot travel from our airport if you are not a resident in Tanzania and if you are not a Tanzanian citizen. Also, you cannot travel from here if you did not enter Tanzania using a flight.”
He called one Mr. Yusuf and passed my papers to him and he repeated the same sentiment urging me to go fly from Nairobi. And then came one person I prefer to refer to as “the stupid one.” A very special case of stupendous behavior, probably a case of malignant illiteracy and astonishing ignorance. His name, Mr. Asumsio P. Achacha. Apparently, the boss of immigration at the Julius Nyerere International Airport located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He told me, “go back to Nairobi by bus and take your flight from there…enda kwenu (go to back where you belong (wow!)).” I explained to him that I was on a round-ticket travel. Meanwhile, he took my boarding tickets and gave them to Emirates staff and stubbornly told them “huyu ashushwe (offload his luggage from the airplane).” Meanwhile, I frantically and respectfully explained to him, that I live in Germany since many years, I am a resident there, not in Tanzania. Meanwhile Emirates staff rechecked my round-trip details and offered Mr. Asumsio P. Achacha an opportunity to look at the computer-screen to confirm in a split of a second that I was really a round-trip case. He did not.
Wearing an indifferent Mugabe-face, he wore a snear that made him look like an old bull-dog as he scribbled some nonsense on the yellow departure form that I had filled out earlier. He reminded me of a stupid corrupt government official I had watched in a film several years back. Meanwhile, my luggage was offloaded from the Emirates plane and ground staff there were so kind as to remind me that my luggage lay a meter away from my feet. Staff at Emirates asked Mr. Achacha once more whether I could be allowed to fly, he was adamant. He insisted that I should go back to Kenya by bus and fly from there. I asked him whether Kenyans cannot fly from Dar es Salaam, in case they want to.
I then dashed back to the immigration official where all the drama began, the friendly one who is caught up in The Mr. Achacha Primary School of Stupidity. His name is Mr. Joachim H. Mhonde. In a friendly manner I discussed the whole issues with him. I told him that a few hours after arriving in Germany, I was meant to take another plane to London then to St. Lucia in the Caribbean for an international conference, and I risked missing all planes especially since Friday the second of August was meant for me to clear a Visa issue for my other flights.
An immigration official who had been listening to me talk to Mr. Mhonde from a cubicle a few meters away came out of his little room and asked Mr. Joachim H. Mhonde, “how can we help this guy, let’s try talk to the boss” to which Mr. Mhonde replied “may be you can try, but the boss said he cannot travel.” That immigration official looked horrified having listened to my plight at the hands of Mr. Achacha. The immigration official approached Mr. Yusuf and asked “why can’t we let this guy travel? What did the boss say?”
I got out of the airport and reprinted the information that he had refused to view on the Emirates check-in computer. When I handed him the printout, Mr. Yusuf felt very sorry for me. You could see shame written on his face as he dropped his head in disbelief as he saw that I was really on a round-trip. He then said in a soft voice “unfortunately, the plane has left.” He shook my hand and said “pole sana” (I am very sorry). He then went into Mr. Achacha’s office and came out. He told me to come see Mr. Achacha the following day to clear with him regarding my flight.
Everybody who heard this story about going back to Kenya by bus was so shocked, especially the Tanzanians. Immigration officials, security officials, some interested public people. Emirates staff upstairs listened to me with open mouths. They said it was illogical for Mr. Achacha to act the way he did and added that Mr. Achacha and immigration officials at the airport were a huge menace and a big problem to the airlines.
I would have to pay 130 US dollars fine to Emirates and be on a standby list and probably, I would be able to leave the following day. Emirates staff complained bitterly about Mr. Achacha who, together with others, have a habit of stopping passengers from travelling without even counter-checking with Emirates though Emirates offices and Mr. Achacha’s office are barely seventy meters from each other.
One Tanzanian lady at the airport security was so moved that she offered to show me a hotel next to the airport, just a walking distance while others walked to eat after sunset since it was Ramadhan. Since about fifteen ATM machines in and around the airport were not working because either they had no money, were broken, had jammed or whatever explanations the watchmen gave, she again drove me in her car to Uchumi at Quality Plaza where I finally managed to withdraw some money. I have Tanzanian friends in Dar es Salaam and around Tanzania, but I chose to stay around the airport to avoid the traffic jam headaches. I knew that I just needed to make a phone-call or two and a convoy would be on its way to pick me up, but somehow, I also wanted to experience what others who know no one must go through. I also did not want my friends to get stuck in traffic jams coming to save me. I was not sick. So I stay put and decided to deal with the situation myself.
I spent the night at Airport Hotel just opposite Julius Nyerere International Airport. The following morning, I went to see Mr. Achaha at 9 a.m. The director of the Julius Nyerere Airport passed by and coincidentally asked if I was waiting for someone. I told him yes and he asked what the issue was. Oh, no! Why did he even ask! I explained briefly that I live in Germany as a resident, I hold a Kenyan passport and was just travelling through Tanzania when I was told to go back to Kenya by bus and fly from there. What he said, made me shiver inside. He said “yes if you want to apply for citizenship, that is a difficult issue (!?*!)” I told him “sir, I am not applying for Tanzanian citizenship! I am just travelling through Tanzania!” He clearly either did not understand English well. I tried in Kiswahili but he seemed so uninterested and just told three immigration inspectors standing a few minutes away to listen to my citizenship issues.
Before saying anything to the officials, I made it clear that I hold a Kenyan passport and I am happy with it and that the issue was travelling through Tanzania. Then Mr. Achacha dressed in his black uniform appeared from nowhere like a dark spirit. I said “shikamoo mzee” (a most respectful way of greeting elderly people) he answered “marahabaa.” He looked at my printout and said “yes, I see, ok, the issue that is unclear is how you got here from Kenya.” I was so angry at that moment. I had so much adrenalin and testosterone in my blood, but I chose to ignore my hormones and just relax. Today, I was not going to argue with a fool. Remember the good old saying ‘don’t argue with a fool, people might not realize the difference between both of you.’ I said nothing. Zero.
Inside, I was thinking, “stupid man, I came to Tanzania through Lungalunga border, my fingerprints were captured, a photo and details were captured in your computer networks. How come you cannot check and clear your doubt? Or must you take a bus to Lungalunga and check in a computer?” I chose to keep completely quiet. After all, I was standing next to a person with First Class Honours in Stupidity. What was I supposed to say? He then said, “we shall discuss this issue and let you know briefly.” He then went into a room and came out after three minutes or so and said, it was ok, they would allow me to travel to Frankfurt. Did he really talk to anyone inside there?
I took my papers, went to Emirates and confirmed permission to fly. Emirates staff were so kind. They said I should be at the airport at 1500 and wait to see if any free seats would be available. Luckily, a few people were late, as always, mostly held up in crazy traffic jams in Dar es Salaam. So I flew on the 2nd of August and after a stopover in Dubai, I arrived in Frankfurt late for every other plans I had. I did not fly on to London and to St. Lucia. Those tickets were wasted money, just the way you could take cash and throw it to the winds. Until now, I am not sure anyone will be willing to refund anything, as usual. The Immigration Department in Tanzania will definitely not refund my losses, even if I went to court. You know why.
Tanzania, I cry for you. So, a Kenyan must travel from Kenya? So a Kenyan who is a resident elsewhere must become a resident in Tanzania so as to be allowed to travel from Tanzania? So a Kenyan should change his citizenship to Tanzanian so as to travel from Tanzania? Really? Take a bus to Nairobi and fly from there? How stupid can men and their rules be or become? No one cares to ask a passenger whether they have somewhere to sleep, or money or anything else? No. “Just take a bus. Take your luggage and leave the airport.” Who makes such stupid rules that make a man so stupid anyway? And then we blame others when our countries do not develop? We blame the West for our problems? We blame China for our problems. We blame colonialism. So where was the West and China and colonialism as Mr. Achacha refused to just look at a screen to confirm a ticket detail? May be he thinks a printed Emirates ticket differs from details displayed on an Emirates online system.
I have travelled all over the world, name me a place: in Japan for example, immigration officials called a friend after they missed a detail after I arrived in Tokyo on my way to Kochi city. In California, a friend was called to confirm a detail. In the Czech Republic once before they joined Schengen, a bus I was crossing with to Vienna was stopped for fifteen minutes as immigration officials cross-checked my passport photo. The American Embassy in Berlin called me several times to re-confirm my address after my Visa was returned to the Embassy by the postal services by mistake. Around the world, I was treated so kindly and warmly by migration officials who used their brains to the maximum to ensure that all possible was done immediately so that I proceed with my journeys. But in Tanzania, a country that is supposedly in an East African Union, just a few kilometers to Kenya, I was treated like a stranger. The lesser I say about that union, the better.
Only in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania does an immigration official wearing a ‘power-display’ snear throw papers at passengers and go away with it. Tanzania, you have beautiful people, some of them my good friends, but nevertheless, if these is the caliber of elites on key Tanzanian institutions that are the ‘face of Tanzania’ God help you, I cry for you Tanzania. Think for a moment, if there are just fifty people behaving like Mr. Asumsio P. Achacha in your key institutions, then, well, you can imagine the impact. To you Mr. Asumsio P. Achacha, shikamoo, but, shika adabu na adabu ikushike! And you are welcome to register at Shika Adabu Primary School in Mombasa. Kenya is famous for educating elderly people, for free! Take a flight or a bus there, or walk, I am sure someone will receive you well.
Every passenger at Julius Nyerere International Airport deserves better! How much money do passengers at the Dar es Salaam airport loose daily due to stupid flimsy reasoning by the Immigration Department officials? May be Mr. Achacha and his immigration colleagues have not travelled at all to be able to understand the hussles of travelling. I will not accuse anyone of corruption, but in case you hopped for a split second that I would bribe my way through stupidity, no, not me.
If Mwalimu Julius Nyerere woke up and heard about you, he would teach you a few things about power and how not to misuse it.
Shame on you Mr. Asumsio P. Achacha! Shame on Immigration Department at Julius Nyerere International Airport. You are an international airport and not an airstrip somewhere in the bush. Act like an int’l airport. Globalisation will not catch up with you, you must catch up with it. Otherwise rename to Julius Nyerere Jungle Airstrip.
Before I left, a lady called Jasmine from Immigration at the airport approached me and genuinely apologized. Jasmine, you did not have to apologise. I accepted your apology. Mr. Asumsio P. Achacha was the one to apologise, but as you can imagine, Mugabe apologises for nothing. But again, your pole and samahani (sorry), sweet as they sound will not return my losses. As I walked up to catch my flight, almost every migration officer made a comment either apologizing or criticizing the foolish incident and stupid rules. It seemed like a guard of honour mounted to apologise or watch the man with the long rasta hair finally take his flight. Thank you, but instead, sit together and stop this terrible nonsensical rules and unintelligent reasoning. Safari njema (nice journey) sounds better than pole and samahani.
A Sri Lankan gentleman, a resident in Sweden taking his masters studies who had been in Kigali Rwanda for research visited Zanzibar, got a Tanzanian Visa and spent his holiday together with his friends from his masters course, a German gentleman and an American lady. He planned to leave Tanzania for Sweden through Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport after his holiday in Zanzibar together with them. The German and the American were allowed to proceed with their journey. He was stopped by the same Tanzanian immigration official. He spent the night in the same hotel as me, traumatized as hell. The director of the airport told him in my presence (since we tried solving our problems together the following morning) that “Sri Lanka? Ah, yes we have problems with Sri Lanka and eh some other Asian countries.”
Mr. Achacha also told him that, “yes, you must go back to Kigali and start your journey there or travel to Sri Lanka.” The poor man bought a ticket to Sri Lanka, after advice from the Immigration Department that that was the only compromise. He would then buy another ticket to Sweden from there. His old travel ticket was lost to the dogs. He had a residence permit for Sweden but no, he would not be allowed to travel from Dar es Salaam. Immigration Department argued that, as a Sri Lankan, he is not allowed to start a new journey from Dar es Salaam. Why? Because, if he is deported back, he would be deported wherever he started his journey.
So Tanzania’s Immigration Department feared that he would be deported back to Tanzania. Similar to me, he was told that he would be allowed to start his journey from Tanzania if he were a resident in Tanzania, a Tanzanian or if he had originally arrived by flight to Tanzania. He regretted having visited Tanzania for his holidays. He just wanted to leave Tanzania using any next available Qatar Airways plane. He said, “they welcome tourists through their other borders. We spent our money here and then when you want to leave, they introduce this rules about being Sri Lankan. Why did they not protest that a Sri Lankan was entering Tanzania? How come they protest now that I am leaving. What a country of idiots!”
In his case, it was even worse, since he is from Sri Lanka. He is naturally perceived as a deportation suspect and so he was denied permission to leave for Sweden through Dar es Salaam, even though he had a residence permit in his possession. At least call Swedish Embassy in Tanzania, or fax the darn residence permit to Swedish authorities or scan and email Swedish authorities before making a man spend 2000 US dollars re-routing just because he was born in a random place called Sri Lanka and holds a Sri Lankan passport. No one cared to confirm whether his residence permit was ok. He had a valid Tanzanian Visa. But No. Go back to Kigali, Rwanda and start your journey to Stockholm from there. So anyone holding a non-European, non-American passport is not perceived as a passenger but as a possible deportation suspect by Tanzania’s Immigration Department. Eh! Mch!
My friends, even as we smile on those photos we are captured in receiving international aid from the West and from the East, we must come back to our senses and run our countries better. We should not be racist amongst ourselves and towards others. Every human being has a right to be treated decently and to be dignified. In the cases above, just a person who listened briefly but keenly could have saved a Kenyan and a Sri Lankan so much money and trouble. But who is interested in a Kenyan and a Sri Lankan in Tanzania?
When I told this story to a white friend, my friend said, Mzungu (white people) are not asked all that in Tanzania, “they let us travel as we wish”, and then my friend laughed.
They let us travel as we wish.
And then my friend laughed.
John Njenga Karugia is a researcher and lecturer at Frankfurt Goethe University.

59 Responses

  1. Mmmhhh, this Asumsio Achacha is on facebook, so I send him a link to this article, asking him if he likes it… what do you think ? 🙂

    1. Oooooh my dear, on behalf of those stupid airport staff at JKN, I deeply say sorry foe what happened to our fellow Kenyan. we are all brothers and EAC citizens

  2. Dear Wolfgang,

    This is unhealthy stuff, however true it may be!

    You have kept your blogs free from it –with much skill – while remaining candid.

    Good luck and kind regards,

    Fritz Walchli

  3. I can sense how Kenyans you are using all means possible to tarnish our image under the umbrella f wazungu.Haya bwana.

    1. Unmasking this incident is patently NOT tarnishing the image of an entire country or people. That officer however is a disgrace for Tanzania and Africa and should be horsewhipped out of his office. Defending the undefendable is not the way to go here but I suggest a closer analysis of this incident and a calmer reflection without following the cliche of Kenya against Tanzania or Tanzania against Kenya. My own experience with Tanzanian people is that they are warm, friendly and curious to learn more about their visitors, although Tanzanian officials are a different story altogether and many of them in urgent need of customer relations training and PR practices.
      Thank you for reading my blog.

      1. Obama (US) President faced same “shit” when he landed at Jomokenyatta Airport on his first trip to Kenya. When you read his book (I think dream from my father) …he revealed how immigration officer behaved badly to blacks including him and smiling like a crocodile chewing when they saw a muzungu. I also saw this in Nairobi or when you happen to board KQ think it is a general problem to most Africans!

    2. Kaka,

      Unataka tufumbie macho UPUMBAVU unaosababishwa na watendaji wabovu wanaofanya kazi kwenye idara nyeti kama UHAMIAJI?

      Huyu bwana kanyanyaswa, kaonewa, kadhulumiwa haki zake, anaambiwa kwa kuwa yeye ni Mkenya, Mwafrika mwenzetu, tena raia wa nchi iliyo kwenye EAC, halafu wewe wasema eti hii ni kampeni ya Wakenya kutuchafua?

      Nakufananisha wewe na ile nahau isemayo “Mchelea mwana kulia hulia mwenyewe!”

      Utacheleaje mwana kulia ndugu yangu? Au hata hao punda wabeba unga wanaopitisha “sembe” kila siku kutokea JNIA nao pia wanaendesha kampeni ya kutuchafua, ambao sasa Tanzania “inaheshimika” kwa kuwa nchi ya tatu duniani kwa usafirishaji wa madawa ya kulevya?

      Sielewi umelewa kwa viroba au pombe gani, lakini HAKIKA, kwa heshima na taadhima, hebu jipeleke mwenyewe Wodi ya Wagonjwa wa Akili ya Muhimbili, ukapimwe akili yako, au ukipenda, nenda pale Hospitali ya Mirembe, Dodoma. Hapo utapata tiba ya kudumu.

      Nampa pole nyingi – japokuwa hazimsaidii – Bw, John Njenga Karugia kwa mkasa huu wa kusikitisha! Loh!

  4. Huyo afande ni mujingaaaaaaaa kabisaaaaaaa hapana jua nini cha kufanya

  5. As a Tanzanian I wish that I could say that this story is just a made up fiction. Everything you attest here is probably right 100%. Some of the decisions made by those so called ‘bosses’ are out right ridiculous and ignorant at best. Get to the ministries to ask for services and you will uncover even much wilder tales. I can tell you there is no such a thing as a common sense in alot of areas.

  6. I appreciate your objectivity in this, though naturally your story was bound to be biased or unbalanced in some way, given the very bad experience you went through at the airport. I was very skeptical at first, because we in Tanzania are very much used to Kenyans trumpeting negative things about Tanzania while telling the world (deceitfully) that the beautiful things we have are actually their own (try Mount Kilimanjaro, but thanks to social media, those days are gone)..but I chose to take your article as constructive criticism, something that we desperately and urgently need to improve. Karibu Tena Tanzania, I believe that will not be your last visit.

  7. Its All Over The World That The JNI air port Its Only for traficking drugs!! Shame On Them!!

  8. As a Tanzanian, I’m very ashamed to read this article and find out the things that go through JKNIA and probably in other Tanzanian airports too . The immigration officers here always act like they own the place because of their corrupt ways, it is highly unprofessional and the lack of common sense that they have just flabbergasts me. And it is funny that Tanzanians keep on wondering why Kenya keeps on thriving in Tourism sector (a reason right here).
    It is better that the author did not bother with compensation because they would have given him more headaches, taking your time and energy.
    And believe me there are more government officials that are as stupid or more than Mr Achacha.

  9. We don’t really hate Kenyans, though its really true this thing is in Tanzania, even i a Tanzanian citizen myself I always blame every single day, most staffs in places with big names not only airports but banks, malls etc have got this feeling as if they are on top of the world, No matter how hard you try to explain they can just tell you “ondoka” leave, as if they are going to compensate for all the losses that you’ll encounter, i don’t even remember clearly but i think its been more than 100 times that i got embarrassed just like the blogger, everywhere i go i tend to tell them to love their work and stop acting as if they are the owners, they are just workers even owners respect people. Very sorry for what you encountered, its really a shame and i don’t know how this situation will change, i am living in a foreign country right now realizing how many things are done wrong in my country.. Its a big shame,


      1. well said and OMG! This article has made me so darn upset. Shared it on my group pages on Facebook and on Twitter! https://www.facebook.com/groups/nelionpr/ and at @jackie_arkle on Twitter. Wolfgang, thank you for sharing this article. Also shared it with Pres. Jakaya Kikwete and Pres. Paul Kagame and Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta. How the hell will we have integration if we have people who lack proper education and work ethic working in our airports and treating us as if we are not brothers and sisters? So sad about this….

    2. Pole sana kaka. Nitakujibu kwa kiswahili naogopa kuandika English nitaambiwa Broken! Watz wengi hata wasomi wanafanya kazi kama ROBOT. ROBOT unaiprogram kufanya kazi fulani na itafanya hivyo ulivyoiagiza. Hawana uelewa wa kutatua tatizo. ni kama unapita geti la waendao kwa miguu na la gari. ukikuta geti la waendao kwa miguu lina folen, ukataka kupita la magari lililo wazi askari wanakuambia usipite hapa hata kama wewe ni raia mwema, unaambiwa kapange foleni kule upite!

  10. Ndugu John Karugia kwanza napenda kukupa pole kwa mkasa huo! Pili naomba niongee Kiswahili nasikia raha kuongea lugha hii mama! Nasikitika ndugu yangu kusikia umechelewa kupata mkasa huo nasema hiyo kwa sababu mimi niliwahi kupata mkasa zaidi ya wako huo nikiwa jijini Nairobi! Mimi ni Mtanzania halisi wa kuzaliwa na kukulia ila nimesomea nchini Kenya nilipata bahat Ya kwenda honeymoon jijini Rome-Italy mwaka 2009 May! Baada ya harus yangu tuliomba visa ya Italy na tulipata Baada ya siku 5 na dada wa mke wangu alijitolea ticket ya kwenda nakurudi Rome pia nilikuwa nategemea kuiangalia mechi ya Man U vs Barca UEfa Fainal-Champions May 27 hivi! Hivo tilikwenda Nairobi kwa bas Dar express na tulifsnyiwa part then tukajiandaa kuondoka kupitia instabull-Turkey tulivyoenda airport JKNA swali la kwanza mnaenda wapi Rome kufanya nini tukasema honeymoon hapo ndipo Kiswahili kilikuwa ngum yaani mnatoka Tz kuja hapa kwa ajili ya kwenda honeymoon jamaa walishangaa na the same swali Kama alivyokuliza wewe ndugu John na mimi niliulizwa kwa nini msisafirie Dar na pesa mnatoa wapi?????!!!mwisho wakatuambia hamsafiri visa zenu ni fake na wakatuweka ndani kuconferm visa embassy kitu ambacho kilipelekea kupelekwa kortin kisha jela industro area kwa kudubiri majibu zije toka Italy Dar to Italy -nai then to uhamiaj mke wangu alipelekwa Lang’ata prison tulisota pale kwa kutumia wakili na concualar wa Tz Nairobi tuliachiwa afta 4 days na embassy wakasisitiza warndelee na safar visa zao na hotel zimelipiwa?!!! It’s shame and Sad!! Kenya immigration department imeoza kuliko ya Tanzania bora wewe ulipewa hata nafasi ya kulala gest, ndugu. John hivyo nakupa pole hiyo ndo Africa lakini binafsi naeza sema kuwa pale ndipo nilipopata nafasi ya kufanya maisha yangu na sasa mi Full Dentist hapa katika jijin la malkia nikiwa na mtoto mmmoja na mke wangu!From Jail To honeymoon!

  11. Spinning at work! The story teller lacks objectivity! He so much biased and therefore I hesitate to sympathize with him!

  12. Hi fellows!Mr.John and Dentists,and any other fellow who happened to face problems of the same nature,look for the lawyer and file the case at the court for the loss of time,money,and humiliation as a lesson to other staff with the same behavior.This is a shame.Thanks

  13. Very sorry bro ..Hichi ulichokiandika kimenisikitisha sana kama Mtanzania . Hapa inaonyesha wazi hawa maafisa walikuwa wanatengeneza mazingira ya kupatiwa rushwa . Watanzania hatuna tabia ya kuwachukia majirani zetu ,hawa maafisa walikuwa na mambo yao binafsi ,nawezasema wanatanguliza maslahi yao binafsi zaidi ya masilahi ya Taifa .

  14. Hello friend and everybody else who may have had the same experience at JNIA or JKIA. To make things better in future, i suggest that you should file a court case against the people who made you suffer or no reason. This, as said earlier by Gabriel, will be a learning opportunity for other corrupt officials in our institutions.
    Otherwise, no matter how much we write in protest, little is likely to change for better.
    But thank you for sharing this, and i feel very sorry for you my brother!

  15. pole sana kaka, hii ni aibu kubwa kwa nchi yetu..I wish you could send this article straight to Kenyan Embassy in DSM as a complain to Tanzania Government so it would become a very good resource to fix this system..We are talking about going to visit the space, sending vehicles to Mars etc..For God’s sake we should not be talking about if a person should be allowed to fly from any airport in the world as long as he or she posses valid documents and he does not pose a threat to anyone..God forgive and heal us.

  16. This occurs not only in Tanzania but in many other parts of Africa as well for the reason mentioned in your post: ie deportation and return to the country in which you hold a passport for . However Tanzania seems unique in applying this to neighboring countries whereby potential deportation would not cause undue problems in your return to Kenya as there is adequate road transportation to facilitate this. For your fellow traveller from Sri Lanka this is the norm and owing to past cases, necessary as frequent travellers from this region travelling with fraudulent documents are routinely discovered and create difficulties in returning them to their home countries as they arrived from another. Immigration officials in Dar need to understand the Rule AND the Exception to the Rule to which this law was based upon AND upon entry MUST request travellers how they intend to EXIT the country!

  17. I am a Tanzania born and estreamely proud to be one, I lived and studied in Kenya for 10yrs in the past and no doubt love Kenya 2nd to none of all the countries I have since been. But the regretable information detailed here is 100% right, knowing the sluggish atmosphere at JK Airport. Being a frequent traveller, I’ve been forced to empty my handbag and live coins if any to some fat Mama in a private room. This happens especially if you travel ‘shuggy’ after a long upcountry safari. Regretably, immigration officers there are more concerned about ‘appearence or better the amount of Money you slide into Your passport’ – as a price of peaceful transit. Worst treatment is given to Africans with foreign passports, intending to buy visa – ‘Their Passports are withheld for long minutes’ – only to be served after all Europeans have walked out. Apparently, Tanzanians get away easily regardless of the issue, through ‘maneno mengi’ – not familiar to foreign Africans. As a Whole, the atmosphere there is Heavy, cos officers are more concerned about what they ‘obtain’ out of every arriving or departing African than other matters of utmost importance to the Security of the country for example.

  18. There is an adage that “No research no right to speak” When I first read John Njenga’s article I never imagined that he was indeed a research until I reached the end! This is the irony of some of our African intellectuals because what happened to him in Tanzania is less worse than what happened to a Tanzanian in Nairobi who sought similar services from the Kenyan immigration officials!
    To learned folks like John this can’t be a coincidence but it has to do with the conditions set out by the destination countries. Nonetheless I don’t condone it. What I didn’t like is the animosity and un diplomatic manner in which he presented his case not befitting someone who has seen the inside of a classroom to the extent that he has failed to distinguish himself from his “tormentors.

    1. Uledi Mussa

      When you’ve been unnecessarily, and unjustly put through a tormenting ordeal, by unscrupulous highly placed Government officials, who, just because they can, they abuse the powers given to them for personal gain, i.e. corruption, etc., you feel helpless, albeit, angry, feeling that what’s happened has happened, and you cant do anything about it. Just because someone wanted to be bribed, and you refuse to comply, which in the end costs you quite a lot, as you see your entire itinerary go down the drain – you bought expensive plane tickets, which are now worthless paper because you’re left with no more money to pay the fines, etc., and you’ve missed your important meeting, and so forth, and so forth – it would surprise me that John Njenga DIDNT react the way he did.

      To every ACTION there is an EQUAL and OPPOSITE REACTION: Newton’s Law of Relativity.

      Njenga reacted EXACTLY as he was supposed to; he told the truth. He recounted, word for word, the ordeal he was forced to undergo, and what he witnessed about the poor, innocent Sri Lankan, who will ALSO say the same thing about our unruly Immigration officers, who are so corrupt, that they, without even a hint of remorse, put innocent foreigners to such torture that even the good that they got from the rest of our most hospitable brothers and sisters in Tanzania becomes meaningless.

      While you may or may not sympathize with Njenga, I DO and completely agree with him. We cannot, like the ostrich, bury our heads in the sand, the rest of our body exposed, thinking we have solved the problem. If you REALLY want to know how bad this thing called CORRUPTION is, go watch the movie “Olympus Has Fallen”. It will teach you the main lesson: Even the most trusted highly placed Government official will SELL OUT his own country, for personal gain, regardless of the consequences, even if it means going to WAR!

      It’s time to clean up our Houses, because continued ignorance will lead to only one thing: mice, ants and other insects will clean us out, by the time we realize, damage has already been done. Remember, always, Rome wasnt built in a day, but it was destroyed in one!

      Good day to you my brother!

  19. I am Tanzanian, I am sorry to hear this, very very sorry. I have sent a link to this stupid man (why not?) by sms in his fb

  20. I think I would need to hear from Achacha before believing all that was written and the names he is called. Otherwise in the event no justification are sited by Achacha for the trouble caused to this lecturer, I should feel sorry for him

  21. As an African and somebody from a developing country, i still think there is a vital need for justice, critical thinking and compassion studies.. These classes should be a vital part of our foundation preliminary education. We as Africans or the developing countries lack compassion for one another and love towards each other. We are supposed to be a team. On one hand, am disappointed that through your article you are sending the wrong message to the right audience. The message you are sending is biased. Calm down, don’t let your anger mislead you. Sit down and retype this article.Let it be a platform for young Africans to see how bad things are, and how they could better that. I believe you are better than this, don’t create tension where hate lines already exist. spread love and all will heal. Let your article be and inspiration and a platform for change. ONE LOVE

  22. Jamani watanzania tujenge utamaduni wa kufikiri jambo kabla ya kutenda,This is common phenomena with immigration officials in Tanzania in particular.pole bro!

  23. This experience is horrifying. I have this hunch that Asumsio Achacha and company wanted you to grease their palms. What a shame for Tanzania.

  24. however true it may be one thing i dont agree… ” What a country of idiots!” … this language??!..at the same time i dont agree with imigration official and will try email the article to the minister incharge..

    1. Kassim, the truth hurts, doesnt it? Well, we’ve been called “idiots”. While I’m not an idiot myself, I take every criticism strongly; I work on it, instead of complaining.

      You may/may not be in a position to do something about this. Your empty words are mere rhetoric if you dont REACT positively. Spread the word in the upper echelons of our Govt. Maybe if you press a little harder, people will listen!

  25. Wow, quite unfortunate incidence at JNIA! Its also not surprising as many African countries have really bad attitudes towards fellow Africans traveling. At Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta things are usually tough for West African travelers. I do sympathize with the gentleman’s plight but somehow feel that TZ immigration is around 70% good. But the pain is that there seems to be some form of travel apartheid amongst Africans where we rank, in priority order, Europeans (or any Caucasians), Japanese, Arabs, Chinese, Asians, Other Racial Groups then Africans.

  26. I think you really have self control…if it was me,it would just be drama at that airport.sorry about that whole incidence…i bet you never want to go back to Tanzania again.

    1. Thanks Vonetta for your comment but on my side I think what John has done is good. As long as you know most of the Tanzanians civil servants are acts like a God as if without them nothing can be done.

  27. A Kenyan friend of mine who has lived in Uganda for the past 20 years and is a frequent flyer, was recently bumped off a flight out of Entebbe on his way to the U.S because his residence permit had expired!! So much for the EAC..

  28. This reminds me of an incident i had in Angola, seems most African airports are run and managed by similar ‘buffoons’. should scribble my experience too. so that we learn.

  29. I think Dar airport is better compared to fire stricken Nairobi ……. In this century it very amusing to see the airport got distorted to such level….. this is most dangerous airport in the world as far as the fire safety is concern.

    1. Gisinya! I wonder, does TZ have the same fire fighting capabilities like we do back in Kenya? Would TZ be able to set up another terminal…tent or not in less than 24hours like we have? Disasters can happen anywhere in the world and Kenya is no exception to this. Just deal with your very xenophobic guys in Tz! Stick to issues and stop trying to circumnavigate the topic.

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