Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s Immigration Department said on Tuesday, 24 November 2020 that it would issue a statement in response to claims that it had denied entry to a foreign national who was to start working as new managing director for Coca-Cola Kwanza.
Since Monday, November 23, social media platforms have been awash with news of a foreign national, assumed to be Kenyan, who was denied entry into Tanzania so he could assume his role as managing director for Coca-Cola Kwanza.
The news item originated as a tweet from fichuaTanzania_official’s @FichuaTanzania, a Twitter handle that markets itself to its readers as one [a handle] that documents and exposes human rights abuses in Tanzania while also fighting for freedom of speech, truth and democracy.
“Leo 23/11/2020 Mkurugenzi mpya wa Coca Cola Kwanza akitokea Nairobi na shirika la ndege la Kenya Airways amekataliwa na mamlaka uhamiaji ya Tanzania kuingia nchini kutekeleza majukumu yake mapya kwa maelezo kuwa kazi anayokuja kufanya kuna watanzania wenye uwezo wa kuifanya,” the twit reads.
Literally, this is translated as: “The new Coca-Cola Kwanza managing director was on November 23, 2020 denied entry into Tanzania upon arrival from Nairobi on a Kenya Airways flight. The Immigration Department did not allow him in on the grounds that there were Tanzanian nationals who could perform his duties [at Coca-Cola Kwanza]”
But in response, the Immigration Department said it was aware of the said tweet and promised to issue a statement.
“We have seen the information that’s currently circulating on social media platforms. We will issue a comprehensive statement later,” the Immigration Department’s spokesperson, Mr Paul Msele, said.
In Tanzania, the Coca-Cola brand operates through four zones.
In Dar es Salaam and neighbouring regions, the brand is franchised to Coca-Cola Kwanza while in the Lake, Northern and Southern zones, it is franchised to Nyanza Bottlers, Bonite Bottlers and Southern Bottlers respectively.
While the statement from the Immigration Department was being awaited, the issue reminds pundits of a September 2018 occurrence when Vodacom Tanzania said Kenyan Sylvia Mulinge, was denied work permit to work as the telecommunication firm’s chief executive officer.
Though Vodacom’s statement did not explain the reasons for the government’s decision, the media reported that the authorities believe there are more experienced Tanzanians to take on the task. Efforts to reach the Labour Commissioner’s office proved futile as telephone calls went unanswered.
Ms Mulinge was thus picked back to Kenya’s Safaricom after months of unresolved work permit issues, which locked her out of Tanzania.
Ms Mulinge, Safaricom’s former marketing director, should have started her new job in June, 2018 after taking over from Ian Ferrao.
By Kelvin [email protected] [email protected]