Resetting relations in focus as TZ President Suluhu arrives in Kenya
Tuesday May 04 2021
By BRIAN NGUGI
- The plane carrying the Tanzanian President and her entourage touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at about 9:30 am.
- She was received by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Sports CS Amina Mohammed after which her entourage headed to State House, Nairobi for the formal start of her tour.
Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan arrived in Kenya Tuesday, beginning a two-day State visit to Kenya on the invitation of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the two countries seek to mend and restore bilateral ties damaged under the presidency of John Pombe Magufuli.
The plane carrying the Tanzanian President and her entourage touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at about 9:30 am.
She was received by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Sports CS Amina Mohammed after which her entourage headed to State House, Nairobi for the formal start of her tour.
Ms Hassan, who took office in March following the death of President Magufuli, will be accorded a grand welcome including a ceremonial guard of honour and 21 gun salute when she is formally received by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.
She will inspect a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Defence Forces ahead of the start of bilateral talks with her host President Kenyatta.
While in Kenya, President Hassan and her host President Kenyatta will hold bilateral talks focusing on among others trade, integration and economic opportunities within the two countries.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta and Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan will hold consultations at a
business forum for Tanzanian and Kenyan business community,” said a statement by the Foreign Affairs ministry.
“President Suluhu Hassan will also attend a session with executive women in business.”
Ms Hassan, will also address a joint sitting of Kenya’s Parliament.
Tanzania’s bilateral relations with Kenya have been strained in recent years as Dar es Salaam and Nairobi clashed on multiple fronts including trade.
President Hassan’s visit — her second official visit after Uganda since she took office — comes at a time Kenya and Tanzania have in the last four years had bruising fights over work visa, taxes and market access rights for items such as sugar, milk and dairy products.
This has affected bilateral trade between the two nations, prompting a series of meetings, including a summit in Arusha from November 12-16 last year to try and thaw the frosty ties.
The differences have threatened to slow down trade between the two countries, which amounts to Sh61.5 billion annually.
President Magufuli’s anti-corruption agenda, emphasis on hard work, fractious relations with multinational mining giants and significant investments in major public works, won him praise from many quarters.
But it went hand in hand with the narrowing of political space in Tanzania and strained bilateral relations with Kenya.
President Hassan has signalled a departure from the hardline stance, saying her administration is willing to work closely with Kenya with a view of “bolstering both nations’ trade ties and mutual interest.”
She stated this recently when President Uhuru Kenyatta dispatched Sports CS Amina Mohammed to deliver a message to her in Tanzania.
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