President Magufuli makes first state visit to Kenya

Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli arrives in the country on Monday for a two-day visit.

 

This will be Magufuli’s first to Kenya since he was sworn into office in October last year.

The leader who is known for his radical austerity measures will be accorded full state honours including a 21-gun salute and a military Guard of Honour.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will host Magufuli amid recent strained relations between the two East African neighbours.

Magufuli was conspicuously absent during the recent Tokyo International Conference on African Development held in Nairobi which attracted heads of state and government from across the continent.

The pipeline deal from Uganda that went sour for Kenya has also caused simmering tensions between the two nations after President Yoweri Museveni opted for the Tanzania route as opposed to the Lamu one.

This was seen by many as a blow for Kenya’s oil ambitions in eastern Africa and the country was left to go it alone in its plans to build a pipeline from Lokichar in its oil-rich Turkana region to Lamu, where it is building a port, close to the border with Somalia.

Strengthening ties

However, Magufuli’s visit aims at mending ties with Kenya as the two presidents are set to hold a series of bi-lateral talks on matters dealing in trade, immigration and education among others.

“The President’s visit offers us a chance to renew and deepen our partnership in a number of fields. The two Heads of Government will discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest at the bilateral and regional level” said statehouse spokesman Manoah Esipisu.

He added, “Our focus will be on the areas in which there already has been consultations, and where we can expect concrete results to be announced”.

The Tanzanian leader has only travelled to Uganda and Rwanda since coming to power last October.

Last month, Uhuru sent a donation of 4,000 iron sheets, 400 blankets and 100 mattresses, airlifted by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to assist Tanzanians following a devastating earthquake in Bukoba District. in North Western Tanzania.

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