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Tanzania President John Magufuli visit to Kenya golden

COMMENTARY
By Nicholas Asego | October 31st 2016
Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is expected in Kenya for a two-day visit starting today. And it could not have come at a better time given the many instances that have strained ties between the two countries.PHOTO: COURTESY

Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is expected in Kenya for a two-day visit starting today. And it could not have come at a better time given the many instances that have strained ties between the two countries.

Magufuli’s absence at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi was seen as evidence of sour relations. Sometime back Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority decided to cut the number of Kenya Airways flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam from 42 to a mere 14 per week.

This was seen as a response to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority’s reluctance to grant a Tanzanian-based airline, Fastjet, rights to fly into Nairobi. Kenya had also banned Tanzanian tour vans from accessing the Jomo Kenyatta airport.

In May, Tanzania authorities confiscated the passports of Kenyan officials who were mapping proposed routes with their Ugandan counterparts. Early this month, Tanzania distanced itself from the common visa launched between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. So it has not been all rosy despite the Government’s insistence that all was well.

But Magufuli’s visit is an opportunity to strengthen the ties between the two countries. It is also an opportunity to address issues of regional trade.

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