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Kenyan delegation plane to Mkapa funeral forced to turn midair

By Judah Ben-Hur | July 28th 2020

An aircraft carrying President Uhuru Kenyatta's envoy to the late President Benjamin Mkapa’s funeral was forced to turn back midair on Tuesday due to bad weather.

The news was broken by Tanzania Foreign affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Prof Palamagamba Kabudi. Prof Kabudi also confirmed that the aircraft safely landed in Nairobi.

Professor Kabudi spoke during the national farewell at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Saalam where he confirmed that the delegation was expected to represent President Uhuru.

“We were expected to have with us the special envoy representing president Uhuru Kenyatta, Senator Samuel Losuron Poghisio, Majority Leader of the Kenyan Senate, but we have received information that the plane was forced to turn mid-air in Monduli,” said Professor Kabudi during the service.

Professor Kabudi’s remarks brush off any assumptions of a squabble between the two countries which have in previous months had border conflicts over Covid-19 testing regulation which locked out many Tanzanian drivers.

But an investigation by Standard Digital revealed that the circumstances that may have led to the aircraft turning back midair could have been minimal. For instance, according to weather surveillance website Sat24.com, Monduli in Tanzania is 22.1 C with the wind running at 21.8 km/h (4 bft, 11.8 knts). The area is also fairly cloudy and sunny.

Generally, according to Skyscanner.com threats forcing planes to shelve landing include thunderstorms, extremely heavy rain that contains strong wind shear, large hail, severe turbulence or wind in excess of 54.7 km/h-64.3km/h are generally prohibitive of take-off and landing.

Such weather elements were not present in Monduli at the time thus challenging the explanation as to why the plane turned back mid-air.

The late President Mkapa who died on Thursday last week at age 81, ruled Tanzania from 1995 to 2005. The East African leader will be remembered greatly by Kenyans for his role in striking a peace deal between Raila Odinga and retired President Mwai Kibaki during the 2007 post-election crisis.

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