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Suluhu: I came to introduce myself, cement Kenya-Tanzania ties

NATIONAL
By Patrick Vidija | May 5th 2021

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu when she arrived at State House Nairobi for State banquet hosted in her honour by President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.[PSCU]

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu says her visit to Kenya is aimed at cementing the historical friendship and brotherhood that exists between the people of the two neighbours.

Suluhu says during her tenure as Tanzania’s President, she will strive to strengthen Dar-Nairobi relations, especially in economic cooperation.

“As you are aware in the current world, relations between nations are based on economics. All other issues will naturally fall in place because of our blood relations but economically we need to lay out sound policies to build strong economies,” she says.

Suluhu spoke on Tuesday night during a State banquet hosted in her honour by President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House Nairobi.

She said during their private talks with President Kenyatta, they agreed on the need to create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and participate fully in economic development.

“Investments from Kenya to Tanzania are largely good. We have about 513 Kenyan companies in Tanzania but from Tanzania to Kenya we have only 30 companies. Now when I go back I will urge more Tanzanian investors to come in and set shop in Kenya so that we can improve on our economies,” Suluhu said.

She expressed gratitude to the Government and the citizens of Kenya for standing with Tanzania when the country lost its fifth President the late John Pombe Magufuli.

“I have come to Kenya for three main reasons. The first is to thank you. As you are aware on March 17, 2021, we were bereaved nationally and our brother (President Kenyatta) walked with us every step of our mourning. It was not only him, we also received many condolences from Kenyans saying, ‘our Magufuli has left us'. And with this, I knew Magufuli was loved in all of East Africa, in Kenya, Uganda as everyone kept saying, ‘our friend Magufuli has died',” President Suluhu recalled.

She said the decision by President Uhuru to attend the State funeral of the late President Magufuli was a sign of true brotherhood, which demonstrated care and love for Tanzania.

“I have also come to introduce myself to Kenya since immediately after the death of our President, I took over the leadership as stated in our constitution, that the Vice President takes over as Head of State when the President dies in office. This is why we had a smooth transition from one President to another because we honour what our constitution says,” she said.

Suluhu said immediately she was sworn in as President, Uhuru called her telling her that she had no reason to fear.

“When my brother attended the state funeral he told me, ‘Samia you have no reason to fear to lead this nation because you have been mentored well by Magufuli and there’s nothing that you don’t know,” she said.

According to her, it is Uhuru’s words of encouragement that keeps reminding her of the strong bond of brotherhood and comradeship that exists between Kenya and Tanzania.

“From the onset, I had the desire to visit Kenya, in order to strengthen our brotherhood and neighbourhood for the improvement of our citizens. Tanzania and Kenya are neighbours but our neighbourliness and brotherhood is not as a result of the waters of the Indian Ocean or Lake Victoria, rather we are also blood brothers. It’s no wonder that we have various communities sharing similar cultures and languages residing inside these two countries,” she said.

President Suluhu arrived in the country on Tuesday morning for a two-day state visit.

The two countries have already signed a deal for the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas via pipeline from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam.

Nairobi and Dar es Salaam have further agreed that Tanzanian and Kenyan health ministers will craft a framework for speedy Covid-19 checks at the borders to avoid crossing delays.

Her visits culminate in her address to joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate today in the afternoon.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his sentiments assured Suluhu that Kenya will continue to work with Tanzania to achieve the vision of full regional integration held by East Africa's founding fathers.

 

The head of State said Suluhu’s visit demonstrates her desire to continue improving and strengthening good neighbourliness.

“To us Tanzanians are not just neighbours but rather they are our brothers. I have no doubt that our sister President Samia Suhulu will continue with the position which her predecessors took just as I will also do so to improve our relations between our citizens as all that is required is to ensure our brotherhood lasts,” Uhuru said.

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