Tanzania presidential nominee, Dr John P Magufuli, yesterday hosted Opposition leader Raila Odinga in Dar es Salaam city, only a couple of days after securing the all-important ticket of the ruling CCM party.
Raila was received in the morning at Julius Nyerere International Airport‘s Terminal One, by Magufuli himself – a longtime personal friend and political soul mate. The encounter between the two leaders was non-publicised and neither party gave an official statement on the meeting.
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The meeting was such top secret affair that one of the online papers in Tanzania broke the news in Kiswahili, "Raila Odinga atua Dar es salaam kumtembelea Magufuli kwa kificho kikali“.
Contacted earlier on his whereabouts, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader‘s official spokesman, Dennis Onyango, told The Standard On Standard that Raila had flown to Tanzania but made no mention of the country‘s presidential candidate. However, Onyango explained that the former Prime Minister was on his way to the neighbouring Zanzibar country to attend a Global Peace Leadership Conference. But while in Dar es Salaam, Raila was expected to watch the football match between premier league Champions, Gor Mahia, and Tanzania‘s champions, Yanga, in the ongoing CECAFA Club championships.
Magufuli is a close friend of Raila and at the start of the year he represented outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete at the funeral of Raila‘s eldest son, Fidel Odinga, where he delivered strong political statement in support of "my brother Raila“.
Curiously, both leaders have served as Cabinet ministers in the ministry of Roads and Public Works in their respective countries. They share a strong belief in the fact that infrastructural development is key creation of employment opportunities. Magufuli has since 2007 backed Raila‘s quest for presidency, endorsing his candidature in 2007 and in 2012. By virtue of clinching the ticket of the popular CCM party, Magufulu himself is considered by pundits more or less as President-elect already.
Speaking from Nairobi, following his nomination, Raila hailed Magufuli‘s nomination describing him as an experienced and visionary leader who has the political maturity and know how to lead.