BILATERAL RELATIONS

Tanzanian's President Suluhu jets in Tuesday for two-day visit

She arrives in Kenya some three weeks after being hosted by Uganda's Yoweri Museveni.

In Summary
  • The visit is seen as an effort to mend frosty relations between Dar and Nairobi, which escalated under the reign of the late President John Magufuli.
  • Tanzania is one of Kenya’s close partners in trade, security, education, agriculture and energy
President Samia Suluhu inspects a guard of honour.
President Samia Suluhu inspects a guard of honour.
Image: STATE HOUSE TANZANIA

President Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania arrives in the country Tuesday for a two-day state visit likely to rejig relations between the two neighbouring nations.

State House spokesperson Kanze Dena-Mararo on Sunday said President Uhuru Kenyatta will receive his Tanzania counterpart at State House, Nairobi.

It will be Suluhu's first official visit to Kenya as President, some three weeks after being hosted by Uganda's Yoweri Museveni.

“Other details of Her Excellency's visit will be shared in due course,” Dena said in the statement. 

The visit is seen as an effort to mend frosty relations between Dar and Nairobi, which escalated under the reign of the late President John Magufuli.

It comes barely a month after Uhuru sent Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to Tanzania to deliver Kenya’s invite to President Suluhu.

A statement by Tanzania's State House spokesperson Gerson Msigwa said Suluhu was ready to resolve all the differences between the two countries; perceived or real.

The statement further said Uhuru had assured Suluhu of Kenya’s commitment to cooperate with Tanzania for the betterment of the two nations.

Suluhu said Tanzania and Kenya should revive the Joint Permanent Commission, which she suggested would play a crucial role in strengthening bilateral relations.

The Commission, which has a membership comprising representatives from Kenya and Tanzania, has not met since 2016.

Tanzania is one of Kenya’s close partners in trade, security, education, agriculture and energy

The trade between the two countries amounts to over Sh61.5 billion annually.

Tanzania is seen to have superior advantages that put its economic potential way above its EAC neighbours.

In addition to being part of EAC, the country is a member of a much larger Southern African Development trade bloc. 

Further, Tanzania shares borders with eight countries, all with stable trade potential.

Kenya and Tanzania have had soured relations, with each country accusing the other of unfair trade practice. The rift widened during the reign of the former President.

Uhuru and Magufuli displayed harmony even when there were tensions between the two countries. The Covid-19 pandemic made matters when Magufuli eschewed medical advice and put no restrictions. 

When Suluhu was sworn-in in and became the first female president in Tanzania, there was hope that the relations would be restored.

On April 11, Suluhu visited Museveni in Uganda. It was also her first official state visit.

In just one month, Suluhu has repositioned the private sector as the engine for economic growth and castigated Tanzania's Revenue Authority's approach to collecting taxes, which she said was driving away investors.

She expressed concern that the ports authority had not accounted for about Tsh4 billion ($1.8 million) following an audit and directed the Ministry of Investment to crack down on corruption.

She immediately instructed the newly formed Investment ministry to avoid past mistakes with investors.