STATE VISIT

Gun salute, address to Parliament part of State honour for TZ's Suluhu

Leader will also make an address at a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate

In Summary
  • First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will host an official State Dinner for Suluhu at State House
  • Uhuru and Suluhu Hassan will hold consultations at a business forum for Tanzanian and Kenyan business community
Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Image: COURTESY

The government plans to give Tanzanian President Suluhu Hassan elaborate State honours, including an opportunity to address a joint sitting of Parliament and 21 gun salute.

President Hassan arrives in Kenya on Tuesday, slightly over a month after she assumed office. Her visit is seen as a turning point in the diplomatic relations of the two East African neighbours. 

House Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) on Monday gazetted the joint special sitting.

"Notice is given to all members of the National Assembly that the Speaker of the National Assembly, in consultation with the Speaker of the Senate, has arranged for a joint sitting of Parliament to be held on Wednesday, May, 2021 at 2.30pm at the National Assembly Chamber, Main Parliament Buildings,” the notice by Muturi reads.

Lusaka immediately cancelled a special sittings that had been scheduled for the Senate to debate the BBI bill and consider the County Allocation of Revenue Bill, 2021, to pave way for the address

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Suluhu will inspect a guard of honour and then receive a 21 gun salute upon arrival at State House.

She will thereafter proceed for bilateral meetings and consultations as she kicks off the two-day visit

“President Uhuru Kenyatta and the First Lady Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta will host an official State Dinner for Her Excellency at State House,” the statement said.

Uhuru and President Hassan will also hold consultations at a business forum for Tanzanian and Kenyan business community.

“Suluhu Hassan will also attend a session with executive women in business,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added.

“The State visit comes at a time when Kenya and Tanzania are working closely to deepen ties in the area of trade and people-to-people relations; including the private sector, arts, culture, wildlife matters, tourism and cooperation at the continental and multilateral levels,” the ministry added.

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

Kenya is the biggest investor in Tanzania while Tanzanian exports to Kenya have been on an upward trajectory in the last 10 years. The trade between the two countries amounts to over Sh61.5 billion annually.

Further still, Kenya and Tanzania are members of the East African Community currently chaired by Uhuru.

President Hassan is visiting on Uhuru’s invitation, a visit seen as an effort to mend frosty relations between Dar es Salam and Nairobi, which escalated under the reign of the President John Magufuli.

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

However, Uhuru and Magufuli displayed harmony even when there were tensions between the two countries.

The visit comes barely a month after Uhuru dispatched Sports CS Amina Mohamed to Tanzania to deliver the invite to the Tanzanian leader.

During the meeting with Amina, President Hassan said Tanzania and Kenya should revive the Joint Permanent Commission, which she suggested would play a crucial role in strengthening bilateral relations. The commission has not met since 2016.

When Hassan was sworn-in and became the first female president in Tanzania, there was hope that diplomatic relations would improve as she was not as inward looking as Magufuli.

-Edited by SKanyara