Uhuru and Magufuli revive joint team to improve ties
In March, Kenyan officials, including Energy CS Charles Keter, had their passports detained by Tanzanian officials
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and John Magufuli of Tanzania yesterday revived the Kenya-Tanzania Joint Commission for Cooperation to improve relations between the two countries.
The two directed their Foreign Affairs ministers to ensure the commission meets before the end of the year to look into all the issues.
The revival of the commission was necessitated by the sluggish relations between the two countries in the last couple of years.
In March, Kenyan officials, including Energy CS Charles Keter, had their passports detained by Tanzanian officials. They were on a fact-finding mission on the best route the Ugandan oil pipeline would take.
Yesterday, Uhuru and Magufuli downplayed perceptions the two countries have been experiencing frosty relations, even as they said they hoped to improve cooperation in trade and security. “We speak often with President Kenyatta on the phone, but because phone calls don’t always get seen in public, some people don’t know. Today, I want to say that we have always been in touch,” Magufuli said during a joint press conference with Uhuru at State House, Nairobi.
He said he was in the country to cement the “cordial relations”, terming Kenya Tanzania’s “number one partner in Africa.”
But Magufuli also made it clear the interests of his country and those of the Tanzanians come first, even as they join other countries to push for regional integration. “I have told President Kenyatta about the reality in Tanzania to enable it to move forward. We want Tanzanians to pay taxes, fight corruption and enable the country to move forward. I have also assured the President that Kenya is our partner number one in Africa - there are more Kenyan firms in Tanzania than any other African country’s,” he said.
Magufuli said 529 Kenyan companies have set up base in Tanzania and invested more than Sh170 billion, creating more than 56,260 jobs.
Uhuru said the visit by Magufuli is important, because the two countries share common ideals and principles, such has democracy.
“Many forget that Tanzania and Kenya are among the very few countries in the African continent that have change of government through democracy,” he said.
Uhuru said they discussed how to enhance cooperation as a way of growing the economies of the two countries and create jobs for young people.
‘WE SPEAK OFTEN WITH PRESIDENT KENYATTA ON THE PHONE, BUT BECAUSE PHONE CALLS DON’T ALWAYS GET SEEN IN PUBLIC, SOME PEOPLE DON’T KNOW’
Presidents John Magufuli of Tanzania and Uhuru Kenyatta address a news conference during his official visit to Nairobi yesterday
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