Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan to arrive in Kenya on Tuesday

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan inspects a guard of honor. PHOTO | COURTESY
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan inspects a guard of honor. PHOTO | COURTESY

Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, will arrive in the country on Tuesday for a two-day State visit to Kenya.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta will receive his Tanzania counterpart at State House, Nairobi.

State House spokesperson Kanze Dena-Mararo said other details of President Suluhu’s visit will be shared in due course.

She made her first trip as President to Uganda on April 11 with President Yoweri Museveni stating that the aim of her visit was to strengthen bilateral ties and finalize the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Tripartite project agreement.

Interestingly, President Suluhu and her delegation wore masks throughout the visit and subsequent meeting, only taking them off briefly during the bilateral talks.

The newly-sworn in Tanzanian Head of State appeared to draw a line under her predecessor’s controversial stances on COVID-19 and the media, indicating an apparent change in course for the nation after the death of John Magufuli in March.

“We cannot segregate ourselves like an island, but also we cannot blindly accept what is being brought forward to us (on COVID-19) without carrying out our own investigations and inputs,” she told officials at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam. “Let us have a stance.”

She also announced the establishment of a committee to investigate whether Tanzania should take the same approach to the pandemic as the rest of the world.

Though she did not announce any other changes related to COVID-19 policies, the remarks stood in firm contrast to the position of Magufuli, who was Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 sceptic.

President Suluhu also announced that media that had been banned by Magufuli’s government should be allowed to operate. “We should not ban the media by force. Reopen them, and we should ensure they follow the rules. We should not give them room to say we are shrinking press freedom.”

Additional reporting from Reuters

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