President Samia Seeks ‘Suluhu’ to Tanzania-Kenya Love-Hate Relationship

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Tanzania President Samia Suluhu will be trying to get solutions to the often strained relationship with its proud neighbour to the north when she visits Kenya on Tuesday.

Suluhu, who is barely two-months-old in office will be making her first visit to Kenya after taking over from late President John Pombe Magufuli.

She will be in the country for two days.

Magufuli died from a fatal heart attack on March 17 and Suluhu, his Vice President, was immediately thrust into power becoming the first woman to occupy the country’s presidency since independence from British colonialists in the 1960s.

During Mugufuli’s reign, Tanzania’s relationship with Kenya always remained on the edge of collapse as the President took a tough stance on various issues including on the future of the East African Community, trade between the neighbouring countries and just before his death, how to respond to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

When Kenya, for instance, closed its boundaries including one shared with Tanzania to avert more Covid-19 cases, Magufuli who had taken a radical stance over the pandemic, responded by blocking any transportation of goods across the border despite such action posing the risk of massive losses to the transporters and acute shortage of essential goods across the region.

Magufuli had opted for status quo letting his people to go on with their lives uninterrupted in the middle of the pandemic despite the dangers of doing so.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta implemented a stricter regime, imposing curfews, partial lockdowns, compulsory mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing in a bid to cut the spread of the deadly disease.

This put Kenya and Tanzania on loggerhead.

Suluhu has already shown her willingness to steer her country away from Magufuli’s radical idealogies to a reconciliatory path with neighbours.

She is expected to promote this new dawn to Kenya during her visit.