2 December 2012

Tanzania: Bilal Attends Mexico's Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Mohamed Garib Bilal was among dignitaries who witnessed the swearing-in of Mexico's new leader, President Enrique Pena Nieto in New Mexico City.

He represented President Jakaya Kikwete. Dr Bilal left the country four days ago leading a government delegation in a show of deepening business and diplomatic ties with a country fast shifting into the middle income category and now deemed the favourite destination for foreign investments in Latin America, the Director of Information Services, Mr Assah Mwambene, told the 'Sunday News'.

Agencies reported that the transfer of executive powers occurred at exactly 00:01 local time just after midnight at the Presidential Place when outgoing President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa received the national flag from a military school cadet, which he immediately handed over to Mr Nieto, symbolizing the new leader had also assumed the powers of Commander-in-Chief of the Mexican armed forces.

Mexico's Honorary Consul in Tanzania, Mr Reza Saboor said Mexico was determined to scale up business and economic ties with Tanzania, "which it considers its twin brother" in Africa. Tanzania's former major export crop, sisal was introduced into the country at the beginning of the 20th century from Mexico.

He said Mexico was particularly keen to help Tanzania build low cost houses, an area that the Latin American country has "a lot of expertise and experience in." Mexico also wants to further cultural exchanges with Tanzania to make diplomatic ties be truly driven and inspired by the people themselves, he added.

Mexico and Tanzania had full diplomatic relations but the country's mission in Dar es Salaam was closed until Mr Saboor, a Tanzanian businessman, was appointed the Honorary Consul early this year. Mid last month, patrons to the Diplomatic Spouses Group (DSG) Bazaar in Dar es Salaam had the rare opportunity to taste Mexican food when the consulate participated for the first time in the annual event.

The money raised goes to several charities, including assisting children living in challenging conditions and orphans. Mr Nieto, leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) took the oath of office in the lower House of Congress (parliament) at 10:00 am, finalising the democratic, peaceful and orderly transfer of executive powers.

He won the polls held in July this year. Elections in Mexico are held after every six years with the winner determined on a simple majority. The constitution prohibits run-offs in elections.

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