PRESIDENT Mwai Kibaki of Kenya has commended the cordial relations enjoyed between Tanzania and Kenya at the end of his two-day tour of the country to bid farewell as his second and last term in office comes to an end.
Addressing Dar es Salaam elders at PTA Hall, Mr Kibaki said the relationship between the two countries dates back to the days of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's presidency and expressed his desire to see the same relationship lasting. "I believe this friendship that has lasted for many years will continue to grow.
I am also pleased by the gesture of renaming Old Bagamoyo road after me," he said, adding that his country will reciprocate by naming roads after Tanzanian leaders. He also called for more cooperation between the countries in different development programmes including education and business projects.
President Kibaki also urged Tanzanians to ensure Kiswahili is promoted, especially now that the African Union (AU) has recognized it as the official language to be used in Africa.
"It all started with Tanzania and Kenya recognizing Kiswahili as the official language, then later Uganda and the rest of the East Africa Community member states and now AU has recognized it as the African language, this is something we should be proud of," he explained.
The Kenyan president said Tanzanians should make use of opportunities presented by the East African Community (EAC) not only in promoting Kiswahili language but also to take up business ventures now that many hurdles that hindered trade have been removed.
Speaking during the same occasion, Minister of State in the President's Office (Good Governance), Mr George Mkuchika hailed President Kibaki, noting that he has contributed immensely in Kenya's progress and EAC. He observed that Mr Kibaki has served under all previous Kenyan presidents in different capacities including as finance minister and vice president before becoming president.
During his tour, Mr Kibaki also visited Ukonga Prison where he was received by the Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, and said he will pass on to Kenyan prison authorities the experience gained from Tanzania. "Kenya is doing a lot to reform its prison department, and such an opportunity and experience will go a long way to help with the said reforms," he said.
Earlier, Dr Nchimbi expressed gratitude to President Kibaki for choosing Tanzania to bid farewell before he steps down after his second term as president of Kenya. "We will surely recognize and remember your good work in Kenya and the EAC," Dr Nchimbi noted.