The Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam was yesterday a hive of activity; as President John Magufuli found himself with a busy itinerary, welcoming two heads of African states, one of them on a three-day state visit and the other on a day's working visit.
Zambia's President Edgar Lungu arrived in the city for a three-day state visit while President Idriss Deby of Chad jetted in for the working visit. TTanzania and Zambia have shared and continue to serve a number of things in common.
They share a common border and thus characterised by decades of interaction between the peoplesof the two countries dating back to the colonial era.
They had both been members of the pre-independence regional liberation movement -- Pan African Freedom Movement of East, Southern and Central Africa (PAFMECA) -- and are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The construction of the 1,860km-railway line linking the Port City of Dar es Salaam and Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia, a turnkey project supported and financed by China to help the landlocked southern African country meet her export and import obligations after the Unilateral Declaration of independence by British rebel Ian Smith, served as the ultimate turning point.
The UDI era and the protracted liberation struggles in Mozambique and Angola saw Zambia being denied access to the ports of Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) and Beira respectively by the Portuguese colonialists.
Dar es Salaam was picked the alternative port. At personal level, both founding fathers of the two countries- Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia-- had forged a friendship as they both fought for the independence of their countries.
In his book 'Zambia Shall Be Free", Dr Kaunda even narrated how he and other North Rhodesian (Zambian) independence icons ventured into Mbeya, where they had a brief teaching stint in colonial Tanganyika.
They are both members of the Commonwealth as former British colonies and the African Union AU) since the days of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
Mwalimu Nyerere and Mzee Kaunda's ties were good and even got more personal as the latter named one of his sons Kambarage, Mwalimu's childhood name. Mwaiseni ku Tanzania President Lungu.