Kenya: Full in-Tray for Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu as She Arrives in Kenya

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu arrived in Kenya on Tuesday morning for a two-day state visit to Nairobi, her first since she took power following the death of John Pombe Magufuli in March.

Ms Suluhu, who arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly after 9.30am, was wearing a white face mask, keeping with tradition of donning one when on foreign trips. She chooses when to wear face masks in public, routinely abandoning it in Tanzania while wearing it abroad.

She was received by a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, and immediately headed to State House for a bilateral meeting with her host, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

This is the first time a Tanzanian President is making a State visit to Kenya since October 2016.

Ms Suluhu visited Uganda last month when the two countries inked an oil pipeline deal worth $3.5 billion with oil giants Total and CNOOC.

Renew ties

At State House today, she received a 21-gun salute, a privilege and tradition given to visiting Heads of State.

Beyond the pleasantries, however, her trip comes at a time both countries are seeking to renew ties and resolve perennial tiffs touching on cross-border trade, including non-tariff barriers.

An immediate concern will be cooperation around Covid-19 management. Tanzania is yet to release fresh data on new infections since May last year, even though President Suluhu said she had formed a committee to look into the key issues around the pandemic.

As neither the identity nor terms of reference of the team was made public, it remains a matter of voluntary prevention measures in Tanzania.

Last month, the UK imposed travel restrictions on Kenya after London said that a significant number of travellers transiting through Nairobi from Tanzania had tested positive for Covid-19. Nairobi responded by issuing similar restrictions on the UK, but it is expected that the matter will come up in Nairobi as Mr Kenyatta and Ms Suluhu meet today.

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