09:59 pm
24 October 2016

Kenyatta, Kagame, Museveni, Not Yet Congratulated Tanzania’s Magufuli

The refusal by the Tanzanian opposition to concede defeat in the presidential election is one of the reasons President Uhuru Kenyatta has not congratulated President-elect John Magufuli.

CCM candidate Magufuli was declared winner six days ago, but Kenya has yet to publicly endorse the poll and send a congratulatory message.

Magufuli will take the oath of office tomorrow at a ceremony at the National Stadium, Dar es Salaam.

But there is confusion in Kenya over whether the Jubilee administration will be represented at the inauguration.

It remains unclear why Kenya, the EAC and other leaders are yet to send their congratulatory messages to Magufuli.

However, sources in government have intimated the reason could be because the opposition in Tanzania has cried foul and some observers have cast doubt on the integrity of the poll.

Dr Gideon Maina, an international relations expert and Pioneer International University vice-chancellor, said the reluctant response could be aimed at protecting reciprocal national interests.

“Uhuru may be waiting for the swearing-in so as not to antagonise the people of Tanzania. As you are aware, this election is already contested. Such a cautious approach is also based on the interests of the respective countries.”

Another issue could be the perception that Magufuli is too close to Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Maina added that the delegations at tomorrow’s swearing in will also show what the East African leaders think of Magufuli as the newest statesman in the region.

“Once we see who will be representing Kenya or Uganda, whether the Presidents will go or will send ministers, we can then analyse the situation further,” Maina said.

And even though State House yesterday confirmed President Kenyatta will attend, questions remain over a delay that is so inconsistent with traditional protocol, especially because Tanzania is a friendly country.

Eldas MP Adan Keynan expressed concern about the state of affairs, saying it was not good for a friendly country that is also a neighbour and EAC member.

He said Tanzania is a critical component of Kenya’s development agenda and noted the long history of friendship between the two countries.

The Committee on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly also criticised the Kenyan government’s protocol.

Vice-chairman Barre Shill said the committee was concerned because the government’s behaviour touches on the EAC’s future.

“Maybe the executive has its own reasons and remember there were issues around the outcome of the election – the executive could be playing cautious, even though I don’t speak for it.

But State House called for patience. “You will have to wait for the goodwill message,” Manoah Esipisu, the State House spokesman, told the Star yesterday.

Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed confirmed through a text message the Ministry is working on a list of its delegation and promised to confirm details later.

Raila will lead a large delegation of his coalition after CCM set out 20 slots for him and his delegation.