Speaking during the commissioning of the second container terminal at the Mombasa port, President Kenyatta downplayed the existence of any conflict, saying the two countries complement each other.
“I read a lot of newspapers and watch television news indicating there is conflict between us, but I want to clearly state here that Kenya and Tanzania are not in a conflict with each other,” he said.Mr Kenyatta said the two countries’ economies are tied to each other for benefit of their people.
He cited the new northern frontier corridor that would link the Mombasa port through the Kilimanjaro region to Bujumbura in Burundi, a route designed to shorten the distance by about 300 kilometres.
“East Africa is not in competition with itself. East Africa is in competition with the rest of the world. We want to complement one another. We want to take advantage of each other’s strengths in order to grow, to develop and boost our economies,” he said.He asked the media to stop spreading ‘lies’, saying the region’s interests are to expand its horizons to other neighbouring countries such as Somalia and Ethiopia.
The absence of the Tanzanian leader John Magufuli during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development led to speculation on his commitment to regional integration.
However, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the President Magufuli had sent a representative, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
“He is not the only one who didn’t attend. In fact, he was well represented so there is nothing to worry about. Tanzania and Kenya have excellent relations, so let us not dwell on the negatives,” she said in a phone interview.The Tanzanian leader has only travelled to Uganda and Rwanda since assuming office last October unlike his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete who was known to make many foreign visits.
He has also skipped at least five international meetings, including the World Trade Organisation conference in Nairobi last December, the AU Summit in Addis Ababa in January, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Nairobi last month as well as the AU meeting in Kigali.
- Story via The Nation