There is high expectation for strengthened regional co-operation from President Samia Suluhu Hassan despite the fact that only one head of state from East Africa turned up for president John Magufuli’s state funeral held at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma on March 22.
In her speech in Dodoma, President Suluhu promised co-operation with regional states to ensure good relations; “We will pay back the kindness you have shown to us that had strengthened our relations and co-operation among us.’’
She said this was the only way to ensure a fast-tracked economic development.
The president is not new to regional or international diplomacy, having represented Magufuli in most key regional and international events in the United Nations, African Union, SADC and the EAC heads of state meetings.
Mozambican president who doubles as the SADC chairman Filipe Nyusi had assured the regional support to Tanzania under President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Nyusi said that SADC will maintain its solidarity and support to the new Tanzanian president.
Tanzania opposition ACT Wazalendo politician, Zitto Kabwe, said that President Suluhu will bring about new leadership for Tanzania and she’s known for her political steadfastness from her days as a Cabinet minister in the Zanzibar government.
Chairman of the Pretoria-based African Tourism Board (ATB) Cuthbert Ncube said his board will work closely with Tanzania.
“Let me however assure all that ATB will not relent at engaging tourism stakeholders in Tanzania to ensure we keep the cordial relationship,” he said.
“Generally the late Magufuli was an inward looking president. Unlike his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete who had a passion for regional integration and generally the EAC in particular,” said Prof Amukowa Anangwe, Kenya’s former Foreign Minister and currently professor at Dodoma University.
“In the EA region, Tanzania was somehow very lukewarm towards the EAC. Most of the time they would hold back their governmental decisions whereas other countries may have taken those decisions in order to move some of the protocols and treaties forward,” Prof Anangwe explained.
“So I don’t think that Magufuli has a strong legacy of regional integration. In fact, he has been an impediment to say the least.”
But if Prof Anangwe’s verdict was too harsh, President Uhuru ignored the differences that were brought about by his tenure to lavish praise on a president Tanzanians mourned and praised for having fought corruption.
He described him as a ‘’personal friend’’ and a leader who had demonstrated that Africa could do without foreign aid.
Dr Abdullah Hasnu Makame, EALA MP, a long serving Tanzanian MP lavished Magufuli with praise.
“While he was the chair of the EAC summit in 2016, he performed exceptionally well. He mediated peace in Burundi and advocated the use of Kiswahili as an official language at the United Nations.”
“Contrary to others’ opinion, the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania and the two presidents was very cordial. And that is why in diplomatic circles, President Uhuru will go down in history as the first president to call President Samia Suluhu Hassan and assure her of cooperation similar to one he gave to Magufuli,” said Dr. Makame.
“That explains how the two presidents were brothers, we are one people and we value the relationship between the two countries.”