Magufuli Heaps Praise on Kenyan Ambassador Dan Kazungu [VIDEO]

  • File image of President John Pombe Magufuli (Tanzania)
    File image of President John Pombe Magufuli (Tanzania)
  • Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli heaped praise on Kenya's Ambassador to the country, Dan Kazungu, during an event at his official residence on Thursday, May 21.

    He gushed over the ambassador for clearly defending his country as a diplomatic tiff threatened to boil over, after President Uhuru Kenyatta shut down the country's border with Tanzania on Saturday, May 16.

    With Tanzanian ambassadors present at the event, Magufuli told them that he wished they could emulate Kazungu.

    He went on to jokingly state that he was ready to offer Kazungu a position within Tanzania's administration if he moved from Kenya to the neighbouring country.

    "I want to congratulate very much the Kenyan ambassador who is here. He is here because of his country.

    "When he saw there are some problems, he came out clearly in the open to speak and defend his country. Those are the kind of ambassadors I need.

    "I wish he could move to Tanzania for me to appoint him to a different position. He is a good ambassador," he asserted.

    Magufuli was making reference to a press conference in which Kazungu asserted that cordial relations between Kenya and Tanzania were key, citing binding cultural, historical and economic ties.

    He spoke as confusion reigned at border points when, in retaliation, Tanzania banned the entry of Kenyan cargo trucks into its territory.

    Magufuli reiterated that they would continue with plans to allow tourists back into the country, with the top-flight football league also expected to return as the economy re-opens. 

    He observed that Kenya was among Tanzania's biggest trading partners, stating that it was up to ambassadors to ensure the relationship was strengthened.

    Magufuli had on Wednesday, May 20 eased tensions when he revealed details of a phone-call he had with President Kenyatta in which they agreed to amicably reserve the border row.

    He urged Tanzanian citizens to observe precautionary measures as they went about their business, ruling out a lock-down in his tour of Central Tanzania.

    "We agreed with Honorable Kenyatta that our Ministers of Transport and the Provisional Commissioners here in Tanzania who are from Mwanza, Mara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga will meet their counterparts from Kenya.

    "They will discuss this issue and finish it. We need business and Kenyans too need business here," he stated, maintaining that Covid-19 could not be the source of disagreements.

    He congratulated Tanzanian Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu for her handling of the pandemic in Tanzania, even with the country attracting criticism from some quarters for its comparatively lax measures.

    Watch Magufuli open up on the phone call with Uhuru below:

    On Sunday, May 17, the Tanzanian government had made the announcement that all trucks from Kenya would not be allowed past the border points.

    "We need to do this so that we don't continue spoiling business for each other and putting the economic environment in a situation that brings about a lot of confusion and disagreement.

    "There is a lot we can say but at the end of the day this is what we are saying, for us not to infect each other, and for businesses not be ruined. For goods going from Tanzania to other countries, let the owners come for them at the border points.

    "Goods from other countries, particularly our neighbours Kenya, will be taken to the final destinations from here," an official had declared.