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Photo by Simon MAINA / AFP) (Photo by SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya's Speaker of the National Assembly Justine Muturi (L) looks on as Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan (R) addresses a joint Parliament session of Members of Parliament and Senators in Nairobi on May 5, 2021.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan Makes Amends With Kenya

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has visited Kenya to mend relations which were severed during the late John Magufuli's mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tanzania's first female head of state President Samia Suluhu Hassan has reportedly made amends with Kenya. This, after Kenya had closed its entry point to the neighbouring country during the late President John Magufuli's mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hassan visited Kenya earlier in the week where she presented her address in Kenya's parliament and followed mask-wearing protocol throughout her entire two-day visit. President Hassan's move marks a political breakthrough for the two countries after Magufuli's persistent COVID-19 denialism.


Read: Tanzanian President Announces New COVID-19 Task Force

According to the BBC, Hassan's Presidential address in Kenya was in Swahili, a native language in both countries. The Tanzanian President eloquently made cultural analogies to drive home a point about the effectiveness of adhering to mask protocol.

"We're here everybody with masks on our faces - and when I see people with masks on faces it reminds me in our village, when we go and do the herding with the goats, we protect them [with a muzzle] from eating the crops on the way… so we cover them the same way we are doing today… we have to do it."

Hassan's first initiative as President was to implement a special COVID-19 task force following the government's lack of initiative under Magufuli. Magufuli's denial and lack of proactivity against COVID-19 led to Kenya closing entry points between the two countries. Hassan continued to reemphasise East Africa's strong regional trade influence, and strength, by alluding to one of the world's greatest spectacle of the wildebeest migrating across the two countries seasonally. Her approach to mending and strengthening relations, between the two countries, came with some comical charm as Hassan played with her last name Suluhu and Kenya's president's name Uhuru Kenyatta. Suluhu meaning solution and Uhuru meaning freedom.

Hassan's address also touched on celebrating Kenya's cultural uniqueness. She commended the Kenyan parliament's milestone decision to have its proceedings in Swahili from November 2020 — despite widespread criticism that Kenya's Swahili is a diluted version of Tanzania's Swahili. The two-day trip was admittedly a success for reconciling Presidential relations.

Magufuli died on March 18, aged 61, following a two-week mysterious sickness. He had been re-elected for his second five-year Presidential term a few months before his death. Hassan, the former vice-president, was inaugurated on March 23 and took over the remainder of Magufuli's second five-year term.

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