Uhuru, EAC presidents yet to send Magufuli goodwill message ahead of Thursday swearing in

MagufuliPresident-elect John Magufuli’s swearing in ceremony on Thursday has kicked a diplomatic storm after it emerged the Kenya government is dilly-dallying in recognising the new President.

Five days after he was declared the winner in the tightly contested poll, President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to send out an official congratulatory message to the new president.

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Apart from Uhuru, other East African leaders Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) are yet to sent a good will message to Magufuli.

The three leaders are the key players in the EAC subgroup calling itself the “coalition of the willing” which has opted to move on with integration with the exclusion of Tanzania and Burundi.

Magufuli will take oath of assumption to office on Thursday, at a ceremony to be held at National Stadium in the capital, Dar es Salaam.

The opposition, led by former PM Edward Lowassa has rejected the results.

Even though State House confirmed Uhuru will attend, it remains unclear why he has not formally recognised Magufuli’s victory, despite the National Election Commission declaring him the winner.

“You will have to wait for the goodwill message,” State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu, told the Star on Tuesday.

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.

The Kenyan opposition has secured invites to the event and yesterday Cord leadership was putting final touches on the list of its delegation.

Raila Odinga will lead the high-powered team of his coalition after CCM set out 20 slots for him and his delegation.

Those confirmed for Magufuli’s swearing-in include Senate Minority leader Moses Wetangula, Senate Minority Whip Johnson Muthama, Siaya Senator James Orengo and Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan.

Others are ODM chairman John Mbadi, Secretary General Ababu Namwamba, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed.

There have been reports Kenya’s position in the election was divided along sectarian lines. Whereas the government supported opposition candidate Edward Lowassa, the Kenyan opposition threw its weight behind Magufuli.

Magufuli is a well-known friend to Raila and the Cord leader was among the first to send a congratulatory message when he was declared the winner on Thursday last week.

Eldas MP Adan Keynan, chairman of parliament foreign affairs committee, expressed concern about the state of affairs, saying it was not good for a friendly country, a neighbour and EAC member.

“What is happening is not indicative of good, cordial bilateral relationship taking into account Tanzania is in the EAC and a neighbour,” he said.

“Let us hope that the delay by the government to issue a formal congratulatory message does not confirm existing fears that it supported the Tanzanian opposition.”

– the-star.co.ke

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