DEMOCRATIC Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi arrived in Dar es Salaam yesterday for a two-day state visit.
The president of the largest Sub-Saharan Africa’s nation and the second largest in Africa—after Algeria—jetted in at around 5pm at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) where he was received by his host, President John Magufuli. Upon arrival at the airport, President Tshisekedi received a 21-gun salute before inspecting a guard of honour.
The two leaders then drove directly to State House for the state banquette. Former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former Zanzibar President Aman Abeid Karume, former Prime Ministers Edward Lowassa and Joseph Warioba attended the state banquet.
Speaking at the banquet, President Magufuli congratulated the Congolese leader for his victory in the general elections and praised former DRC President Joseph Kabila for embracing democracy. Dr Magufuli said Congolese and Tanzanians have had long and cordial relationship, adding that the citizens of both nations live like brothers and sisters.
He said: “Tanzania has been hosting refugees from DR Congo at different times because Congolese are our friends and neighbours.” President Magufuli commended his guest for deliberate initiative to bring peace in DRC, saying Tanzania will pull out his peace keeping troops from the rich-resource nation once peace is established.
President Tshisekedi is today expected to make a tour of Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) in Dar es Salaam before holding talks with his host at the State House. Briefing reporters ahead of President Tshisekedi’s arrival, Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda said that the two heads of state will deliberate on how to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
The visiting president is expected to fly back home this afternoon. DRC conducted its general elections in December last year to get the successor to President Kabila in which Mr Tshisekedi emerged victorious with 38.6 per cent of the votes, defeating another opposition candidate Martin Fayulu and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
However, Mr Fayulu alleged that the election was rigged against him in a deal made by Tshisekedi and former President Kabila and moved to the country’s constitutional court to challenge the results.