ON Friday President John Magufuli received his visitor, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in Chato, Geita Region, where the latter had gone for a two-day private visit.
Addressing Chato residents and various government officials and guests. Both Heads of State stressed that Tanzanians and Kenyans, including other East African nationals, were one people and so there was no need for making hate speeches against each other.
President Magufuli, especially, showed how Tanzanians benefited from living and working in Kenya and how Kenyans also benefitted from living and working in Tanzania. President Kenyatta too showed how peaceful coexistence benefited the EAC bloc.
They said this as they recalled recent unfortunate and xenophobic remarks made by a Kenyan politician, Mr Charles Njagua, concerning foreigners living and working in Kenya.
Presidents Magufuli and Kenyatta know well what xenophobic remarks might lead to. This has happened not only in Africa, but also in other countries across the world.
That is why they took the trouble to show how they were dismayed by the politician’s remarks, taking into account that the five partner states–the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, South Sudan and the Republic of Uganda–had decided to form a powerful and sustainable East African Community (EAC), bloc, which would be economically and politically stable.
This means East African population is now at least 172 million people with a land area of 2.5 million square metres and a combined GDP of $172bn, according to EAC statistics of 2017.
We may also say the two Presidents’ words echo Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s he said in the late 1990s that “while other nations (referring to Western Europe and North America) are uniting, while we seem to be crumbling.”
At that time he was appealing to Tanzanians to maintain unity, stressing that “what I say about Tanzania applies also to the entire African continent”.
It is in light of this, that we have decided to recall the two Heads of State’s speeches because we think that the unity we are building in the EAC bloc should extend to the entire African continent.
So, we shouldn’t allow some people to sow the seeds of hatred that will in the end make us crumble and start fighting against each other either as nations or people.
As the Presidents well put it, if we all live in peace with each other it means we can intermarry and live and work anywhere we like in East Africa.
But the contrary is also true for if we are crumbling it means we will be busy fighting against each other, which we won’t accept for its adverse consequences.
So, let the words of our Heads of State inspire us to maintain peace, harmony and friendly relationship among East Africans.