President Samia Suluhu Hassan to address Parliament today

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu during her visit to former President Jomo Kenyatta’s Mausoleum in Nairobi on Tuesday, May 04 2021 [David Njaaga, Standard]

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan will today address a joint sitting of Parliament.

She will be the third foreign head of state to address the bicameral Parliament and the second Tanzanian president to do so.

President Suluhu will also make history as the first female Commander-in-Chief to address the august House.

Others who have addressed Parliament are former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in 2015 and former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013. Both addresses were before Kenya’s 12th Parliament.

Addressing a foreign Parliament is considered an honour to any visiting head of state.

In 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed Uganda’s Parliament.

President Suluhu will address the afternoon sitting, which will commence at 2.30pm at the National Assembly Chamber.

This comes weeks after she was sworn in to replace the late President John Pombe Magufuli.

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Her address is different to Kikwete’s, who spoke to lawmakers at the tail-end of his second term in office. At the time, the former president assured that Tanzania would forge strong ties with Kenya.

“The ties between Kenya and Tanzania have been their strongest during my term as president and that will not change,” Kikwete told MPs.

But the relationship between the two East African neighbours has been frosty during Magufuli’s tenure.

Suluhu is keen to pursue rapprochement with her allies in the region.

She directed ministers who form the Joint Permanent Commission from Tanzania and Kenya to meet and agree on different issues to strengthen the ties.

Her address today will undoubtedly highlight the steps her government will take towards improving bilateral ties.

In her joint address with President Kenyatta at State House yesterday, the Tanzanian leader enumerated some joint programmes the two countries would embark on.

Today, she will likely highlight specific frameworks to guide engagements between the two countries.

“Tanzania and Kenya are not just neighbours, but brothers and sisters… our shared border is the largest within the East African region,” she said yesterday.

Hers will be the message of comradeship between the two East African states who share a forum at the East African Legislative Assembly. 

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