After the famous handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader, Raila Odinga, emerging details indicate that the former premier made several phone calls to Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli, in a bid to end the cold bilateral relationship between Kenya and Tanzania.
According to Nation, multiple sources revealed that it took Raila’s intervention to have Uhuru and Magufuli seal their relationship.
“A day before President Kenyatta went to Dar, Raila talked with Magufuli about the visit on the phone. Again, after the President inspected ongoing works at the Kisumu Port, Raila had passed by Dar,” a close ally of the two Kenyan leaders revealed.
The deal was largely brokered through phone calls, sometimes when Kenyatta and Raila were together or when the opposition chief was in Tanzania.
Another source revealed that there was also a secret meeting among the three, away from the public.
Raila’s key interest in sealing the unity was to win Tanzanian support in making Kenya a regional maritime hub.
It was reported that Uhuru was concerned about the deteriorating trade ties between the two neighbours affecting the export market largely, caused by the hostile environment.
The relationship was cemented when Uhuru visited Magufuli in Tanzania and even prayed for the Tanzanian president’s ill mother at a hospital on July, 5, 2019. Uhuru was hosted at Magufuli’s home at Mlimani Chato District.
The cold relationship between Uhuru and Magufuli was traced back to when Uhuru supported Magufuli’s opponent, former Prime Minister, Edward Lowassa, in Tanzanian 2015 elections.
Magufuli would later throw his weight behind Raila in the 2017 elections.
Before then, chicks imported from Kenya were burnt across the border and cows auctioned.
Magufuli even skipped Uhuru’s inauguration on November 28, 2017.
In July 2019, Uhuru sent Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Monica Juma, to return stolen gold to Tanzania. The CS was accompanied by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, Attorney General, Paul Kihara, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss, George Kinoti.