Soon after arriving in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for a three-day State visit, President Lazarus Chakwera and his entourage received a warm welcome from his counterpart John Pombe Magufuli.
In a rousing speech at State House his host Magufuli described the meeting of Malawian and Tanzanian leaders as “a special opportunity God has given us”.
The Tanzanian leader said African leaders should move and plan together, including in effective economic development, for the good of their peoples.
He said: “We are supposed to change the directions of our people. We are supposed to focus according to our directions, according to our environments. That is the only way we can help our people.
“We are the ones–we leaders—we are supposed to change the directions as far as economic development is concerned for our people and the only solution is to move together by considering God is the one who is powerful to direct us in every direction.”
Noticing that Chakwera—an ordained pastor—was enjoying the speech for both its earthly and divine truths, Magufuli threw his special guest and everyone else into stitches when he made a tongue-in-cheek confession: “Your Excelleny, I am just trying to preach but I can’t reach you [in the level of eloquence].”
In his speech, Chakwera thanked Magufuli and all Tanzanians for a hearty welcome accorded him and members of his entourage.
Meanwhile, there has been a buzz on social media for people who were watching the welcome ceremony live online.
Commented Ambrosius Kambuta, who said he was watching from Namibia: “The only three mostly honest presidents in Africa—(Paul) Kagame (of Rwanda), Magufuli and Lazarus of Malawi, who are truly serving the interests of their people.”
Joy Faith, probably from Tanzania, chipped in: “The two brilliant presidents meet. Thank you, my President John Pombe Magufuli for such a speech. Mungu ni muwema (God is good).
…Through the short speech from His Excellency the President of Malawi, I can already see God’s hand and transformation in the nation of Malawi and its people. God makes no mistake; He has gifted Malawi.”
Departing at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe earlier on Wednesday, Chakwera said he wanted to cement relations between Malawi and Tanzania. This is the fourth charm offensive by the Malawi leader in the region, having also visited Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique inside a week.
Presidential Press Secretary Brian Banda earlier told The Nation that the President was making solidarity visits to the neighbouring countries.
According to the United Nations International Trade Statistics database on international trade, Malawi imports from Tanzania – electrical and electronic equipment, plastics, machinery, soaps, lubricants, waxes, candles, modelling pastes, salt, sulphur, lime, cement, glass and glassware, fertilisers, distillation products, paper and paperboards, textiles and mineral fuels, among others.
On the other hand, Tanzania imports from Malawi oil seed, animal fodder, wastes of the food industry, sugar and sugar confectionery, wood and articles of wood, iron and steel, tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes, cereals, edible vegetables and roots and tubers, grain, seed and fruits, among others.