Africa 

Tanzania president’s rare trip abroad, in SA for Ramaphosa inauguration

President John Pombe Magufuli is in South Africa for the swearing in ceremony of President Cyril Ramaphosa which takes place today at teh Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane, Pretoria.

Ramaphosa led the ruling African National Congress to victory in the May 8 national and provincial polls. Despite losing ground, the party maintained its majority in the National Assembly.

He was appointed as president earlier this week during the swearing in of lawmakers.

Magufuli is one of over a half-dozen African leaders and government representatives in town for the event. It is a rare trip outside of the East African region for a president who is on record as one of Africa’s least travelled.

Since coming into power in 2015, Magufuli known at the Bulldozer for his “no-nonsense” style of leadership has only one African Union summit (January 2017) to his name.

Most of his travels have been concentrated in the East Africa region with trips to Rwanda, Kenya and Rwanda. He has yet to show up at a global gathering of leaders.

“Since his election as president, Magufuli has only visited four countries, all within the East Africa region. He has attended only one AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, in January 2017, and has shunned many other multilateral diplomatic engagements outside Tanzania.

“Most conspicuous is the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, which he is yet to attend. He has also failed to attend SADC meetings, a key regional organization in which Tanzania had played an important role in the past.

“President Magufuli has also kept away from other international engagements such as swearing-in ceremonies for heads of states that have traditionally been key partners in Tanzania’s bilateral diplomacy,” a March 2019 analysis of Tanzania foreign policy situation under Magufuli noted.

Magufuli’s has stressed that his decision to skip international meetings cuts down on excessive government spending.

“Last year, Magufuli thanked his foreign minister, Dr. Augustin Mahiga, for representing him well at international meetings, stressing that this arrangement was more economical than if the president traveled,” the analysis piece added.

Which other African leaders are in town for Ramaphosa’s inauguration

  • Salva Kiir of South Sudan
  • Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe
  • Hage Geingob of Namibia
  • Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo of DRC
  • Joao lourenco of Angola
  • King Mswati of eSwatini
  • Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President
  • Burkina Faso represented by Minister of Defense and President Representative Moumina Cheriff SY

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