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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

 Muchiri on Wed, 02 November 2016 - 9:52 am @marikiomuchiry marikio@kenyans.co.ke
CORD leader Raila Odinga with Tanzania President John Magufuli

Tanzania's President John Pombe Magufuli has been known to be a close confidant of CORD leader Raila Odinga with their close relationship becoming evident after the former took power in October 2015.

Not much is known about their strong brotherly love but both have demonstrated their togetherness through actions and statements that have at times been said to go overboard.

For instance, in December 2012, Magufuli who was then Minister for Works sparked heated exchanges between the country's government and opposition leaders after endorsing Odinga for the Presidential post in the last General Election.

During the event held at Kasarani Stadium, the tough-acting Magufuli publicly expressed his support for Odinga whom he described as an adept politician who enjoyed international support.
Addressing ODM delegates at the forum, Magufuli reportedly admitted that in case he was to go head-on with Odinga in his own parliamentary seat in Tanzania, the former Prime Minister would win.

"In fact, if I faced Mr Odinga in a parliamentary poll in my own constituency (Chato), he would win and I would lose," the former legislator was quoted by Tanzanian media.

This prompted the then Tanzania Opposition led by Director of Foreign Affairs Ezekia Wenje to call for immediate action against Magufuli for the statement which he claimed was a diplomatic disaster.

"The government must come out to say if it condones Dr Magufuli's statement and his presence in the ODM meeting in Kenya. If not, it should take action against its Minister for getting involved in the politics of a neighbouring country," Mwenje was quoted by The Citizen, a local daily in Tanzania.

Odinga and Magufuli's friendship was also exhibited during the burial of the CORD leader's son Fidel in January 2015. Dr Magufuli was sent to represent Tanzania on a personal and official capacity during the ceremony.

Later in the year, after Magufuli was elected as President on a Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ticket, the former Kenyan Prime Minister flew to Tanzania alongside his wife Ida to congratulate his ally. Though details of this warm relationship remain scanty, Odinga during the visit disclosed that their friendship started while the two were serving as Ministers for Road in their respective governments.

"Raila said the friendship began way back when President Magufuli was appointed as Minister for Works and Raila served in the same capacity in Kenya," Odinga said according to Tanzania's Ippmedia.com. "While serving as Ministers for their respective countries, Magufuli and Raila exchanged experiences frequently and cooperated in joint construction projects," the daily further divulged.

Odinga served as Roads and Public Works Minister between 2003 and 2005 while his counterpart served in the same position from 2000-2015. During President Magufuli's two-day visit to Kenya that ended on Tuesday, many anticipated for a meeting between the two but Kenyans.co.ke could not immediately establish whether the same took place.


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