Kenyatta writes to Magufuli over MP ‘Jaguar’ outburst

03Jul 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Kenyatta writes to Magufuli over MP ‘Jaguar’ outburst

KENYAN President Uhuru Kenyatta has officially written to his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli, distancing his government from the inflammatory comments made last week by an MP in his country which threatened Tanzanians doing business there.

A statement released yesterday by the Prime Minister’s Office said the letter was delivered in Dar es Salaam by President Kenyatta’s emissary, Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Danny Kazungu and was received by the premier on behalf of President John Magufuli.

In the letter, President Kenyatta categorically stated that the comments made by musician-turned politician, Starehe MP Charles Njagua Kanyi popularly known as Jaguar, did not reflect the official position of his government.

The MP was arrested on Thursday outside Kenyan Parliament grounds in the capital Nairobi after a video clip emerged on social media showing him threatening to beat foreign nationals doing business in his constituency, including Tanzanians.

In the clip widely shared in East Africa and beyond, Jaguar was recorded at Gikombaa market which is popular for second-hand clothes, saying: "When you look at our market, Tanzanians and Ugandans have taken our businesses. Enough is enough. If we will give them 24 hours and they will not leave, we will beat them and we are not scared of anyone."

The MP from the ruling Jubilee Party then repeats the phrase "enough is enough" as people applaud.

The comments that were seen as xenophobic were greeted with condemnations in Kenya itself and beyond, with the National Assembly which was sitting in Dodoma demanding the government’s response on the matter.

After receiving the letter, PM Majaliwa called on Tanzanians to refrain from utterances that can stain economic and diplomatic relations between Tanzania and other countries.

Majaliwa said that relations between Tanzania and Kenya remain strong since the two countries are inhabited to large extent by the same communities.

“Relations between Tanzania and Kenya are and will remain strong because of blood; communities such as the Maasai, Kurya and Luo live in both countries. This means cooperation in aspects of life such as business and social events is unavoidable,” the statement quotes Majaliwa.

The outburst cost the politicians his precious time over the past week as well as his freedom temporarily as Nairobi Resident Magistrate Tobiko Sinkiyan denied him bail since his arrest at midweek.

The magistrate ruled that there was reasonable ground and well founded fear to ensure that ongoing investigations are protected.

Police had made a request to the court to have the legislator detained for 14 days when he was arraigned last Thursday.

The government of Kenya reacted in a statement, saying it deeply regretted the careless and inciteful language against foreigners living and working in Kenya in public utterances made by the youthful politician.

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