A plane carrying Kenyan government officials headed to Tanzania former President Benjamin Mkapa’s funeral service was on Tuesday forced to turn mid-air at Monduli in Arusha, Kahawa Tungu has learnt.
Tanzania’s publication, The Citizen, reports that authorities cited bad weather as the reason the plane returned back to Nairobi.
Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi told mourners that the plane had safely landed in Kenya’s capital.
Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio was to represent President Uhuru Kenyatta at the function held at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
“We were expected to have with us the special envoy representing President Uhuru Kenyatta, Senator Samuel Losuron Poghisio, Majority Leader of the Kenyan Senate, but we have received information that his plane forced to turn mid-air in Monduli, ” said Professor Kabudi while introducing some of guests attending the service to represent their country.
Prof Kabudi also told mourners that Zimbabwe Vice-President Kembo Mohadi who was expected to grace the ceremony had delayed due to bad weather condition.
The incident comes hours after President Kenyatta seemed to criticize Tanzania for hiding information regarding the coronavirus situation in the country.
“The fact that countries don’t report what happens in their countries does not mean they are fine, we are an open society and we have to tell our stories,” President Kenyatta said during a state of the nation address on Monday evening.
Mkapa died last week on Thursday night aged 81 in a Dar es Salaam hospital.
His family said the former head of state was suffering from malaria and died of a heart attack, dismissing rumours that he succumbed to coronavirus.
The former President ruled Tanzania for two five-year terms, from 1995 to 2005.
His burial is scheduled for Wednesday.