Why plane carrying Kenyan officials headed for Mkapa burial turned around mid-air
A plane carrying Kenyan envoy to the funeral of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa turned back to Nairobi because of bad weather, officials in Dar-es-Salaam said Tuesday.
Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation minister Prof Palamagamba Kabudi announced during the farewell ceremony of the former leader at Uhuru Stadium that Kenyan officials could not attend the event.
“We were expecting a special envoy representing President Uhuru Kenyatta, including Senator Samuel Poghisio, the Majority Leader of the Kenyan Senate, but we have received information that their plane was forced to turn back mid air,” Prof Kabudi told mourners gathered at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam.
But Kenyan officials said the plane “developed mechanical challenges”, forcing it to turn back over Arusha.
Jane Kariuki, the head of public communication at the Foreign Affairs ministry, told the Nation that the Kenyan government was fully represented by the Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu at the funeral service.
Mkapa, who ruled Tanzania for from 1995 to 2005, died Thursday night aged 81.
On Sunday, his family said that the former Tanzanian president was suffering from malaria and died of a heart attack, scotching rumours that he succumbed to coronavirus.
“President Mkapa was found with malaria and he was admitted for treatment on Wednesday,” William Erio, a family member said during a funeral mass aired on State television.
His body will be transported to his rural home in Lupaso, Mtwara for burial scheduled Wednesday.
Mkapa was instrumental as the lead negotiator of the 2007-2008 post-election peace deal signed between former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and ODM party leader Raila Odinga.