President Uhuru Kenyatta with his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma at State House, Nairobi.

President  Uhuru Kenyatta and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma are set to hold talks with on Thursday at the Dr John Dube residence in Durban.

President Uhuru will be making his first working visit to the country since his inauguration to serve for a second term in November 28 last year.

The South African Presidency said South Africa and Kenya enjoy very warm bilateral relations underpinned by strong historical and political bonds.

“South Africa is a strategic partner of Kenya in many areas, particularly trade and security. Numerous South African companies have a presence in Kenya. They operate in sectors such as banking, insurance, accountancy, pharmaceuticals, retail, tourism and engineering,” its spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said in a statement.

The two Heads of State will also share perspectives on various issues of mutual importance, such as continental and international developments.

President Uhuru has a close relationship with Zuma while Opposition leader Raila Odinga is an ally of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who recently replaced his boss as chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) putting him in good stead to succeed him when elections are held next year.

It is not clear whether political developments in Kenya, including the push for national dialogue, will feature at Thursday’s meeting.

However, speaking Tuesday in Meru during the burial of three African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) bishops who died in a grisly crash at Wamumuon the Embu-Nairobi road on December 29 last year, President Uhuru ruled out holding talks with the Opposition on any other issue that is not development-oriented. He told outsiders to keep off.

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Both sides have ruled out forming a unity government to avert a showdown if Raila is sworn in at the end of this month as NASA has vowed.

The United States embassy also denied ambassador Robert Godec fronted the idea when he met Minority Leaders Moses Wetang’ula (Senate) and John Mbadi (National Assembly) on Monday.

“Media reports that Amb asked for a unity cabinet or pushed for a unity gov’t are wrong. US continues to be committed to a National Conversation involving all Kenyans to build national unity, address long-standing issues & resolve divisions exacerbated by 2017 elections,” it tweeted Tuesday.


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