Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Outgoing Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa has said the ongoing robust constitutional debate in Kenya was manifestation of "a healthy democracy" in the East African nation.
Speaking at State House here Tuesday night during a farewell banquet hosted in his honour by President Mwai Kibaki, the Tanzanian leader cautioned Kenyans not to use the open democratic space to undermine their nation but promote its sovereignty.
"As developing countries we are all faced with challenges of political, social and economic nature in constructing a modern nation.
The ongoing debate on the constitution in Kenya, we Tanzanians take it as a manifestation of a healthy democracy," he said.
On the bilateral ties, President Mkapa, who is retiring at the end of the month after serving two constitutional terms, expressed satisfaction at the shared aspirations that have reinforced mutual confidence between Kenya and Tanzania.
"This confidence is reflected in our common position in the African Union, the Commonwealth and international fora on issues of good governance, development, security and peace.
" Mkapa thanked President Kibaki and the people of Kenya for supporting him throughout his term of office and for strengthening the existing bilateral cooperation, which has contributed to development, stability and peace in Tanzania.
In remarks, Kibaki said since the coming into effect of the East African Customs Union, foreign investors had taken a renewed interest in East Africa as a market and good investment destination.
He hoped that as an emerging market, East Africa would soon experience a significant increase in private investment inflows and business.
Kibaki noted that strengthening of the democratic space, freedom of expression and movement of people had enhanced the competitive capacity of the region in the face of global challenges.
The Kenyan leader commended Mkapa for "successfully steering" his country towards economic prosperity, enabling Tanzania to achieve an impressive track record of sustained high growth rate.
He attributed the peace and stability enjoyed in Tanzania to President Mkapa's dedicated leadership guided by the principles of democracy and good governance.
Kibaki hailed Mkapa's role in facilitating the now resolved Burundi conflict and for widening the peace process in DR Congo.
During the occasion, Kibaki decorated President Mkapa with Kenya's highest medal of honour, the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart, for his "exemplary leadership and goodwill for the Kenyan nation".