Uhuru in Tanzania for Magufuli’s State funeral
President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Dodoma on Monday morning for the State funeral of his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli.
President Kenyatta was among eight African Heads of State at the Jamhuri Stadium and was accompanied by East African Community CS Adan Mohamed.
“We mourn the loss of our friend, our brother, a hardworker, the Honorable John Pombe Magufuli. The President who was respected not only here in Tanzania but also in the entire East Africa, the whole of Africa and the entire world. He showed us that, as Africans we have the potential to liberate ourselves from dependence on foreigners. That we have potential as Africans to manage our economies and ensure that our people get justice,” he said.
The President, who is also the current Chairperson of the East African Community, said the late Dr Magufuli was a close ally with whom he spoke regularly, exchanging ideas on the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania, and the progress of the regional bloc.
He wished President Samia Suluhu success as she takes over the leadership of Tanzania, assured her of Kenya’s and the regions backing, and rallied Tanzanians to fully support their new leader.
“My sister Samia, and now my colleague President, you’ve been shown the way by our brother, the late Magufuli. You have the mandate, now go forth and serve the people.
“The people of Tanzania are behind you. Ours is to urge you to continue with the unity you have, work together and support your new President so that she completes the work started by our departed brother,” President Kenyatta told his Tanzanian counterpart.
Other leaders at the funeral include Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa President); Félix Tshisekedi (DR Congo President); Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe President); Edouard Ngirente (Rwanda Prime Minister); Mogkweetsi Masisi (Botswana President); Filipe Nyusi(Mozambique President); Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi’s President) and Edgar Chagwa Lungu (Zambian President).
President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union described the late former President as a “nationalist and a great defender of the economic freedom of Africa”.
The Congolese leader said Dr Magufuli will forever be remembered for his relentless fight against corruption, and assured Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu of the Africa Union’s support as she steers her country forward.
South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa mourned the late Dr Magufuli as a forthright and bold leader who advocated for the adoption of Kiswahili language in African countries.
Magufuli is said to have succumbed to heart disease at Mzena Hospital in Dar es Salaam on March 18, 2021.
A weeks-long absence from the public eye had sparked rumors he was seriously ill. Magufuli was last seen on February 27. His absence from public view raised questions about his health status from opposition groups.
Tanzania is observing 21 days of mourning after the death of its fifth president while Kenya is marking his death by flying flags at half-staff and observing a seven-day national mourning period.
Uganda is observing 14 days of mourning and flags will fly at half mast within the country and at its embassies around the world until after the burial.
Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in to take over from the late Magufuli for the remainder of his term.
Additional reporting from PSCU and VOA