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John Magufuli State Funeral: African Presidents pay tribute to “true pan-Africanist”

The Champion of pan-Africanism died on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 from heart complications, according to authorities. 

By Regina Sondo


Presidents of South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Comoros and Malawi, as well as other top representatives from across the continent, attended the State Funeral of former Tanzania President Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, on Monday, March 22 at Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma. 

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa thanked the late Tanzanian President, John Magufuli, for his country’s support of the South African people in their fight against apartheid. 

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa

President Ramaphosa described him as a “true pan-Africanist” who was unapologetic about being an African.

“President Magufuli stood out as a warrior against corruption. He was one of the new generation of leaders on our continent who waged war on corruption and believe that leaders should work for their people and not for themselves. I also want to thank him for focusing on economic development, and focusing more of his attention on the economic development of his country and the region and the continent as well,” he added. 

Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and current Chairperson of the African Union, advised Tanzanians to continue President Magufuli’s spirit in pursuing development. 

Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

“He fought against the misuse of public resources and corruption which are chronic cancer in Africa,” he said.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said, President Magufuli was respected not only in Tanzania but also in the entire East Africa, the whole of Africa and the entire world.”

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (Image: State House Kenya)

“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.

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said those that had the privilege of knowing Magufuli, the example of his life of service, shall forever be a launching pad for their own.

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera arrives Tanzania for President Magufuli’s state funeral

“May his name be preserved in every Capital of Africa as a symbol of the kind of resolve that will create the Africa we want. May his work be venerated in every village as an example worthy of our imitation,” Chakwera said.

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, said that Dr. Magufuli was a “great teacher”, like Tanzania’s founding President Julius Nyerere. 

“Even in Botswana he expected us to speak Swahili… We too have introduced Swahili in our curricula,” Masisi said. 

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said the former Tanzanian president “will stay in the hearts” of many.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa said Magufuli was passionate about the development of his people, adding that Magufuli was also unwavering on matters of principle.

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa

“He gave his life for the service of his people and Africa in general,” President Mnangagwa said.

President Azali Assoumani of Comoros has said the death of former President of Tanzania Dr. John Magufuli is a great blow to his country, as Magufuli helped unite Comoros and Tanzania on various development issues. 

President Azali Assoumani of Comoros

Tanzania’s President Samia Suhulu and former President John Magufuli’s wife, Janet Magufuli were overwhelmed by emotions during the State funeral.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suhulu
President John Magufuli’s wife, Janet Magufuli

Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of how the rest of the memorial events will unfold, according to local media. 

Tuesday, March 23: The public to view Magufuli’s body and bid their farewells in Mwanza. The body to be transported to Chato thereafter. Mwanza, ceremony then to Chato

Wednesday, March 24: Family, residents of Chato, and surrounding regions to bid their farewells to the late Magufuli.

Thursday, March 25: Public holiday declared on day Magufuli will be buried after a funeral service at Chato’s Catholic Church.

Images: AFP, Reuters

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