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Tanzanian presidents bid John Pombe Magufuli farewell

By Mate Tongola | March 26th 2021
Last salute during requiem mass for the late John Pombe Magufuli in Chato. [Courtesy]

“Let us unite and fulfill the promises the late John Pombe Magufuli had made after his re-election” that is President Samia Suluhu Hassan's plea to Tanzanians.

Addressing hundreds of mourners who thronged Chato village to pay their last respects to Magufuli, Suluhu promised to oversee implementation on the promises that were made by Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) under which she and the late were re-elected a few months ago.

“I have heard your plea to have Chato elevated into a Province, that we will do in respect of the late. However, we will vet to establish if the proposed area meets the requirements of a Province,” Suluhu said.

Former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete also gave a moving tribute reminiscing on when he first met the late Magufuli.

“We knew each other when we were ministers under the Benjamin Mkapa led government. We would joke a lot since day one and our friendship blossomed further when his wife, Janeth and my wife Salma became buddies and ended up as teachers in one school. We have been visiting each other a lot, and I am sure you have all seen a photo of me sitting on the ground with the mother of the late,” said a tearful Kikwete.

“It was my wish that Magufuli would have completed his term, retired and then burry some of us who are his elders. He was a great leader who loved Tanzania and it is sad he won’t see his works manifest.” – he mourned.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan follows proceedings during requiem mass for the late John Pombe Magufuli in Chato. [Courtesy]

Kikwete who spoke for 32 minutes revealed that he has so much trust in Magufuli that under his leadership, he gave him a ministerial position in 4 different dockets and he fought the land cartels and brokers in the Agriculture sector not forgetting his outstanding efforts at the Public Works Ministry.

A visibly old Ali Hassan Mwinyi, the second President of Tanzania also left the mourners in tears after he tried to piece together his memories with the late.

He, however, praised him as a performer who always sympathised and empathised with the underprivileged in society, comparing his development track record with his predecessors.

“Magufuli outdid those of us who ruled before him, Tanzania now has tarmacked roads, an international airport etc. He never gave up. Kwake ilikuwa kazi tuu!” concluded Mwinyi amid laughter from the congregation.

 “In a short period, he changed a lot in Tanzania – development-wise. He was a go–getter and result-oriented. He never gave up”

At exactly 4:30pm, the body of 61-year-old John Pombe Magufuli was lowered into the grave at his Chato home, in a ceremony conducted by the Tanzanian army.

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