Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli is dead. The sad news was broken by Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan on state television who attributed the president’s death to heart complications arising from a heart disease he has had for the last 10 years. at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Samia Suluhu Hassan said in an address on state television.
“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today… we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” Vice-President Hassan said adding that there would be 14 Days of National mourning.
Vice President Hassan is expected to be sworn in as the new president and should serve the remainder of Magufuli’s five-year term according to Tanzania’s constitution.
Magufuli has been missing from the public since 27th February 2021 leading to widespread rumours and speculation about his health. Opposition politicians led by Tundu Lissu who is currently in exile in Belgium alleged last week that the President had contracted Covid-19 and was being treated for cardiac arrest in Nairobi but this was not confirmed.
The late Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent covid19 deniers who called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who is also the Chairman of the East African Community has led Kenyans in mourning saying that Africa and the world has lost an illustrious leader whose vision propelled Tanzania fowarda. Kenyatta said the late President Magufuli was a champion of Panafricanism.
“In honour of the life President Magufuli, I Uhuru Kenyatta, do hereby direct that in testimony to the high esteem in which Kenyans hold President Magufuli, the Republic of Kenya shall observe a 7 day period of mourning and that the flag of EAC, Kenya and Tanzania shall be flown at half mast from today until sunset of the day of the funeral. May the soul of President Magufuli rest in eternal peace.” said Kenyatta.
The Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga who was a close friend of President Magufuli has eulogised Magufuli as an extraordinary leader who had uplifted the stature of Tanzania in the East African Community region. Odinga recalled how the late President stood by his side in the most difficult and painful moments.
“It is with deep sadness that I have learned of the passing of my friend, John Pombe Magufuli…He has been by my side at my most difficult and painful moments. Over the years we have worked together, especially in the areas of connecting Eastern Africa by way of infrastructure,” Raila said.
The former Kenyan Prime Minister called on Tanzanians to remain peaceful and more united than ever before.
On his part, Ugandan President said “I have, with great sadness, learnt of the death of His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli. He was a pragmatic leader who believed in and worked for the economic empowerment of East Africans. We join Tanzania in mourning the passing of a great son of Africa. May his soul rest in peace”