John Magufuli — “Farewell to a great man”

SANF 21 no 5
African leaders have paid tribute to the late President of the United Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, describing him as “a great man, a great leader of our generation.”

Magufuli, who was the fifth President of Tanzania died on 17 March of a heart ailment.

Addressing mourners at a packed State Funeral ceremony held 22 March in Dodoma, Tanzania, speaker after speaker said Magufuli was a true and dedicated son of Africa.

Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique said the region and the rest of the African continent has lost a brave and hardworking leader.

“The entire SADC is here, all of us are here at this big farewell to this great man, a great leader of our generation,” President Nyusi said, adding that the region should uphold his ideals for the benefit of future generations.

Incoming SADC chairperson, President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi concurred, saying the legacy of Magufuli will last forever.

The late Magufuli, whom many had come to refer to as the bulldozer for his record in driving government programmes, leaves behind a legacy of his unwavering  desire to rid Tanzania of corruption as well as his no-nonsense approach to the way the government operated.

“Magufuli’s love of country shall forever be a light on that pilgrimage. To us who have been entrusted with governing the nations of our beautiful and rich continent, Magufuli’s leadership shall forever move us out of complacency,” President Chakwera said.

He said Magufuli “was not just an icon. He was a hero,” and it will be befitting that “his name be preserved in every Capital of Africa as a symbol of the kind of resolve that will create the Africa we want.”

Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana described the late Magufuli as a doyen of democracy, unity and development.

He said Magufuli was a “great teacher,” comparing him to the country’s founding President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

Commonly known as Baba wa taifa, Nyerere sacrificed the economic freedom of his country to ensure that the rest of the region achieved political independence.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the incoming Chairperson of the SADC Organ, said Tanzania and Africa has lost a true Pan-Africanist.

“The family of nations of Africa is today is mourning the passing of an esteemed leader of his people and a tireless champion of the cause of African progress…with the death of President Magufuli, we have lost a true Pan-Africanist, a president who was unapologetic about being an African,” President Ramaphosa said.

Outgoing Chairperson of the SADC Organ, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the late Magufuli was a patriot “who led from the front,” and always wanted to see Africa prosper.

He said Zimbabwe will forever be grateful to Magufuli for his continued support to have all illegal sanction imposed on Zimbabwe by the West to be removed unconditionally

“The late President Magufuli was always unwavering on calling for the region to stand together on matters of principle. The people of Zimbabwe will always remember him for the pivotal role he played as chairperson in having SADC set aside 25 October as a day for the collective call for the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on our country. His visionary leadership will remain etched in the history of SADC,” President Mnangagwa said.

Born on 29 October 1959, Magufuli will be laid to rest on 26 March in his rural home in Chato district of Geita region.

His body will be transported to six cities in Tanzania to allow citizens to pay their last respect to a man that was loved by his people.

Magufuli became the fifth president of Tanzania in October 2015 following his election victory when he won 58.46 percent of the vote in presidential polls.

In October 2020, he was re-elected president after bettering his previous performance, collecting more than 84 percent of the presidential votes.

As President of Tanzania, Magufuli was the Chairperson of SADC between August 2019 and until August 2020.

His many achievements at the helm of SADC include the approval of the SADC Protocol on Industry, which aims to improve the policy environment for industrial development and support implementation, as well as the adoption of Kiswahili “as the Fourth SADC Official Working Language” in honour of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

Before becoming President of Tanzania, Magufuli served as a Member of Parliament for 20 years, representing the Chato constituency in the gold-mining district of Geita in northwestern Tanzania near Lake Victoria.

He also served in various cabinet posts under the late President Benjamin Mkapa as well as under President Jakaya Kikwete.

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