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OBITUARY: Dear Magufuli, go well

Dear Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli;

FINALLY, I have come to terms with the sad fact—you are dead. It took me days to believe it until last Tuesday when I had a glimpse of the casket carrying your body being driven on the Zanzibar streets.

Just to remind you, we first met in your office way back in 1999. I was a mere cub reporter with the ‘Daily News’, the same, highly esteemed newspaper I serve for 22 years later as I pen down this blame note to you. You were then deputy minister for works, with Mama Anna Abadallah heading the portfolio.

We talked briefly over the construction works on the country’s roads; I later crafted a story that fortunately appeared on the front page of the most authoritative newspaper. Subsequently, I came to learn that you were highly delighted by the anecdote. Remember, that was an analog age. Mobile phones were the reserve of the few elites. I was none of them.

Yet, we still communicated. Through the landline, you called my office albeit in my absence and left me a message. Initially, I didn’t receive it well. It a bit worried me, junior as I was, I thought I had wronged you with my writings. May be I misquoted the honourable, I told myself! Hardly did I know nice words were awaiting me.

“Good job, young boy. How did you manage to write that impressive story with the very few details I gave you...you journalists are sometimes very nifty.”

Dear Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli;

Please bear with me, the quotation might not be as exactly as per your enunciation because we talked in Kiswahili—your darling language—and the translation version is mine—I have never been among the best translators this country has ever had.

We since then used to work occasionally especially when you became the full works minister in the 2010—2015 period and I nursed interest on the construction sector, with special focus on the Contractors Registration Board, which Engineer Boniface Muhegi serving then as its registrar.

Our last bilateral communication, if my memory serves me well, was sometimes in 2011 when I received your invitation to accompany you to one of your many field tours of road construction projects. I confirmed my attendance but alas I couldn’t make it to the trip due to some inescapable reasons.

But, if the truth be told, I had always remained your ardent admirer, greatly excited by your performance—from works to fisheries, housing and back to the works ministries. My approval on you escalated when you declared interest in the 2015 presidential race.

I wished you victory in the race though I initially doubted the possibility of you sailing through in the inter-party process. God wishes, you made it and finally on November 5, 2015 you pronounced “...So, help me God,” as the fifth president of the United Republic of Tanzania.

I don’t intend to enumerate here your accomplishments in your first five-year term due to space constraint though I also don’t see any justification for it—you have done visible things that speak for themselves; Tanzanians and non-Tanzanians have seen them as long as they have eyes.

Dear Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli;

All I want to do here today is blame you—truly blame you for plotting your untimely death, leaving behind hapless Tanzanians wailing, weeping and sobbing uncontrollably. At the age of 61, you are still young—nine years before reaching even the biblical age of 70, which God Himself granted human beings on earth.

You could have stayed for at least the remaining four years to finish your second term and accomplish the ambitious projects that you had envisioned for Tanzanians whom you loved most. But, there you are—lying on the casket waiting to be ascended into your lasting home—the grave.

You have gone so early—in human perspective. But, this was an opportune moment for you to quit this planet earth, as per God’s plans and wishes. The Almighty God has given us the willpower to plan and strategise for our tomorrow. What He has always hidden from us is His replica plan and strategies on us for our similar tomorrow.

Dear Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli;

Your supersonic work speed and perfection have robbed Tanzanians of their hero, leader and mentor. Within your first term, you achieved what the country had failed for over five decades. You managed to transform impossibilities into possibilities—in my native English version—you possibalised the impossible!.

You have proved to Tanzanians that it’s possible for over 10 million children in primary and secondary schools to get decent fee-free education; that an African leader can successfully lead the country without setting his/her foot on European, Asian or American land; that, Tanzania is so economically powerful that it can compel powerful multinational mining giants to bow to her demands.

Dear Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli;

You have nakedly exposed Tanzania’s wealth—that Tanzanians who previously cuddled the poverty syndrome to the level of begging “donors” to even construct toilets for them can actually execute multi-trillion projects like Julius Nyerere Hydro Power Project, Standard Gauge Railway, flyovers and tarmac roads countrywide, concurrently.

You have demonstrated how well to wage successful war against drug barons and corruption. You have confirmed to Tanzanians that their nation has well articulated legislation to give justice to all, irrespective of one’s social, economic or political status.

Under your one-term presidency, you have proved to Tanzanians and the entire world that nothing is impossible for the resource endowed Tanzania. And, probably that is what God had sent you to do for His lovely country in ten years. Regrettably, you performed the tasks speedily and completed them in five years and 132 days.

No wonder, you were pronounced dead on March 17, 2021. Yes, Tanzania is in inconsolable grief. Tanzanians are mourning your absence. They have to, it’s purely humane. But, what they might not know is the fact that your death is God given gift for the exemplary work performance.

Go, the legend, go! And, once there please, my best greetings to Grandfather Julius Nyerere, Father Benjamin Mkapa and all the celebrated icons this country had ever been blessed with. Just assure them that you have left behind a well nurtured, patriotic, hardworking and God-fearing society under safe and highly caring hands of Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan.

On Friday, April 9, 2021, the Buckingham Palace ...


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