WHEN 10 Heads of State from Africa jetted to Dodoma on Monday this week to pay last respects to the departed Tanzania President, John Magufuli, and hosted by President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Jamhuri Stadium in city, a picture of a true son and pan- Africanist dominated their eulogies.
Setting the ball rolling President Samia said: “The late Head of State (Dr Magufuli) mentored me enough and I will accomplish all the wishes that he had in mind for the country. He made strong mentorship to all of us in the government before his surprise demise and I want to assure the nation that I am now competent enough to implement the wishes with the same vigour, zeal and pace.
“The country and Africa has lost a great leader, patriotic, God-fearing, pro-poor and true. As we mourn the demise of our beloved President, let’s continue praying for his soul to rest in peace, but I assure you that the government will continue cherishing all development projects and continue coming up with new ideas based on the direction he had set.
“As I said earlier… today is a very sad day for me, I am overwhelmed by grief and great sadness, because I have lost a leader and my patron, but I am grateful I had the opportunity to talk to him a few days before his death.
“When I informed him that I was going to Tanga Region, he told me that Samia you shouldn’t be worried, I am progressing well, go and inspect the implementation of the CCM manifesto as we pledged to the citizens, pass my greetings to them, tell them I love them so much.
These were his last words to me, I never knew those words would be his goodbye to me and Tanzanians; I never knew I won’t receive his phone call again. “For those of you doubting this woman being the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, I want to tell you that standing right here is the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who is biologically a woman.
“I want to reiterate that I am hardworking and confident to serve you, therefore, be assured that I will deliver to your expectations.”
On his part, the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said: “Tanzanians are assured that all the plans will be implemented as planned. The late President Magufuli and Mama Samia are the ones who travelled across the country to campaign for the CCM election Manifesto, so everything will go smoothly.”
According to Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya and current East Africa Community chairman, it was:
“Dr Magufuli taught many African leaders a lesson that the continent could be run without funds from foreign countries which come with a raft of conditions. “The late Magufuli has in a short period of time, shown to the world that Africa can stand on its own without relying on foreign aid.
Dr Magufuli’s death is a big loss not only to Tanzania and Africa, but the world at large. Africa and the world have lost an illustrious leader whose vision, passion and immense leadership propelled the nation forward and also steered the East African Community to closer integration.
“My sister (President Samia Suluhu Hassan), you have been shown the road, it has been opened, go ahead…I assure you that we will walk this journey together to bring the region together and the continent as one.”
On his part, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) current chairman at the stadium said: “Dear Magufuli, in front of your body, we, your colleagues in SADC will not stop working for our citizens’ wellbeing. “Dear Magufuli, we will remember you, for your strong leadership, thinking about every Tanzanian and every African…. we will give support to President Samia Suluhu Hassan so she can continue uniting Tanzanians.
“It is true that our African continent has lost one of its popular leaders, it is true that Tanzania has lost a truthful citizen, hardworking Tanzanian. How can we say farewell to a person who led SADC by sacrificing himself and wished the region could become economically independent?”
SADC is a regional economic community comprising 16 Member States of Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Taking his turn, Namibia’s Vice President, Nangolo Mbumba on behalf of his President Hage Geingob said: “Dr Magufuli was a hardworking and result oriented leader and that he will be remembered for his positive and constructive ideas on building the economy.
“Let’s agree that the late president was an African fighter and African leader, therefore let me say may the brave and courageous soul of President John Magufuli rest in peace.”
For Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa also in attendance: “The late President John Magufuli as a true Pan-Africanist who openly opposed and appealed for lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. He rallied the bloc regional leaders towards deepening cooperation and collectively calling for Zimbabwe’s US and EU sanctions to be immediately lifted.”
“SADC, especially Zimbabwe, will remember Dr Magufuli for his practical inclusive development skills, unwavering stance while calling for partnership and jobs’ creation to the youth. In Tanzania, the departed hero supported the country’s climb in economic rank onto a middle economy state earlier than projected.
“I remember on the night of 14-15 March 2019, Cyclone Idai hit in Beira, Mozambique, killing over 1,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and leaving 2.6 million people in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. In the middle of the night, I heard a persistent phone call, and I realised it was Dr Magufuli calling to sympathize with us…he asked me, my brother, what assistance can Tanzania offer you immediately?
“I answered, we urgently need foodstuffs, medicine, blankets and mosquito nets, and to my surprise in the morning, a plane loaded with the items landed in Harare. This was a man who walked his talk.” For Zambia President, Edgar Lungu also in Dodoma: “On our part as Zambians, our strong bond of friendship is cemented through, among other things, historic projects such as Tazara and Tazama oil pipeline.
I remember in 2016 when we launched a community service centre in Nakonde border. “What I remember most is his heart to motivate people on both sides when he spoke to our people at the border. For improved trade not only to the two countries, but for the entire Africa and to me personally, he was not only a revolutionary but my best friend, and I will miss him very much.”
Taking his turn, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi said: “Dr Magufuli was against the embezzlement of public funds and corruption which he described it as a cancer, because it was delaying and eating development on the continent. During his leadership, President Magufuli, among other things, led the fight against corruption attributed to delays in development on the continent.”
On his part, President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi said: “President Magufuli was a great leader, a colleague, dear friend and a son of Africa. Many of us still remember his chairmanship and diplomatic tactics as he meticulously held meetings to our great success.
“Even though he has died he will forever remain in our minds and hearts...we hope his love and dedication to this country will continue inspiring the people of Tanzania towards socio-economic development, as well as peace and stability as it will be for the rest of us across the continent.”
According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, also in attendance: “President Magufuli stood out as a fighter against corruption. He was one of the new generation leaders on our continent who waged war on corruption and who believed that leaders should work for their people and not for themselves.
“I felt honoured because President Magufuli was not a great traveller. He did not like travelling very much, but preferred to stay home. I often thought he possibly was afraid of flying, but he told me he preferred to be at home serving his people rather than travelling outside the country.
“I can now see that indeed he stayed home to serve you the people of Tanzania, because the work he has done and what is left behind is quite impressive as one listens to a report of the things he has done. So, you were a very lucky nation to have a President like Dr Magufuli.”
“Dr Magufuli was a true Pan-Africanist who believed that the culture and traditions of our forebears should be remembered, taught and embraced.” “My brother, I will make it a point that I teach you Kiswahili myself he told me and it is indeed so sad knowing President Magufuli’s dreams in this was not fulfilled. Poor, he left us before he could teach me the best Kiswahili to speak.”