BY CORRESPONDENTS,22ND MARCH,2021-President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Dodoma on Monday morning for the State funeral of his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli.
President Kenyatta, who chairs the East African Community, of which Tanzania is a member, praised the late leader for the work he did for that country.
“Africa and the world has lost a lustrous leader whose vision, passion and immense leadership propelled the nation of Tanzania forward and also steered the East African Community to closer integration. On the continental stage, the late President Magufuli was a champion of pan-Africanism and the passing on President Magufuli — I have lost a friend, a colleague and a visionary ally,” he said.
Other leaders at the funeral include Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa President); Félix Tshisekedi (DR Congo President); Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe President); Edouard Ngirente (Rwanda Prime Minister); Filipe Nyusi(Mozambique President); Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi’s President) and Edgar Chagwa Lungu (Zambian President).
Magufuli is said to have succumbed to heart disease at Mzena Hospital in Dar es Salaam on March 18, 2021.
A weeks-long absence from the public eye had sparked rumors he was seriously ill. Magufuli was last seen on February 27. His absence from public view raised questions about his health status from opposition groups.
Tanzania is observing 21 days of mourning after the death of its fifth president while Kenya is marking his death by flying flags at half-staff and observing a seven-day national mourning period.
Uganda is observing 14 days of mourning and flags will fly at half mast within the country and at its embassies around the world until after the burial.
Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in to take over from the late Magufuli for the remainder of his term.