Uhuru orders Kenyan, EAC flags be flown at half-mast

Friday, March 19th, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday declared seven days of national mourning in honour of the late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.

While addressing the nation at State House, the President also directed that all Kenyan and East African Community flags in Kenya and across all its diplomatic missions abroad be flown at half-mast during the mourning period.

Uhuru, who is the EAC Chairperson eulogised Magufuli as a friend and a pan-Africanist.

 “Africa and the world has, indeed, lost an illustrious leader; whose vision, passion and immense leadership propelled the nation of Tanzania forward, and also steered the EAC to closer integration and cooperation.

On the continental stage, President Magufuli was a champion of pan-Africanism,” Uhuru said.

Visionary ally

 The Head of State recalled how Magufuli graced their friendship by coming to Kenya to meet his  family and pay respect to his mother, Mama Ngina Kenyatta.

“In the passing on of President Magufuli, I have lost a friend, colleague, and a visionary ally; whom I worked with closely, particularly on our commitment to forge lasting bonds. 

He invited me to visit his home in Chato where I also met his mother. We spoke a lot about our two countries and our relationship as members of the EAC,” the President said.

 In 2019, President Uhuru paid his fallen counterpart a visit, which many perceived as a way of cooling down tensions between the two neighbouring nations.

During the visit, Magufuli described Uhuru as a close friend and offered to send some prized peacocks he was rearing in  his farm to Nairobi as a gift to the Kenyan leader.

The President yesterday also expressed commitment to work with the Vice-President, Samia Suluhu who is constitutinally tipped to replace Magufuli.

Political ambition

 “I have gotten an opportunity to speak with Vice-President Suluhu and assured her we will continue working with her, the government, and the people of Tanzania,” said Uhuru.

Magufuli, 61, died from a heart attack, according to a televised announcement by Suluhu. 

The aggressive leader kicked off his political ambition in 1995 when he won the Parliamentary seat for Chato, a seat which he defended in 2000 and 2005.

 He served as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, before being served as Minister of Works from 2000 to 2006.

The populist leader will be remembered for his radical measures of reducing government spending and corruption, increasing focus on infrastructural development, and promoting nationalism among the Tanzania people.

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