Zanzibar bids farewell to fallen Magufuli ahead of Friday burial

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 00:00 |
Zanzibar President, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, who led thousands of Zanzibar residents in mourning President John Magufuli during at Amaan Stadium Zanzibar yesterday. Photo/COURTESY

Derek Otieno and Agencies

Zanzibar residents yesterday led in the funeral service for Tanzania President John Magufuli in an event attended by Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi ahead of the burial at his home in Chato, Mwanza on Friday.

Mwinyi said Magufuli’s death has left great sadness and grief for both Zanzibar and Tanzania citizens.

Zanzibar residents have described Magufuli as one who pushed for unity.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the body was to stay at Amaan Grounds until the last person has viewed it.

Zanzibar marked Tuesday as a public holiday to allow residents to pay their last respects.

Mwinyi thanked them for coming out in large numbers, regardless of religion and tribe, to mourn Magufuli.

Covid regulations

He referred to Magufuli as an agent of change, in line with his party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) identity, which means the party of change.

“He did all in his power to ensure Tanzania is peaceful and safe as well as guard the country’s resources.”

Speakers also sent condolence messages to Magufuli’s widow Janet, who was visibly grief-stricken at the state funeral in Dodoma on Monday.

She did not attend the funeral service at Zanzibar held at Amaan Grounds.

President Magufuli’s body will be ferried to Mwanza today, PM Majaliwa said.

He added that the body will be transported on a 3km road that Magufuli built, after which the procession will stop at Busisi for 10 minutes.

At a time when many countries are imposing more restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus, it is business as usual in Tanzania.

On Monday, thousands of mourners who congregated at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam to bid goodbye to the late President wore no masks.

The mourners were led by newly sworn-in President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who did not wear a mask, either.

Other notables were Magufuli’s widow Janet and popular musician Diamond Platinumz and his entourage, as well as the military.

At the 23,000-capacity Uhuru Stadium, only a handful, led by church leaders, wore masks, a reflection of how the late Magufuli’s canons on Covid-19 were deeply entrenched in the citizenry.

Magufuli, who died this week, had declared Tanzania “Covid-free” and would later express doubt on the safety of masks and vaccines.

He was an avowed Covid-19 skeptic who urged Tanzanians to shun mask-wearing and denounced vaccines as a Western conspiracy, frustrating the World Health Organisation (WHO) efforts to contain the pandemic.

He instead advocated traditional medicine and faith healing.

Magufuli at one point sent papaya and goat meat samples to be tested for Covid-19 and used the results to justify his denial of the virus.

A deal involving Uganda, Tanzania and Total has been pushed back, following the death of Tanzanian President John Magufuli.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced there would be 14 days of mourning.

The president said a three-way deal had been planned to be signed on March 22 in Entebbe.

This suggests the agreement on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) might be signed in early April.

Great loss

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) issued a statement confirming that the Tilenga and EACOP plans had been pushed back to April.

Museveni, and his wife Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni, signed a condolence book for the Tanzanian leader at the High Commission of Tanzania in Uganda.

The Ugandan president said Magufuli’s death was a “great loss”, noting the Tanzanian leader’s impact in his own country and beyond.

Museveni also noted that March 22 was the anniversary of the defeat of Idi Amin by combined forces from Tanzania and Ugandan freedom fighters.

“It is a challenge for those who are still alive to continue the struggle as we did in the past because when we lost our comrades we never gave up.

And because we never gave up, we succeeded and even this time we shall succeed,” he said.

Magufuli’s funeral was held on Monday in Dodoma. The president was last seen in public on February 27.

Tanzania’s vice president – now president – Samia Suluhu appeared on television on March 17 to say Magufuli had died. The official cause of death is heart disease. 

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