Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday joined mammoth crowds of Tanzanians and visiting leaders, including eight other African Heads of State, at Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma for the State Funeral of former leader John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.
Accompanied by EAC Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, Kenyatta attended the sombre ceremony alongside Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Felix Tshisekedi (DR Congo) and Felipe Nyusi (Mozambique).
Others were president’s Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), and Mogkweetsi Masisi (Botswana).
While addressing the mourners,the Kenyan number one citizen eulogised the fallen former Tanzanian Head of State as a hardworking and transformative leader whose rich legacy of success within a very short time earned him recognition and respect the world over.
“We mourn the loss of our friend, our brother, a hardworker, the Honorable John Pombe Magufuli. The President who was respected not only here in Tanzania but also in the entire East Africa, the whole of Africa and the entire world.
“He showed us that, as Africans we have the potential to liberate ourselves from dependence on foreigners. That we have potential as Africans to manage our economies and ensure that our people get justice,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta, who is also the current Chairperson of the East African Community, said the late Dr Magufuli was a close ally with whom he spoke regularly, exchanging ideas on the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania, and the progress of the regional bloc.
He wished President Samia Suluhu success as she takes over the leadership of Tanzania, assured her of Kenya’s and the regions backing, and rallied Tanzanians to fully support their new leader.
“My sister Samia, and now my colleague President, you’ve been shown the way by our brother, the late Magufuli. You have the mandate, now go forth and serve the people.
“The people of Tanzania are behind you. Ours is to urge you to continue with the unity you have, work together and support your new President so that she completes the work started by our departed brother,” President Kenyatta told his Tanzanian counterpart.
Magufuli, 61, died in office from a heart condition on March 17 in the country’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
He will be buried in his native home in Chato district of Geita region on March 26.
The late president was born in Chato, Geita region, on Oct. 29, 1959. He was elected the president of Tanzania in October 2015, and was re-elected in October 2020.