The new Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has said the late Dr Magufuli was loved by many in the country and the region, and regretted the passing away of the former Head of State.
“It is difficult to reconcile with the fact that Dr Magufuli is nolonger with us,” President Suluhu said, adding that the late leader was her mentor who helped lift the political profile of Tanzanian women.
“Forever, I will thank him [the late Dr Magufuli] for my success and the success of the women of Tanzania. Through him, Tanzania got its first woman Vice President who is now the first Woman President,” Samia said.
Despite his no-nonsense approach to the management of public affairs, Ms Samia said Dr Magufuli was a loving, fatherly figure with a playful streak that was only known to those that worked closely with him.
“To many Dr Magufuli was known as a no-nonsense person but for those of us that worked with him, he had a jolly side. He loved to see results and expected nothing but results. He had no time for hatred and sideshows,” she recalled.
H.E Samia assured Tanzanians and the region that she had what it takes to step into the shoes of Dr Magufuli, who was nicknamed ‘bulldozer’, and lead the East African country into a future of prosperity.
“For those in doubt, this woman will be an effective President of the United Republic of Tanzania. Whoever is standing here is the President. I want to repeat that whoever is standing here, is the President of Tanzania whose gender is female,” President Suluhu affirmed.
She also assured Mrs Janeth Magufuli, the widow of the former President, that her administration will continue looking after her and the family of the departed leader.
Samia said all this while addressing Tanzanians and African leaders who had gathered at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma on Monday for a state funeral of the fallen president.
In their speeches, the visiting Heads of State eulogised Dr Magufuli as a brave, progressive and firm leader who served with great dedication.
President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union described the late former President as a “nationalist and a great defender of the economic freedom of Africa”.
The Congolese leader said Dr Magufuli will forever be remembered for his relentless fight against corruption, and assured Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu of the Africa Union’s support as she steers her country forward.
South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa mourned the late Dr Magufuli as a forthright and bold leader who advocated for the adoption of Kiswahili language in African countries.
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.