After more than a week of ferrying the body of the late John Pombe Magufuli around the country and Zanzibar, the deceased leader’s body has been lowered into its final resting place where his soul is expected to rest in eternal peace.
Almost the entire day today has been set aside by the authorities in the large country to bid farewell to the former pan-Africanist, John Pombe Magufuli, whose untimely death at the age of just 61 years shocked many.
Grief-stricken men and women were seen weeping terribly as soil was being tossed into a glittering grave painted white just a short distance away from where the rest of the burial ceremony was conducted in Chato-Geita, in the north-western part of Tanzania where the late president-John Pombe Magufuli was born. The burial site was accessed by very few selected people.
These included the deceased’s close friends, relatives and dignitaries that included former presidents of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete, Ali Hassan Mwinyi and the current president of neigbouring Zanzibar Hussein Mwinyi, among others.
Sitting next to the late Magufuli widow was the newly sworn-in Tanzanian president H.E. Hassan Samia Suluhu who made sure grief-impaired Janeth Magufuli was consoled minute in, minute out. The two ladies wore glasses but were mask less, as were the majority of mourners who accessed both venues in Chato-Geita.
Analysts say this action, of not wearing face masks, was total communication to the rest of the world that Covid-19 is just a common flu that, still, can’t scare them (the people of Tanzania).
The late John Pombe Magufuli was among the world leaders who down-played the severity of the deadly virus-coronavirus. One who wore a face mask at the burial place of the late Magufuli really looked ridiculous.
Very many of them who wore masks regretted why they did. Before his body was driven to his final resting place on a hearse carrying the coffin draped in Tanzanian National flag, carrying his remains, selected dignitaries spoke.
They all eulogized the late Magufuli, attracting attention of grief-stricken Mourners. Funny former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who clad no mask in spite of the fact that he is very aged, often threw mourners into laughter that could not be controlled.
Kikwete and Mwinyi called the late Pombe Magufuli a true son of Africa.
In attendance were several other senior citizens from Tanzania and religious leaders, especially catholic priests, who led the mask less mourners, in prayers accompanying the sending off of beloved Magufuli.
The world was shocked on the night of March, 17, 2021 when it received the news of the untimely death of 61-year-old Covid-Denying president-John Pombe Magufuli. Magufuli succumbed to Atrial Fibrillation, a heart complication he contracted more than a decade ago, an official statement said.
His death was announced by his then vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan, recently sworn-in as the country’s new president.
Magufuli led Tanzania with an iron fist for about six years. He, however, did a lot to get Tanzania to an enviable step. Speaking Kiswahili, one of the two official languages of Tanzania before burial, Jakaya Kikwete, a former president and now a highly respected senior citizen, speaking at length, praised the late Magufuli, saying Magufuli was among the rare few Africans who loved Africa, on top of his homeland.
Ali Hassan Mwinyi also spoke, reiterating it that the fallen leader Magufuli was a true Pan-Africanist and a huge patriot. Ageing Mwinyi threw the Mask less crowd in the spacious tent in Chato-Geita in laughter by punctuating his speech with funny facts about the late Magufuli.
Notable dignitaries at the burial ceremony wore no masks. These included the newly sworn-in president Samia Hassan Suluhu, her body guards and funny former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi. Near there was former president Jakaya Kikwete who was wearing a face mask.
It is widely reported that the late Magufuli, perhaps, died from Covid-19, a disease he said never existed in Tanzania. Magufuli urged people who feared they would get Covid-19 to pray and fast.
The late John Pombe Magufuli became president in Tanzania in 2015 and had won another five-year term that would expire in 2025. As stipulated by Tanzanian constitution, in case a seating president dies in office, the vice president takes over. Tanzania’s head-of-state will now be a woman until 2025 when the late Magufuli’s term, he was given in 2020, expires.