DAR ES SALAAM. – Leaders from across the world yesterday messages of condolences following the passing on of Tanzania President John Joseph Pombe Magufuli, who died on Wednesday night at the age of 61.
The country’s Vice President and now acting President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, confirmed Magufuli’s death in a televised address.
President Magufuli was admired by followers for his hostility to corruption and waste.
He was nicknamed “The Bulldozer” for his fondness for massive public works and a reputation for pushing through policies despite opposition – a hard-charging leadership style that won support from many Tanzanians.
During his first presidential campaign, he captured headlines by doing push-ups at a rally to demonstrate his physical fitness for office. His cost-cutting including cancelling independence day festivities and restricting foreign travel by officials.
The chairperson of the African Union Moussa Faki Mahamat said, “The African Union family is united in grief with the government and people of Tanzania by the untimely passing of President Magufuli. Africa has lost a champion of regional cooperation in the East African region and a committed Pan Africanist leader.”
World Health Organisation director general, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, joined other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, in expressing their condolences to the late President’s family and the people of Tanzania.
Johnson tweeted saying “I’m sorry to hear that John Pombe Magufuli, President of Tanzania, has passed away. My thoughts are with his loved ones and the people of Tanzania.”
In a statement by the State Department, United States government said it remained committed to continuing to support Tanzanians as they advocate for respect for human rights while combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
The brief statement, issued by State Department spokesperson Ned Price, expressed Washington’s hope that Tanzania will move forward on a democratic and prosperous path.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said, “President Magufuli’s untimely passing is not only a loss to the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, but the African continent as a whole. He will be remembered for his love and dedication to his country and his contribution in the fight against corruption for the prosperity and development of the people of the United Republic of Tanzania. As the region, we still vividly recall his recent contributions as the chairperson of SADC, in our regional integration and industrial efforts.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “South Africa is united in grief with the government and people of Tanzania as they go through this difficult moment.”
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera who announced the country would be mourning Magufuli for 14 days said, “President Magufuli was a towering symbol of Africa’s economic resurgence, and his passing is an incalculable loss to the continent. As Malawi joins Tanzania in mourning this loss over the next 14 days, we pray for uncommon strength and fortitude for the people of Tanzania and their government as they forge ahead together in the spirit of unity and in a manner that maintains peace and stability. Malawi stands ready to render any support needed by Tanzania in the aftermath of President Magufuli’s passing.”
Namibian President Hage Geingob, said, “Tanzania has lost a patriot and Namibia lost a dear brother. Namibia joins the fraternal people of Tanzania in mourning the death of my dear brother, President John Magufuli. During this difficult period, I convey sincere condolences to the family and the people of Tanzania.”
Taking to his Twitter account, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said, “We are saddened by the loss of my brother and friend, President Magufuli. His contribution to his country and to our region will not be forgotten. My deepest condolences to his family and the people of Tanzania. The people of Rwanda stand with Tanzania during this difficult time.”
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi extended his condolences and voiced the Egyptian people and government’s solidarity with the Tanzanians over this tragedy based on the strong relations between the two countries.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo said, “I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the United Republic of Tanzania for the loss of President John Magufuli. We wish the nation and the government patience and stability in this period of prayer and mourning.” – CGTN/SABC