The world went into shock following the sudden death of Tanzania’s fifth President Dr. John Pombe Magufuli who breathed his last on Wednesday at the age of 61.
His death was announced on television by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who said Mr. Magufuli had died of heart complications while being treated at Mzena Hospital.
Although Ms. Suluhu did not specify the nature of Mr. Magufuli’s underlying illness in her brief televised remarks, she noted that the late had suffered from chronic atrial fibrillation for more than a decade.
Few days after taking office in 2015, Magufuli cancelled the budget which was put on Independence Day celebrations and directed all the funds to be used to widen a part of a highway notorious for gridlocks in the main city of Dar es Salaam. This was followed by firing of several government bigwigs in his anti-corruption crusade.
Ugandan political players mourn Magufuli:
Opposition Chief Whip also Kira municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that Magufuli has left a big lesson to African longest serving leaders who think that to develop a country, one must overstay in power.
“He has been a great leader. He was an example of himself. In Uganda where we have a government that has stayed in power for 3 decades plus we still have hospitals without drugs or health workers. In Tanzania even the hospital in the deepest village has medicines and health workers are there. Why? Because he has not tolerated corruption and loved his country. In his first term l, Tanzania as a country benefitted a lot however since power corrupts, he had started being a ruthless dictator by imprisoning the opposition leader, currently Tanzanian prisons have many political prisoners,” he said.
Busiro East County lawmaker Medard Lubega Ssegona noted that Magufuli was a different kind of leader who issued directives that he respected which is not common with many African leaders.
“When he came to power he started to deal with mistakes his predecessors had done such as mismanagement of country’s finances.
“Many African countries have big budgets for travelling of government big wigs but Magufuli refused this and stopped unnecessary travels of government workers starting on himself. He has not been a warmonger because he knew wars take a lot of money. However, I think he did not handle well Covid-19 and he has abused human rights but generally has been dedicated to his country.”
Cissy Kagaba the Executive Director of the Anti- Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) said that Magufuli was a real Pan Africanist.
“Unlike other African leaders, Magufuli was walking the talk. Driving Tanzania into middle-income status was helped by his war on corruption. He feared no one.”
His ban on foreign travels helped his government to save $430M according to Tanzania’s central bank report of 2017.
In his first term, he did not travel outside Africa, alluding that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money yet Tanzania has ambassadors overseas who can execute his duties efficiently. Within Africa, Magufuli has travelled only 8 times that is; Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe once and in Uganda twice.
His longest journey was to Ethiopia to attend an African Union meeting in January 2017.
For the six years, he has ruled Tanzania, Magufuli has left Tanzania in an admirable state, he has built genuine highway road using the small budget, Standard gauge railway solved the problem of electricity, also solved transport problem in Dar es salaam.
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