By Daniel Nyaga
Tanzania’s fifth President John Pombe Magufuli was on Friday given a hero’s send off as he was laid to rest in his ancestral home of Chato, Geita.
Throughout the week, the late President’s body was being moved through different towns in the country for public mourning and to permit residents to view it.
President Magufuli’s body arrived at Rumbambagwe Stadium mid-morning today and soon after, there was the singing of both the national anthem and the East African anthem.
The requiem mass then got underway in Chato, Geita region, North-western Tanzania. The catholic mass was conducted by Archbishop Gervas John Nyaisonga, Tanzania’s Episcopal Conference (TEC) president.
Magufuli’s body was lowered into the ground by Military generals who followed through with a 21 – gun salute in his honour.
In attendance were the late President’s family members, close friends, President Samia Suluhu Hassan and ex-presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete, among other dignitaries.
Tanzanians were able to follow the proceedings of Mr. Magufuli’s burial via live Television and Radio. He was admired by many citizens for his serious approach to corruption and his no nonsense approach to leadership.
Former President, Jakaya Kikwete delivered a eulogy in Kiswahili stating, “I nominated him for the presidency and I had no doubt,” he said, describing Magufuli as “an honest, hardworking, attentive leader who does not tolerate negligence.”
Felix Maluma, a trader in the largest city, Dar es Salaam, stated his shock of the late President’s demise as he said, “I don’t think we will have such a good leader,” he said.
“I pray that the next leader gets the courage to fulfil the promises made by President Magufuli,” added Maluma.
Mr. Magufuli who passed away on March 17, due to heart complications at Mzena Hospital is the first Tanzanian president to die in office.