Several African heads of state on Monday paid tribute to the memory of Tanzania’s former president, John Magufuli, at a state funeral in the capital Dodoma, five days after news of his death remains shrouded in mystery.
The body of the late president was laid to rest on Saturday and Sunday in the economic capital of Dar es Salaam and was greeted in Dodoma by crowds of people lining the streets, singing, shouting and crying as the funeral procession passed by.
At Jamhuri Stadium, where the state funeral was held in front of tens of thousands of people, paramedics had to attend to some spectators who had lost consciousness.
President since 2015, John Magufuli, 61, officially died Wednesday of heart problems, according to Tanzanian authorities. But his main opponent says the leader, who has consistently downplayed the impact of the coronavirus and refused to take steps to stem the pandemic, died of Covid-19.
Nine African heads of state (including Kenya, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Botswana) and many ambassadors (United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Japan …) were present at the ceremony.
As the body lay in a glass-topped coffin in the center of the stadium, speeches were made for several hours.
From Magufuli, we have learned to live without dependence on others. Look at the roads, electricity and other infrastructure projects he has implementedUhuru Kenyatta – President of Kenya
While his years in power were marked by major projects, they also saw an authoritarian shift, denounced by human rights organizations, with repeated attacks on the opposition and a rollback of fundamental freedoms
In her speech, the new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, assured “those who have doubts” about her ability to lead that “the country is in good hands.
John Magufuli‘s body will lie in state on Tuesday in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar. The former president is then due to be buried on Friday in his hometown of Chato, in the northwest of the country.