African leaders showered the fallen Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli, with tributes on Thursday, extolling his ideals as a consummate Pan-Africanist.
African Heads of State, the African Peace and Security Council and the President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, all sent in tributes, mourning the Tanzanian leader, who died from heart-related complications on Wednesday.
The AU PSC paid tribute to the memory of President Magufuli and extended its condolences to the Government and people of Tanzania during a ministerial meeting, chaired by Kenya’s Foreign ministry Cabinet Secretary, Rachel Omamo.
The AU organ, tasked with ensuring continental security, described Tanzania under President Magufuli’s leadership as a “great pan-African nation.”
Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, said: “I am terribly saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and brother President Magufuli. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Government and People of Tanzania.”
President Ndayishimiye described President Magufuli as a great leader and a true Pan-Africanist. President Magufuli was at the forefront of ensuring zero-tolerance to corruption and fought the malaise and laziness in public service.
During his reign, he took steps to improve public infrastructure. The Tanzanian President also took steps to stop the wanton grabbing of the African mineral resources by seeking to rationalise contracts for the exploitation of minerals in Tanzania.
Chief Emeka Obegolu, Chairman of the Pan African Lawyers Association, mourned President Magufuli as a patriot who was committed foremost to the service of his country.
Obegolu remembered President Magufuli’s campaign against corruption and the illicit financial flows from Africa and his efforts to ensure efficiency in public service.
African Union Commission President Mousa Faki Mahamat said the African Union family was united in grief with the Government and people of Tanzania following the untimely death of President Magufuli.
“Africa has lost a champion of regional cooperation in the East African region and a committed Pan Africanist leader. May he rest in peace,” Faki said in a tweet.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda said he was saddened by the loss of “my brother and friend.” He said President Magufuli’s contribution to his country and to the East African 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,” President Kagame said.
In Kenya, the government declared seven days of mourning for the late Tanzanian leader. Despite what appeared to be frosty relations between Kenya and Tanzania, which often resulted into frequent import and export bans between the two countries, President Magufuli often struck a cordial tone and comradeship with Kenya.
“I have lost a friend, a colleague and a visionary ally with whom I worked closely,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said.
At home, President Magufuli, a devout Christian, often showed compassion and was often seen to embrace peasants in public. He showered those he was able to meet with gifts whenever they caught his attention in a true show of servant leadership.
Kenya’s Third President, Mwai Kibaki, 87, said it was with utter sadness that he acknowledged receipt of the news of the demise of the President of Tanzania.
“To his family, friends and Tanzania and East Africa at large, I convey my message of condolence and pray for the Almighty God’s comfort as we as all come to terms with this irredeemable bereavement,” President Kibaki said.
As a symbol of respect, the Kenyan flag and that of the EAC will be flown at half mast until sunset on the day of the funeral.