African leaders have been expressing their condolences following the death of Tanzania’s President John Magufuli on Wednesday, with many highlighting the late Head of State’s strong Pan-Africanist leanings.
The Tanzanian government announced 14 days of national mourning.
Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan will be sworn in to complete Mr Magufuli’s term.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said, “As we mourn the loss of your revered leader President John Magufuli, I wish to extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Her Excellency President, Mrs Samia Suluhi Hassan, the Government, and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania.
“Our special thoughts and prayers go to President Magufuli’s wife, Janeth, and the children. We hope that the people of Tanzania will find strength and solace in the Lord during this difficult time.
“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.”
President Hage Geingob said Tanzania had lost a patriot and Namibia a “dear brother”.
The Namibian leader said: “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.”
Zambian President Edgar Lungu said the late Tanzanian president would be remembered for his immense contribution towards SADC’s growth when he served as Chair of the regional bloc.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe said: “My deepest condolences to the family of His Excellency President John Magufuli and the people of Tanzania. Africa mourns with you. May his soul rest in peace.”
He recalled President Magufuli’s central role in rallying SADC to lobby for an end to the illegal Western sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a seven-day period of national mourning, and ordered that Kenyan flag and that of the East African Community to fly at half-mast in all public buildings and Kenyan diplomatic missions abroad until sunset on the day Mr Magufuli is buried.
He called Mr Magufuli a champion of Pan-Africanism, adding that Africa and the world had lost an illustrious leader whose vision, passion, and leadership propelled Tanzania forward and steered the East African Community to closer integration and co-operation.
“In the passing on of President Magufuli, I have lost a friend, a colleague, and a visionary ally; whom I worked with closely, particularly on our commitment to forging lasting bonds between Kenya and Tanzania,” he said in a televised news conference in Nairobi.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame also declared national mourning and for the national and East African Community flag inside the country’s borders to fly at half-mast until the burial.
He also said Mr Magufuli’s contribution to Tanzania and the region “will not be forgotten”.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat said: “On behalf of the African Union family, the Chairperson expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the late President Magufuli, and stands in solidarity and mourning with the government and people of Tanzania during this difficult time of loss.”
He described Mr Magufuli’s death as a continental loss.
“Africa has lost a valiant champion of regional co-operation in the East African region and a committed Pan-Africanist leader. May his soul rest in peace.”