LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – At Tanzania was on Friday giving a hero’s burial to President John Magufuli, who died earlier this month, the leader of opposition in Malawi parliament, Mr Kondwani Nankhumwa drew parallel of Magufuli and late president Bingu wa Mutharika, saying they were in same class as finest sons of Africa.
Magufuli’s coffin was lowered into the ground Friday by military generals followed by a 21-gun salute in Chato, his hometown in the country’s northwest.
While the burial ceremony was being held, Nankhumwa speaking in his winding speech in Lilongwe when Parliament adjourned sine dieafter concluding its Mid-term Budget review meeting paid tribute to Magufuli, describing him as “futuristic and development-conscious” leader.
He said: “In President Magufuli, Africa has lost a champion of regional cooperation and a committed Pan-Africanist who believed in home-grown solutions to a myriad of social and economic challenges that Tanzania and the rest of Africa face.
“Africa has lost an iconic figure that did not thrive on mere expression of language on podium or television screens, but a figure whose works spoke more than the words.”
Nankhumwa then. drew parallel with Bingu, saying : “We have seen what great action-centred leaders can do in Africa. We saw what the great late Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika did and we draw great resemblance to what the great John Pombe Magufuli has done.
“Africa has had great leaders with moral consciousness and the well-being of people at heart and these we have to emulate. In our minds shall always live memories of the great John Pombe Magufuli as he combed Tanzania clean of corruption without fear or favour thus leading to the transformation of the Republic of Tanzania, projecting it into one of the fast developing economies in East Africa..”
Malawi opposition leader said late Magufuli realized that for the economy of Tanzania and indeed the economy of Africa to sprout from years of stunted growth it required massive industrialization and people-centred social and economic policies.
“Having implemented policies to address such crucial tenets of development, Tanzania has become a miracle, straight away catapulting itself into a middle-income economy status under his presidency.
“In our eulogy we will say: John Pombe Magufuli you are not gone, you have just handed over to the entire Africa the baton for economic revitalization that we have to carry on in our undiminished desire to see the economic renaissance of Africa in our own lifetime. Rest in peace great John Pombe Magufuli.”
During the burial ceremony, former Tanzania president Jakaya Kikwete delivered a eulogy in Swahili, remembering Mr Magufuli as a longtime friend and confidante.
“I nominated him for the presidency and I had no doubt,” he said, describing Mr Magufuli as “an honest, hardworking, attentive leader who does not tolerate negligence”.
Also attending the burial was Samia Suluhu Hassan, the former vice president who succeeded Mr Magufuli to become Tanzania’s first female president.
Many Tanzanians followed the proceedings on live TV and radio in the country of 60 million where the populist leader was admired by many for his pugnacious style and action against corruption.
But others are critical of his legacy, saying his rule reduced fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly.