Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta who doubles as the Chairman for the East African Community (EAC), said during his tribute that, Tanzania’s late President, John Pombe Magufuli has demonstrated that, Africa has what it takes to develop without dependency on foreign aid.
Kenyatta said that, “In a very short span of time, President Magufuli has shown that we as Africans are able to disentangle ourselves from the dependence of foreigners and that we have the ability to manage our own economy and ensure that our people get what is rightful to them.”
He revealed that he had a personal relationship with Dr. Magufuli prior to his demise; a more reason he came represented in person to deliver his tribute. “We spoke every now and then, day and night. We would exchange ideas on our respective countries.” adding that, “His death hit hard…he was respectful.”
He expressed his admiration for his friend for driving such massive infrastructure in Tanzania and achieving standardized economic feats, recognized by financial watchdog, the International Monetary Funds (IMF) and the World Bank within a relatively shorter period of time to impact the living standards of his people.
Indeed, President Magufuli was that leader who set an exemplary trajectory that preached continental self-reliance as rightly stated by President Kenyatta. He was known for his unreserved position and public display of hatred for foreign aid. He went viral after canceling a Chinese loan worth USD10 Billion, adding that the terms do not make sense.
Apart from this, Magufuli was also known to be a guardian of the African cultural values and the traditional way of life; this was evident in his strong advocacy for the development and adoption of African solutions for African problems. He equally advocated for the replacement of English language as used in African schools as an official language with Local languages as Swahili is used in Tanzania.
This Language advocacy has been honored as South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa who is also the current African Union chairperson said that, “He (Magufuli) wanted us as a nation to embrace Swahili which we have already introduced in our curriculum. In his honor, this will continue across our schools.” He added that, “He was a true pan-Africanist who believed the culture of forefathers should be remembered.”
The requiem which was held in Dodoma in memory of the late President saw the attendance of other prominent leaders such as President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, , Azali Assoumani of Comoros, and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi.