Dodoma, Tanzania – For a long time the family of the former President of Tanzania, Dr John Magufuli remained a well kept secret, not many knew the exact number of children and grandchildren that he had.
However, on Monday at the state funeral held at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma, the public were given a glimpse on the identity of the former first family.
While reading the deceased’s biography, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, read out the names of the seven children adding that the President had 10 grand children.
Whereas many first families open up on their children, Magufuli kept it as a private and a family affair and not many know the identity of the Seven children.
Former Tanzanian presidents’ children were known to some Tanzanians either by himself naming them, being mentioned in their parent’s profile or being introduced at various activities.
On the part of President Magufuli, since he came to power during the first five-year term and even when he was re-elected for the second term he never made the identity of his children public.
He once told Tanzanians that his son was infected with the corona virus, but did not mention his name, age or whatever he does for a living.
On another occasion, when President Magufuli made mention of his family was when he described the incident of his three children getting married without any fancy ceremonies, with one getting married while he was already head of state.
President Magufuli’s children remain unknown, unpredictable and are not active in the political arena, as a they are not as popular as the children of other politicians such as Dr Hussein Mwinyi (President of Zanzibar), Amani Abeid Karume, Ali Karume and Ridhiwani Kikwete.
However, on Monday when Professor Kabudi read the biography of the late Magufuli at his national funeral in Dodoma, he mentioned that the family has seven children and 10 grandchildren
Even after Prof Kabudi read out the names of the children that survive the late President , not many people know the identity of these children
Professor Kabudi identified the children as Suzan John Magufuli, Edna John Magufuli, Joseph John Magufuli, Jesca John Magufuli, Ruth John Magufuli, Jurgen John Magufuli, Jeremiah John Magufuli and Juliana John Magufuli who died while her father was a minister.
The most popular name known to many Tanzanians is Jesca who is said to have studied at the University of Dodoma.
Another daughter of President Magufuli who is not well known is Edna who is said to have studied at the Royal College of Journalism in Dar es Salaam from 2006 to 2007.
A few years later she went on to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations at Tumaini Makumira University in Dar es Salaam.
Another is Ruth, who is in public service in Morogoro Region in the position of an administrative secretary.
Not much is known of what the others are including Joseph who led mourners yesterday to pay last respects to his father in Chato
Also, Professor Kabudi at the funeral said President Magufuli got married in 1989 to Janeth Mathias Mbizo.
President Magufuli himself once mentioned about his marriage during a function at the University of Dar es Salaam saying it was an ordinary affair.
“The day I got married most people didn’t know… and it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have the money to buy a suit or wedding gown for my wife, I didn’t see the need for such fancy ceremonies.
We went to church and even the rings were bought by the priest, and they were of bronze. The priest also bought us soda, I remember I drank Pepsi and my wife drank Mirinda … After that I went to the lab to continue my activities.”
The priest who solemnized the marriage and bought the ring and soda according to President Magufuli is called Msemwa, who now lives in Tanga. “Follow Father Msemwa and he will tell you better.”
Magufuli also said that even the marriage of his children is usually not accompanied by fancy celebrations.
“So far three of my children have got married and there was no big party. One of them got married while I am President but you never heard of it.”