Chato, Tanzania – Fallen President John Pombe Magufuli was laid to rest on Friday, March 26 at his family’s graveyard in Chato, a place the deceased had many fond memories of in his formative years.
Nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his leadership style, Magufuli, 61 died on March 17 at Mzena Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Announcing the death the then Vice President, now President Samia Suluhu Hassan said President Magufuli succumbed to a heart condition called atrial fibrillation something that he had struggled with for more than 10 years.
As Magufuli’s casket was being lowered into the grave around 1650Hrs, a sombre mood engulfed Chato and its surroundings. The lowering of the casket was followed by a ceremonial 21 gun-salute from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces.
Alongside President Suluhu Hassan were former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete. Also present was Zanzibar’s President Dr Hussein Mwinyi and his predecessor Ali Mohammed Shein who were all in Chato to bid farewell to the former Head of State.
Speaking at an earlier requiem service, President Samia Suluhu called on the people of Tanzania to stand together and show love for their country in the midst of external pressures following the death of their leader.
“We need to show unity and love for our country. If there has ever been a time to show love for the country and to be patriotic, that time is now, when we have lost our general,” President Suluhu said.
Magufuli is hailed for his fight against corruption and massive infrastructure projects, but criticised by some for crackdowns on the media, civil society and the opposition.