PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan on Friday reiterated the government’s commitment to put into action the vision and plans of the late former President John Magufuli as she led Tanzanians in the burial of the departed Head of State.
In a moving speech during a well-attended burial ceremony for her predecessor whom she referred to as a hero, the President stated; “Today (yesterday) we are going to lay our hero to rest, but I assure you that we only bury his body but his vision and ideas will continue to live and be implemented.”
The late fifth-phase President Dr Magufuli was laid to rest at his home village in Chato district after weeklong activities of paying last respects to the gallant son of Africa, who died on March 17, this year. Activities of paying last respects started in Dar es Salaam at Uhuru stadium, thereafter in Dodoma, Zanzibar, Mwanza and were finalized in Chato on Thursday.
The world witnessed a huge turn-up of mourners in all those regions, all of them expressing huge grief on the untimely death of their iconic leader. And the Magufuli grounds were fully packed, with attendance of government top leaders, retired presidents and thousands of ordinary Tanzanians from different parts of the country.
And as the nation bid final goodbye to the celebrated statesman on Friday, President Samia urged Tanzanians and government leaders to demonstrate love and unity among themselves and dedicate their efforts in building the country.
“If we speak of demonstrating love, this is an exact time to do so in order to develop our nation,” she appealed when addressing the nation from Magufuli grounds where the requiem mass was conducted ahead of the burial event held in the evening.
President Samia insisted that her government will implement all pledges in the CCM 2020/2025 manifesto and personal pledges that Dr Magufuli made during last year’s election campaigns. She assured Chato residents that the government will not abandon them and that Dr Magufuli pledges for Chato and all other areas in the country will be executed accordingly.
The president promised to consider Chato residents’ request to upgrade the district into a region. The Head of State further vowed to work on the reported shortage of drugs in Chato district, wondering what was wrong since the government has managed to increase availability of medicines from 35 per cent to the 94 per cent currently.
“If drugs are not available in Chato then there should be something wrong somewhere, we will work on it,” she assured Chato residents. Earlier, President Samia thanked various people and institutions, including religious leaders, security forces and all citizens for contributing to successful funeral activities in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.
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Paying her tributes to Dr Magufuli, Ms Samia said the late President was their guardian and a teacher who guided and prepared them well.
“It’s really painful to see that today we are going to bury him…I remember the last time I came to Chato he showed me his family’s land for burial, but today I have come to lay him to rest at the same place,” she revealed.
She appealed to Tanzanians to pray for the late Magufuli so that his soul may rest in eternal peace. The requiem mass was followed by speeches by retired presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Jakaya Kikwete and Dr Ali Mohamed Shein as well as Chief of Defence Forces General Venance Mabeyo and religious leaders among others.
After the President’s speech, at around 4pm the body of the late Dr Magufuli was taken from the Magufuli grounds to his home for burial. President Samia led the burial activities, with the Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF), carrying out military funeral procedures including giving a 21-gun salute.