The former president of Tanzania, John Magufuli who died on March 17 from heart attack has been buried in his home village of Chato.
Prior to Friday’s burial Magufuli’s coffin was transported to six cities to allow people to pay their last respects.
The ex-Tanzanian leader died aged 61 after a mysterious absence from the public nearly three weeks, sparking speculations.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who has succeeded him led the nation during the burial ceremony in Chato, in the northwestern part of the country.
She sent a thank you note to “everyone who has supported comforted and sent us condolence messages during this difficult and trying times for our nation”.
Media Houses, artists, musicians and everyone who has supported comforted and sent us condolence messages during this difficult and trying times for our nation. May our good Lord grant our beloved late President eternal peace. Amen.
— Samia Suluhu (@SuluhuSamia) March 26, 2021
Tanzania suspended all public activities amid 21 days of mourning declared for the former president.
Crackdown on citizens even in death
Police have already cracked down on citizens deemed to have ridiculed the death of John Magufuli.
Four people were detained for allegedly mocking his death.
Urlich Matei, the regional police head in the south-west region of Mbeya, told local journalists that the four were ridiculing Magufuli’s death while the country was mourning.
“The whole country is in mourning for our beloved president John Magufuli…but during this period we received a report that there were four people who were mocking this tragedy,” he said.
“What they have done is an indication that they want to cause chaos and breach of peace in that region,” he said.
President Magufuli who earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Dar es Salaam in 1994 and 2009 and worked as a chemist has always refused to accept the fact that Covid-19 is real and deadly, in order to protect his citizens.
Instead of following science, he didn’t encourage the adherence to safety protocols, urging people to pray and consider the virus devilish.
Last year, President Magufuli declared his country “coronavirus-free” saying the success was due to prayers by citizens.
He told worshippers in a church that “The corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God.”
President John Magufuli warned health officials in his country against acquiring coronavirus vaccines.
Second term ended
Just last year John Magufuli was declared winner of the country’s presidential election, securing over 12.5 million votes, with opposition leader Tundu Lissu coming in second with almost 2 million votes.
Nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, Magufuli was in his first term in 2015 accused of flouting due process and brooking no criticism in the East African country once held up as a stable democracy in an often-volatile region.
Opposition figures faced violence and police intimidation, press freedom was squeezed, and political rallies banned in a steady crackdown that international rights watchdogs said was a steady erosion of freedoms.
Most foreign media were not allowed into Tanzania to cover the election, while local and international observer missions were also not present.
Magufuli, a former teacher also worked as an industrial chemist before becoming a politician with the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.
In 1995 he became a member of parliament and got appointed as deputy minister of works.
After gaining popularity in 2010 following his appointment as Tanzania’s minister for works and transportation he nurtured the idea of assuming the presidency and becoming successful in 2015.