TANZANIANS were in shock Wednesday 17th March 2021 after the sudden death of President Dr John Pombe Magufuli following an announcement made by Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
A three-week of national mourning has been announced in Tanzania for the country’s head of state leader, who in my opinion oversaw the transition to middle income status ahead of time in what is now one of Africa’s most growing economies. The official statement announcing the president’s death, to many will remain to be a moment and hour that will take years to forget.
The government has announced fourteen days of national mourning that in my opinion would give Tanzanians of all sorts of life to reflect and celebrate the rise, the life and steady commitment, Dr JPM dedicated to transform Tanzania to benefit Tanzanians.
Dr Magufuli’s legacy is going to be a joyful one specifically for the future generation of Tanzania, including children who are now enjoying among other things free school education and medical care across the country. Questions about dead presidents’ legacies are best left to historians writing a generation detached.
But for the late Tanzanian President Dr JPM, we can be sure of a few things that will be part of his national and international memory that on the bright side, will gain worldwide prominence with managing hard and tough times in human history following world pandemic caused by covid-19.
Magufuli affirmed Tanzania Covid-19 unrestricted last June, among other things mocking the efficacy of masks and expressing his doubts about vaccination testing that has seen many countries questioning their effectiveness to curb the virus. To-date health authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland, Iceland to mention a few have stopped administering the vaccine.
After taking office in 2015, and particularly when he insisted on not running for a third term although many thought given what he has done would have wanted to see it completed, he isolated such views believing Tanzania as a country following the rule of law had processes and procedures to elect its next leaders openly and transparently to sustained good will left behind by the Baba wa Taifa Mwalimu JK Nyerere.
Standing on his firmness for not even spending an extra day in the State House after his tenure was done was a demonstration and a way to diplomatically silenced his criticizers, and repeatedly used to assure Tanzanians to stand on what he believed was at the best interest of this nation.
In the face of the discussion associated with tenure in office, JPM’s death will in my view be a foundation of unity for many Tanzanians given we don’t have inclination for a power struggle among outside norms and traditions when seeking to fill the vacuum left behind and in this case death caused by heart failure.
Present thinking on governance is turning toward calling for unity and harmony as we mourn the loss of our beloved president. Power politics changes people and people with diverse views with diverse interests. Amidst period of sorrow, and as long as we remain aware of how this happens, we will continue as nation ending up with united and strong nation.
I would urge Tanzanians to remember the late president positively. He was not an angel. He made mistakes, so let us not remember the bad things - let us remember about the positive things about him.
Dr JPM leaves behind a mixed legacy; he will be remembered as a leader who pursued some successful economic policies since assuming office 2015 including persuading Tanzanians to work hard to earn a living under his famous slogan HAPA KAZI TU.
Many Tanzanians will point to his second term, which began in 2020, as the onset of the new economic prosperity aimed at elevating Tanzania more in the world map. By the time of his death on 17th March 2021, Tanzania was in my opinion on right footing towards economic prosperous.
JPM will always be remembered for his steadiness and firmness, and walking on his talk, a position that can’t be divorced from the current trend on the continent, where voters are more and more in favour of leaders who deliver and ready to defend interest of their countries. RIP JPM.