East Africa has lost a giant. That President John Pombe Magufuli was one of the most iconic sons of the continent is not in doubt. Tanzania, on the other hand, will miss one of its most progressive president, uniquely gifted to work for the common man. President Magufuli passed on last evening at a Daresalaam hospital while undergoing treatment for a heart condition he has had for last 10 years.
”Magufuli was a champion of Pan-Africanism. I have lost a friend and an ally. Africa and the world have lost a leader who steered the EAC and the continent. On behalf of the government and people of Kenya I convey our sincere condolences to the First Lady of Tanzania, Janet Magufuli,” President Kenyatta mourned the fallen leader on Thursday.
Unknown to many, President Uhuru Kenyatta and John Magufuli had developed a close relationship, following a truce and private visit to the Tanzanian president at his home in Chato. The visit, in July 2019, would act as a turning point, not only in the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania, but also between the two leaders.
It was during the two-day, July 2019 visit that Magufuli won Uhuru Kenyatta’s heart by introducing him to his mother, Suzana Magufuli, who was bedridden at that time. Kenyans still vividly remember the viral video, in which the Head of State is praying for President Magufuli’s mother, who was bedridden.
Uhuru’s solemn prayer for the quick recovery of Mama Suzana Magufuli, the mother of his Tanzanian host touched the Tanzanian president’s heart. He would later gift President Kenyatta two peacocks as a sign of a strong relationship and friendship.