THE untimely death of former Tanzania President John Magufuli has robbed the country of a true friend and Pan-Africanist who was unwavering in his call for the removal of the illegal economic sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe by Western nations, President Mnangagwa said.
Cde Magufuli succumbed to heart complications on Wednesday. He was 61. His deputy Samia Suluhu Hassan was yesterday sworn-in to complete the rest of his term which ends in 2025.
In his condolence message, President Mnangagwa described Cde Magufuli as a leader who was dedicated to duty and stood among the continent’s great leaders.
“President Magufuli’s untimely death has robbed the people of Tanzania and the rest of the African continent of an exemplary father and astute leader. The legacy of the late President Magufuli is not limited to his untiring efforts to promote development and peace in Tanzania but to the roles he played as a Pan-Africanist beyond the borders of his country.
“Zimbabwe will remember him for his unwavering support for the regional call for the lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, and it was under his leadership as the chairperson of SADC that the region set aside October 25 as the day for SADC to stand in solidarity in calling for the removal of sanctions. His principled and selfless stance endeared him to all the people of Zimbabwe. His dedication to duty and achievements will forever be remembered alongside those of other great African leaders,” the President said.
It was the late Cde Magufuli, who will be buried that on March 25, who led the regional anti-sanctions crusade that has since morphed into a continental campaign for the unconditional removal of the illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
When he visited Zimbabwe in 2019, he extended his stay in the country by a day, demonstrating the close ties between the two countries, a relationship that dates back to the liberation struggle.
In his message, President Mnangagwa said the country will keep the people of Tanzania in its prayers during the dark period of mourning.
“Allow me to extend to you, and through you, to the Government and people of Tanzania our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies. Our special prayers are with President Magufuli’s family, particularly his beloved wife, Janeth and the children. May the Almighty comfort them and the nation during this time of grief and immense loss.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo echoed the same sentiments saying Cde Magufuli was a great statesman and loyal son of Africa.
“A great statesman and loyal son of Africa, President Magufuli fits perfectly well in our Africa’s Hall of Fame, who loved our people and worked tirelessly towards the emancipation of Africans.”
He added; “President Magufuli won the affection of the people of Zimbabwe when he fearlessly and consistently called for the removal of illegal sanctions on our people.
“It is not by mistake that the October 25 Anti-sanctions Day was adopted in Dar es Salaam at the SADC summit in 2019. A sombre mood has engulfed Africa as we grieve the passing on of a dear friend. Zanu PF led by President and the First Secretary of the party ED Mnangagwa sends its fraternal condolences to our Cdes and friends of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the fraternal people of Tanzania,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
At the 39th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Dar es Salaam in 2019, President Magufuli said the West should unconditionally remove sanctions on Zimbabwe so as to free its people from the albatross that hinders development.
“These sanctions have not only affected the people of Zimbabwe and their Government but the entire region. It is like a human body, when you chop one of its parts it affects the whole body.
“Therefore, I would like to seize this opportunity to urge the international community to lift sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe. This brotherly country after all has now opened a new chapter and it is ready to engage with the rest of the world. It is therefore, I believe, in the interest of all parties concerned to see these sanctions removed.”
On a State visit to Zimbabwe during the same year President Magufuli said sanctions had to be removed, to enable the country to develop.
“This embargo should be reconsidered and removed, so the people of Zimbabwe can enjoy their life and develop their country.”
In his address as the outgoing SADC chairperson, at the 40th SADC Ordinary Summit Heads of States and Government that was virtually hosted by Mozambique last year, President Magufuli said the whole region would benefit if sanctions were removed.
“It is my strong belief that our nations will benefit if sanctions on Zimbabwe are lifted. It will offer an invaluable contribution not only to Zimbabwe but to the entire continent. These are some of the achievements we have been able to achieve during the past year.
“During the 39th summit, we (SADC) passed the resolution to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe, which were imposed since 2001. In that resolution we approved October 25 of every year to be a special day against sanctions in Zimbabwe where member states will be conducting various activities including preparing dialogues and declarations against the sanctions on Zimbabwe”.