By Durell Namasani
President Lazarus Chakwera has led the Malawi nation in paying tribute to the late President Of Tanzania John Magufuli describing his death as an incalculable loss to the continent .
John Pombe Magufuli , 61 was confirmed by the country’s vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassanin an address on the state television
“He died on Wednesday from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam”
Magufuli had not been seen in public for more than two weeks, and rumours had been circulating about his health.Opposition politicians said last week that he had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.
In a statement from the the Malawi leader , Chakwera has described the late Magufuli as a towering symbol of Africa’s economic resurgence, saying his passing was an incalculable loss to the continent.
“As Malawi joins Tanzania in mourning this loss over the next 14 days, we pray for uncommon strength and fortitude for the people of Tanzania and their government as they ahead together in the spirit of unity and in a manner that maintains peace and stability,” says Chakwera.
He says the government of Malawi stands ready to render any support needed by the government of Tanzania in the aftermath of Magufuli’s passing.
Tanzania was one of the first countries that Chakwera visited when he became president. On his visit to Tanzania back oin October 2020 Magufuli is on record as telling Chakwera that there should be strong economic ties between the two countries .
The Malawi leader holds fond memories of Magufuli who hosted him and his entourage just four months ago in Dar es Salaam, during an official visit. Magufuli told the visiting delegation to no longer consider Malawi as a landlocked country and fully utilize port facilities in Dar es Salaam and Mtwara.Malawi relies on Tanzanian ports for importation of both dry and wet cargo.The departed leader also instructed his country’s port authority to open offices in Lilongwe to ease logistics for Malawian traders who currently travel to Tanzania to clear and attain their merchandize.
According to Tanzania’s constitution, Ms Hassan will be sworn in as the new president within 24 hours and should serve the remainder of Magufuli’s five-year term which he began last year.
Magufuli was last seen in public on 27 February, but Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa insisted last week that the president was “healthy and working hard”.
He blamed the rumours of the president’s ill-health on “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.
But opposition leader Tundu Lissu told the media that his sources had told him Magufuli was being treated in hospital for coronavirus in Kenya.