By Ritah Kemigisa
Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has declared a 7 day period of national mourning in Kenya in honor of the deceased president of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli.
Addressing the nation at the state house, Kenyatta who is the chair of the East African community has ordered that the community and national flags fly at half mast throughout Kenya and all diplomatic missions abroad, until sunset on the day of Magufuli’s funeral.
Kenyatta has meanwhile eulogized Magufuli as a great and visionary friend and a champion of pan Africanism.
He says he leaves behind a strong legacy to reckon with.
The Vice president of Tanzania Samia Suhulu Hassan last night announced the death of John Magufuli whom she said succumbed to heart complications at a hospital in Dar es salam.
Magufuli died at the age of 61 on Wednesday.
Hassan has since announced 14 days of national mourning where flags will fly at half mast.
According to Tanzania’s constitution, Hassan will be sworn in as the new president and should serve the remaining terms of Magufuli’s five-year team which he began last year.
If sworn in, it will go down in history as she will become the first woman president in East Africa.
So far, two president in the region have died during covid19 era including Pierre Nkuruzinza of Burundi who succumbed to COVID-19.
Who is Magufuli
John Pombe Magufuli, the son of a peasant farmer was born in Chato, in north-west Tanzania, in 1959.
He Studied chemistry and math’s at the University of Dar es Salaam and first worked as a chemistry and math’s teacher.
He was first elected as an MP in 1995 and became a cabinet minister in 2000.
He was first elected president in 2015.
He won second term in 2020 amid opposition accusations of fraud and intimidation.
Before he was president he acquired the nickname “the bulldozer” for driving a programme to build roads as minister for works, and later was hailed for his anti-corruption stance and his distinct dislike for wasting money.