By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has mourned the demise of Tanzanian President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuri who died on Wednesday and ordered that both the national flag and the East African one fly at half-mast until late Magufuli will be laid to rest.
“We are saddened by the loss of a brother and a friend, President Magufuli. His contribution to his country& to our region will not be forgotten. My deepest condolences to his family and the people in Tanzania. The people of Rwanda stand with Tanzania during this difficult time,” tweeted the president on Thursday morning.
In a communiqué released by the Prime Minister Office released an official communique which was signed by the Premier Dr. Edouard Ngirente on behalf of President Paul Kagame, the president said Rwandans stood in solidarity with the Republic of Tanzania, its people, and the bereaved family.
“His excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda has declared a period of National Mourning during which the National Flag and the Flag of the East African community will fly at half-mast on all Rwandan territory including diplomatic missions abroad” reads the communiqué in part.
“The period of mourning will last until the burial of the late president of the United Republic of Tanzania,” it added.
The death of President Magufuli, 61 was announced on Wednesday night by the Vice President Samia Suluhu on a National Television citing heart disease as the cause.
She said that President Magufuli had been battling heart disease for ten years.
She noted that the late Magufuli felt gravely ill on 6th March and was rushed to the hospital in Dar es Salaam. He was later discharged and went back to his official duties.
On 14th March, Magufuli Samia said Magufuli fell ill again and was taken to the hospital where he died.
Fourteen days of mourning were announced, while the nation prepares for his official funeral. Flags will be flying at half-mast in the course of fourteen days, Suluhu said.
In the last two weeks, rumours have circulated on social media about the health of Tanzanian President but the government kept insisting that he is in good health.
It was initially reported that he may be suffering from Coronavirus due to how Tanzania has been reluctant to take robust measures to fight the pandemic.
The last time President Magufuli, 61, was seen in public was on February 27during the swearing-in ceremony of a new chief secretary at State House in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.