Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

President John Pombe Magufuli's demise: how Africa was sold a dummy!

04 Apr 2021 at 21:37hrs | Views
The female President of Tanzania: Madame Samia Suluhu Hassan took office with crystal clear aims and objectives: to take drastic steps of combating the Sars-Covid 2 pandemic. She ordered the wearing of masks to 58 million citizens of Tanzania. In her maiden speech, she was clear about the political trajectory her party and government was to embark on. Without inviting insults from all corners of the land: she is a woman first, and of Islamic faith; she continued the same path as that of Magufuli of eradicating, if not minimizing corruption in most institutions in Tanzania. To the global audience she got the first box ticked green as a responsible way of taking the lives of millions seriously: tacitly done.

We have been saying this again and repeatedly that African women left the responsibility of governance to their fellow men for too long. The female President is yet to surprise us by her ability to make Tanzania great. However, the accolades said about President John Pombe Magufuli are not refutable but were befitting; his wish to make Tanzania great in his lifetime was commendable by most Africans, home and abroad. Magufuli started on a correct path to transform Tanzania: He resuscitated the rotting infrastructure; he systematically eradicated corruption in most institution. He was known by the name bulldozer because he was seen in many places sweeping the streets of Dar-es-Salam. By showing this example that he was not a commander but wholly a practical president, we saluted him at home in Tanzania and the continental Africa as a President with a shining example.

Its beggar's belief how President John Pombe Magufuli lost leadership abilities when Sars-Covid 2 struck the global population; a golden opportunity his leadership qualities got tested but were found wanting. From the start of the pandemic he sent conflicting signals to citizens of Tanzania. However, the initial stages of the Covid 19 cases of the disease he appeared to comply with WHO guide-lines giving citizens clear and global guidelines to protect the nation from the scourge. But mid-2020, Magufuli reneged the WHO directives of combating Covid 19 pandemic. No statistics were sent to Geneva as per the WHO directives; instead, gave the Tanzanian nation the understanding that God and their faith will protect the Tanzanian nation from the Covid 19 deadly disease.

I still shudder to this day how a Doctor of Chemistry would sink this low to carelessly tell a packed rally in Dar-es-Salaam how he secretly tested a pawpaw, a guinea fowl, and a goat for covid 19, and they all tested positive!! The entire rally attendants rowed with laughter at the small-minded, tasteless joke of an educated President Magufuli of Tanzania. Since when did the President become a preacher? Magufuli was seen in church every Sunday: (this was not bad at all,) but to capture the pulpit preaching for hours to unsuspecting congregation telling them not to wear masks, God will protect them from the deadly disease is not funny. How many Priests and nuns in Tanzania had succumbed to Covid 19: Here is an insensitive President preaching the opposite saying the nation of Tanzania is Covid 19 free by God's grace.

Back to the last rally Magufuli made before he was personally caught unaware by disease eradicated by prayer; the rally gathering cheered at him when he revealed his secret test findings of pawpaw fruit, guinea fowl and a goat. The good question is, what was a Doctor chemist trying to prove in these unscientific tests? The three chosen test objects, he should know have different cell structure to humans. I need absolute courage to understand the thought processes of a Dr. Chemist telling similar stories written by Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland. I also need to remove my senses to comprehend the reasoning of an educated chemistry doctor and President of 58 million peoples: factually saying the cell structures of human beings have the same gene makeup to a pawpaw-plant-flora, bird-fauna, and goat-fauna: to peg his findings to human beings: to prove what? I am sure President Nyerere must be turning in his grave. Julius Nyerere would never have fallen for such stupidity of the highest order.

At that last rally in his lifetime, if Magufuli waved his hands to the left the crowd responded: "Heil Führer", a typical, very African crown mentality of gesturing, done without thinking only known to African politics: exactly what African leaders love to see in their gullible citizens in open spaces to showcase their power and influence, unquestionable loyalty to them it did not matter how unreasonable and stupid they can be. Magufuli banned vaccines in Tanzania because he did not trust them coming from Europe and elsewhere. He told the church goers never to put on masks because he does not know where these masks came from: how safe are they for Tanzanians? What is inside those masks? Instead, citizens must wear masks made of Tanzanian material. As a scientist he should have made tests to find out the safety of the masks instead of banning them – in retrospect.

Down the line in the middle of the pandemic, Magufuli declared Tanzania Covid 19 free. He prayed to God and he heard his prayers. I doubt still if those words coming from a doctorate in science degree should be respected by investigative minds of the current generations.

On the 6th of Match the popular President went missing, was nowhere to be seen. Instead of telling the nation the truth, the government concealed his illness. He was secretly airlifted to Kenya for treatment because his condition had deteriorated: adjacent Kenya was the better option than far away South Africa. It means since Magufuli took overpower from Kikwete, there is not one single hospital that can cure a country's President who generally known for his strictness in foreign travelling to other countries for whatever reason.

However gossip voices got it that the Tanzanian President was in Nairobi for treatment and gravely ill of Covid 19. Later we got news he was seriously ill and has been airlifted to India. In the meantime the government kept on telling the people that the President was well and working at his home office.

There are many questions open for thorough investigations here: What was the cause of the death of the President? When the citizens started asking his whereabout, why were we told liars that he was well and working at home, in retrospect he was under a ventilator in Nairobi and India. Where did President Magufuli die, in Tanzania, in Nairobi or in India. Did he come back already as a dead body? Why is it that all this information is concealed from us citizens of Africa: we are entitled to every information that transpired ever since he went missing from the public on the 6th of Match 2021? Why does the government of Tanzania treat a high-profile African President like a fugitive? We demand to know the truth about the last days of our President Magufuli.

The cause of his death was heart failure. But rumour that is clouded with truth says he died of Covid 19. There is all evidence that he succumbed to Covid complications. To give a face of high breed liars to a nation of 58 million and Africa is wholly irresponsible. If at all he had heart conditions, Covid 19 is known to exacerbate the ill heart to fail. The government and the party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi lost an opportunity to get it right once and for all to tell the nation that their leader succumbed to Covid 19 rather than to conceal it throughout. It is our actions that determines Africa and African in us. Are we Africans not custodians of a noble philosophy of humanism – Ubuntu. What was the intention of concealing information about an important leader of Pombe Magufuli?

Listening to a joint interview of Professor PLO Lumumba and the opposition leader: Tundu Lissu whose party Chedema lost elections in 2020 against Magufuli, I found it shameful of Professor Lumumba to defend Magufuli's' careless handling of Covid 19, a disease that led to his death. The Professor is adamant that the President Magufuli did not die of Covid 19. Now if the eminent Professor PLO Lumumba can openly conceal the truth from the African continent, then we are in trouble. It means we as Africans are not credible. How do we still want to be respected by other nations if we are not transparent and truthful about ourselves?

The day Madame Samia Hassan went to the national television station to announce the death of the President, few international media houses reacted in the way they did when President Nelson Mandela died. In many global capital cities, be it newspapers, TVs, and radios, it was business as usual. It was as if they were saying: let us not openly comment about President Magufuli's controversial death otherwise we invite further insults from Africans.

African leaders mourned Magufuli on their own without other world leaders. The reason was the Covid 19 that hindered most leaders to attend the funeral of Magufuli including Barack Obama who was visibly absent. The reasons could be the insults and critiques they incurred from the dead President Magufuli. In his lifetime Magufuli heaped everything going wrong in Africa on Europeans. However, he forgot that African leaders have a share of responsibility towards Africa. Africa to a greater extent is failing because of poor leadership.

Some prominent Tanzanians were even talking about the poisoning of Magufuli by western foes. Magufuli was a controversial president; however, to some extent, his controversies were genuine. But he went too far to criticize vaccines and masks: critiques that have no scientific foundation whatsoever, those critiques removed global respect from him. He fell short of Mandela's bar measurement of a global leader.

I am confident about the new dispensation of Madame Samia Suluhu Hassan. However, she has numerous challenges on her plate: That she is a woman in man-dominated societies of Tanzania may hinder her attempt to transform the nation to an exemplary Africa we want to see. Let us trust the woman and see what she can do. Tanzania is not far from Ruanda and what is happening in Ruanda is truly commendable to all governments in Africa. Let Ruanda be a topic for another day. In the meantime we continue to mourn our icon President John, Joseph Pombe Magufuli the former President of the Socialist Republic of Tanzania.


Source - Nomazulu Thata
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Get latest news by email: