We were all shocked by the news of the unfortunate demise of Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli. Even when rumours about his sickness circulated before, it was so difficult for some of us to believe that Magufuli would die so quickly.
When Magufuli became president of Tanzania, he became popular in the media because of the decisions he used to make. I remember a trending hashtag on social media #WhatWouldMagufuliDo?
His decisions mostly favoured the local and poor people in his country and am sure the Tanzanians will miss him for that. Sometimes most people who are elevated to such big positions usually forget about the poor and vulnerable people.
President Magufuli brought to life one of the principles of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) which is Pan-Africanism and indeed it was working well in Tanzania. When Covid-19 came, we all witnessed how Magufuli was so passionate against fighting imperialism, well we could be having one reason or two to criticize him about that, but I think he was doing what he knew and what he thought was right for him and his country and we should praise him for that.
President Yoweri Museveni in one of his recent addresses to the nation said "I consider every black person as a brother." He emphasized that he doesn't feel happy when an African is suffering or being mistreated in one way or the other.
I think it's through that belief that President Museveni has fought hard for East African integration and I feel one time it will be achieved. I'm happy to learn that some Africans surely know and believe that the problems of Africa will be and shall always be solved by Africans and not foreigners, and I'm sure that's what Magufuli believed in that most.
However, we still have a small group of African opposition who still think that the foreigners should always assist them to fulfil their political ambitions in Africa. These ones have gotten huge sums of money from Europeans to destabilize their own countries, sponsored and organized riots and sometimes fund rebel groups.
The countries which have faced that problem have unfortunately not developed. They have instead forced their citizens into refugee camps. I think because of the love Magufuli had for his country, he couldn't allow any danger against citizens especially the dangers that result from embezzlement of public funds. His patriotism spirit was not limited to Tanzania alone but it went further to East Africa and Africa as a continent.
I have seen pictures of Magufuli holding hands with Museveni at public functions and it showed me how much he dearly loved Uganda. While signing the condolence book, Museveni revealed to us how the two leaders had planned to sign a deal that was going to push us forward on the Ugandan oil and gas project.
It's sad he went before that happened but hopefully his successor will carry on. Magufuli's unfortunate death should teach us as Africans to love our continent and fight for it. It should re-energize our African leaders to front more policies that favour their citizens and all the black people, his death should energize our East African leaders to put more focus on the East African integration because we need it like never before.
President Magufuli's legacy should teach the African opposition especially those with links with the Europeans that African problems will be and shall be solved by Africans therefore whoever is used by foreigners to destabilize the peace of Africa is betraying his motherland and mother continent and I'm sure there's a price for that.
Fare thee well President Magufuli.
The writer is a deputy RDC Kitagwenda district.