Leaders from across the African continent Monday gathered in the Tanzanian city of Dodoma to pay their last respects to late President John Magufuli who died last week at 61.
The Tanzania government announced that he died from a “heart condition.”
Speaking in Swahili language, President Uhuru Kenyatta paused for a few minutes to listen to the Adhaan – Muslims’ call to prayer that echoed through the venue.
Addressing Magufuli’s successor Samia Suluhu Hassan, he said: “My colleague, the road to leadership has been shown to you by our brother President Magufuli.”
“The family of nations of Africa is today mourning the passing of an esteemed leader of his people and a tireless champion of the cause of African progress,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his tribute at the funeral.
Dressed in black hijab, Hassan thanked all the African leaders for coming to pay homage to Magufuli at a time when traveling is thought to be risky.
“It’s a difficult day in the history of Tanzania,” she said in Swahili.
She shrugged off critics who think a lady cannot govern a country. “To those who have doubts if a lady will manage to govern Tanzania – I want to assure you that the one standing here is a president.”
Hassan praised Magufuli for fighting corruption and striving to develop Tanzania. “We shall remember him for all the good he has done for our nation; we shall remember him forever for his contribution to this nation.”
South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu, and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also attended the state funeral.