The body of Tanzania’s late President John Pombe Magufuli was on Friday moved to his ancestral home of Chato in the country’s northwest for public viewing and burial.
Chato, Geita and neighbouring residents are paying their last respects to him at the Magufuli Stadium, as has been the norm all week. His body was moved through different towns in Tanzania to allow for public mourning.
Close family, relatives and friends of Magufuli are also attending the private funeral service in Chato.
Security has been heightened at the ceremony led by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, and attended by the second Vice President of Zanzibar Hemed Suleiman Abdulla, and Head of Defense Forces General Venance Mabeyo.
Magufuli’s body lay-in-state as members of the public bid him farewell.
Thousands lined up as the hearse containing the coffin made its way into the grounds on Thursday, accompanied by military vehicles.
Zanzibar’s second Vice President Suleiman Abdalla praised the late president for taking the lead on several development projects in the East African nation.
He said that Magufuli left a legacy in all sectors including education, finance, transport and others. “The pain of losing President Magufuli does only affect Tanzanians. It is being felt worldwide,” Abdalla said.
Magufuli died on March 17 after a 10-year battle with heart complications.
Before his death, he had declared Tanzania “Covid-free” and would later express doubt on the safety of masks and vaccines.
Magufuli was a Covid-19 skeptic who urged Tanzanians to avoid wearing mask and denounced vaccines as a Western conspiracy.