Zvamaida Murwira in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
President Mnangagwa flew to Tanzania yesterday to join other African and world leaders for today’s memorial service for former Tanzanian President John Magufuli who died in office of a heart ailment on Wednesday.
Pan African Parliament acting President and president of the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs, Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira, travelled with President Mnangagwa to bid farewell to President Magufuli on behalf of the continent’s legislative assembly.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Acting Minister Professor Amon Murwira, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet responsible for Communication Mr George Charamba and senior Government officials were in the team that left Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday afternoon where President Mnangagwa was seen off by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Service Chiefs and senior Government officials.
VP Chiwenga is the Acting President while the President is out of the country.
President Mnangagwa was welcomed at Julias Nyerere International Airport by Tanzanian Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mashimba Ndaki, other Tanzanian officials, Zimbabwe Ambassador to Tanzania Anselm Sanyatwe and embassy staff.
A funeral service is expected to be held in Dodoma, the administrative national capital for Tanzania.
When President Mnangagwa arrived at Julius Nyerere International Airport aboard Air Zimbabwe, Tanzanian authorities were preparing to fly the body of President Magufuli to Dodoma.
There were thousands of people lining up the road leading to the airport as Tanzanians bade farewell to their President.
Cde Magufuli was elected Tanzania President in October 2015. He was re-elected last year for a second term.
During his time in office, President Magufuli embarked on several infrastructural development projects and increased the country’s electricity production.
He is hailed for championing African causes, including denouncing the unilateral and illegal imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
At the 39th SADC summit in Dar es Salaam in 2019, President Magufuli called for unconditional removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe so as to free its people from the albatross that hindered development.
“These sanctions have not only affected the people of Zimbabwe and their Government but the entire region. It is like a human body: when you chop one of its parts it affects the whole body.
“Therefore, I would like to seize this opportunity to urge the international community to lift sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe. This brotherly country after all has now opened a new chapter and it is ready to engage with the rest of the world. It is therefore, I believe, in the interest of all parties concerned to see these sanctions removed.”
On a State visit to Zimbabwe during the same year, President Magufuli said sanctions had to be removed, to enable the country to develop. “This embargo should be reconsidered and removed, so the people of Zimbabwe can enjoy their life and develop their country”.
In his address as the outgoing SADC chairperson at the 40th SADC Ordinary Summit Heads of States and Government that was virtually hosted by Mozambique last year, President Magufuli said the whole region would benefit if sanctions were removed.
“It is my strong belief that our nations will benefit if sanctions on Zimbabwe are lifted. It will offer an invaluable contribution not only to Zimbabwe but to the entire continent. These are some of the achievements we have been able to achieve during the past year.
“During the 39th summit, we (SADC) passed the resolution to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe, which were imposed since 2001. In that resolution we approved October 25 of every year to be a special day against sanctions in Zimbabwe where member states will be conducting various activities including preparing dialogues and declarations against the sanctions on Zimbabwe.”