COSATU extends a message of sympathy to the people of Tanzania on the passing of President Dr John Pombe Magufuli

 The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) extends a message of great sympathy to Tanzania’s people after the passing of President Dr John Pombe Magufuli on Wednesday the 17th of March 2021.

 In Tanzania, President Magufuli was a popular figure. His lean government and cost-cutting measures greatly earned him respect among citizens. For example, in 2015, he suspended the country’s independence celebrations, instead urging citizens to clean up their communities to fight a cholera outbreak. He also embarked on major infrastructure projects such as Bagamoyo, a new railway, and upgrading the Dar-es-Salaam International Airport. His hands-on war against corruption was admired not just in Tanzania — but the entire continent. Magufuli came in on the platform of fighting corruption and empowering the masses.

 Sadly, in the past year, Magufuli was greatly criticised for downplaying the severity of COVID-19 and completely dismissed COVID-19 vaccines. At one point, he made fun of the country’s coronavirus testing facilities, saying he had secretly sent samples of papaya and goat and that they came out positive. Though he never provided proof of that claim, he warned that those results could mean that people were getting false-positive results.

 We hope that greater reflections will be made on how best to handle the COVID situation in Tanzania to put the people of Tanzania’s basic human right to receive adequate healthcare first. These reflections should also consider the implications of this decision on the Southern African region as a whole.

 Our immediate thoughts are with Mama Janeth, the entire Magufuli family and the warm-hearted people of Tanzania.

May his soul rest in peace. 

Issued by COSATU

Sonia Mabunda-Kaziboni

International Secretary

COSATU Head Office

Tel:  011 339 4911 |