Dar es Salaam. Residents of Dar es Salaam had two more hours of paying their last respects to the body of former President John Magufuli on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
This came after authorities decided to extend the time from 3pm to 5pm in a deliberate move to accommodate more and more people who thronged the Uhuru Stadium to pay their last respects to the body of Dr Magufuli.
Dr Magufuli died of heart complications at Mzena Hospital in the city on March 17, and is expected to be buried on Friday, March 26 in his hometown of Chato in Geita Region.
Mourners started arriving at the stadium early in the morning, and the 23,000-seater area was filled to capacity by 9.30am, prompting some of those who could not get in to try to find their way into the venue using unofficial entrance points.
The worsening situation outside the stadium forced Home Affairs Minister George Simbachawene to intervene by ordering officials to open more gates and allow more and more people to comfortably pay their last respects to their departed leader.
"The situation outside the stadium is getting worse…We need more than one gate to expedite this exercise,” he said.
Temeke District Commissioner Godwin Gondwe spent a good part of his time urging the mourners to obey the instructions as provided by security organs.
"Stay calm until you’re told to proceed. We are doing everything possible to give each of you a chance to pay your last respects," he said.
Sunday was the second and final day for Dar es Salaam residents to pay their last respects to Tanzania’s fifth president, who was first elected in 2015 before winning another term in the October 25, 2020 General Election, but ended up serving only four months of his second and final five-year term. Magufuli is also the first Tanzanian president to have died in office.
Dr Magufuli’s body will later on Sunday, March 21, 2021 be transported Dodoma where mourners will pay their past respects.
From Dodoma, the body will be flown to Zanzibar where residents will pay their last respects before it gets transported to Mwanza for the same purpose and later to Chato for burial on Friday, March 26.
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