I tend to oversleep on Saturdays as my weeks are normally very, very, very long. So, on Saturday I woke up to my young cousin sitting in front of the telly, watching the send-off of our dear President. I watched as his motorcade drove down the roads of Dar es Salaam, with wailing women and men tearing khangas and T-shirts off their bodies and laying them on the road so the motorcade rode over them. I saw both men and women that were standing by the roadsides faint. Not one but quite many. People stood along the roads holding up banners that expressed what Magufuli was to them; they were all full of love and admiration. Wananchi are wailing with the heaviest hearts as the man WAS loved (Western media!)
Did he make mistakes? Oh yes, he did. Plenty. He was not an angel, after all. He was very flawed, but he stood for the people of Tanzania from the word ‘go!’ For the common mwananchi. The one who hardly ever has a voice. In fact, he used to say over and over again that he is the president of the poor, helpless and destitute.
When Magufuli did not lock down the country, he was thinking of his people. The common mwananchi. The poor, helpless and destitute. Magufuli did not want us to come to you with cupped hands as it was always expected by you. He wanted his people to stand on their feet with pride. He wanted his people to stop being neo-colonised. Not shutting down the economy of Tanzania drove the country to become a leading economy.
We know the Western world did not quite like him. Of course how could you have felt anything good for one who was against you? One who wanted to give Africa back its voice and strength? Magufuli worked hard at stopping the agenda of colonial exploitation of Tanzania’s wealth. He worked hard to build infrastructure that could be used by Tanzania so we can start trading among ourselves and Africa as a whole without the hindrance of unreliable roads, et al. Utilising the natural resources that Tanzania has, Magufuli was able to develop Tanzania from a third world country into a lower-middle income economy within just a short period of time. If I was in your shoes, I most probably would have hated him, too. Understandably, the Western World simply cannot be without exploiting Africa.
Let me tell you more. Magufuli was God-fearing. He was diligent. He was morally courageous. He had progressive vision. He has principle-centred vision. Magufuli demonstrated a selfless and people-driven leadership that continues to inspire the mwananchi. Magufuli was one of the few leaders who believed in his continent’s abilities. He despised and acted against corruption. He chose to be a true African statesman. Magufuli loved his country with a passion. Magufuli loved his continent! He was so proud of his continent that he was ready to die for it!
Not everybody liked him; and he was not without his critics. This is simply the way of the world. And not everything he did was agreeable. Again it is the way of the world - and was expected. Like the opposition political parties, which they naturally would as it is the job of an opposer, in believing that they can do better. Just like a mistress will oppose the wife. It comes with the job. I agree that in some cases, he could have done better, but the right that he did has been strongly felt.
I was watching as wananchi bade farewell to our fallen giant, and Tanzania is wailing, Western media! The Uhuru Stadium was filled to the brim, as was the case earlier at St Peter’s Church were a mass had been held for him. Tanzania is crying because we know what kind of leader we had.
Having said this, I have a question for you, Western media. With your world being so full of faults and ugliness: why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? I humbly ask that you use that energy you have on Africa on the planks in your eyes.
A pan-African friend says a secure future, peace, stability and progress for Africa will only be achieved when the whole of Africa unite, pass an African Union resolution for all African countries to nationalise their domestic resources. That is what this son of the soil had started doing.
Tanzanians: let us all be like Magufuli! Let us all stand for truth, moral courage and emotional fortitude, for this is the best way to stand up to bullies, as a dear aunt says. Let us continue loving Africa, and standing for Africa.
Lala salama, Baba Magufuli. Lala salama, a great son of the soil. We thank you for your leadership. We celebrate you, Baba.