The Banyankore have a saying that “Tihariho Mufu afa atarogirwe” literally meaning no death without cause. Generally, this is very a correct and universally acceptable adage, and it’s the reason why postmortems and medical reports are made to clearly ascertain and communicate the exact cause of death.
Historically, this saying is directly translated in many African countries, people have degenerated to the extent of believing that for every death, there is either witchcraft or other external powers responsible. Africans don’t believe in natural death.
The news of the death of Mchapakazi H.E John Pombe Magufuli shocked the world after three weeks of silence about his whereabouts. This came as a shock to many but to people who believe that there is death and life, it’s a normal process where every living must go through whether you want it or not.
It’s Godly and we are blinded not to see that. We definitely commiserate with our East African brothers and sisters of Tanzania and pray that God keeps the nation peaceful and united for a bigger cause.
Of course, as it has always been, African experts on social media who don’t believe in natural death have started speculations and authored countless theories on the cause of this African change maker’s death, some alleging that it’s the western world, China, Covid19, and many other theories even after the cause was announced as heart failure.
Well, I think a man is inquisitive by nature but that doesn’t take away the fact that we shall all live and die. The Bible clearly elaborates it in the book of Ecclesiastes “As the dust returns to the earth it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”.
Playing foul for every death that happens on our land especially for leaders is not new to us and I want to believe that it all started during the 16th century after the introduction of the slave trade.
During this time African chiefs were used to maim their kinsmen in exchange for gifts especially those that resisted this degrading trade that lasted up to 1807 after when the abolition of trade Act entered the statute books. The pain this trade brought to Africans sowed a seed of distrust amongst Africans and portrayed the western world as haters of black people.
Then the endless assassinations of African freedom fighters like Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, Tom Mboya of Kenya, Amilcar Cabral of Guinea, Steve Biko to mention but a few. These killings formed our opinion and perceptions we have so far on every death of an African leader. We assume they all die just like how the rest died and we are not to blame.
There is also a tendency of downplaying God’s creations through his other creations by African people. Some African people believe that they don’t need to seek medication when faced with ailments, they resort to calling out God to give them manner like it was with Israelites ignoring what God created through man to cure earthly diseases.
All this is attributed to the wrong religious teachings by the so-called men of God even when there is no clear evidence that it’s God who commissioned them.
In every occurrence be it good or bad, we have lessons to learn so that we can improve on our ways of life, there is a lot to learn from the personality of President Magufuli and his leadership style. I believe he was a true Pan-Africanist who believed in Africa providing solutions for Africa and it’s sad that he has not lived to see that dream come true but somehow, he left the task behind for us to push from where he stopped.
Much as his ideology is good, he ignored the fact that the World has become a boundaryless village, what started in China in December of 2019 was in East Africa by March 2020 and it has claimed a number of people. This basically makes China’s problem ours too.
One of the hindrances of globalization is Nationalistic sentiments, much as we must protect our people from global disorder, we must do it in respect of how other drivers like technology has opened the world to the extent that even if you build the wall along the borders of Mexico, Americans will still get connected to Mexico and vise versa.
All said and done, it’s time to accept that we live with death and in death, we live. Man shall live and die! This is fate and as it stands, no theory whatsoever has challenged death unless the theory of God. What is pathetic is that in knowing so, people still celebrate death, culturally we celebrate the well-lived life of the parted loved ones as a way of appreciating their achievements and ask God to Rest their Souls In Peace.
Rukundo Paul Rwabihurwa
A Writer and a Pan-Africanist