President Yoweri Museveni has ordered that the Ugandan flag, one for the East African Community and all flags in Uganda should be flown at half-mast at all public buildings and public grounds to mourn Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.
Magufuli, 61, was pronounced dead on Wednesday evening due to heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
In a statement released by State House on Thursday evening, President Museveni directed that the flags will fly at half-mast until the day of the burial for Magufuli.
“In honour of his contribution, I direct all the flags in Uganda to fly at half-mast until the day of his burial. May the Almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace,” he said.
Speaking of the late, Museveni described Magufuli as a patriot who could not tolerate corruption and the meddling of outside countries into the affairs of Tanzania.
“It is, therefore, a great shock that such a useful leader has died so early when he was beginning to make an impact on his country,” he said.
Museveni described Tanzania as a very important country in the history of Africa, noting that on the account of the good leadership of the patriotic leader Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania became a base of all the freedom fighters in Africa.
According to Museveni, by the time OAU was formed in Addis Ababa in 1963, only 36 African countries had got independence, and almost 20 were still under colonial rule.
The president noted that because of the unwillingness by the colonialists to grant African countries their independence, Africans had decided that if anybody would not do that freely, the Africans would fight with arms.
“Unfortunately many African countries did not support this move of armed struggle. However, Mwalimu Nyerere, Mzee Kaunda in East Africa and Kwame Nkurumah, Sekou Ture of Guinea Bissau, Ben Bella of Algeria and Kamara Abdu Nasser of Egypt supported the struggle,”Museveni said.
He noted that on account of Tanzania being near the colonized countries of Mozambique, Rhodesia now Zimbabwe, S. Africa, Angola, Namibia and Zambia, operationally, were the most decisive and that all the freedom fighters were in Dar-es-Salaam or Lusaka.
He mentioned FRELIMO of Mozambique, ZANU and ZAPU of Zimbabwe, ANC and PAC of South Africa, SWAPO of Namibia and the MPLA of Angola, emphasizing that by 1974 the African people’s army of Mozambique, especially FRELIMO inflicted a decisive defeat on for their freedom.
The President noted that Mwalimu Nyerere and Mzee Kaunda made a big contribution in the struggle, supported by the people of Tanzania, and eventually South Africa and Namibia got their independence.
He said in Uganda, Tanzania did not let Ugandans down when fighting Iddi Amin and that support was extended by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 1985 to Uganda.
“In Tanzania, Mwalimu played a huge role in uniting the people of the country, including the use of Kiswahili as a common language and that is why Tanzania is peaceful for many years,” he said.
He said when the late Magufuli came to power he had a lot of enthusiasm for Mwalimu’s thinking of unity and patriotism.
“He did not want Tanzania to be dictated to by external forces.Very allergic to external meddling,” he noted, adding that Magufuli was also very enthusiastic on the East African Federation.
Museveni also pointed out that President Magufuli never entertained foreign travel, a move that made the country save a lot of funds he used in very many projects including that of the Airlines.
“One of the things he did, which we should learn from him was to stop foreign travel by the parasitic civil servants who are always squandering scarce resources by travelling abroad,” he said.
Museveni extended his heartfelt condolences on behalf of the people of Uganda and of NRM to the family of the late president of Tanzania as well as the ruling CCM party to which Magufuli belonged.