President Edgar Lungu is this morning expected to leave for Tanzania to attend the brutal of that country’s late President John Magufuli
State House sources revealed that President Lungu is expected to leave on Monday and return to Lusaka on the same day.
Tanzania’s new president Samia Suluhu announced on Friday that the funeral of Dr Magufuli will be held on March 25.
Mr Magufuli died on Wednesday evening and a requiem mass was held at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Dar es Salaam before the body is taken to Uhuru Stadium.
On Sunday, residents of Dar es Salaam will bid Magufuli farewell at Uhuru Stadium.
His body will then be moved to Dodoma tomorrow and to Mwanza on Tuesday for locals to bid goodbye.
Thereafter, the body will be moved to his ancestral home in Chato for the final interment next Thursday.
Last month, the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam warned that Covid-19 cases in the country had been surging since January.
Most western nations have also advised their citizens against travelling to Tanzania.
Travel increases chances of infection and spreading of the virus, which informs movement restrictions.
No sitting EAC President, for instance, attended the burial of the late Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, who also succumbed to the virus, in June last year.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was represented by EAC Chief Administrative Secretary Ken Obura, while Magufuli sent Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who led a 21-member delegation.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was represented by the country’s Ambassador, Matayo Kyaligonza to Bujumbura, while President Salva Kiir of South Sudan sent a condolence message.
And given the current third wave of the pandemic, gathering for the funeral could be dangerous to attendants.
The more people interact, the closer in distance the interaction is and the longer the interaction lasts, the higher the risk of spreading the virus.
Health officials have pointed out that many people have contracted the virus through gatherings such as funerals.
In his message of condolences, President Lungu described the late Magufuli as a brother.
“You ran a good race my dearest friend and brother late President John Pombe Magufuli. You were such a great gift not only to Tanzania but the African continent too. Thank you for everything you gave to humanity. RIP.”
“The untimely death of President Magufuli will forever be painfully etched in the collective memory of the People of the United Republic of Tanzania for his selflessness resolve to bring about socio economic transformation and prosperity to his countrymen,” President Lungu said.
“On the regional front, President Magufuli will be remembered for his immense contribution towards the growth of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through his recent Chairmanship of the regional body. Dr Magufuli was equally passionate about the promotion of the Swahili language through out the SADC region and would go out of his way to teach fellow Presidents the Swahili language during meetings,” President Lungu remembered.
“l also remember Dr Magufuli and I touring the Zambia Revenue Authority offices in Nakonde, and later addressing residents in the border town. He still insisted that he addresses residents in his beloved Swahili. But his emphasis was on developing our two countries whether in rural or urban areas to uplift the lives of our people.”
“To Tanzania ‘s Vice-President, Her Excellency, Mrs. Samia Hassan Suluhu, as we join you in mourning the dearly departed President, the Zambian Government will continue to cherish the friendship we shared which served to further enhance the relations between Zambia and the Republic of Tanzania. Please accept, Your Excellency, our deepest sympathies on this great loss.”