Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The East African Law Society -EALS has called on leaders of East Africa to learn from the mistakes that John Pombe Magufuli, the former President of Tanzania made during his five year term.
Magufuli who led Tanzania from 2015, died on 17th March 2021, and left behind a legacy of a patriot who put his country first and was a man of action who developed the economy of Tanzania and cared about the ordinary Tanzanian.
On the other hand, there have been concerns of human rights violations and disinformation in regards to the fight against COVID-19 during the reign of Magufuli. Human Rights Watch, an international human rights non-governmental organization says Magufuli leaves behind a legacy of repression and serious human rights abuses.
Throughout his reign, Magufuli is accused of detaining political dissenters and suspending different media platforms ahead of the elections, censoring mobile phone communication, in addition to arresting activists and journalists. Magufuli also banned school girls who got pregnant from attending classes and organizations dealing in family planning.
Now, the different groups that paid tribute to the Tanzania Embassy in Kampala have described Magufuli as a true African leader, a man who loved his country and his people.
Benard Oundo, the President of the EALS who paid tribute to Magufuli said that the Tanzanian President transformed his country in the few years, and African leaders should learn from this and put the interest of their citizens first. He however said that the most important thing leaders can take from Magufuli’s life is not to make the mistakes he made.
Oundo said Magufuli fell short when it came to human rights, and also his legacy will be remembered especially because of his stand on COVID-19.
He said that leaders in East Africa should also learn that they should not focus on building a country at the expense of citizens, but the citizens and their freedom, protection and rights should be part of the development.
Magufuli achieved a lot when it comes to infrastructure development, and leading the country to middle income status.
Lillian Amri, a Tanzanian who works for Inter University Council for East Africa and was also at the Tanzanian High Commission said Magufuli mentored his Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan and that’s why the country remains intact after his untimely. She also says that Magufuli went to the grassroots by himself, finding out the state of service delivery and that made him unique.
She says that East African leaders should embrace Magufuli so that there can be transformation of service delivery.