Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a seven-day national mourning for the late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.
He said during the period, Kenyan and the East African Community flags would fly at half-mast across the national territory, all its vessels and embassies.
President Kenyatta said he had lost a comrade with whom he had worked closely in the transformation of the East African region.
“I have lost a friend, a colleague and a visionary ally with whom I worked closely,” President Kenyatta said in a televised address.
President Magufuli died while undergoing treatment for a heart ailment at a hospital in the capital, Dar es Salaam, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced.
The Tanzanian President was admitted to hospital on 6 March for the heart ailment. The President, who was on a heart pacemaker, was being treated for a condition known as chronic atrial fibrillation, which causes abnormal heart rhythm and is known to promote other conditions including heart failure and stroke, according to official sources.
President Kenyatta said in honour of President Magufuli’s strong legacy, Africa is mourning after the loss of an outstanding son.
President Kenyatta said he shared his personal condolences with the Vice President Hassan and First Lady Janeth Magufuli.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said it was with deep sadness that he learned of the passing of President Magufuli.
“President Magufuli and my family have been close friends for a long period of time. He has been by my side at my most difficult and painful moments. Over the years, we have worked together, especially in the areas of connecting Eastern Africa by way of infrastructure,” Odinga said.
Tanzania has declared 14 days of mourning during which the national flag will fly at half-mast.
Rumours and speculation about the president’s health and his whereabouts were rife on social media, but there was no official word from the government. (PANA/NAN)