The Coadjutor Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Jude Thaddaeus Ruwa’ichi presided over the mass that was commemorating a very controversial man in the name of John Pombe Maghufuli, and perhaps, in keeping with the spirit of the departed, Archbishop Thaddeus had a very contentious message of his own which he didn’t shy away from openly communicating to the new president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
In his address during the service held at St. Peter’s Oysterbay church in Dar-es-Salaam, the Archbishop emphasised on two qualities that he said the late Maghufuli had, and went on to glorify them; a sense of fairness, and a spirit of assistance.
However, he then appeared to venture onto murky ground after he suggested to the new president that she should follow in Maghufuli’s footsteps and carry on with his policies.
Right up to his death, Maghufuli had been a polarising character whose actions were deemed undesirable by a section of citizens. Among these was his infamous skeptical stand on Corona, his censorship policies and his crackdown on political opponents.
However, what the new president might have the toughest time carrying on, especially as a female, is the late president’s policy on school going pregnant teenagers.
Maghufuli had held that any girl who gets pregnant should be allowed to go home, give birth, and take care of her child. He maintained, however, that a teen shouldn’t be allowed back to school afterwards, as she was likely to corrupt the morals of the other female students.
All eyes, however, will be trained on her handling of the pandemic.
A softly spoken veteran politician, Hassan will convene a special meeting of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party Saturday, where the appointment of a new deputy is expected to be discussed.
Under the constitution, the 61-year-old will serve the remainder of Magufuli’s second five-year term, which does not expire until 2025.
She has announced a 21-day mourning period. The late president will lie in state in several locations across Tanzania before his burial next Friday in his home town of Chato.