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Mourners line Tanzania streets at ex-President Magufuli funeral

media captionMourners gathered in Dar es Salaam as President Magufuli’s body was transported to lie in state

Mourners have lined the streets of Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam to pay their last respects to ex-President John Magufuli who died last week.

His successor Samia Suluhu Hassan led the procession, with the coffin draped in the national flag taken to the Uhuru Stadium to lie in state

Opposition politicians say that Magufuli, 61, had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.

He was a Covid sceptic who at times denied the virus affected Tanzania.

image copyrightAFP

image captionPresident Magufuli’s coffin was processed through the streets of Dar es Salaam

Magufuli was the son of a peasant farmer and went on to became Tanzania’s president in 2015.

Some residents wept and threw flowers on the coffin which was pulled by a military vehicle on Saturday.

President Samia, who was sworn into office on Friday, led the government procession in which many wore black or green and yellow to represent the colours of the ruling party.

She is Africa’s only current female national leader – the Ethiopian presidency is a largely ceremonial role – and joins a short list of women on the continent to have run their countries.

image copyrightReuters

image captionMourners wept at the state funeral procession of Magufuli

The government announced on Wednesday that Magufuli had died from a heart condition after he had been missing from public for several weeks.

His position on coronavirus ranged from stating it did not exist in Tanzania to saying the country had beaten the pandemic through prayer.

image copyrightAFP

image captionPresident Samia Suluhu Hassan led a procession of mourners on Saturday

But in February, after a number of senior politicians died from the virus, he conceded it was circulating in Tanzania.

Known as the “bulldozer”, before the pandemic Magufuli was praised for his no-nonsense approach and hailed for his anti-corruption stance and his distinct dislike for wasting money.

On Friday President Samia spoke of the “heavy load” on her shoulders and urged for the “burying of differences” and unity during the mourning period.

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