VICE-PRESIDENT (VP) Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday joined scores of Heads of State and dignitaries from various countries in the world, who gathered at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, to bid farewell to former Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Representing President John Magufuli, the Vice-President conveyed condolences on behalf of the people of Tanzania, saying the country stood by them during this difficulty time.
“President Magufuli has asked me to convey on his behalf and on behalf of the brothers and sisters of Tanzania his deepest sympathy and sorrow for the passing of Africa’s true son of the soil, former President of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” the VP said, while addressing the gathering.
She added: “Specifically, he sent his condolences to His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, our dear sister Her ExcellencyGrace Mugabe, children and family and the people of Zimbabwe.
He assures you that Tanzania stands by you during this loss and that your loss is our loss and your pain is our pain.”
She noted that Mugabe gallantly led the Zanu PF movement towards the emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe from the grips of colonisation and neocolonialism, which earned him new friends and equally foes and most importantly the painstaking land reforms that concluded the Chimurenga agenda.
“Today, as we celebrate the life of Africa’s giant, who gave us great pride and confidence, what is left with us is to continue where he ended.
Indeed, former President Mugabe’s spirit, determination and statesmanship, sense of humour and dedication to the emancipation of the region will inspire us forever,”
she concluded. Various Heads of State and other retired leaders got a chance to eulogise on the life of the former President and among them was South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took the chance to apologise for a recent wave of xenophobic attacks in his country.
This followed heckling by some mourners as the President was invited to make an address. President Ramaphosa condemned the recent attacks, noting that “South Africans are not xenophobic,” expressing his government’s commitment to promoting social cohesion.
This was after crowds booed and jeered at him – an apparent reaction to the xenophobic violence across South Africa recently.
“In the past two weeks, we as South Africans have been going through a challenging period. We have had acts of violence erupting in some parts of our country.
This has led, as I can hear you’re responding to, to the deaths and injuries of a number of people,” he said.
He, however, insisted that South Africans were not xenophobic. Several other current and former African leaders, who attended the funeral service, commended Mugabe as a pan-Africanist, who had dedicated his life to the people of Zimbabwe.
One of them was Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who besides praising Mugabe, insisted that Africa’s problems demanded African solutions.