President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared seven days of national mourning after the death of Tanzania President John Magufuli on Wednesday night, March 17, from heart disease.
Speaking as the chairman of the East African Community in a televised address at State House, Kenya, President Kenyatta also ordered Kenyan and EAC flags to be flown at half-mast until the Tanzania leader is buried.
"On behalf of the Government and People of Kenya, I convey our sincere condolences to the First Lady of Tanzania, H.E. Mrs Janet Magufuli, their children and his entire family; and affirm our deep solidarity with the Government and People of Tanzania during this challenging time. Tanzania remains in our thoughts and prayers," said President Kenyatta.
Tanzania forward and steered the EAC to close integration and cooperation.
"In the passing on of President Magufuli, I have lost a friend, a colleague, and a visionary ally whom I worked with closely, particularly on our commitment to forge lasting bonds between Kenya and Tanzania," said Kenyatta.
The Tanzanian Head of State’s death was announced by the country's Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
“He died today (Wednesday, March 17) at 6 pm while receiving treatment for heart disease at Emilio Mzena Memorial Hospital in Dar es Salaam,” said Ms Suluhu in a televised address on Wednesday night.
The VP said Magufuli, 61, had been taken ill since March 6, 2021.
Ms Suluhu said Tanzania will go into a 14-day mourning period and flags flown half mast following the president’s death.
Opposition politicians said earlier this week that Magufuli had contracted COVID-19, but this has not been confirmed.