Government cancels leaders’ burial site plans for Dodoma

31Jul 2020
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
Government cancels leaders’ burial site plans for Dodoma

PLANS to establish the proposed special burial site for top Tanzanian leaders in the country’s capital of Dodoma have been shelved, following the decision by the former Head of State, Benjamin Mkapa, to choose his home village as his final resting place.

President John Pombe Magufuli.

According to President John Pombe Magufuli, the late Mkapa had told him that, when he dies, his body should be laid to rest in Lupaso, a site where the government buried the third phase government leader, on Wednesday, the 29th of July 2020.

Speaking at Lupaso Village, in Masasi District of Mtwara Region, during the burial ceremony to see off the late president Mkapa, president Magufuli revealed that when he asked the immediate former President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete where he would like to be buried, he also replied that his Msoga Village in the coastal region is where he preferred to be laid to rest.

Thousands of people, including former presidents, Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete attended the burial at Lupaso Village of Masasi, in Mtwara.

Benjamin William Mkapa died aged 81 on the 24th of July 2020 in Dar-es-salaam.

“Mkapa transformed the country’s economy for the better,” stated former president of the second phase government, Ali Hassan Mwinyi who was succeeded by Mkapa in 1995.

But according to President Magufuli, he has not yet asked Mwinyi where the latter, who is the oldest former president, would like to be buried. But the head of state himself also likes to be taken home.

“Even me, when my day comes, I would like to be buried at Chato, my homeland, not anywhere else,” insisted President Magufuli, adding that, since all former leaders prefer to be buried in their respective villages, he saw no need to continue with the project to establish leaders’ cemetery in the country’s capital.

The first president of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere who died in October 1999 was buried at his home village of Butiama, in Musoma District of Mara Region.

Former Prime Minister, Edward Moringe Sokoine, who died in a car accident back in April 1984 was also buried at his Monduli-Juu village of Monduli District, in Arusha Region.

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