The mourning of John Pombe Magufuli, as one of the leading representatives of the African petty bourgeoisie

The death of 61-year-old Tanzania president John Pombe Magufuli on March 17, 2021 caught the attention of the bourgeois press and gained the support of Pan-Africanists who mourned for him throughout the world.

The Tanzania press stated that Magufuli died of “heart complications” despite rumors that circulated for weeks that he contracted the infamous COVID-19.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, a member of the same Chama Cha Mapinduzi ruling party, assumed presidency over Tanzania within 24 hours until the new next presidential elections in 2024.

John Magufuli came to power in 2015, after succeeding Jakaya Kikwete to ensure the monopoly of power by the followers of Julius Nyerere. Nyerere himself ruled the country from the so-called independence in 1964 until he retired in 1985.

Magufuli went on to win a second mandate, although contested by a sector of the African petty bourgeoisie in opposition to his rule in 2020.

Tanzania is a merger of the mainland Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar in 1964. In 1977, Julius Nyerere led the merger between the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP), the ruling party of Zanzibar, and Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) into the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) or Revolutionary Party.

We must build Black Power to destroy the colonialvirus through revolution

Despite COVID-19 killing people in Tanzania, including members of the ruling class members, Magufuli was skeptical of its existence.

According to a February 18 Reuters news article, “On Monday, the Health Minister of Oman, which has historic ties to Zanzibar, told Oman TV that Omani authorities were considering suspending flights from Tanzania, after 18 percent of travelers arriving from Tanzania tested positive for COVID-19.”

The same article also reported that the Medical Association of Tanzania admitted a sharp increase of patients in hospitals due to breathing challenges, which might include COVID-19.

His government stopped publishing national statistics on Tanzania’s COVID situation since April 2020.

A March 10 Financial Times article stated, “Tanzania’s government has refused offers of Covid-19 vaccines from Covax, an international body that distributes vaccines to poorer countries, after Magufuli said his people were protected by God. In a speech last month, the president asserted that Tanzania had ‘“stayed for a year without coronavirus.’”

COVID-19 is in South Africa, Egypt and throughout the continent although it has not hit Africa as heavily as imperialists would have expected. It is, however, killing Africans, both in Africa and out including Brazil, the U.S. and the UK.

Colonialism is the source of all of our problems, including the impact of such viruses, and we can’t just wish for colonialism to disappear. We must organize all African people on the planet and achieve power to overturn it.

John Pombe Magufuli was not a revolutionary 

Chama Cha Mapinduzi, the ruling party of Magufuli and Nyerere is not a revolutionary one. They are opposed to revolution just as much as they are opposed to African unity.

Nyerere was a key leader against Nkrumah’s vision of a united Africa in 1963 at the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OUA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Supporters of Maguafuli, and particularly some Pan-Africanists, did not waste time to claim that he was killed by Western powers because he was opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine and denied the existence of COVID-19. While it cannot be said whether white power has something to do with it, we know it has nothing to do with moving African revolution forward.

Some people point to Magufuli’s government’s of Tanzania demanded that the British mining company, Acacia, pay the years of unpaid taxes to Tanzania as an indication of his progressive character.

John Magufuli refused to negotiate with the Acacia and insisted on negotiating directly with its parent company, the Canadian-based Barrick Gold. Barrick Gold sucks the resources of black peoples in DR Congo, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Dominican Republic and Papua New Guinea. 

A September 17, 2019 article says “The parties reached a framework deal in February [2019], which would see Acacia paying $300 million to settle the tax claims and splitting returns from its operations 50/50 with the country going forward.”

However, this deal does not end the colonial status of Tanzania. In fact, it keeps power in the hands of the African petty bourgeoisie at the expense of the African working class. It has also won Magufuli a lot of followers inside and outside Tanzania.

This was not a revolutionary deal. Mobutu and other African petty bourgeois reactionaries also made similar deals, including nationalizing some aspects of national industries or assets.

His worldview and his rule never rejected the domination of African nations by white power. He ruled and died as a representative of the African petty bourgeois rule through Africa.

He is rather one of the guys inside the African Union, the organization born against the vision of African unity promoted by the great Kwame Nkrumah.

He never denounced or rejected neocolonialism and all the other neocolonial rulers of Africa. He was a Nyerere loyalist.

This was a president who was loyal to Berlin’s partitioning of Africa, which ensures that Africa remains dominated and looted by foreign powers.

There is no viable alternative outside a revolutionary united African Nation

Magufuli was known for requesting cadres and workers to arrive on time and not to be wasteful.

He said there was no need to celebrate Tanzanian independence with pomp. He said the resources allocated for it can be used for better causes.

He said that no there was no need to send a bunch of delegates to attend international events, when the Tanzanian ambassador already in the concerned country could represent the country.

He did not visit white power in Europe or in the U.S. All this made him popular with Pan-Africanists.

The deal achieved between Tanzania’s government and Barrick Gold is would be dwarfed by the power of an economically united Africa. Measure this reformist deal with Nkrumah’ ‘s vision as laid out in Addis Ababa.

In his historical speech at Addis Ababa on May 23, 1963, Nkrumah demanded “a continent-wide economic and industrial program to include a common market and a common communications system, and a monetary zone with a central bank and currency.”

A united Africa with a Black Power government will negotiate against foreign power from a position of strength.

BBC wrote on Magufuli’s legacy, “He invested in large infrastructure projects such as a standard-gauge railway to connect the country with its neighbours, major highways, and a bus system in the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam. He also increased electricity production, reducing the need for power rationing.”

It does not matter how many schools, bridges, roads, etc. were built under Magufuli. We cannot fail to point out that it is an opportunistic approach, to seek to be an efficient administrator of neocolonialism.

South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and, Morocco have some good infrastructures, but they are still under imperialist domination.

He is the partner of Kagame, Museveni, and Uhuru Kenyatta and others—the same club of African neocolonialists who preside over the continued theft of Africa’s resources at the expense of the masses of African people.

Economic development without genuine African national liberation and unification is a myth

Some people have been seduced by his policy of no stealing from State coffers, going to work on time and not going to Europe for healthcare or shopping trips.

He might have saved the State of Tanzania a few dollars here and there, but it does not change the colonial relationship of humiliation between the European nation and the African nation.

The Tanzanian State repressed the people everyday to maintain colonial peace just like in any other neocolonial African country.

Magufuli was not on the side of Nkrumah, Garvey, Malcolm X and the African Internationalists

Although we recognize that we are all colonized as black people, we also have different material realities and interests.

Although the African petty bourgeoisie oppresses and exploits the African working class and poor peasantry, it is a part of the African Nation dominated by the white capitalist colonialist nation.

The interests of the African petty bourgeoisie in power everywhere in the world are linked to the continuation of white colonial domination of black people everywhere.

The emancipation of the petty bourgeoisie does not require the emancipation of the African Nation and of the proletariat.

It is a solution that keeps new and old imperialists intact to pursue the looting of a divided and powerless Africa Nation and the cancerous rule of the African petty bourgeoisie.

It is no surprise that various Pan-Africanists are in bed with Magufuli and his neocolonial party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi. They can’t point out anything about Magufuli that deserves raising him to the ranks of Garvey, Nkrumah, Lumumba and others.

We don’t need more Magufulis. We need more African Internationalist revolutionaries, who stand clearly on the side of the African working class who will carry out the struggle to build a united, free African Nation under the leadership of the African working class and poor peasantry against the African petty bourgeoisie and white colonizers.


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