Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday morning travelled to neighbouring Tanzania to attend the funeral of President John Pombe Magufuli’s sister, his office has said.
President Magufuli and the Odinga families are close friends, a relationship that started as early as 2007 when then-Tanzanian Public Works Minister endorsed Mr Odinga for the presidency.
“I have learnt with sorrow of the passing of Ms Monica Joseph Magufuli, sister to President John Magufuli. My sincere condolences to the family and the people of Tanzania at this time of mourning. We are together in sorrow,” Mr Odinga tweeted on Monday.
Mr Odinga, who is expected back on Wednesday, was accompanied by National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed.
President Magufuli had attended the 2015 burial of Mr Odinga’s first-born son, Fidel, in what has been an ongoing growth of a relationship that spans more than a decade.
During the campaigns, Mr Odinga postured himself as the poster boy of the anti-corruption fight, using President Magufuli as the yardstick for his planned fight against the vice.
“Under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rule, corruption has thrived. Under my rule, I promise you here today, I will go down to Tanzania, and I will get the Magufuli solution,” Mr Odinga constantly said during the campaigns.
He also used Mr Magufuli and his renewed relationship with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni to harp criticisms on the Jubilee government for what he said was lack of leadership from an otherwise regional powerhouse.
“Uganda and Tanzania are now thinking of doing a 1,450-kilometre oil pipeline, while the easier route Kenya had from Mombasa is only 950 kilometres. Museveni is running away from Kenya, building an expensive Sh350 billion pipeline with Tanzania because of corruption in Kenya,” said Mr Odinga at his last rally in the August 8 elections.
During the presidential debate in July 2017, Mr Odinga, once again, appealed to the Magufuli effect.
“If it were me, I would have taken action, Magufuli style. I would have Magufuli-ed them,” he said in reference to what he would have done to the corrupt.
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