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HomeGlobal NewsThe president of Tanzania has died aged 61 following Covid rumours

The president of Tanzania has died aged 61 following Covid rumours

John Magufuli, the President of Tanzania has died at the age of 61, the country’s vice-president has announced following coronavirus rumours

The president of Tanzania died on Wednesday of heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Samia Suluhu Hassan has said during an address on state-run television.

John Magufuli had not been seen in public for over two weeks, and rumours of him becoming infected with COVID-19 have been circulating about his health.

Opposition party politicians said last week that he had contracted the coronavirus, but this is yet to have been confirmed.

Magufuli was one of the most prominent coronavirus sceptics in Africa, and had called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after Donald Trump has urged his Republican supporters to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. During a TV interview with the right-wing Fox News, the former US president said that the vaccine is “safe” and “something that works”.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today… we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” Vice-President Hassan had said in his announcement.

She said there will be 14 days of national mourning and flags would fly at half mast.

According to Tanzania’s constitution, Ms Hassan will be sworn in as the new president within 24 hours and should serve the remainder of Magufuli’s five-year term which he began last year.

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Magufuli had last been seen in public on the 27th of February, but the country’s Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, had insisted last week that the president was “healthy and working hard”.

He blamed the rumours of the president’s ill-health on “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.

But opposition leader Tundu Lissu told the BBC that his sources had told him Magufuli was being treated in hospital for COVID-19 in Kenya.

  • Born in Chato, north-west Tanzania, in 1959
  • Studied chemistry and maths at the University of Dar es Salaam
  • Worked as a chemistry and maths teacher
  • First elected as an MP in 1995
  • Became a cabinet minister in 2000
  • First elected president in 2015

This comes after Dominic Cummings has revealed how the UK government’s vaccine programme was moved out of Department of Health and Social Care, run by Matt Hancock, following the problems health officials in the UK had in buying personal protective equipment for NHS workers.

Magufuli declared Tanzania “Covid-19 free” last June. He mocked the efficacy of masks, expressed doubts about testing, and teased neighbouring countries which imposed health measures to curb the virus.

Tanzania has not published details of its coronavirus cases since May, and the government has refused to purchase vaccines.

On Monday, police said they had arrested four people on suspicion of spreading rumours on social media that the president was ill.

“To spread rumours that he’s sick smacks of hate,” Mr Majaliwa said at the time.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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