By Maniraguha Ferdinand & Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is dead aged 61 due to heart disease, Vice President Samia Suluhu announced Wednesday, 17th March 2021.
Magufuli died from the hospital in the city of Dar es Salaam after one week of hospitalisation.
Appearing on National Television, Suluhu whith tears on her eyes , said that President Magufuli has been battling with heart disease for ten years. He felt gravely ill on 6th March and was rushed to the hospital in Dar es Salaam. He was later discharged and went back in his official duties.
On 14th March, Magufuli fell ill again and was taken to the hospital where he died .
Fourteen days of mourning were announced, while the nation prepares for his official funeral. Flags will be flying at half mast in the course of fourteen days, Suluhu said.
In the last two weeks, rumours have circulated on social media about the health of Tanzanian President but government kept insisting that he is in good health.
It was initially reported that he may be suffering from Coronavirus due to how Tanzania has been reluctant to take robust measures to fight the pandemic.
“It’s a sad comment on his stewardship of our country that it’s come to this: that he himself had to get COVID-19 and be flown out to Kenya in order to prove that prayers, steam inhalations and other unproven herbal concoctions he’s championed are no protection against coronavirus! ,” opposition leader Tundu Lissu tweeted recently in breaking news of the President’s ill health and his presence in a Kenyan hospital for treatment.
“The Man Who Declared Victory Over Corona “was transferred to India this afternoon.” Kenyans don’t want the embarrassment “if the worst happens in Kenya.” His COVID denialism in tatters, his prayer-over-science folly has turned into a deadly boomerang!” , Tundu Lissu further tweeted last week.
This last tweet prompted a response from the Tanzanian government with Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and Tanzania’s Ambassador to Namibia Modestus Kipilimba saying the coronavirus skeptic was in good health and carrying out his regular duties.
“He’s OK, he’s going on with his job,” Kipilimba told Namibia’s state broadcaster NBC.
“I want to assure Tanzanians that your President is strong and working hard as usual. You should not worry. I even talked with him this morning about my trip in Njombe and he told me to greet you on his behalf. I talked with him on phone from Dar es Salaam and I was in Dodoma,” PM Majaliwa told a mosque in the southern region of Njombe in a video posted online
The last time President Magufuli, 61, was seen in public was on February 27during the swearing-in ceremony of a new chief secretary at State House in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.