Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is dead.
The President of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli has died, confirms Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Suluhu who made the announcement on Thursday evening on national television, said the President died of heart complications from Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute where he had been hospitalized since March 6.
The 61-year-old leader last appeared in public on February 27 during an official function at statehouse in Dar es Salaam, the country’s business capital, fuelling speculation on social media with many claiming that he had died from a hospital outside the country.
This was however refuted on Friday by the country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa, who said that Magufuli was “healthy and continuing with his duties as usual.”
The prime minister did not elaborate on the president’s whereabouts or explain why he had not been seen in public for weeks, amid rumors that he had contracted COVID-19 and was outside the country for treatment.
Opposition leader, Tundu Lissu insisted that he had information that Magufuli had passed on and used social media to demand that authorities tell the public the truth about their leader.
On Wednesday, Tundu wrote on twitter that there was heavy security presence on the streets of Dar es Salaam, which he interpreted as pointing to an unusual situation in the country.
“The countdown to official declaration seems to be well underway. Military parade vehicles in the streets of Dar es Salaam,” Tundu Lissu wrote.
“While preparations for a military parade are going on, the VP is busy touring the country as if nothing is happening. Bob Marley said it all: ‘you can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. And now we see the light,” he added.
Tanzania’s government has not publicly reported cases of COVID-19 infection since May 2020, when it recorded 509 infections and 21 deaths in the East African country of a population if 60 million people.
Magufuli has promoted prayer and steam inhalation as an antidote to the coronavirus, and disparaged new vaccines as “dangerous.”
The deceased leader is the fifth President of Tanzania, after assuming office in 2015.