Tanzania’s President, John Magafuli dies aged 61 after alleged Covid rumours

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Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has died at a hospital in Dar es Salaamof heart failure, after weeks of speculation that he was infected with COVID-19. Many will remember him for his controversial handling of the pandemic in Tanzania. The country’s vice president (Samia Suluhu) announced in a televised address on Wednesday. He was 61 years old.

“President John Magufuli died of a heart ailment that he has battled for over 10 years,” Samia Suluhu Hassan said. She added that the president had been receiving treatment at Mzena hospital since Sunday, and announced 14 days of national mourning.Hassan is now the acting president of Tanzania. While a date for her swearing in has not yet been announced, she will be Tanzania’s first female president.

Picture of the Vice President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu

Following the announcement of his death, opposition leader Zitto Kabwe said he’d spoken with the vice president to offer his condolences.

“It is with deep emotion to learn of the death of President John Pombe Magufuli that was officially announced today 17th March 2021” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

He also offered “blessings, courage and patience” for Hassan. “My fellow Tanzanians, let us continue to pray for patience and understanding. This is a moment to show our maturity and integrity as a nation,” Kabwe added.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the first world leaders to express their sympathy at the death of Magufuli. “My thoughts are with his loved ones and the people of Tanzania,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.

Early on in the pandemic, President Magufuli denied the existence of CorronaVirus in Tanzania, urging his citizens to “pray coronavirus away,” believing the “satanic virus can’t live in the body of Jesus Christ,” and blaming the growing number of positive cases on faulty test kits.

At one point, he made fun of the country’s coronavirus testing facilities, saying he had secretly sent samples of papaya and goat and that they came out positive.Though he never provided proof of that claim, he warned that those results could mean that people were getting false positive results.

Shortly afterward, Tanzania stopped sharing updates on the number of people infected and killed due to COVID-19. The country’s last coronavirus figures were given in May last year. At that time, 509 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus and 29 had died.

Source: Edition.cnn.com

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