John Pombe Magufuli dies from a heart condition
Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli has died at the age of 61 after different speculations about his health condition.
Vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan made the announcement in a live television broadcast disclosing that the president died on Wednesday, March 17, from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Hassan stated that Magufuli had first been briefly admitted to the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute on March 6, but was subsequently discharged. Magufuli was also rushed to hospital again on March 14 after feeling unwell.
“Our beloved president passed on at 6 p.m. this evening,”
“All flags will be flown at half-mast for 14 days.
“It is sad news. The president has had this illness for the past 10 years.” She said.
President John Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 skeptics. He had downplayed the severity of the virus and called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.
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.
He said 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.
As neighboring countries Kenya and Uganda were implementing lockdowns and curfews to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Magufuli shocked many by declaring that Tanzania would remain open for business.
He also discouraged Covid-19 vaccines.
“Vaccines don’t work,” he claimed in a speech to an unmasked crowd in late January. “If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, then vaccines for AIDS would have been brought. Vaccines for tuberculosis would have made it a thing of the past. Vaccines for malaria would have been found. Vaccines for cancer would have been found.”
Then, Magufuli’s had disappeared from view over the past two weeks, leading to speculation that he had been hospitalized with COVID-19.
Mr. Magufuli’s death came just days after speculations that he was sick with the virus.
Meanwhile there are speculations that according to Tanzania’s Constitution, Vice President Hassan, 61, should assume the presidency for the remainder of the five-year term that Magufuli began serving last year after winning a second term.