Tanzania: John Magufuli dies aged 61

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Tanzania President John Magufuli has died aged 61, two weeks after his last public appearance, amid rumours he had contracted Covid-19

Tanzania’s late president earned the reputation of a “Covid-19 denier” ahead of his death for playing down the significance of the pandemic and refusing to implement lockdown measures since May last year. The country also stopped publishing Covid-19 statistics when the country had registered just 59 infections, halting all testing programmes and related health services.

John Magufuli dies after disappearing from public view

John Magufuli was last seen in public on 27 February and his absence led to speculation that he had fallen ill. The government denied all rumours about Magufuli’s health and police arrested at least four people on charges of spreading false information. Last week, an opposition leader claimed Magufuli was critically ill and being treated overseas while reports in Kenya emerged of an unspecified African leader being treated for Covid-19 on a ventilator in the country.

Prior to Magufuli’s death, a number of his aides were reported to have contracted Covid-19 with several senior officials rumoured to have died. Fears are mounting that Tanzania is in the midst of an unreported coronavirus epidemic that could devastate the country without any testing programmes or control measures in place.

Featured image: Public domain

 

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.