TANZANIA. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has died at age 61 of heart-related disease while receiving treatment at a Tanzanian hospital, his administration has announced tonight.
While announcing his demise on a live feed by the national broadcaster TBC, his vice, Samia Suluhu, said that President Magufuli passed on at Mzena Memorial Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“The honourable President Magufuli was admitted on March 6 this year at the Jakaya Kikwete Heart Centre after being diagnosed with chronic atrial fibrillation, which he’s had for more than 10 years” Ms. Suluhu said.
On March 7, he was allowed to get out of hospital, and continued with his work. on 14th, he felt bad and was taken to Mzena Hospital where he was put on treatment under the watch of of doctors and nurses from the Jakaya Kikwete Centre, until he met his death”, she continued.
President Magufuli had been missing from the public for a few weeks now, something that had raised concerns among both Tanzanian citizens and the international community.
The leaders of the East African nation had been controversial following his stand on the existence of the coronavirus and had been quoted by several media saying that the virus did not exist and that it was just a flu like any other flu.
Recently, Magufuli took issue of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying that if indeed it was a vaccine against the virus, the said countries that had found it should have also found the HIV and malaria vaccine.
However, Magufuli had been also seen to agree with the rest of the world that the disease was real, and was seen in one of the viral videos asking the media to help his government spread the message.
Magufuli was born in 1959 in Chato in Tanga, Tanzania. He is survived by two children; Joseph and Jessica Magufuli and a widow, Janeth Magufuli.
Magufuli was first elected to Parliament in 1995, where he served in the Tanzanian Cabinet as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, Minister of Works from 2000 to 2006, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015.
He ran for presidency in 2015 under the ruling party, CCM, and won the elections; was sworn in on November 5, 2015. Although Magufuli ran on a platform of reducing corruption in the Tanzanian government, he was accused of increasing autocratic tendencies as seen in his restrictions on freedom of speech and crackdown on opposition leaders.
Plans for his burial are underway as the country enters a 14-day mourning period and flags shall fly at half-mast across the country.