Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who drew widespread criticism for his denialism of the coronavirus pandemic, has died only five months after he won a second term in a disputed election. He was 61.
“We have lost our courageous leader, President John Magufuli, who has died from a heart illness,” Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on state television on Wednesday.
Magufuli fell ill on March 14 and had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital, she said.
Touchaheart blog recalls that prior to his death, Magufuli hadn’t been seen in public since Feb. 24, sparking speculation on social media that he was critically ill. Opposition leader Tundu Lissu said on Twitter last week that the president had Covid-19, drawing a rebuke from Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who urged Tanzanian citizens to ignore “baseless social media rumors.”