Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced on Wednesday evening the death of President Magufuli, 61, officially due to heart problems, from which he had suffered for ten years.
At the head of the country since 2015 and re-elected for a second term last October, the president had not appeared in public since February 27. This absence had fueled rumors, which said he had COVID-19.
Tindu Lissu, presidential candidate for October, exiled since in Belgium, had notably affirmed that he was hospitalized in a hospital in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya, with a severe form of coronavirus.
The Tanzanian government denied any health problem.
For a year, John Magufuli had worked to minimize the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Tanzania.
He hammered that his country had “freed itself from COVID” through prayer, mocked the reliability of the tests by asserting that a papaya, a quail or even a goat had tested positive and rejected the vaccines he judged ” dangerous”.
However, this posture had become difficult to maintain when in February Tanzania experienced a wave of deaths, officially attributed to pneumonia, and affecting even high-ranking personalities.
According to the vice-president, Magufuli was first hospitalized on March 6 at the Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute in Dar es Salaam, the economic capital, and was released the next day. He was then admitted on March 14 to Emilio Mzena Hospital, a government facility where he died.
Already the first woman vice-president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan succeeds John Magufuli becoming the first woman president in the history of the East African country and one of the few women in power on the continent.