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Tanzania’s President John Magufuli who urged citizens ‘to pray coronavirus away’ has died

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“President John Magufuli died of heart disease he fought for more than a decade,” said Samia Suluhu Hassan.

He added that the president had been receiving treatment at Mzena hospital since Sunday and announced 14 days of national mourning.

Hassan is now the acting president of Tanzania. Although no date has yet been announced for her inauguration, she will be Tanzania’s first female president.

The country’s prime minister dispelled rumors about his health last week after days of speculation that the president was ill Covid19.

Kassim Majaliwa was surprised that people were questioning the president’s whereabouts, adding that the leader was “well and continuing with his daily activities,” while speaking during a Friday prayer session at a mosque in the region. Njombe, according to the Tanzanian state network. Broadcasting Corporation.

Magufuli, who usually made weekly public appearances at Sunday religious services, had not been seen since Feb. 27, fueling speculation that he was ill and being treated abroad.

Covides denials

Magufuli was one of the most prominent covide skeptics in Africa.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Magufuli rejected the severity of coronavirus in Tanzania, urging its citizens to “pray the coronavirus,” believing that the “satanic virus cannot live in the body of Jesus Christ,” and blaming the growing number of positive cases on faulty test kits.

In June, he claimed that his country had eradicated the coronavirus “by the grace of God”, questioned the safety of foreign vaccines against Covid-19 and did not plan any contract for his country, but promoted the use of herbal medicines and steam treatments. .

Tanzania has not reported Covid-19 figures since April 2020, prompting the World Health Organization to ask Tanzania to release coronavirus data and increase health measures. public.

Last month, the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam warned that the Covid-19 the cases had been increasing since January.

“The Bulldozer”

Known as “The Bulldozer” for his tough stance against corruption and his tough policies, Magufuli achieved victory in October 2015 as Tanzania’s fifth president.

But Magufuli’s enthusiasm for intolerance of corruption did not last long, as he began to curb democracy and critical voices.

Magufuli supervised closures and suspensions of numerous media outlets, while his government undermined judicial and parliamentary independence, enforced a partial ban on public rallies, harassed MPs, closed the online political space and prosecuted critics for defamation laws and sedition.

In June 2017, Magufuli announced that pregnant students would not be allowed to return to school after giving birth.

“In my administration as president, no pregnant girl will go back to school … she has chosen the good life, let her take care of the child,” she said at a public rally in 2017.

Tributes to a populist leader

When news of the president’s death came out, opposition leader Zitto Kabwe offered his condolences to Magufuli’s family. “This is an unprecedented moment for our United Republic of Tanzania, and it will certainly move us all in very personal ways,” the ACT-Wazalendo party leader said in a statement. “My immediate thoughts are with Mother Janeth and the entire family of our late President.”

He also offered “blessings, courage and patience” for Hassan. “My fellow Tanzanians, we continue to pray for patience and understanding. This is a time to show our maturity and integrity as a nation,” Kabwe added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the first world leaders to express his sympathy for Magufuli’s death. “My thoughts are with your loved ones and the people of Tanzania,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta paid tribute to Magufuli in a televised speech Thursday morning and declared a seven-day period of national mourning in Kenya.

“Africa and the world have lost an illustrious leader, whose vision, passion and immense leadership propelled the nation of Tanzania forward … in passing from President Magufuli, I have lost a friend, a colleague. legacy and a visionary ally that I have worked closely with, in particular because of our commitment to establishing lasting ties between Kenya and Tanzania, “he said.

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