Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli, has died at the age of 61, after weeks of speculation that he was infected with COVID-19.
Announcing the President’s death in a live television broadcast, the country’s Vice-President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, said the President died on Wednesday, March 17, from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
“Our beloved president passed on at 6 p.m. this evening,” said Suluhu.
“All flags will be flown at half-mast for 14 days.
“It is sad news. The president has had this illness for the past 10 years.”
President John Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 skeptics. He had downplayed the severity of the virus and called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.
At one point, he made fun of the country’s coronavirus testing facilities, saying he had secretly sent samples of papaya and goat and that they came out positive.
He said that those results could mean that people were getting false positive results.