Tanzania’s populist president John Bombay Magufuli has died of a heart attack, the country’s vice president has said.
Vice President Samia Zuluhu Hassan said the 61-year-old president died at a hospital in the capital, Dar es Salaam, on Wednesday afternoon.
John Bombay Magufuli came to power in 2015 and was re-elected in the controversial election held in November last year. He then received 84 percent of the vote, but the election, according to the opposition, was characterized by widespread fraud.
Two weeks ago, the president disappeared from public view, so it was diligently guessed where he was and whether he was in good health.
According to some rumors, Makufuli was infected with the corona virus and was in a respiratory tract, but the government has refused to answer questions about his health.
Makufuli said Tanzania had been free of the corona virus through three days of nationwide prayers and therefore the vaccine was unnecessary. Authorities have not wanted to release the number of infections and corona deaths since April last year.
So the official death toll in the country of 61 million people is still 21.
However, diplomats in Tanzania have reported an outbreak of the disease in recent months, and earlier this month it was revealed that John Kijasi, a close ally of Makhfuli, had died. Authorities declined to say the cause of death.
Shortly afterwards, it was reported that Chief Sharif Hamad, the vice-president of the somewhat autonomous Zanzibar, had died. His party said he had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
In February, WHO President Tetros Capraisus called on Tanzania to take the corona epidemic seriously.