Where’s Magufuli? Tanzania prez who denied Covid-19 goes missing, reports say he is on ventilator

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Tanzania’s principal opposition chief has demanded info on the well being of President John Magufuli, a outstanding COVID-19 sceptic whose absence from public view has introduced hypothesis he’s receiving medical therapy overseas.

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Tanzania’s authorities has made no official remark.

The Nation newspaper in neighbouring Kenya reported that an African chief not seen in public for practically two weeks was being handled for COVID-19 on a ventilator at Nairobi Hospital, a personal hospital within the Kenyan capital.

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It cited unidentified political and diplomatic sources for the report and didn’t establish the chief.

Magufuli, a 61-year-old chief nicknamed “The Bulldozer,” was final seen in public on Feb. 27 wanting his regular self as he swore in a brand new chief secretary at State Home in Tanzania’s industrial capital Dar es Salaam.

He has been out of public view for intervals previously.

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“The president’s wellbeing is a matter of grave public concern. What’s it with Magufuli that we don’t deserve to know?”, opposition chief Tundu Lissu mentioned in a tweet late on Tuesday as rumours flew on Tanzanian social media.

“It’s a sad comment on his stewardship of our country that it’s come to this: that he himself had get COVID-19 and be flown out to Kenya in order to prove that prayers, steam inhalations and other unproven herbal concoctions he’s championed are no protection against coronavirus!” added Lissu, with out offering proof.

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On Wednesday, Lissu instructed Reuters that a number of sources had instructed him that Magufuli was in Nairobi Hospital however that there have been now plans afoot to maneuver him to India.

Reuters was unable to substantiate the accounts from the Nation or Lissu. Kenya’s International Ministry and Nairobi Hospital each mentioned they’d no info to reveal.

Magufuli’s director of communications Gerson Msigwa and authorities spokesman Hassan Abbas didn’t reply to Reuters messages left in search of remark.


Magufuli has performed down the specter of COVID-19 in Tanzania and scoffed at world panic. He urged Tanzanians to place religion in prayer and homespun cures similar to steam inhalation somewhat than vaccines, which he mentioned have been harmful and a part of a Western conspiracy.

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“Vaccines are not good. If they were, then the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS,” he mentioned earlier this yr. Final yr he dismissed coronavirus testing kits, which he mentioned had returned optimistic outcomes on a goat and pawpaw fruit.

Tanzania stopped reporting coronavirus information in Might final yr when it mentioned it had 509 instances and 21 deaths, in line with information held on the World Well being Group, which has known as on the nation to share its info.

Fuelling concern a few doable hidden epidemic, a high opposition politician on Tanzania’s autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, Seif Sharif Hamad, died final month of what his occasion mentioned was COVID-19.

At the same time as COVID-19 unfold round Africa, Tanzanians have been nonetheless allowed to collect, for instance to look at sport.

Magufuli was first elected in 2015 and beat Lissu to win re-election final yr. He has confronted accusations from Western international locations and opposition events of eroding democracy, which he denies.

Magufuli has a historical past of coronary heart points, in line with a senior Tanzanian medic near the federal government who requested to not be recognized, and a personal safety official in Kenya with intensive official contacts in Tanzania. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri and David Lewis Writing by Andrew Cawthorne Modifying by Peter Graff and Philippa Fletcher)

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