Hours after Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa denied multiple media reports that Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli was incapacitated as a result of severe COVID-19, a fresh twist to the tale has emerged after a former intelligence officer “confirmed” his death.
Through a controversial social media post which quicky went viral, Evarist Chahali, a popular political analyst, social media commentator, author and blogger sent the East African region into shock late on Friday night when through his heavily followed and VERIFIED Twitter account, he announced that John Magufuli passed away at 5.30pm (EAT) at Mzena Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
In his brief and precise message, Chahali added that the nation’s Vice President was, however, yet to be informed of the latest development.
Evarist Chahali is a former Tanzanian intelligence officer based in Scotland.
He is also a regular interviewee on BBC Swahili, DW Swahili and VOA Swahili.
His claims are, however, yet to be confirmed by any official sources or representatives from the Tanzanian government.
The prime minister’s earlier remarks were the first official statement by the Tanzanian government about Magufuli’s absence from public view amid widespread rumours that he is ill.
The 61-year-old last appeared publicly on February 27 during an official function at the statehouse in Dar es Salaam, the country’s business capital.
Various international media outlets have in recent days been on Magufuli’s public absence and his reported transfer to a hospital outside the country.
Opposition leader Tundu Lissu has cited medical and security sources saying the president was flown to Nairobi Hospital in here in Kenya and then on to India in a coma.
Tanzania’s government has not publicly reported cases of COVID-19 infection since May 2020, when it recorded 509 infections and 21 deaths among the East African country of 60 million people
As one of the world’s most famous Coronavirus sceptics, Magufuli promoted prayer and steam inhalation as an antidote to the coronavirus, and disparaged new vaccines as “dangerous.”