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Written by: Norvisi eyiram mawunyegah.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has died, the country’s vice president announced, after weeks of uncertainty over his health and whereabouts.
The vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan sated to the public, the president died of a “heart condition” on Wednesday, which he suffered for 10 years at a hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam. Flags flew at half-mast in Tanzania, as the country began a 14-day mourning period.
Magufuli had been temporarily admitted to the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute on March 6, and discharged, Hassan said on state television, but was rushed to hospital again on March 14 after feeling unwell. Opposition leader Zitto Kabwe said he spoke to Hassan to offer condolences for Magufuli’s death.
“The nation will remember him for his contribution to the development of our country,” Kabwe said in a statement published on Twitter.
According to Tanzania’s Constitution, Hassan the vice president should assume the presidency for the remainder of the five-year term that Magufuli began serving last year. She is set to become the country’s first female leader.
The announcement of the president’s death came after government denials that the president was ill. Pressure mounted to explain his almost three-week absence from public view, brought panic and rumors he was undergoing treatment abroad for COVID-19.
Magufuli had long downplayed the severity of COVID-19, urging Tanzanians to pray, use steam inhalation and embrace local remedies to protect themselves from the respiratory disease.
Tanzania stopped releasing infection numbers in April 2020, weeks before Magufuli declared in June that the country was coronavirus-free due to divine intervention.A week before he was last seen, Magufuli considered not safety COVID-19 measures the virus was still spreading, after the vice president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died of COVID-19.