Tanzania’s main opposition leader Tundu Lissu has said the country’s President John Magufuli died from coronavirus last week Wednesday.
Tanzania has been plunged into sadness over the death of President John Magufuli with the country flying flags at half-mast and 14 days of mourning after the vice president announced on Wednesday he died of heart complications.
Magufuli’s death comes after weeks of uncertainty over his health and rumours swirling that the coronavirus sceptic had in fact contracted the virus.
The government had announced Magufuli was ill as pressure mounted to explain his almost three-week absence from public view.
As condolences poured in, Tanzania’s main opposition leader MrLissu described Magufuli’s death as “poetic justice”, insisting his sources said he had succumbed to Covid-19.
“Magufuli died of corona. That is one. Number two, Magufuli did not die this evening. I have information from basically the same sources which told me he was gravely ill, I have information that Magufuli has been dead since Wednesday of last week,” he told Kenya’s KTN News, using local slang for the virus.
Lissu spoke from Belgium, where he is exiled.
“What should I say? It is poetic justice. President Magufuli defied the world on the struggle against corona… He defied science… And what has happened, happened. He went down with corona.”
Magufuli has been playing down the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, claiming Tanzania had freed itself from the Covid” through prayer.
He also rejected any lockdowns or measures such as mask-wearing.