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Tanzanian President John Magufuli dies at the age of 61

Tanzanian President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli dies at the age of 6 after more than a two-week absence from public life. He was the first Tanzanian President to die while in office. This was his second term in office as President of Tanzania.

His death was announced by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Wednesday through Tanzania’s national television network, TBC.  Vice President said,  “Dear Tanzanians, it is sad to announce that today 17 March 2021 around 6 p.m. we lost our brave leader, President John Magufuli who died from heart illness at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment.” She also announced 14 days of mourning and the flying of flags at half staff.

According to the Tanzanian constitution, the Vice President should assume charge as the President for the remainder of the five-year term of the late President. Magufuli began his second term in office as President last year. Samia Suluhu Hassan would be the first female President of the country.

John Magufuli’s hostility to corruption and waste won him many admirers. His fondness for massive public works and a reputation for pushing through policies despite opposition won him the nickname “The Bulldozer.”

His handling of the Covid 19 situation brought a lot of criticism from the country and abroad.  Tanzania stopped reporting coronavirus data in May last year.  World Health Organisation had urged the government to be more transparent in this matter. WHO also requested Tanzania to improve public health measures, prepare to distribute vaccines, and start reporting coronavirus cases and sharing data.

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