Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli is reportedly admitted at the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya after contracting Covid-19, even as his government remains mum on his whereabouts despite concerns from opposition leaders in the country.
Sources in the know revealed to a local media that Magufuli, who is on record denying the existence of Coronavirus in the entire East African country, was flown to the Capital Nairobi on Monday after his condition deteriorated.
— REENE😍 (@Irene__Ke) March 10, 2021
Tanzania’s top opposition leaders claim that Magufuli is on a ventilator, a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.
Yesterday, Tundu Lissu, who unsuccessfully ran against Magufuli in the October 2020 presidential election, was among the first leaders in Tanzania to raise questions on the President’s whereabouts.
“The president’s well-being is a matter of grave public concern,” Lissu said in a tweet Tuesday. He cited public announcements of previous Tanzanian leaders’ illnesses, before asking: “What’s it with Magufuli that we don’t deserve to know?”
The President’s well-being is a matter of grave public concern. We’re informed when Kikwete had prostate surgery. We’re told when Mkapa went for hip replacement. We’re not kept in the dark when Mwalimu fought leukemia. What’s it with Magufuli that we don’t deserve to know?
— Tundu Antiphas Lissu (@TunduALissu) March 9, 2021
The President, who regularly addresses public rallies and congregants on Sundays, was last seen in public on February 24.
He used the forums to encourage Tanzanians to use steam therapy and other traditional methods to keep the virus, which he claimed had been defeated by “prayers”, at bay.
Recently, he discouraged Tanzanians from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Western countries.
Magufuli claimed that Tanzanians who had been vaccinated against Covid-19 in other countries “brought a strange variant” back home.
During his last public appearance, the President visited the commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, where he inspected projects and addressed public gatherings.
He was scheduled to attend a virtual heads of state summit for the East African Community regional bloc on February 27 but was represented by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
There are also reports that Tanzania Finance Minister was recently also flown to Nairobi for Covid-19 treatment.
The Tanzanian government had for months remained adamant against implementing public health measures such as wearing of face masks, regular hand wash and sanitisation as well as banning large public gatherings.
It was not until February 20 that Tanzanian authorities softened their stance on the pandemic after a warning issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a statement shared on his Twitter page, expressed concerns over recent deaths in the country linked to the virus.
This was days after the death of Zanzibar First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad and Chief Secretary of the State John William Kijazi.
The WHO chief called on Tanzanian authorities to start reporting Covid-19 cases and share data that they stopped making public in April.
Magufuli then asked Tanzanians to wear locally made face masks.