Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli is dead

Former Tanzanian President, H.E John Pombe Magufuli | GCIS/Flickr

The president of Tanzania John Pombe Magufuli has died at the age of 61, Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan told a state broadcaster on Wednesday.

The vice president said Magufuli died of heart disease that had plagued him for a decade.

“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 disease at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment,” the vice president said on state broadcaster TBC.

The vice president has announced two weeks of mourning and the flying of the national flag at half-mast.

Magufuli who was skeptical of Covid-19 made his last public appearance on February 27, spurring public concerns about his health.

Running as the flag-bearer of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the country’s dominant party, Magufuli won the October 2015 presidential election and was sworn in on 5 November 2015.

In 2020, Magufuli was re-elected president after a landslide win over his main rival, Edward Lowassa who then rejected the outcome of the polls that gave him 40% of the ballots cast. Magufuli was the first Tanzania’s president to die while in office.