Tanzanian envoy denies Covid-19 sceptic President John Magufuli is in bad health

Tanzania President John Magufuli

Tanzania President John Magufuli

PHOTO: Ericky Boniphace/AFP

  • Despite
    circulating rumours, a Tanzanian official has said that President John Magufuli
    is in good health and working normally.
  • Magufuli
    is a known coronavirus sceptic and has played down its threat, mocking tests,
    denouncing vaccines and opposing safety measures.
  • Kenya’s
    Nation newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said an unnamed African leader
    was being treated for Covid-19 at the private Nairobi Hospital.

– Tanzania’s President John Magufuli is in good health and working normally,
one of his diplomats has told a broadcaster in Namibia, countering reports he
had been flown to hospital in Kenya and then India in a critical condition with

61, who is Africa’s most prominent coronavirus sceptic, has not been seen in
public since 27 February.

opposition leader Tundu Lissu has cited medical and security sources for
information that the president was flown to the private Nairobi Hospital in
neighbouring Kenya, and then on to India in a coma.

the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Tanzania’s ambassador in Windhoek,
Modestus Kipilimba, as saying Magufuli was in good health and remained in

Commissioner Kipilimba dismissed the reports, saying Magufuli is in Tanzania
going about his normal duties,” NBC said, in what would be the first
public comments from a Tanzanian official about Magufuli’s situation since
questions were raised.

Mocked coronavirus tests, opposed measures

Nation newspaper cited unidentified political and diplomatic sources earlier
this week saying that an African leader, which it did not name, was being
treated for Covid-19 on a ventilator at the private Nairobi Hospital.

hospital has said nothing.

power since 2015 and nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, Magufuli has played
down the threat from Covid-19, saying God and remedies such as steam inhalation
would protect Tanzanians.

has mocked coronavirus tests, denounced vaccines as part of a Western
conspiracy to take Africa’s wealth, and opposed mask-wearing and social

stopped reporting coronavirus data in May last year when it said it had 509
cases and 21 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which
has urged Magufuli’s government to be more transparent and to implement Covid-19

a former chemistry professor from the village of Chato in northwest Tanzania,
was first elected president in 2015. He has faced accusations from Western
countries and opposition parties of eroding democracy, which he denies.

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