Africa

Tanzanians Demand to See their President

Tanzania’s main opposition leader has said President John Magufuli, an avowed coronavirus sceptic out of public view for nearly two weeks, is in India receiving medical treatment for COVID-19 and is in a serious condition. Tundu Lissu, who lost last year’s election to Magufuli, on Thursday cited medical and security sources in Kenya for his information that the president had been transferred from a hospital in Kenya to India and was in a coma – but did not provide evidence. Tanzanian government spokesmen have stayed mum during days of speculation over the 61-year-old Magufuli’s whereabouts and health. Magufuli has played down the threat from COVID-19, saying God and remedies such as steam inhalation would protect Tanzanians. He has mocked coronavirus tests, denounced vaccines as part of a Western conspiracy to take Africa’s wealth, and opposed mask-wearing and social distancing. “His COVID denialism in tatters, his prayer-over-science folly has turned into a deadly boomerang,” Lissu tweeted in the early hours of Thursday. According to Tanzania’s constitution, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan would take over for the rest of the five-year term if the president is unable to discharge duties.

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