President John Magufuli of Tanzania has died from heart complications, according to Samia Suluhu Hassan, his deputy.
In a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, Hassan broke the tragic news and said there would be 14 days of national mourning while flags would fly at half mast.
“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” Hassan said.
He was last seen in public weeks ago, forcing the opposition to demand an update on his whereabouts.
The deceased, aged 61, passed on weeks after there were speculations that he had contracted coronavirus.
Magufuli had described COVID as a ruse and he refused to take measures to protect the citizens.
He paid less attention to COVID
He had questioned the efficacy of COVID vaccines and said his government had no plan to procure any shots for his country.
“We Tanzanians have not locked ourselves down, and I don’t expect to announce even a single day that we are implementing a lockdown because our God is still alive, and he will continue protecting us Tanzanians,” the late president once told a crowd.
“But we shall also continue taking precautions, including steaming. You steam, at the same time pray to God, and going on with your daily activities so that you eat well and your body builds immunity against the coronavirus.”
He grew up in a village in north-western Chato district along the shore of Lake Victoria.