Tanzanians have been kept in the dark for weeks now about the whereabouts of their president, John Magufuli.
The last time they saw their leader in public was in February. For weeks they have to contend with media reports of President Magufuli taken ill.
First there were reports of the Tanzanian leader seriously ill and haven been flown to Kenyan hospital for treatment.
Then again reports emerged that he had been flown to India for further treatment as his condition deteriorates due to Covid-19 infection.
Dead or alive?
During the weekend another media report emerged that the President had died with some even claiming he isn’t dead but in coma.
An ex-Tanzanian spy who now lives in Scotland with the twitter handle Chahali claimed the president was dead and there was a power struggle emerging.
Director General of Tanzania Intelligence and Security Services Diwani Athuman and Magufuli’s personal physician Prof Mchembe are holding to the deceased amid plans to install one Mr Chamuhiro as their VP of choice.
— Jasusi (@Chahali) March 12, 2021
Shortly after, a popular Kenyan political activist, Boniface Mwangi also tweeted that the Tanzanian leader was rather alive and in coma.
My Tanzanian sources tell me President John Pombe Magufuli isn’t dead. He is in a coma.
— Boniface Mwangi (@bonifacemwangi) March 13, 2021
Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema on Friday called for details about where President Magufuli is.
“We urge the government to come out publicly and say where is the president and what is his condition?”
Chadema secretary-general John Mnyika was speaking to reporters in Dar-es-Salaam.
The opposition leader, Tunda Lissa who has been vocal on the health of the president, demanding details said he doesn’t “wish anyone dead”.
Mark Twain, the great American humorist and man of letters, reputedly said: “I don’t wish anyone dead but I’ve read certain obituaries with great satisfaction.” Like him, I, too, don’t wish anyone dead but I’ll write, not merely read, a certain obituary with great satisfaction! pic.twitter.com/HM9kVuh2of
— Tundu Antiphas Lissu (@TunduALissu) March 13, 2021
The country’s prime minister, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa was first to react to the many media reports of the whereabouts of the President.
Majaliwa said at Friday prayers in the southern Njobe region that “Tanzanians should be at peace. Your president is around, healthy, working hard. To spread rumours that he is sick is just an outcome of hate.”
The prime minister added that the president has been busy at work indoors reviewing files.
“I have decided to say this to give hope to Tanzanians that our president is around,” he said. “If he were sick, would I talk to him on the phone? He sent his greetings to you.”
Tanzania’s ambassador in Namibia, Modestus Kipilimba has also given an official reaction saying the President is “OK, he’s going on with his job.”
Kipilimba made the comment in an interview with Namibia’s state broadcaster NBC but there has been no evidence of Magufuli in public.
Tanzania’s information minister and justice minister have threatened those spreading rumours with jail time but could not respond to concerns about the whereabouts of the president.
— SoftPower News (@SoftPowerNews) March 14, 2021
These developments have left many citizens in the dark not having a clue what is happening to their leader – alive or dead.
For some Tanzanians knowing what is wrong with their president is dependent on reporting by Kenyan media.
Dark cloud hangs over Tanzania on ‘missing’ Magufuli
— Nation Africa (@NationAfrica) March 14, 2021
It is obvious Tanzanians have no clue what is happening to their leader and it isn’t clear when all the rumours will go away permanently.
The 61-year-old president of Tanzania is known to be vocal and some believe if he wasn’t sick, he would have spoken about the rumours already.
Magufuli refused to accept the fact that Covid-19 is real and deadly, in order to protect his citizens.
Instead of following science, he didn’t encourage the adherence to safety protocols, urging people to pray and consider the virus devilish.