South Asia and Beyond

Tanzania’s Covid-Skeptic President Contracts The Virus?

After claiming all along that Tanzania had defeated the Coronavirus by prayer, two weeks ago President John Magufuli finally acknowledged that the pandemic had hit his country. He urged compatriots to wear masks but remained wary of foreign-made vaccines.

Just where is he now? Nobody knows. He was last seen at an official event in Dar es Salaam on February 27.

The country’s main Opposition leader Tundu Lissu has demanded to know the whereabouts of the head of government. Amidst speculation that Magufuli is being treated for Covid-19 at a private hospital in Nairobi, where he was put on ventilator, Lissu tweeted yesterday: “It’s a sad comment on his stewardship of our country that it’s come to this: that he himself had to get COVID-19 and be flown out to Kenya in order to prove that prayers, steam inhalations and other unproven herbal concoctions he’s championed are no protection against coronavirus!”

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There has been no response from the government, which has warned against publishing unverified information about the 61-year-old Tanzanian leader.

The “latest update” from Lissu (as of today): “The man who declared victory over Corona was transferred to India this afternoon.”