Is Tanzania’s President Out in Hiding?


For 17 days now, President Magufuli has been in absentia. Questions from concerned citizens and opposition parties have arisen on where he could be. However, not even his close cabinet members have commented on the issues. As such, some people have alleged that he might have contracted the novel virus hence in hiding.

The speculations have landed many in trouble. Meanwhile, as it’s known to many, President Magufuli was among the exceptional leaders who disputed that the virus existed. Even as countries across the globe inflicted stringent measures to curb the virus, life in Tanzania was normal, with no lockdown or masks.

Opposition Demands Magufuli’s Whereabouts

On Tuesday, the opposition leader from the Alliance for Change and Transparency called on Magufuli’s regime to raise awareness of his whereabouts.

“ACT- Wazalendo demands the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to fully explain the mystery surrounding the absence of President John Pombe Magufuli, who has uncharacteristically been missing for over two weeks now,” the party leader Kabwe Z. Ruyagwa Zitto said in the statement.

The ACT also demanded the release of all the citizens arrested over charges of spreading rumors about the President. It is alleged that the President was airlifted to a private hospital in Kenya after contracting the virus then flown to India a day later.

In response to the current situation, Tundu Lissu, Tanzania’s prominent opposition leader exiled in Belgium, claimed that Magufuli was gravely ill. The country’s deteriorating situation was because he decided to refute the idea that the virus existed.

When the virus first emerged in Africa, Magufuli led his country in three-day national prayers. He then discouraged Tanzanians from engaging in covid tests and wearing masks. Convinced that the country was covid free, he urged the people to continue with their activities normally.

Is Magufuli ill?

Last Friday, Prime Minister Hassan Majaliwa dismissed claims that President Magufuli was suffering from the novel virus. He said that the President was out working hard as usual and, of course, had delegated some duties to his aides.

During a press briefing on Monday, the state’s vice president seemed to have contradicted the PM’S statement. Though she did not mention Magufuli’s name directly, she said it was pretty typical for a person to contract flu, fever, or any diseases. She added that it was time the Tanzanians united and stood together.

The Controversial Arrests

In light of the unending rumors, the Tanzania government has decided to track down commentators spreading falsified reports on President Magufuli. So far, the state forces have detained one person from Dar es Salaam and two from northern Kilimanjaro. The state forces have also threatened the civilians by charging them with cyberbullying if they continue to post unclarified information on social media. Regional police commissioner for Kinondoni, Ramadhani Kingai, said on Saturday that they would not hesitate to arrest anybody spreading rumors.

However, the human rights group has reacted to the situation, saying that cybercrime law is among the many legislations that Magufuli’s government uses to suppress the citizens. Tanzanians cannot express their opinions freely for fear of being punished.



Related Posts

Illuminating the Promise of Africa.

Receive captivating stories direct to your inbox that reveal the cultures, innovations, and changemakers shaping the continent.