Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli is dead.
The news of his death spread like bush fire on Wednesday night and reports are that he died of a heart-related disease at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
His rival and opposition lead who has been in exile in Belgium Tundu Lissu said that the news of Magufuli’s death did not catch him by surprise.
“I have received the news of President John Magufuli’s passing without any surprise to be honest, I had expected this all along from March 7th when I first tweeted about it,” Lissu said in an interview with KTN News Thursday.
He added that he is still pained by the fact that the government of Tanzania has hidden the truth from the public about the cause of Magufuli’s death which he claimed was coronavirus.
“The only thing that surprises me is that they continue to lie, even now that he is dead, his government continues to lie. Magufuli died of corona,” Lissu maintained.
He accused Magufuli of defiance against the virus by playing it down at a time the world was taking all precautions to stay safe.
Lissu, the CHADEMA party leader said Magufuli defied science and went ahead to defy precautions set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“It is poetic justice, President Magufuli defied the world in the fight against corona, he defied science, he refused to take the basic precautions that people all over the world are being told to take in the fight against corona.”
Last week, Lissu raised questions about Magufuli’s absence from the public for a while and claimed that he was at a Kenyan hospital receiving treatment.
“The President’s well-being is a matter of grave public concern. We’re informed when Kikwete had prostate surgery. We’re told when Mkapa went for hip replacement. We’re not kept in the dark when Mwalimu fought leukemia. What’s it with Magufuli that we don’t deserve to know? he posed.
He claimed that Magufuli was flown out of Kenya to India to tone down on speculations.
“Latest update from Nairobi: The Man Who Declared Victory Over Corona “was transferred to India this afternoon.” Kenyans don’t want the embarrassment “if the worst happens in Kenya.” His COVID denialism in tatters, his prayer-over-science folly has turned into a deadly boomerang!” he tweeted on March 10.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020, Magufuli took a different stand from other African leaders declaring Tanzania Covid-free.
However, there were recent reports of a spike in the number of deaths from Covid-19 and Magufuli came out asking Tanzanian to wear facemasks, a departure from his earlier denial that “there is no coronavirus”.
In February, Lissu challenged Magufuli to publish data on the total number of Covid-19 cases in Tanzania so far. Magufuli had earlier barred relevant agencies from publishing this information.