Questions persist over the health of Tanzanian President John Magufuli who has not been seen in public for 11 days. Opposition leader Tundu Lissu has told the BBC that according to his sources the President is being transported to Kenya for treatment in hospital against COVID-19. The BBC has not been able to verify this report independently.
Mr Magufuli has faced criticism for his coping with COVID-19 sanitary crisis, with his government refusing to buy vaccines. The East African nation has not published its coronavirus cases since May.
Its 61-year-old president has called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.
Earlier this month, at a funeral for a top presidential aide, President Magufuli said Tanzania had defeated COVID-19 last year and would win again this year.
Mr Lissu says he was told that President Magufuli had been flown to Kenya for treatment at Nairobi Hospital on Monday night.
According to the opposition leader, the president has suffered a cardiac arrest and is in a critical condition.
There has been no official response from the government, which has warned against publishing unverified information about the Tanzanian leader, who was last seen at an official event in Dar es Salaam on 27 February.
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli was re-elected for a second, five-year term, securing a landslide victory in a contest that has been dismissed by the opposition as a “travesty” due to widespread irregularities.
Magufuli got 12.5 million votes in Wednesday’s vote on October 28, or 84%, according to the calculations mentioned in press outlets, more than 10 million more votes than his main challenger, Tundu Lissu of the Chadema party, who got 1.9 million votes, the National Electoral Commission said.
In his bid for a second term, Magufuli has promised voters that he will pay a special attention to the economy by completing ambitious infrastructure projects he started in his first term, such as a new hydropower dam, a rail-line and planes for the national carrier.
Lissu has previously said that he will not accept the eventual election results.
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, said on Friday, “we remain deeply concerned about reports of systematic interference in the democratic process.”
Tanzania has suspended broadcasting of family planning ads of U.S.-funded project, a health ministry letter said, a fortnight after President John Magufuli pointed out family planning was for those “too lazy to take care of their children.
“The ministry intends to revise the contents of all your ongoing radio and TV spots for family planning, thus I request you to stop with immediate effect airing and publishing any family planning contents in any media channels until further notice,” the letter, dated September 19, said.
“If you cannot work then opt for family planning but if you can work hard why family planning?” he said.
“Let me tell you in front of the minister of health who is always advocating for family planning, go to farm, work hard … if you have enough food then give birth as you can,” he said during a tour in central Tanzania’s Simiyu region.