By Own Correspondent
NAIROBI/WINDHOEK – Tanzania’s President John Magufuli is in good health and working normally, two officials said on Friday, after reports that he had flown abroad in critical condition with COVID-19.
Magufuli, 61, is Africa’s most prominent coronavirus sceptic. He has not been seen in public since Feb. 27.Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu, who left for Belgium after disputing his election defeat to Magufuli last year, has said the president was flown to the private Nairobi Hospital in neighbouring Kenya and then to India in a coma.
However, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa denied that, blaming the narrative on “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.“Tanzanians should be at peace. Your president is around, healthy, working hard,” he said in a speech after Friday prayers in the southern Njobe region.
“To spread rumors that he is sick is just an outcome of hate.”
Magufuli was busy at work indoors reviewing files, Majaliwa said, adding that he spoke to him by phone on Friday morning.
“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.”
The prime minister’s remarks, along with similar comments from Tanzania’s ambassador in Namibia, Modestus Kipilimba, were the first official reactions since concerns surfaced at the start of this week.
“He’s OK, he’s going on with his job,” Kipilimba told Namibia’s state broadcaster NBC.
Neither NBC nor Tanzania’s state broadcaster showed video of Magufuli in their reports.