NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 10 – Concerns are rife that Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is hospitalised in Nairobi after the country’s Opposition leader Tundu Lissu questioned his whereabouts.
Speculation swirled on social media since Tuesday that Magufuli had fallen ill with reports that he was admitted at a Nairobi Hospital. There was no immediate confirmation from the hospital, the Embassy or government officials.
“We are also reading that he is admitted in hospital from social media, we do know know,” a senior government official said, “try get in touch with the Embassy.”
The speculations started with a tweet by Lissu, that “The president’s well-being is a matter of grave public concern, “What’s it with Magufuli that we don’t deserve to know?”
Fichua Tanzania, a human rights lobby said Magufuli had travelled to Nairobi for treatment and urged his office and other authorities to provide information.
Magufuli, 61, has been on the spot after waging a campaign in his country that COVID-19 is lie, urging the population to go on with their lives.
Recently, Magufuli admitted that COVID-19 was spreading in his country but insists on prayer and traditional medicine as the solution.
Several top government officials have died of the disease, with Catholic church saying dozens of its priests and nuns had also died. The government has adopted a policy of not documenting the virus cases, and clamps down on media that focuses on news about the virus.
He has dismissed the use of face masks and did not impose a lockdown in his country since last year when countries worldwide closed the airspace for several months.
At the height of the COVID-19’s first wave, tight measures by Kenya to combat COVID-19 sparked a fresh diplomatic row when Tanzania accused Kenya of targeting its citizens at the borders.
Magufuli was last seen in public on February 24 when he toured Dar es Salaam to inspect goverment projects.
On February 27, the president was scheduled to attend a virtual heads of state summit of East African Community regional bloc but he was represented by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.