Amidst accusations of fraud and intimidation by the opposition, John Pombe Magufuli was re-elected as the President of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2020. A son of a peasant farmer, the fallen 61-year-old African President rose to Tanzania’s highest office in 2015.
Firm to his devotion as a Christian, President Magufuli did not agree with having people stay at home amidst coronavirus. He wanted them to go to Churches and Mosques to pray instead.
“Coronavirus, which is a devil, cannot survive in the body of Christ… It will burn instantly,” Magufuli, pronounced from the altar of a church in the capital, Dodoma.
John Pombe Magufuli was born in 1959 at Chato, Northwest of Tanzania. He studied Mathematics and Chemistry at the University of Dar es Salaam from where he later worked as a Mathematics and Chemistry teacher. First elected as a Member of Parliament in 1995, he served in the Cabinet of Tanzania as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, Minister of Works from 2000 to 2005, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015.
President Magufuli knew what it means to be poor!
“Our home was grass thatched, and like many boys I was assigned to herd cattle, as well as selling milk and fish to support my family,” he said during his 2015 campaign.
“I know what it means to be poor. I will strive to help improve people’s welfare,” he added.
Magufuli grew up under Nyerere’s rule in a village in the north-western Chato district along the shore of Lake Victoria and says his modest background has inspired his own desire to work for the Tanzanian public.
He was announced dead on Wednesday by Tanzania’s government officials. The country Vice President, Mrs. Samia Suluhu confirmed the shocking news in a televised announcement. She said the President passed away due to heart complications at the hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment since March 6, this month.