For the first time since President John Pombe Magufuli went missing from the public eye after his last appearance on February 27 during an official function at the statechouse in Dar es Salaam, Vice President Samia Suluhu has finally responded about his whereabouts.
Contrary to multiple media reports and speculations currently going viral that Magufuli is either incapacitated as a result of severe COVID-19 or dead, VP Samia, while addressing a gathering in Tanga in one of his public events scheduled this week, told Tanzanians that their President is undergoing a health check and that everything is fine.
Hon. Suluhu said, “it is normal for humans to undergo (health) checks”, calling on Tanzanians to unite “during this time” because it is the best thing to do now.
“Tanzania tuko salama.Tanzania tuko salama. Ni kawaida ya binadamu kukaguliwakagulia. Mara mafua, mara homa… chochote kile. Lakini nataka niwaambie kwamba, katika wakati muhimu wa Watanzania kushikamana, ni wakati huu,” said the VP. (We are safe Tanzanians. It is normal for human beings to undergo (health) tests on flu and fever… or anything. I would like to tell you that, if there was an important time for Tanzanians to stay together, it is now)
Her statement contradicts Prime Minister Majaliwa’s statement last week that called on people to remain calm, saying that President Magufuli “is there, in good health, he is working.”
However, shortly after her speech, Opposition Leader Tundu Lissu took to his verified Twitter handle to refute the statement, calling on VP to tell Tanzanians the truth.
The CHADEMA politician, currently exiled in Belgium, said the President is “on life support with COVID and paralyzed on one side and from the waist down after a stroke.”
Lissu went ahead to call on police to release two indivuals who were arrested for posting on their social media handles that the President is battling Covid-19.
Peter Silayo, 30, and Prosper Shayo, 36, hails from Tegeta Dar es Salaam and Rombo District respectively.
While speaking about their arrests, the Acting Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander (RPC) Ronald Makona said the suspects will be arraigned in court once investigations are complete.
He further warned the public against “minforming” the public about the President’s health saying tough legal action will be taken against them.
“Hatua kali za kisheria zitachukuliwa kwa mtu yeyote atakaebainika ametoa au amesambaza taarifa za kupotosha umma na kusababisha taharuki kwa jamii,” the police boss said. (“Strict legal action will be taken against anyone found to have given or disseminated misleading information to the public and causing harm to the community.”)