Magufuli’s Death Leaves Tanzanians to Confront His Divisive Legacy

Magufuli’s Death Leaves Tanzanians to Confront His Divisive Legacy
A man reads a copy of the Daily Nation morning newspaper reporting the death of neighboring Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, on a street in Nairobi, Kenya, March 18, 2021 (AP photo by Khalil Senosi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Africa Watch by email every week.

John Magufuli, the populist president of Tanzania who oversaw a crackdown on political dissent and recently emerged as a prominent coronavirus denier, has died at the age of 61. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in Friday to complete his five-year term, becoming the first woman to lead the East African country.

Hassan announced Magufuli’s passing in a televised address Wednesday, more than two weeks after he had disappeared from public view. She identified the cause of death as heart failure, but opposition leaders claim Magufuli actually died of COVID-19, and have accused officials of hiding the truth, even as Magufuli’s supporters participate in 14 days of national mourning.

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