Tanzania mourns the death of three dignitaries in a week amidst COVID-19 Increase

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Reported by
Faridah N Kulumba

The government of John Pombe Magufuli is mourning 3 dignitaries namely John Kijazi Chief Secretary Ambassador, Selina Tjihew Namibia’s third Secretary to Tanzan

Eng John Kijazi

ia and Seif Sharif Hamad chairman of Alliance for Change and Transparency who are said to succumb to COVID-19.

The death of Chief Secretary Ambassador engineer John Herbert William Kijazi which occurred on 17 February 2021 at Benjamin Mkapa Hospital in Dodoma, where he has been receiving treatment according to the statement released by the president John Pombe Magufuli’s office.

But the cause of his death was not mentioned

Engineer Ambassador Kijazi was Tanzania’s representative in different foreign missions including India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

He also served as permanent secretary in the ministry of works and later Ministry of Infrastructure Development from 2002 – 2006.

After he was appointed Ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign affairs and international Cooperation.

Kijazi’s death happened hours after the death of the first vice-president of the country’s semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar Seif Sharif Hamad 77 years.

Hamad was a prominent politician and also the chairman of opposition’s party Alliance for Change and Transparency died on Wednesday a week after being hospitalized with Covid-19.

His death was announced by the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi(CMC) Hussein Ali Mwinyi Zanzibar’s president

who described him as a prominent politician and he declared 7 days of a national mourning and the flags will be flown at a half-staff.

“On behalf of the people of Zanzibar, i take this opportunity to pass my condolences not the family, relatives, Alliance for Change and Transparency party, and to all the people of Zanzibar and ask them to stay calm during this mourning period.”Mwinyi said.

Hamid’s death was not made public, but on 31 January 2021, he was hospitalized in the archipelago after testing positive for Covid-19.

He became the first person to declare his COVID-19 status in Tanzania since April 29 2020, as authorities refused to admit the presence of corona virus in their country.

Meanwhile on Tuesday before Hamad’s death, the Namibia’s third Secretary to Tanzania Selina Tjihero 57 years also died.

Her death was confirmed by Namibia’s Ambassador to Tanzania Lebbeus Tobias who said that she died in a local hospital in Tanzania.

Although the authority in Tanzania declared her death as pneumonia, but Namibian has been reliably informed by high ranking officials in the diplomatic circles that she died of COVID-19.

Why did Magufuli dismiss the presence of COVID-19 in Tanzania?

Tanzania Ministry of Health confirmed its first corona virus case on the 16 March 2020, but in April 2020 president Magufuli stopped his government from releasing any figures on coronavirus claiming that his country was virus-free.

He questioned the standard of the lab equipments saying that they were giving false results.

He claimed that he sent fake COVID-19 samples to the labs from goats and fruits and that some of them came out as positive.

“The testing kits were made by western countries and were programmed to give many positive results.” said Magufuli.

Did President Magufuli learn of the cause of Hamid’s death?

Tanzanian president John Magufuli sent a condolence message on his Twitter handle to Zanzibar president and the people of Zanzibar, saying he was saddened by Hamad’s death but he did not mention the cause of the death.

“I have received with profound shock the news of the death of Hon. Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, the first vice president of Zanzibar.” Magufuli tweeted.

Is Tanzania really COVID-19 free?

According to Zurah Nakabugo a health journalist working a reporter at The weekly Observer Uganda and who has been following Tanzania’s COVID-19 situation, she says that she got the information from a trusted source in Tanzanian Ministry of Health who revealed to that the number of people who contract COVID-19 virus rises every day and many have succumbed to death.

She also said that recently the U.S Embassy in Tanzania warned that COVID-19 cases are increasing since the beginning of 2021.

According to media report says that the authority in Tanzania pressurise medical doctors to treat people with novel COVID-19 symptoms for pneumonia and heart infections.

Tanzania say that they have no plans to import COVID-19 vaccines but instead they will focus on doing research and develop herbal vaccine.

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