Army generals and senior clerics; prominent academics and business leaders; senior bureaucrats and professionals of all cadres, were all affected.
In one day, 17 February, ambassador John Kijazi, Magufuli’s own chief secretary and head of the civil service; and the First Vice-President of Zanzibar, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad — considered to the father of the modern Zanzibari nationalist movement and of the Tanzanian democracy — died of Covid-19.
On 12 March I tweeted a picture of Magufuli swearing in the former foreign minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga, whose much-publicised Covid-19 death, a year earlier had most likely prompted Magufuli to ban the testing and publication of any Covid-related information. In the picture was Kijazi and another close aide who had also recently died of Covid-19.
All four men in the picture have since died, albeit reportedly of other ailments not Covid-19? “From left: The late John Pombe Magufuli, Tanzania’s president; Ambassador John Kijazi, was Chief Secretary; Oswald Simon Majuva, was the deputy regional commissioner in Mara province and Augustine Mahiga who was the Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister.” The Standard
The noose was rapidly tightening around the neck of the visibly shaken and tired-looking president. His last appearance was on the 27 February swearing-in of Dr Bashiru Ali, the then CCM secretary-general, to be his new chief secretary.
Karma finally caught up with him. On 10 March, three days after my initial tweet, I tweeted the following:
“It is a sad comment on his stewardship of our country that it has come to this: that he himself had to get Covid-19 and be flown out to Kenya in order to prove that prayers, steam inhalations and other unproven herbal concoctions he has championed are no protection against the coronavirus.”
Extracted, mostly verbatim with a few minor edits to ensure serialisation flow, from “Tundu Lissu’s Obituary on John Pombe Magufuli,” published by the Daily Maverick and shared on social media – Facebook. Tundu Antiphas Mughwai Lissu is a lawyer, politician and Member of Parliament. He contested against Magufuli in the 2020 Tanzanian Presidential Elections. We are sharing Lissu’s opinion within the wider context of the debate of Magufuli’s Legacy and his leadership style that trended #whatwouldmagufulido