First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

John Magufuli, Tanzanian Leader Who Scoffed at Covid, D...

World

Newsdeck

John Magufuli, Tanzanian Leader Who Scoffed at Covid, Dies at 61

President of the United Republic of Tanzania, John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam. (Photo: Flickr / GCIS)
By Bloomberg
17 Mar 2021 0

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who drew widespread criticism for his denialism of the coronavirus pandemic, has died only five months after he won a second term in a disputed election. He was 61.

“We have lost our courageous leader, President John Magufuli, who has died from a heart illness,” Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on state television on Wednesday. She announced 14 days of national mourning.Nicknamed ‘The Bulldozer’ for his aggressive leadership style, Magufuli won early praise for tackling corruption, reducing wasteful government spending and improving the lives of peasant farmers by waiving dozens of taxes. He also spearheaded the development of new transport links, power plants and more than 1,700 health centers, investments that helped Tanzania’s economy become one of the world’s top performers.

Magufuli also drove through controversial reforms aimed at ensuring the nation derived greater benefit from its natural resources, which put his administration on a collision course with foreign mining companies. In 2017, the authorities asked Barrick Gold Corp.’s local unit to pay a whopping $190 billion tax bill — a dispute the company settled by paying $300 million and creating a mining joint venture with the state.

Magufuli became increasingly authoritarian as his first term progressed — he centralized power in the presidency and unapologetically cracked down on dissent and media freedom. He secured a second five-year term in October when he garnered 84% of the vote, the widest victory margin of any presidential candidate in almost three decades of multiparty elections in Tanzania.

The opposition rejected the outcome as rigged and the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania said credible allegations of fraud and intimidation, as well as the ruling party’s overwhelming win, raised questions about the election’s fairness. Several opposition candidates were disqualified from standing and the government instituted internet and social media site shutdowns that hampered its opponents’ campaigns.

Born on Oct. 29, 1959, in the northwestern town of Chato, Magufuli worked as a teacher and industrial chemist before venturing into politics. He won election to parliament in 1995 and held several cabinet posts before the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party chose him as its candidate to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete in 2015.

International consternation with Magufuli’s rule has focused on his unorthodox approach to tackling Covid-19. He insisted the country was free of the disease, discouraged the use of face masks and advised his people to pray and undergo steam therapy to safeguard their health. While most of the rest of the world clamored to access vaccines, his administration eschewed them and said it was working on developing alternative natural remedies.

Tanzania stopped publishing infection data in April 2020, making it impossible to determine the severity of the epidemic. The deluge of patients displaying coronavirus symptoms seeking treatment at public hospitals and daily funeral masses indicates Magufuli severely downplayed what was clearly a major public health crisis. DM

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted