.TANZANIA: Country Experiences Series of Deaths of Government officials and Religious Leaders Within three weeks, several prominent people in the Country have died and Tanzanians are shocked and have panicked as they link these deaths to Covid-19. Although the cause of the deaths has not been disclosed, there has been debate on how the deaths have happened suddenly.
Citizens were shocked after Pastor Gertrude Lwakatare a Member of Tanzania Parliament died on April 20 in Dar es Salaam. According to her family, her death was caused by high blood pressure and heart problems. A day later, Speaker of the Assembly Job Ndugai announced that her funeral would be overseen by government and be attended by no more than 10 people.
A few days later, on April 25 District Commissioner of Mafia island Abdulkarim Shah died and was buried the next morning by a few people.
On April 27, Mtwara District Commissioner (Southern Tanzania) Evod Mmanda died. Confirming reports of his death Minister of Regional Administration and Local Government Solomon Jafo said Mmanda was hospitalized for two days before he died of respiratory challenges. His funeral was held the following day under the supervision of government personnel, with only 10 of his relatives allowed to participate.
April 27 also witnessed the death of two retired judges, Judge Ali Haji Pandu who served as Chief Justice of Zanzibar and Judge Mussa Kwikama who was the senior leader of the ACT Political party. On the same day Deputy Mayor of Morogoro Municipality (central of Tanzania) Isihaka Sengo died in hospital.
The following day his family-organized funeral but were interrupted by the Morogoro Regional Medical Officer saying the deceased showed signs of Coronavirus, and later his funeral was administered by government personnel and attended by a few relatives.
Retired Chief Justice Augustino Ramadan passed away on April 28. Official reports by the Court and government are that Judge Ramadan had been suffering from cancer for more than two years and was taken to hospital a few days before his death. A day later, on April 29 Sumve Member of Parliament Richard Ndassa died of a sudden illness, although the disease that led to his death was not disclosed.
On 2nd May, Tanzanians was chocked with a statement from President Dr. John Magufuli announcing the death of former Constitutional and Legal Minister Augustine Mahiga.
The State House reported that the former diplomat fell ill in the early hours of the day at his home in Dodoma and was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in the capital Dodoma.
Mahiga was a career diplomat who previously served as Tanzania’s deputy head of domestic intelligence before he became the country’s permanent representative at the United Nations. He also served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia. This was the third Member of Parliament (MP) to die in less than two weeks.
On the night of May 3, the Senior Pastor Peter Mitimingi died after a sudden illness. The pastor was famous in the country for his online sermons, which focused on various aspects of life especially relationships, marriage, education and entrepreneurship.
On the night of May 4, the lawyer and prominent politician of Tanzania Dr Masumbuko Lamwai also died suddenly. This is based on reports confirmed by his family.
On May 4 this year Professor Apollinaria Pereka of Sokoine Agriculture University SUA died. She was the Chairperson of the Council of Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT).
On the night of May 6 Tanzanian celebrity Sheikh Suleiman Kilemile also died. The Tanzanian government warned that not all people who die during this period are due to Coronavirus outbreak. President Dr. John Magufuli addressing the nation on Sunday stressed that and said it is impossible for all who die to have Coronavirus and that there are other diseases as well.