JUST IN: Tanzania’s President John Magufuli dies at 61

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Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is dead.

He was 61.

Magufuli had not been seen in public since February 27.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan confirmed his death in a live broadcast.

Hassan said Magufuli died on Wednesday around 6pm from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

“Dear Tanzanians, it is sad to announce that today 17 March 2021 around 6 p.m. we lost our brave leader, President John Magufuli who died from heart illness at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment,” the vice president said on state broadcaster TBC.

Magufuli, from northwest Tanzania, first won the presidency in 2015 and had faced accusations from Western countries and opposition parties of eroding democracy.

He was nicknamed “The Bulldozer” because of his reputation for pushing through policies despite opposition.

According to Tanzania’s Constitution, Vice President Hassan, 61, will assume the presidency for remainder of the five-year term that Magufuli began serving last year after winning a second term.

She would be the East African nation’s first female President.

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