Magufuli -A Mbeki Redux and a Think Up Call for Africa

(Guest Editorial by Dr. Kofi A. Boateng   New York City)

In a few words we seek to tackle three important topics: John Magufuli, the recently deceased president of Tanzania, Thabo Mbeki the former president of South Africa, and a call to Africa to simply THINK.

The world knows that John Magufuli was last seen in public on February 27, 2021. Then came official declaration that he was under medical care for a chronic heart problem. Then on March 17, 2021 (three weeks from last seen) another official confirmation came that he was dead, presumably from his decade-old cardiac condition. The government of Tanzania, now under its former Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, has not coughed a word about what the streets of Dodoma (official capital of Tanzania) are asserting that John Magufuli died of COVID19.

If there is no smoke without fire, then the policies of John Magufuli decidedly against allowing western medication for COVID 19, prescribing steam treatment, not reporting infections and deaths, propagating western-style prayer (how ironic), and not wearing masks would be circumstantial evidence in favor of the streets of Dodoma. If you get a chance to watch any of the videos of the burial of Magufuli you would be shocked about the blatant and stubborn lack of wearing masks by the leaders and sundry of Tanzania. The new President Hassan and the dead president’s widow sit in the front row, crying and consoling each other without masks! What a literal genocidal legacy to leave, Mr. Magufuli! Not unlike the former president of the USA- Donald Trump, and now with the US accounting for 20% of global deaths from COVID19. The coffin makers of Tanzania are reporting booming business. We wonder why. We cannot cite statistics of the effects of COVID19 in mask-less Tanzania because Magufuli forbade the keeping of data on the virus, in opposition to international standards.

The decisions to resist international therapies for a global pandemic and even deny its existence is not new to the continent of Africa. In the 2000’s Thabo Mbeki then president of South Africa refused to admit that HIV was even in South Africa, refused emerging western medications, and forbade keeping and reporting numbers on HIV infections and deaths of South Africans. Now a Zimbabwean doctor, Pride Chigwedere, has written a doctoral dissertation for the Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health with findings that “More than 330,000 people died prematurely from HIV/AIDS between 2000 and 2005 due to the Mbeki government’s obstruction of life-saving treatment, and at least 35,000 babies were born with HIV infections that could have been prevented” (October 2009, Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). It is unfortunate, but decidedly someone will do a study later and conclude that XXX, XXX people died prematurely from COVID19 in Tanzania due to Magufuli’s obstruction….

In our third thought it is time for Africans and Africa to use that thing between our ears and THINK analytically. I maintain that the education system that Mbeki and Magufuli went through with flying colors did not equip them and their generations to think analytically or think at all. Sadly, that system continues.  It is easier to invoke little understood African traditions when it suits our leaders, then wholeheartedly embrace superstition as a convenient way to explain any phenomenon we do not want to do the hard work to think through cause, effect and sound solutions.  

Posted by on Mar 25 2021. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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