What you need to know:
- She becomes the second high profile government official, in less than a week, to speak out in a bid to dispel growing concerns over President John Magufuli’s whereabouts.
Handeni. Tanzania's Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has urged the country to not be unnerved by “rumours flying around”, insisting that the country is safe.
She becomes the second high profile government official, in less than a week, to speak out in a bid to dispel growing concerns over President John Magufuli’s whereabouts. The Head of State frequently addresses public rallies and church congregants, but has not appeared in public for over two weeks now.
But speaking in Msata Town on Monday, Ms Hassan said it was not unusual for a person to fall sick.
“It’s quite normal for a person’s body to be indisposed and contract the flu or develop a fever… this is the time for Tanzanians to be united through prayer,” she said.
Without stating exactly who she was talking about, Ms Hassan said there were a lot of rumours circulating in the country, adding, however, that this should not unsettle Tanzanians.
“As Tanzanians, we must work together, be united and build our nation. Most of the rumours you hear don’t originate in Tanzania…they come from outside the country. I ask you to ignore them. If it’s about prayers, pray, but all in all, we should remain united and take Tanzania forward. We’re safe,” she said.
(Watch from minute 8.20 below)
Ms Suluhu, who is Tanzania's first female Vice President, hails from Zanzibar.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa accused “hateful Tanzanians living abroad” of spreading rumours about President John Magufuli’s whereabouts.
“I’m asking Tanzanians to rest assured that your president is around, healthy and working hard,” he said in a speech after Friday prayers in Njombe Region.
“To spread rumours that he’s sick smacks of hate.”
Mr Majaliwa said Dr Magufuli was busy going through files, adding that he spoke to him by telephone earlier on Friday.
“I have decided to say this to give hope to Tanzanians that our president is around,” he said.
“If he were sick, would I have spoken to him on the telephone? He sent his greetings to you.”