Do These Images Show Tanzanian Leaders in Masks Convened to Mourn President Magufuli?

These tweets both (see below) dated 18th March 2021 have been making rounds on social media platforms allegedly showing Tanzanian leaders in masks mourning the late President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.


The death of Tanzania’s fifth president comes during a time when the country is facing growing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic in Tanzania. Reports attribute his death to cardiac-related complications. There have been no official records of COVID-19 cases reported in Tanzania. However, right until 19th March 2021, 509 confirmed cases and 21 deaths had been reported to the WHO.

Tanzania’s Vice-President, Samia Suluhu, was sworn in as the sixth president on 19th March 2021 and is required to serve to the end of Dr Magufuli’s term. She has served as the vice-president since 2015.  In a statement during her inauguration, Samia Suluhu assured Tanzanians that she will diligently protect and uphold the constitution.

This happened a day before President Magufuli’s memorial service was held at St. Peter’s Church in Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu announced 21 days of national mourning for the late president.

Piga Firimbi breaks down the deaths, fear and renaming of Tanzania’s COVID-19 pandemic in this article.


We ran a Google reverse image search on these photos. They are both dated 27th November 2020; taken during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) emergency session.  During this meeting, then Vice-President Samia Suluhu was in attendance to represent President Magufuli.

One of the images featured on this fact check has a banner in the background reading: Extraordinary Organ TROIKA Summit, referring to this summit featured on SADC’s official website.


Images showing Tanzanian leaders in masks mourning the late president Magufuli were picked out of context and are therefore MISLEADING.

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Nyakerario Omari

Nyakerario J. Omari is a Kenyan writer and journalist with a passion for in-depth stories told through documentaries. She has an interest in reporting matters concerning health, crime and human rights.