Chief Secretary of the State, Ambassador John William Kijazi was the second high-ranking official in Tanzania to die on Wednesday after Maalim Seif Sharif (first VP of Zanzibar) died in the morning as announced by President John Magufuli.
“The President of the United Republic of Tanzania is saddened to announce the death of Chief Secretary Ambassador John William Kijazi that occured 17th February, 2021,” reads in part a brief statement issued by the Presidents communications office.
Kijazi had been receiving treatment at Benjamin Mkapa Hospital (BMH) in the capital Dodoma.
Funeral preparations are to be announced at a later date.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has earned a reputation as one of the world leaders most sceptical of efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Western countries and neighbours have increasingly expressed concern that official denials mask a rampant outbreak that could turn the country of 58 million people into a reservoir of infection.
The government stopped reporting statistics for new cases and deaths in May last year at a time when it had registered 509 cases and 21 deaths.
Magufuli dismisses masks and social distancing, and has refused to order any vaccines for his country, saying last month that they “are not good. If they were, then the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS.”
Prior to becoming the chief secretary of State, Kijazi was the Tanzanian ambassador in India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal between 2007- 2016 making him Tanzania’s Head of Mission abroad.