Facebook Posts Misleadingly Claim Only One Politician Has Died Of Covid-19

Data shows that at least seven serving and former politicians globally have died of COVID-19.

Multiple Facebook posts have shared a claim that 'not a single politician in the world' died of COVID-19 except John Magufuli, a former president of Tanzania known for downplaying the scale of the pandemic. The claim is misleading: at least seven serving and former politicians globally have died of COVID-19, according to an AFP tally. Tanzanian authorities said Magufuli died of a heart condition, while his opponents insisted he contracted the coronavirus before his death.

"Not a single politician in the world has died from the rona... except the one who called it out #Tanzania," reads a Facebook post shared on April 2, 2021


The post circulated online less than three weeks after former Tanzania president John Magufuli died on March 17, 2021.

Magufuli has been described as a Covid-19 sceptic who denied the coronavirus existed in his country for a significant portion of the pandemic, AFP reported.

Authorities said he died of a heart condition after going missing for several weeks, but political opponents insisted he contracted the virus shortly before his death.

An identical claim was also shared in Facebook posts here and here.

The claim, however, is misleading.

At least seven serving and former politicians have died after contracting Covid-19, according to an AFP tally.

Ambrose Dlamini, then prime minister of the southern African kingdom of Eswatini, became the first sitting leader to die of Covid-19 on December 13, 2020, AFP reported.

The report indicates other top-rank politicians who died of coronavirus the same month include former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing; ex-Swiss president Flavio Cotti; and Burundi's former head of state Pierre Buyoya.

Separate government reports also confirm South African minister Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu; Papua New Guinea minister Richard Mendani; and former Cook Islands prime minister, Dr Joe Williams, died after contracting Covid-19.

AFP Fact Check has debunked other misleading claims about Magufuli since his death, including this one.

Updated On: 2021-04-07T17:59:20+05:30
Claim Review :   Only one politician has died of COVID-19
Claimed By :  Facebook posts
Fact Check :  Misleading
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