Tanzanian police said Tuesday that 45 people were killed in a stampede last week at a public viewing of the body of late President John Magufuli. The fatalities were much higher than the five originally reported.
The March 21 stampede was triggered when a wall collapsed after some people climbed it to view Magufuli’s body at Uhuru Stadium outside Dar es Salaam, according to the city’s police chief, Lazaro Mambosasa.
Mambosasa said some of the mourners died of oxygen starvation due to overcrowding at the memorial service.
Magufulii died of heart failure on March 17, the government said, although opposition leaders maintain he died of complications from COVID-19.
The late president was among Africa’s most prominent skeptics of the coronavirus pandemic, drawing criticism from some African and foreign health experts.
Magufuli shunned the use of face masks, vaccinations and lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Despite the criticism, many Tanzanians applauded him for his contentious leadership style and efforts to root out government corruption.
Former Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan succeeded Magufuli, becoming Tanzania’s first female president.
She nominated Finance Minister Philip Mpango on Tuesday as vice president. His nomination was unanimously supported by members of Parliament.