Tanzania’s Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Augustine Mahiga passed away on Friday at the age of 74. The news was confirmed by the country’s President John Magufuli.

In a statement, Magufuli says the longtime diplomat collapsed in his house in Dodoma and was reported dead on arrival in hospital.


Death of two Tanzania Members of Parliament

Mahiga’s death comes days after two Tanzanian lawmakers died within 10 days of each other.

Speaker of Tanzania’s National Assembly on Thursday suspended sessions after the death of Member of Parliament for Dodoma, Richard Ndassa.

Ndassa died after a short illness, according to the speaker.

However, he did not reveal the illness.

Earlier in April, another MP – Reverend Getrude Rwakare – died in Dar es Salaam.

 COVID-19 cases in Tanzania

The deaths of the MPs come amid criticism over Tanzania’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tanzania’s government released new coronavirus statistics on Wednesday, at least five days after it had gone silent. This as almost all African nations release daily reports on the latest tallies on infections, fatalities and recoveries.

“The government should not treat this pandemic as a secret,” Freeman Mbowe, head of the country’s biggest opposition party, CHADEMA, said in a televised address. “It (COVID-19) requires transparency, truth and participation to fight it.”

Magufuli has closed schools, but has left places of worship open, and in March encouraged citizens to pray the virus away.

Tanzania so far has 480 confirmed COVID-19 cases after 196 more people tested positive.

No lockdown measures have been put in place in the country so far. – Additional reporting by Reuters