John Pombe Joseph Magufuli (29 October 1959 – 17 March 2021) was a Tanzanian politician who served as the fifth president of Tanzania from 2015 until his death in 2021. He served as Minister of Works, Transport and Communications from 2000 to 2005 and 2010 to 2015 and was chairman of the Southern African Development Community from 2019 to 2020.
First elected as a Member of Parliament in 1995, he served in the Cabinet of Tanzania as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, Minister of Works from 2000 to 2005, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015.
Running as the candidate of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the country’s dominant party, Magufuli won the October 2015 presidential election and was sworn in on 5 November 2015; he was re-elected in 2020. He ran on a platform of reducing government corruption and spending while also investing in Tanzania’s industries but was accused of having had increasingly autocratic tendencies seen in restrictions on freedom of speech and a crackdown on members of the political opposition.
Magufuli was known for promoting misinformation about COVID-19 during his leadership over the pandemic in Tanzania. After a lengthy absence from public appearances, unconfirmed rumours circulated that he, himself, had been hospitalized with the disease. His death on 17 March 2021 was attributed to a long-standing heart issue by the government.