Tanzanian authorities are currently looking into social media users who are accused of disseminating false information regarding Vice-President Philip Mpango’s health.
Mr. Mpango reappeared on Sunday after being absent from the public eye for over a month, putting an end to widespread rumors suggesting his demise.
The Information Minister, Nape Nnauye, has instructed investigations into those responsible for spreading these speculations.
Mr. Mpango expressed distress over the false rumors circulating on social media.
The vice-president’s last public appearance was on October 31, where he represented President Samia Suluhu Hassan in a virtual meeting of Southern African Development Community leaders.
The vice-president’s return and the rumors surrounding his absence have generated mixed reactions.
Some argue that the government mishandled the situation by failing to provide clear information about his whereabouts.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa had previously cautioned citizens against engaging in speculation during Mr. Mpango’s absence, which had raised widespread concern.
However, the vice-president unexpectedly attended a Sunday service in the capital, Dodoma, affirming his well-being and stating that he hadn’t experienced any weight loss.
“There have been photos circulating alongside a candle, and claims that I have passed away. It’s too early – I haven’t completed the job God sent me to do,” Mr Mpango said.
“I will return to my maker only when my time comes. I’m grateful for your prayers.”
He specified that he had been overseas for “special duties,” refraining from providing further details.
In response to Mr. Mpango’s plea for increased responsibility among social media users, the information minister directed the appropriate state authorities to take measures against individuals disseminating speculation regarding the Vice President’s location.
“Any freedom that infringes on the freedom of another person amounts to disobedience of the law, we cannot have a society that views that as normal,” Mr Nnauye posted on X (formerly Twitter).