IN SHORT: The leader of the East African country has not died, as a message on Facebook breathlessly – and maliciously – claims.
Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu has died, claims a post on a public Facebook group page with more than 119,000 members.
The 18 January 2023 post reads: “TAARIFA MBAYA SANA!! #MAMA HATUPO NAE TENA!! HARMONIZE ATHIBITISHA!! TAZAMA; https://youtu.be/u1tscRVoAlE KWAHERI KILIO TANZANIA!!! Leo MCHANA!! #RIP.”
This loosely translates as: “VERY BAD NEWS!! #MOTHER IS NOT WITH US ANY MORE!! HARMONIZE CONFIRMS!!
The message directs users to a YouTube video, and ends with “GOODBYE CRYING TANZANIA!!! TODAY AT DAYTIME!! #RIP.”
The post includes two photos, one of Tanzanian musician Rajab Abdul Kahali – known by his stage name Harmonize – and the other of Suluhu.
In 2022 Harmonize released the song Kazi Iendelee, the title of which translates as ”let work continue”. In it he praises Suluhu and expresses confidence in her leadership.
Death hoaxes are harmful to the person’s friends, family and fans – and in this case, an entire country.
Has Tanzania’s president died? We checked.
Suluhu not dead
The first sign that the claim is false is that the YouTube video linked to in the message is unrelated to Suluhu’s death.
It instead shows a band called Nzukini Boyz performing their song Terry.
On 20 January, days after Suluhu was said to have died, she sent China greetings for the country’s new year, on Twitter.
The tweet reads: “On behalf of the government and the People of Tanzania, I extend my warmest wishes to all Chinese as you celebrate your Chinese New Year (The Year of Rabbit). Tanzania is dedicated to fostering a strong and genuine friendship and cooperation for the betterment of both our nations.”
Suluhu is not dead. The message is simply a malicious trick to get more views on a music video.
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
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