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Tanzanian president drumming to celebrate ‘defeat’ of coronavirus? No, video from 2016

A video of Tanzania's president John Magufuli playing drums with a band has been shared on Facebook.

“Watch this interesting video of Magufuli celebrating in Tanzania after being free from corona. No mask, no social distancing, no curfews, no lockdown – Tanzania celebrations after defeating corona,” one user who shared the video wrote.

The clip was posted by a user in Kenya on 24 May 2020, and shared on a public Facebook group in Uganda on 9 June.

“No masks. No social distancing. No curfews. No lockdown - Tanzania celebrations after defeating corona,” reads the initial post, which has been shared more than 4,000 times.

On 8 June it was reported that Magufuli had declared Tanzania free of the new coronavirus.

But does the video really show the president joining a band to celebrate “defeating” the coronavirus in his country? We checked. 

Video online as early as 2017

A YouTube search for “Magufuli playing drums” brought up the same video, uploaded on 3 December 2017. 

The new coronavirus was first reported in China in December 2019, and Covid-19 declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The video has nothing to do with the disease.

Footage from 2016 event

Using the YouTube data viewer, we extracted images from the video. We ran the images through Google’s reverse image search and found matching photos in an article on Tanzania’s State House website. The headline reveals that the photos were taken on 21 October 2016.

One caption reads, in Kiswahili: “Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania Dkt. John Pombe Magufuli akipiga tumba katika bendi ya Msondo Ngoma mara baada ya kuweka jiwe la msingi katika mradi wa ujenzi wa Hosteli za wanafunzi katika chuo kikuu cha Dar es Salaam.”

This translates as: “The president of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr John Pombe Magufuli, on the drums with the Msondo Ngoma band moments after laying a foundation stone for a students’ hostel at the University of Dar es Salaam.”

The video of Magufuli on the drums was taken in 2016, not in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. – Grace Gichuhi


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