Fact check: African leader who spoke of coronavirus tests on goats and fruit did not die from cardiac arrest

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

A number of social media posts suggest the African leader who claimed coronavirus tests returned positive on samples taken from a goat and from fruit has died from cardiac arrest. The president of Tanzania, who spoke about testing such samples, is not dead.

The posts (examples here , here , here) feature an AFP photograph of President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza (here). The text reads: “You guys ready for this one? Remember the African president who had fruit and a goat tested for Covid and that he was no longer going to allow his citizens to be guinea pigs? He’s dead. Allegedly died of a heart attack just days after he was voted back into office”.

President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi died of a cardiac arrest on June 10 (here). He was due to leave office in August having not contested the general election in May, 2020.

Under Nkurunziza, Burundi did not take the aggressive measures seen in many other countries to combat the coronavirus and expelled the national lead of the World Health Organization (here).

However, it was President John Magufuli of Tanzania who dismissed coronavirus test kits used in his country as faulty on May 3, 2020 (here), because he said they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw. Magufuli has been in office since 2015 and on June 16, 2020, dissolved parliament ahead of elections in October, in which he will seek re-election (here , here ).


The African leader who said positive coronavirus results came from samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw did not die of cardiac arrest.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .