A baseless claim that several world leaders were recently murdered or were targets of assassination attempts for their opposition to Covid-19 vaccines has been spreading on social media.

The recently deceased presidents of Tanzania, Burundi and Haiti, as well as prime ministers of Ivory Coast and Eswatini, have appeared in memes and posts promoting this baseless claim.

Assassination attempts against the presidents of Mali and Madagascar have also been linked without any evidence to their views on vaccines.

None of those deaths or assassinations were in any way related to their personal positions on Covid vaccines.

Claims about cause of African leaders' deaths debunked

Tanzania’s President John Mugufuli – known for his Covid-19 denial – died in March, officially of heart complications although his opponents say he had contracted Covid.

Similarly, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi – who also refused to impose any restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus – died in June, officially of a cardiac arrest, but reports suggest he may have succumbed after contracting Covid.

The Ivory Coast prime minister died in March whilst undergoing treatment for cancer; and the prime minister of Eswatini died in December after testing positive for Covid-19.

As for the others in Madagascar, Mali and Haiti – their presidents were all targeted during attempted coups or political unrest.

There is absolutely no evidence that any of these leaders were the target of attacks because of their views on the efficacy of Covid vaccines.