Tanzanian President Under Observation for One Week After Surgery

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will stay under medical observation for at least another week after he underwent surgery in the U.S., his office said.

Kikwete, 64, has been recovering from “highly successful” prostate surgery performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Nov. 8, the Dar es Salaam-based presidency said. He’s been transfered to a hotel where his health will be assessed “to decide the next steps of his treatment,” according to an e-mailed statement today from his office.

Kikwete’s second five-year term ends next year, when he must step down as president of East Africa’s second-biggest economy after Kenya. Tanzania plans to vote on a new constitution in the first half of 2015, before holding a general election scheduled for October.

If the president is unable to complete his term due to health reasons, the constitution specifies his vice president, currently Mohammed Gharib Bilal, would take charge, according to Clare Allenson, Africa analyst at Eurasia Group in New York.

Tanzania’s government has been vocal about the success of Kikwete’s surgery “leaving no room for speculation and I do not think we should be too concerned,” Ahmed Salim, senior analyst at Teneo Intelligence in Dubai, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest gold producers with mines operated by companies such as African Barrick Gold Plc and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. The nation also has gas reserves estimated at 50.5 trillion cubic feet found by companies including Statoil ASA and its partner Exxon Mobil Corp. The economy is forecast to expand 7.2 percent this year from 7 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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