- Tanzanian President John Magufuli has said Covid-19 cannot exist in the church because it is evil.
- There are no curfews or lockdowns in Tanzania.
- Tanzania’s opposition leaders have rebuked the government for delaying coronavirus briefings announcements.
Tanzania’s main opposition leader, Freeman Aikaeli Mbowe, has accused the government of trying to cover up the severity of the coronavirus epidemic in the country, and failing to take it seriously. The nation is among the few in Africa that have declined to impose stringent precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli has urged the country to instead focus on prayers, and ordered that churches remain open. According to the leader, Covid-19 cannot exist in the church because it is evil. Mbowe has raised the alarm on the rapid spread of the virus. “Our cases are shooting up at an alarming rate while many countries are now flattening the curve,” he said during an online broadcast.
Tanzania recorded its first coronavirus infection case in mid-March. The number of coronavirus victims has since escalated, with the total number of reported infection cases now standing at 480 and 16 deaths. While the government has refused to enact social distancing and sanitization measures, it has ordered the closure of all learning institutions. Passenger flights into the country are also banned.
Apart from this, it’s business as usual. There are no curfews or lockdowns, and towns are bustling with activity. Magufuli recently castigated Citizen TV, a Kenyan television network, for running a report titled Ukaidi wa Magufuli (Magufuli’s Defiance). It highlighted his dangerous stance in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.
The station was forced to run a one-week apology after its Tanzania subsidiary was shut down by the government. The following is a segment of the apology.
“As explained by Tanzanian Ambassador to Kenya, Pinda Chanda, in an interview with Citizen TV, President Magufuli has stood steadfast with the African Union and the East African Community in the fight against Covid 19. Therefore Citizen TV acknowledges that the words Ukaidi wa Magufuli (Magufuli’s Defiance) were not appropriate.”
Tanzania’s opposition leaders have rebuked the government for delaying coronavirus briefings announcements, especially after Magufuli’s recent remarks about the ministry of health “causing panic.” He said, “I have information that there are many people who recovered but these are not given priority in announcing. I see they are competing to announce new cases and deaths which are causing panic.”
Opposition leader Mbowe has blamed the government for orchestrating a coverup to hide the severity of the coronavirus crisis in the country. According to the politician, the government is carrying out a lot of burials under strict conditions and is being secretive about it.
Tanzania currently has the highest number of coronavirus infections in the East African region. Kenya has 384 infections, while Uganda has 81 confirmed cases. Kenya has begun mandatory testing of truck drivers at its border with Uganda after a recent spike in infections among them.