Outcry over President Magufuli’s handling of coronavirus
Barry Silah @obel_barry
Tanzania President John Magufuli has defiantly decided to sing a different tune from his peers in the region in the war on coronavirus.
On May 3, Tanzanian Head of State shocked the world after he claimed fruits and inanimate objects he had secretly sent to the East African nation’s main laboratory had tested positive for Covid-19.
Since then, one of its southern neighbours, Zambia, has shut down its border with the country.
Magufuli even failed to attend an East African Community (EAC) virtual meeting involving President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, South Sudan leader Salva Kiir and Ugandan’s Yoweri Museveni.
“Magufuli is out to please his citizens with populist politics on Covid-19 at the expense of their health,” said Dr Michael Mugo of the Foundation for Dialogue who described the president’s approach as reckless and erratic.
“We have one leader threatening the very existence of the region with careless and populist moves which are clearly not working.
His approach is not informed by proper structured intelligence gathering system and this is dangerous,” said Mugo.
US Embassy in Dar es Salaam says the Tanzanian government has failed to release any data on Covid-19 in Tanzania since April 29 so “there is no clear picture on the true position of diagnosis of the population affected”.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga says he is yet to speak to Magufuli, who is a great friend of his.
“I haven’t talked to my friend. I’ve tried to reach him on phone, but I haven’t been successful “(So), I’ve left him a message on SMS,” Raila told People Daily.
Magufuli’s unreachability is now proving a worry to other regional leaders, as his country shares borders with eight countries in East and Southern Africa.
“President Magufuli isn’t providing leadership during the pandemic,” Tanzanian opposition leader Zitto Kabwe told The Africa Report.