Tanzania’s new president adjustments coverage on COVID-19, media

Tanzania’s new president seems to be taking a brand new, scientific strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan mentioned Tuesday she is going to kind a technical committee to advise her in regards to the scope of COVID-19 infections within the nation within the east of Africa and the way to answer the pandemic.

COVID-19 is “not one thing we must be quiet about or refuse flatly or settle for with out doing a scientific examination,” Hassan mentioned in Swahili.

We are going to do medical analysis which is able to inform us the scope of the issue and advise us about what the world is recommending in addition to our personal experience,” she mentioned.


Hassan, made the remarks that had been broadcast reside, after swearing key authorities officers in a corridor in State Home, the president’s official residence in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest metropolis. Greater than 100 prime authorities officers had been current, most of whom didn’t put on face masks or hold a distance from one another.

Hassan’s feedback are a dramatic swap from the coverage of her predecessor, the late President John Magufuli, who was considered one of Africa’s main COVID-19 deniers. He claimed in June final yr that Tanzania had rid itself of COVID-19 by way of three days of nationwide prayer. He dismissed scientific approaches to forestall and deal with the illness. He discouraged using face masks and as an alternative promoted prayer, bodily health and natural treatments.

Magufuli’s authorities fired officers who gave different opinions and a few had been arrested.

FILE – On this Tuesday, March 16, 2021, file picture, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks throughout a tour of the Tanga area of Tanzania.  (AP Photograph/File)

Hassan was in her second time period as vice chairman when Magufuli dropped out of public view on the finish of February. The populist president was not seen in public for 19 days, elevating hypothesis that he was sick with COVID-19. Hassan introduced Magufuli’s demise on March 17, saying it was because of coronary heart failure.

She made historical past when she was sworn in as Tanzania’s first girl president on March 19.

Tanzania’s opposition leaders cost that Magufuli, 61, died of COVID-19, the illness he had downplayed.

Magufuli warned Tanzanians towards utilizing the vaccines towards the illness. He as an alternative promoted commerce and worldwide tourism, desperate to keep away from the financial ache of neighboring international locations that had imposed lockdowns and curfews and restricted worldwide journey. He refused to ban public gatherings.

In her handle Tuesday to the nation Hassan additionally ordered media homes that had been closed throughout her predecessor’s rule to be reopened. She additionally urged regional officers to encourage freedom of expression to permit members of the general public to specific their grievances with out being intimidated.

“I’m listening to some media shops, cellular televisions had been banned. I need these media allowed to function however as per the legal guidelines of this nation. There isn’t a want to provide them the pleasure to say we’re suppressing press freedom,” Hassan mentioned.


Rights teams have mentioned that since 2015, Tanzania’s authorities has stepped up censorship by banning or suspending at the least six newspapers for content material deemed important. They embody Tanzania’s main English-language every day newspaper, The Citizen.

FILE - In this Saturday, July 11, 2015 file photo, Tanzania's then public works minister and presidential candidate John Magufuli speaks at an internal party poll to decide the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party's presidential candidate, which they later chose him to be, in Dodoma, Tanzania. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said, File)

FILE – On this Saturday, July 11, 2015 file picture, Tanzania’s then public works minister and presidential candidate John Magufuli speaks at an inner occasion ballot to resolve the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) occasion’s presidential candidate, which they later selected him to be, in Dodoma, Tanzania. (AP Photograph/Khalfan Mentioned, File)

Final yr Magufuli’s authorities suspended a newspaper related to one of many nation’s main opposition politicians, Freeman Mbowe.

Authorities used the 2015 Cybercrimes Act to prosecute journalists and activists for social media posts, the rights group have mentioned.

Tanzania’s authorities additionally controls impartial analysis and public entry to impartial statistical info utilizing the 2015 Statistics Act, denying residents different sources of independently verified info, the stories mentioned.

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