Tanzania’s New President Suluhu Signals U-Turn on Coronavirus Policy
Written by walusimbi ABDALLAH on April 6, 2021
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan intends to form a committee of experts to evaluate the Covid-19 pandemic and advise the government on the way forward.
Addressing the nation Tuesday after swearing in of new ministerial permanent secretaries and heads of key government institutions that she appointed during the Easter weekend, President Suluhu said that Tanzania needs to have a clear and understandable position on the pandemic so that it can make informed decisions.
The country cannot continue to rely on external reports on the pandemic while it has none, she said.
“We cannot isolate ourselves as if we are an Island but also, we cannot accept everything brought to us. We cannot continue just reading about Covid-19 worldwide, yet Tanzania is all blank [sic]. It is incomprehensible,” she said.
“Tanzania needs to have its own understanding of where we stand on the issue of Covid-19.”
Tanzania last released data on the pandemic almost a year ago, which showed that the country had only 509 cases.
At the time, the late President John Magufuli said his country was free from Covid-19 while authorities encouraged local remedies such as steam therapy.
On Tuesday, President Suluhu also ordered the removal of all current bans on media outlets in a bid to restore freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
She urged the orders Ministry of Information to lift bans on media outlets but urged the outlets to follow the country’s laws.
President Suluhu also pledged that her administration would offer a more conducive environment for foreign investments by doing away with existing bureaucratic culture.
The Head of State instructed government officials to stop “harassing” potential foreign investors over issues like work permit applications for their personnel.
“The people who deal with the issuance of these permits have become like demi-gods… applicants are given an unnecessary run-around. This must stop… we want our investors to enjoy Tanzania,” she said.