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Tanzania’s new president changes its policy on COVID-19, the media



The new president of Tanzania seems to be adopting a new scientific method to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Tuesday that she will form a technical committee to provide her with advice on the extent of COVID-19 infection in the country in eastern Africa and how to respond to the pandemic.

Hassan said in Swahili that COVID-19 “is not something we shouldn’t be quiet, refuse or accept scientific inspections.”

We will conduct medical research, which will tell us the scope of the problem and provide us with advice about the world as well as advice on our own expertise. “

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Hassan made the above speech after taking the oath of office to key government officials in the auditorium of the presidential palace in Dar Es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. A total of more than 1

00 senior government officials were present, most of whom did not wear masks or kept their distance from each other.

Hassan’s remarks have undergone a dramatic shift in the policies of her predecessor, John Magufuli, who is one of the leading COVID-19 deniers in Africa. He claimed in June last year that Tanzania got rid of COVID-19 after three days of national prayers. He refuted the scientific method of preventing and treating the disease. He discourages the use of masks, but advocates prayer, physical fitness and herbal medicine.

The Magfuly government fired officials who expressed other opinions, and some of them were arrested.

File-In a file photo on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks during a visit to the Tanzania region.  (AP Photo/File)

File-In a file photo on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks during a visit to the Tanzania region. (Associated Press photo/file)

When Magufuli withdrew from public view at the end of February, Hassan served as the second vice president. The populist president has not appeared in public for 19 days, and it is speculated that he has COVID-19. Hassan announced Magufuli’s death on March 17, stating that it was due to heart failure.

She made history when she was sworn in on March 19 as the first female president of Tanzania.

The opposition leader in Tanzania accused Magfuli, 61, of dying of COVID-19 (the disease he underestimated).

Magufuli warned Tanzanians not to use the vaccine against this disease. On the contrary, he promoted trade and international tourism, eager to avoid the economic pain of neighboring countries imposed blockades and curfews and restricted international travel. He refused to ban public gatherings.

In his speech to the country on Tuesday, Hassan also ordered the reopening of the media hall that was closed during his predecessor’s rule. She also urged regional officials to encourage freedom of speech and allow the public to express their dissatisfaction without fear.

Hassan said: “I heard some media reports that mobile TV is banned. I hope those media can operate, but they must abide by the laws of this country. There is no need to make them happy to say that we are suppressing freedom of the press.”

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Human rights groups say that since 2015, the Tanzanian government has strengthened censorship by banning or suspending at least six newspapers deemed critical. These include Citizen, Tanzania’s main English daily newspaper.

Archives-In an archive photo on Saturday, July 11, 2015, Tanzania's then Minister of Public Works and presidential candidate John Magfuli speaks in the internal party elections to determine the ruling Chama Cha Mapu The presidential candidate of the CCM political party, they later chose him as the candidate in Dodoma, Tanzania.  (AP Photo/Khalfan Said, file)

Archives-In a file photo on Saturday, July 11, 2015, Tanzania’s then Minister of Public Works and presidential candidate John Magfuli spoke at the internal party elections to decide the ruling Chama Cha Map The presidential candidate of the CCM political party, they later chose him as the candidate in Dodoma, Tanzania. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said, file)

Last year, Magufuli’s government suspended newspapers related to Freeman Mbowe, one of the country’s leading opposition politicians.

Human rights groups say that the authorities used the 2015 Cybercrime Act to prosecute journalists and activists and demand them to post social media posts.

The report also stated that the Tanzanian government also controlled independent research and public access to independent statistical information through the 2015 Statistics Act, and rejected alternative sources for citizens to obtain independently verified information.


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