TANZANIA COVID-19 LAB HEAD SUSPENDED, PRESIDENT QUESTIONS DATA
The president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has suspended the head scientist in charge of coronavirus testing after samples from non-human sources came back positive. A 10-person task force was appointed to investigate the laboratory, citing compromised methods of testing samples. Mr Magufuli has faced criticism for downplaying the effect of COVID-19 in Tanzania. Opposition chairman, Freeman Mbowe, has also called for a suspension of parliament after three MPs died of unknown causes, thought to possibly be coronavirus related. Tanzania’s government has also been criticised for not providing the public with enough information on how many cases have been confirmed, and for attempting to cover up the recent deaths of lawmakers. Tanzania is under a limited ‘lockdown’, with schools and universities closed, but the economy still operational as shops, public transportation, and markets remain open. Compared to some nations, Tanzania has far fewer documented cases, with 480 being the most recent confirmed number.
From a Christian perspective, many people have criticised Mr Magufuli for not implementing stricter ‘lockdown’ methods, but in these unprecedented times, there truly is not just one way of handling the coronavirus crisis, as many developing nations simply do not have the economic depth to go into hard ‘lockdowns’. The director of the INcontext Tanzania office reports that the president has called the nation to prayer, believing that the virus will be defeated primarily through spiritual intervention. Whether you agree with Mr Magufuli’s ‘lockdown’ approach or not, he should be commended for his stance on prayer. But at the same time, there is concern that the Church in Tanzania might be missing opportunities to assist their nation in practical ways as it focuses primarily on prayer and online activities, instead of combining it with practical ways of being “salt and light” in their communities. Secular organisations have been more visible in their efforts to assist and donate funds to support those directly impacted by the coronavirus.
Pray with us for the following:
- For wisdom for Tanzania’s president and government as they guide their nation through this crisis
- For the Church in Tanzania to seize the opportunities to serve their communities in this season
- For believers to offer hope in times of uncertainty and confusion