By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Tanzania: On Monday, President Samia Suluhu was hosting foreign envoys and had to be screened upon entry contrary to the fallen President Magufuli who made the country live in denial while hundreds of people were perishing.
The envoys were all required to wear face masks and the photos taken at the time also show the president wearing one.
President Samia was seen wearing a face mask for the first time while in Tanzania on Friday and said it was necessary to protect the elderly people she was meeting.
The move was a few days after her visit to Kenya during which she wore a mask. She joked that wearing a mask was like a herder muzzling a goat to stop it from eating crops, but that it was necessary.
The previous administration under President John Magufuli, who died on 17 March, scoffed at the global warnings over coronavirus and downplayed its threat.
Tanzania advocated for steam-inhalation and other ways to boost immunity against Covid at the beginning of the pandemic and has not issued statistics of infection rates since May last year.
After Mr Magufuli’s death, President Samia said she had formed a task force to look into the Covid-19 situation.
Meanwhile, President Suluhu on Sunday formed a committee of experts that will advise her on the status of Covid-19 in the country and possible steps to be taken to control the pandemic.
During a prayer meeting on Sunday, Suluhu acknowledging that the disease had evolved and that a new variant had been reported in many parts of the world.
“Let me promise that I will frequently provide new updates on the disease from the committee in order to save the country from losing significant manpower and protect those in danger of contracting the disease,” she said.
Magufuli’s legacy was marred by his Covid denialism, which saw Tanzania refuse to issue data or take any measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Analysts had predicted that Suluhu will face early pressure from powerful Magufuli allies within the party, who dominate intelligence and other critical aspects of government, and would try and steer her decisions and agenda.
“For those who were kind of expecting a breakaway from the Magufuli way of things I would say hold your breath at the moment,” said Thabit Jacob, a researcher at the Roskilde University in Denmark
“I think she will struggle to build her own base… We shouldn’t expect major changes,” he added