Unlike most African countries which, despite a number of cases significantly lower than most other regions of the world, have decreed containment measures and curfews, Tanzania has closed only its schools, shops and transport continuing to operate normally.
“Our number of cases is exploding at an alarming rate, at a time when many countries are flattening the curve” of new infections, said Mr. Mbowe in a speech broadcast on the Internet.
This East African country, which announced its first case on March 16, now officially has 480, including 16 dead.
“There is no transparency and when people do not have information, this leaves room for rumors,” said the opposition leader.
“The government tells us that there are only 16 dead from the coronavirus but it is a joke,” he said, accusing Mr. Magufuli, entrenched for a month in his hometown of Chato (north west), of “denial” of reality.
The opposition also criticized the government for waiting for a
week to provide new assessments after the head of state on April 22 accused the health ministry of “causing panic” by insisting more on new cases than on cures.
Under pressure, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa therefore released new figures on Wednesday, without raising the opposition’s doubts about their veracity.
While the Tanzanian president called on his fellow citizens to avoid “unnecessary gatherings”, he also encouraged them to rely on God and to keep the economy going.
Nicknamed “tingatinga” (bulldozer in Swahili), President Magufuli has made an impression since taking office in 2015, being inflexible in the fight against corruption, but he is also criticized for his authoritarianism.
He should be a candidate in the next presidential election, scheduled for October.