During his recent announcement, President John Magufuli of Tanzania shocked the world when he stated that his government wouldn’t close down churches. Instead, the head of state termed worship centres as places where people could seek healing. Despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) claiming over 15,000 lives, Magufuli called upon Tanzanian citizens not to be afraid of praising and seeking God’s face in places of worship.
During a congregational address on Sunday, Magufuli termed Coronavirus outbreak as satanic, adding that there is no way it could thrive in ‘Christ’s Body,’ referring to the church. “Corona cannot survive in the body of Christ; it will burn. That is exactly why I did not panic while taking the Holy Communion,” stated President Magufuli.
However, Magufuli has been criticized for his advice to the citizens. This is by encouraging them to gather in worship places, putting them at a higher infection risk. Speaking against Magufuli’s advice, Tanzania’s opposition leader Mr. Zitto Kabwe called upon Magufuli to order closure upon all centres of worship. This, according to Kabwe, would help reduce spread for the global outbreak.
Magufuli actions contradict that of his colleagues from the neighboring nations. Already, Kenya has announced a total and indefinite ban for international passenger flights starting March 25. Public gatherings were also banned with restaurants ordered to offer only take away services. Matatus were also ordered to reduce the number of occupants, while bars were to remain closed indefinitely.
President Kagame’s administration of Rwanda banned all commercial flights in and out of the country for one month. Worship places and all learning institutions were also closed temporarily. Legal proceedings and prisoners’ visits were also stopped in efforts to contain the situation in Rwanda.
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda closed all Ugandan borders with only cargo trucks allowed but having only two occupants. The Ugandan head of state also banned all public gatherings, worship services included. As viral infection cases globally stand at 341,397, Tanzania has reported 12 cases of Covid-19 infection.