The government of Zimbabwe has distanced itself from remarks that were made by the Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Energy Mutodi with regards to Tanzania President, John Magufuli’s response to the novel coronavirus.
Mutodi had posted on Twitter suggesting that Magufuli had made a blunder by keeping churches in Tanzania open as that had resulted in the rise of coronavirus cases. He tweeted:
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His Excellency John Pombe Magafuli’s Tanzania now has 630 COVID-19 cases with prayers but without a lockdown while His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe only got 31 cases with lockdown and masks. An insight into how managers can be game-changers.
The tweet attracted several diverging views prompting the government to respond clearly stating its position. In response to the tweet, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr SB Moyo said:
I make reference to the message of 4 May 2020 purported to have been posted on twitter by the deputy Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Honourable Dr E. Mutodi in which he compared the measures against COVID-19 adopted by the head of state of Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
I wish to make it clear that this statement does not reflect the government’s position nor policy. The government of Zimbabwe fully respects the sovereign measures that the President of United Republic of Tanzania His Excellence John Magufuli adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 in his country. Taking into account the unique domestic environment and other factors prevailing on the ground, indeed, no two individual countries have the same set of environment and conditions to warrant the adopting of a uniform response to disease outbreaks and other crises.
Each government is implementing policies that best suit their unique domestic environments in line with the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The government is working in close partnership with SADC and African Union Member States as well as with other interested international co-operating partners to fight this global pandemic. In this context, there was no basis whatsoever, to compare the policies of the two Presidents.