Magufuli ‘Arm-twisted’ Mnangagwa Into Ditching Mhlanga

Tanzanian president, John Pombe Magufuli reportedly pressured President Emmerson Mnangagwa into truning against former acting Health secretary Gibson Mhlanga after insisted people travelling from Tanzania should undergo a coronavirus test at Zimbabwe’s ports of entry.

Mhlanga resigned in January after being subjected to immense pressure from senior government officials, health officials revealed.

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According to The NewsHawks, Mhlanga resigned after Magufuli personally complained to Mnangagwa on the sidelines of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Gaborone in November last year.

In mid-2020, Magufuli declared that Tanzania had eradicated the novel coronavirus after he had ordered Tanzanians to pray against COVID-19, but the country has witnessed high profile deaths since then.

The NewsHawks reported sources saying after the SADC meeting, Mnangagwa asked Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health Minister, but he was not aware of Mhlanga’s directive. A source is quoted as saying:

The directive was given sometime in November following several reports that some Tanzanians and Zimbabwean traders were entering the country either with fake COVID-19 certificates or without testing at all. This posed a great threat to the country which was already battling COVID-19.

Mhlanga’s rationale was to encourage testing at ports of entry to reduce positive cases from entering the country. His decision was informed by Tanzania’s failure to acknowledge the existence of the virus in their country.

Their attitude toward COVID-19 was worrisome and importing cases from that country would be detrimental to our own fight against the pandemic.

A government official told the publication that facing pressure from the authorities, Mhlanga resigned in January so that he could receive his terminal benefits.

More: The NewsHawks

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