President Magufuli continued to resist opposition calls to adopt measures to curb spread of COVID-19. Magufuli 22 April ruled out lockdown of economic capital Dar es Salaam. Opposition figure Zitto Kabwe 23 April warned against giving false hopes after Magufuli 16 April called for three days of prayer to quell “satanic” virus. Main opposition party Chadema’s leader Freeman Mbowe 29 April urged govt to take action against COVID-19, saying Magufuli was in “state of denial”. Parliament speaker 29 April suspended parliamentary sessions after two MPs died of suspected COVID-19 infection.
Next year’s elections in Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago, will be hard fought. With the ruling party changing the rules in its favour, they could turn violent. The islands’ politicians should urgently meet to discuss levelling the playing field and lowering the risk of clashes.
Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power in Somalia, but it continues to plot attacks in Kenya and Tanzania – and perhaps in Uganda as well. To counter the movement, East African states should eschew heavy-handed crackdowns and work instead to reduce its appeal to potential recruits.
Originally published in The East African