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‘JPM deserves medal of honour’

WHEN the rest of the world apparently faltered in the fight against the novel Coronavirus, President John Magufuli stood firm and successfully marshalled his nation to victory.

With the country all but defeated the pandemic, praises have kept pouring in for East African nation’s Head of State, Dr Magufuli, with the latest compliments coming from the Tanzania Red Cross Society.

Tanzania Red Cross, recognized as the leading humanitarian organisation led by volunteers in Tanzania, is legally mandated and capable to provide disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery services in all branches, guided by the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The society says President Magufuli, who almost stood alone in the global fight against the deadly respiratory disease, deserves a medal of honour for his exemplary leadership that helped Tanzania successfully overcome the Covid-19.

The Red Cross, which closely worked with the government in extending humanitarian support to patients and providing awareness education, commended the President for his bravery and strong stance he maintained, guiding Tanzanians to a right path during the crisis.

Chairman of the Society for Dar es Salaam, Mr Dollar Kusenge, told reporters that they participated in handling many disasters in the city such as floods and others but dealing with Coronavirus was completely different experience witnessed from the Head of State.

“The President was unshakable. He maintained his stance when there was huge pressure from in and outside the country pushing for imposition of lockdown. He demonstrated good leadership and that also gave us courage,” Mr Kusenge explained.

He argued that when the country passes through hard times such as the period when Covid-19 instilled fear to Tanzanians , good and strong leadership such as the one displayed by President Magufuli was crucial in dealing with the crisis.

“The President was issuing the right directives for fighting the disease,” he said, adding that President Magufuli showed the whole Africa what it takes to be a leader.

At different occasions, Dr Magufuli emphasized that lockdown was not the best option for Tanzania to counter the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Magufuli all along maintained that his government was not ready to emulate the draconian measure, insisting that lockdowns would have caused more severe problems to the ordinary Tanzanians.

The Head of State said closing the country would mean restricting economic activities and movement of people, which would eventually, hamper all development programmes.

Since the pandemic was first reported in the country in mid-March, the government took several precautionary measures against the disease.

In last March, President Magufuli suspended the annual Uhuru Torch race for 2020, as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc across the globe, and directed the allocated budget to fight against the deadly virus.

Other restrictions included banning international flights coming into the country, closing schools and universities as well as restricting public rallies and sports games.

The steps that the government took helped the country avoid effects of the global virus and saw a steep decrease in the number of patients.

Due to the downward trend of infections, President John Magufuli decided to ease restrictions, starting with allowing resumption of classes for Form Six and higher learning students.

Later on, the President announced opening of Tanzania’s airspace to allow the country receive tourists and lifted the ban on sports events.

Last month, Dr Magufuli went on to allow resumption of classes for all primary and secondary school students after being satisfied that the disease was controlled.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Mr Kusenge said the society deployed its 500 humanitarian officials in the city during the pandemic.

He went further thanking the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, and Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda for giving desired cooperation to all stakeholders that engaged in fighting against the disease, including the Red Cross.

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