Zanzibar’s main opposition party queries: who is running Tanzania?

ZANZIBAR’s main opposition party, ACT-Wazalendo, has called on the union government to openly state who is running the country.

The partys’s appeal comes 16 days after President John Magufuli “disappeared from the public” with unconfirmed reports saying he has been down with COVID-19 since 28th February 2021, hospitalised since 3rd March 2021.

The government is apparently playing tricks around the president’s disappearance, refusing to reveal his whereabouts even as activists, media and opposition parties demand explanation.

President Magufuli was last seen in public at the swearing-in of Chief Secretary, Dr. Bashiru Ally, in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, February 27, 2021.

The following day, he had been scheduled to attend Sunday services at Azania Front church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELECT), Dar es Salaam. But he never showed up after his personal physician advised him to have a short rest. Three days later he was reportedly admitted, first at the state house, then at Mzena State Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Besides COVID-19, Magufuli has heart xomplications that seem to have been exacerbated by the viral infection as some reports claims he develeoped a cardiac arrest. began to circulate.

Due to the deafening silence of government regarding his whereabouts, there have been speculations around his condition, with some sources hinting he is critically dead.

Zitto Kabwe, the ACT-Wazalendo leader said in a statement earlier today March 16, 2021 that his party has confirmed beyond doubt that President Magufuli is ill. They demand an explanation over who is exactly running the Eastern Africa country right now.

It is feared that Tanzania is currently run by deep state elements of the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Services (TISS), against constitutional grounds.

The government has yet to confirm President Magufuli’s health status which has raised palpable public anxiety and tension which threatens the welfare of the country, according to many sources.

Zitto has urged the Principal Secretary, Dr. Bashiru Ally, to state publicly that the Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has been performing duties as Acting President in accordance with the Constitution and all protocols. He asked Dr Ally to inform the nation of the president’s status.

“We demand that the relevant authorities immediately tell Tanzanians the real situation of Dr. Magufuli’s condition and assure the republic about continuity of the roles of his office as stipulated in the Constitution,” the statement read.

SAUTI KUBWA’s efforts to get Dr Ally’s reaction proved futile. Even the government spokesperson refrained from responding to our reporter’s calls.

Section 37 (2) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977, gives mandate to the Cabinet to submit a resolution to the Chief Justice to form a medical inquiry to certify that the President is unable to discharge the functions of his office by reason of physical or mental infirmity. Such a medical certificate would be submitted to the Speaker of Parliament upon which the House declares the office vacant in 7 days if the President does not recover.

And Section 37 (3) requires the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania to assume the duties of the President when the President is absent or unable to carry out his duties.

Zitto also asked all heads of Parastatals, especially the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), to ensure the public that no one is taking advantage of the situation to loot state coffers.

The partly leader has also called on the police force to release all people arrested for “discussing ” the health of the President Magufuli and his whereabouts. It has come to light that police has arrested 10 individuals, including a senior citizen aged 73 years, for alleging spreading the “rumour” on Magufuli’s health.

He also called upon members of the civil society such as the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) to speak out on the importance of safeguarding the constitutional order for the best interests of Tanzania.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa have separately issued conflicting statements on the health status of President Magufuli to further add to the existing public tension and confusion. Last week in Njombe District, Majaliwa told Muslim faithfuls at a prayer meeting that Magufuli was well, and that he had spoken to the president. He asked the public to ignore any insinuations about the president’s wellbeing.     

On Monday, Samia, on the first day of her official tour of Tanga region, suggested the Head of State was unwell. Both the assertions by the VP and the PM have only helped to intensify speculations about Magufuli’s detereorating health status. 

In ACT-Wazalendo’s statement earlier today, Zitto said the conflicting statements made by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and VP Samia Suluhu Hassan have exacerbated concerns over President Magufuli’s health.