Tanzania re-opens schools

President John Magufuli urged Tanzania’s women to bear more children to boost the country’s economy [Photo, Courtesy]

All is almost 'normal' in Tanzania as primary and secondary open their gates to students on 29 June following a directive by President John Pombe Magufuli a fortnight ago.

The move to re-open schools follows that of opening institutions of higher learning which resumed studies in early June. The bold step taken by President John Pombe Magufuli, has led to a lot of ridicule and concern from neighbouring states that have put in place curfews and some lockdowns while the economy has been pulled to a standstill.

Even though the government claims to have put in place the relevant measures of having soap and water in schools and having an educational session on prevention of the virus in school, sceptics believe that the move can be a recipe for disaster.

“I would like to take this opportunity to announce the re-opening of all remaining schools, and all social activities that were restricted like wedding celebrations should also resume,” said Magufuli.

Tanzania becomes the first East African country to drive the country back to what was initially normal amid the coronavirus pandemic which the president said was “reduced cases of coronavirus in the country.”

The country stopped releasing official Covid-19 infections data on 29 April a time when the country recorded 509 cases and 21 deaths.

While addressing parliament on June 14 President Magufuli expressed his optimism and what has been seen as defiance by his neighbouring nations by saying “life must go on”.

The East African tourism hub is also expecting tourists in a grand reopening of the economy following two months of closure caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

As other countries continue tightening their efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in Africa, President Magufuli has remained true to his word that the economy takes precedence.

“Our economy must come first. It must not sleep. If we allow it to sleep then we will not receive salaries. Life must move on,” said Magufuli in a past event.

The populist leader of the new middle-income country has in the past months encouraged his citizens to continue praying and that God has heard their prayers.

Even as Tanzania takes bold and ambitious steps in trying to secure their economy and restore things back to normal, neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan continue tightening both internal and international travel restrictions with the hope of flattening the infection curve.