Tanzania leader tells off MPs on Magufuli comparison

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Tanzania's President Samia Hassan Suhulu, Courtesy.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has asked parliament to stop debates comparing her with her predecessor John Magufuli.

She said she was disappointed that the parliament was discussing her differences with the former president, who died on 17 March, rather than focusing on the government’s agenda.

The president, who has been hailed for being unafraid to take the country in a new direction, said she and and her predecessor were “one thing” – and that she was focused on continuing the work that Mr Magufuli had started.

She said it was worrying that “something that is trending on social media is what now guides the debate in parliament”.

“We are supposed to be discussing and passing the government budgets…Let’s work the way parliament is supposed to…,” she said, speaking at a national conference organised by religious leaders in memory of the late president and and to pray for the new leaders.

The new president said she had already formed a task force to advise on coronavirus – and asked Tanzanians to take precautions against the spread of the virus, including wearing face masks, washing hands and maintaining social distance.

President Samia became Tanzania’s first female president after the death of President Magufuli. There have been notable changes including the setting up of the team to advise on Covid-19, whose severity of the virus had been downplayed by the predecessor. She’s also allowed some media outlets that had been censored to reopen.