Tanzania’s Covid-19 Aid Relief Saga: EU Deputy Demands Refund, President Mugufuli’s Gov’t Talks Sovereignty

The President of Tanzania, John Mugufuli could be forced to vomit out funds disbursed by the European Union to his country, Tanzania, to help combat the fast-spreading lethal Coronavirus in the country. The revelation was made in Brussels during a European Union (EU) Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. David McAllister, who chaired the meeting was furious and questioned the criteria and how the European taxpayer’s 27 million euros got to Tanzania whose President had announced that the country was Corona-free.

David McAllister, Chairman of the European Union Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (C) David McAllister

The government in Dar es Salaam and President Mugufuli have refused to provide any statistics to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Covid-19 cases. According to the President, who declared three days of national prayers, Jesus Christ, because of prayers has saved the country from the pandemic and has called on his compatriot to move about freely without any precautions.

The EU Parliamentarian was, therefore, perplexed as to why a country declared free of the pandemic will continue to “receive more funds and relief packages from other sources to fight this “nonexistent Pandemic.” According to him, Tanzania received $14.3 million of covid-19 elated debt relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), borrowed $3.79 million from the World Bank, obtained $50.7 million loans from the African Development Bank (ADB) to help support laboratory diagnosis and as a crisis response budget.

The aid, according to the EU Parliamentarian must have been used to fund Mugufuli’s political campaign in the recently held election as he was seen dishing out money during political rallies. Mugufuli’s tenure in Tanzania has also witnessed a downward spiral in good governance, human rights records, and the silencing of political dissents upped, according to reports by international rights organizations.

The reaction from the governing class in Tanzania to the indictment has been stern and combative amidst calls from the opposition, social media users, and other bodies for the money to be refunded. The Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Palamagamba Kabudi declared in a tweet that Tanzania’s sovereignty and human dignity are not in question and they will not receive lessons from anywhere.

“Between Money and honour of our country, we will stand up for the honour of our country’s dignity… we will not allow ourselves to be despised and our humanity to be disrespected for aid and money…. we will never allow anyone to use aid or assistance to undermine our sovereignty…” he wrote.

Hiding behind sovereignty and human dignity has always been the veil for most African leaders to justify corruption, misuse of the public good, abuse, and perpetuate their stay in power when called to order by international bodies.