Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images.

Tanzanian Government Declares Country Free of COVID-19.

Tanzanian Government Declares Country Free of COVID-19

While WHO has expressed concern over Tanzania's overall COVID-19 response, President John Magufuli says the country is now free from the pandemic due to 'citizens' prayers'.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli recently declared that the country is now free of the coronavirus, according to reports by the BBC. The move is yet another controversial one in what the World Health Organisation (WHO) has since described as a "concerning" response by the government to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his announcement, President Magufuli said, "I want to thank Tanzanians of all faiths." He went on to add, "We have been praying and fasting for God to save us from the pandemic that has afflicted our country and the world. But God has answered us. I believe, and I'm certain that many Tanzanians believe, that the corona disease has been eliminated by God."

However, major opposition parties have condemned the ruling government and accused it of being "reckless" with the lives of citizens. Zitto Kabwe, leader of the Alliance for Change and Transparency, says, "The government say there are no patients in the hospitals but we know of three hospitals in Dar es Salaam where the ICU beds are all completely full."

For close to a month, authorities have not provided updated statistics of coronavirus spread in the country despite requests for the data by WHO. This is in stark contrast to other African countries such as South Africa and Nigeria which have consistently released new COVID-19 figures daily. As of April 29th, there were reportedly 480 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Tanzania with 16 deaths. Not much else is known beyond that date.

Additionally, Tanzania is one of the few African countries which ordered a large consignment of Madagascar's COVID-Organics herbal tonic which has been touted as a "cure". The tonic has however not undergone any proper scientific testing.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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