Tanzania’s president insists the country is covid-free. So why are people dying?
By Rael Umbuor and Max Bearak
NAIROBI — Tanzania’s president recently rejected any need for coronavirus vaccines, instead promoting herbal cures. He claims the nation of 60 million has been “covid-free” since he presided over three days of national prayer in June.
Mark Mwandosya, a former minister in the president’s ruling party, knows that is not true.
Over the past month, Mwandosya has turned his social media feeds into a stream of mini-obituaries. Fifteen of his family members and close friends have died. As he rattled off their names, he said he could not prove any of them had coronavirus, because the government has limited testing almost entirely to travelers. But the stories all go the same way.
“It’s the same in each,” he said in an interview. “Challenges associated with breathing, losing strength and then dropping down dead.”