TANZANIA: Lawyers, clerics issue new messages on Covid-19

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Dar es Salaam. The Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) yesterday called on the government to declare the presence of Covid-19 in the country – and announced mandatory preventive measures after the Society had lost 25 lawyers by yesterday.

Also, the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) has issued new directives aimed at reducing the number of worshippers attending masses in churches countrywide while making social distancing mandatory.

TLS statement signed by its president Rugemeleza Nshala said Section 4 of the TLS Act, the bar association was obliged to provide legal advice to the Executive, Parliament, the Judiciary and public and that denying presence of Covid-19 in the country was contravention of Article 18 (d) of the Union Constitution.

The body said the government declare the second wave of Covid-19 and issue scientific steps that the whole public must observe and that depriving Tanzanians of the right to accurate information could endanger their lives.

According to the statement, Tanzanians were witnessing a surge in deaths, advising that the public should declare presence of the disease, saying 25 members of the association have died reaching yesterday (Friday, February 19, 2021).

Dr Nshala said by providing accurate information on the disease, the government would be complying to requirements of Articles 14 and 18 of the country’s Constitution on the right to information, saying the bar association was closely monitoring the outbreak of the pandemic and efforts made the government and the public.

“Denying presence of disease will not permanently address the challenge, rather expertise is required to establish cause of the problem, the magnitude, effects and mitigation measures,” he said.

The Bar Association asked the court to preside over cases online, grant bail to more suspects to reduce congestion in cells and prisons, suspend some sentences, charge fines and convict some suspects into community services.

“Hearing of appeals should be accelerated and temporary relief to reduce the length of detention to those who will not be convicted,” he said.

According to him, Parliament should instruct submission of official reports on the status of the epidemics including actual statistics on the trend, patients, deaths, survivors and mitigation measures taken.

“The government to ensure congestion is controlled on public commuters, sports and cultural activities. Personal Protecting Equipment (PPEs) should be bought and provided to healthcare workers responsible to take care lives of patients,” he said.

Regarding the vaccines, Dr Nshala said the matter shouldn’t be taken politically, branding as ‘non-patriots’ those questioning on the substances because people in other countries are being vaccinated without showing the negative effect of the chemicals. While the media was advised to fulfil its role of disseminating accurate information on the pandemic, clerics were asked to strongly protect their believers.

Yesterday, TEC President Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga said the Church has reduced length of services and increased the number of masses. He said the faithful would receive the Holy Eucharist with their hands only, sit a metre apart, wash hands with soap and running water and instruct caregivers to protect themselves.

Efforts to reach the Health authorities, including the Health minister, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, proved futile yesterday.

(The Citizen)

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