Dar es Salaam – Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli has said the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country could be due to use of fake testing kits occasioned by possible interference from unnamed western powers.
Magufuli said he had carried out an investigation after realising that every sample sent to the National Referral Laboratory-NRL came out positive.
Speaking during the inauguration of the country’s new Constitutional Affairs Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, on Sunday, May 3, 2020, Magufuli said he, together with his officials, had randomly obtained several non-human samples, including from a Jack fruit, pawpaw, a goat, vehicle oil and a sheep, but had assigned them human names and ages before they were submitted to the NRH without the knowledge of the hospital staff.
According to president Magufuli, the vehicle oil was labelled male under the names Jabiri Hamza (male) and results returned negative to COVID-19, Jack fruit was labelled female under the names Sarah Samuel (female) and the results returned as un-conclusive, the pawpaw was labelled female under the name Elizabeth Anne and the results returned positive just like did the goat, while the rabbit returned as undetermined among other samples tested.
“We saw it (laboratory) was just testing positive and I therefore sent some officials to go check on the testing kits,” he said.
“I always say, not everything given to you is in good condition. It could be sabotage because this is a war,” he added.
Magufuli also dismissed claims that the immediate former minister in charge of Constitutional Affairs, Amb Augustine Mahinga, had succumbed to the virus saying he had been undergoing treatment for cancer.
His remarks came against the backdrop of a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the East African nation.
As of Sunday, May 3, Tanzania had recorded 480 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths but unlike most other African countries, Dar es Salaam sometimes goes for days without offering updates.
The Tanzanian head of state has however, cautioned against what he termed as fearmongering by politicians and the press which he accused of constantly running alarming news content on coronavirus.