Minister of Health decries use of unchartered routes amidst Covid-19

Minister of Health, Jappie Mhango has asked traditional leaders in northern border district of Karonga to take a leading role in ending the use of uncharted routes because  the tendency is threatening the fight against  coronavirus pandemic.

Minister Mhango (c), Paramount Chief Kyungu (L) and Karonga DC Kalilombe at the meeting
Mhango (r) greets Kyungu with an elbow at the meeting,-Photo by Adrew Mkonda, Mana

He made the remarks Saturday at Iponga primary school in the  district during a meeting with traditional leaders and other stakeholders aimed at finding solutions of curbing the use of uncharted routes along Songwe Border.

Mhango said he was worried to see several people still using uncharted routes despite several interventions that government and other stakeholders are doing in fighting the pandemic.

“Covid-19 is real if there are some people who are still doubting that, then it’s unfortunate. If we are not careful enough the number of cases in the country will keep on rising. It is better to close these uncharted routes now before this disease gets out of hand.

“We know that many people from Karonga are related to people of Tanzania but we need to take all precautionary measures to avoid contracting covid-19 otherwise the relationship we are enjoying now will end up prematurely due to covid-19,” he said.

Commenting on the matter, Paramount Chief Kyungu said there is need for government to provide necessary support to police and immigration officers such as mobility so that they intensify patrols along the border.

“The problem is that our officers in uniform do not have enough vehicles which they can use to patrol the uncharted routes. I believe if they can be supported even with motorcycles the situation may be different,” he said.

However, one of the community policing members, Seti Mwanyekula alleged that many police officers have let them down by setting free people who have been caught using uncharted routes due to bribes.

“We have been working tirelessly to curb the use of uncharted routes but sometimes the men in uniform are being bribed hence people continue using uncharted routes,” said Mwenyekula.

Karonga Police Officer-In-Charge, Sam Nkhwazi could neither agree nor deny the allegations but promised to talk to his team so that they work professionally.

People in Karonga use about fifteen uncharted routes to and from bordering Tanzania.

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