Dodoma — President John Magufuli has been conferred with the Top Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) award in recognition of the outstanding measures he instituted in addressing the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Tanzania declared a coronavirus free state, making it first in Africa, thanks to President Magufuli's call for national fasting and prayers that stretched for three days.
He called for an additional three days of thanksgiving prayers after hospitals reported zero infections of the respiratory disease.
Speaking before bestowing the award to the president, TAG Archbishop Rev Dr Barnabas Mtokambali recounted that the Head of State had placed God first, consequent to which he earned praise for being a distinguished leader on the global front.
He said while several other countries adopted expensive measures that included self-isolation and lockdown, Dr Magufuli allowed people to continue working and counting on God's intervention to win the battle.
There were at least 21 confirmed deaths related to the Covid-19 pandemic and only 509 cases.
"At TAG, we fasted and prayed for seven days and later added seven more days... It was all by God's grace. You as our leader, believed that through God we can have candid answers," he said during the TAG general congress in Dodoma.
Immediately after receiving the award, President Magufuli said that although he was delighted by the church's gesture, he earnestly believed that the only deserving authority was God who rescued the nation from the pandemic.
"I have been touched by this award... frankly speaking it has moved me very much and I am urging you continue praying for me so that I don't become tempted to become proud of who I am but to sustain the belief that God is the ultimate authority," the president said.
President Magufuli reminded the church of its noble role in the country, saying it helps maintain peace and order. "Through the church, we get good people," he remarked.
He said most churches had been complementing the government's efforts by supporting social service provision initiatives covering water supply, education and health.
But the president was quick to point out, however, that it was high time TAG mobilized its resources and invested in iron ore development industries at Manda in Songea.
He expressed his commitment to support to the church and other religious institutions in creating enabling environments for investments.
The President reiterated that such investments could help to create jobs and boost the country's economy.
President Magufuli reiterated that the government had been working hard towards improving the economy by enhancing social services delivery and development of large scale infrastructures.
"We have released over 1.1trn/- to support free education, we are investing in the Nyerere hydroelectric power project and building our self-supported standard gauge railways," he said.
He noted that in less than five years, the government increased revenue collections, built 905 primary schools, 228 secondary schools, 40 vocational training colleges, rehabilitated 80 old secondary schools and built over 500 houses for public school teachers.
Dr Magufuli further noted that the government trained 301 specialist doctors who actively helped the country especially during the coronavirus pandemic, while some countries locked their borders.
"We have accomplished 423 water projects and constructed a 3500km plus tarmac road network. "
Meanwhile, President Magufuli called on foreign guests at the function to help testify that the country is indeed coronavirus free, upon their return back home.