Tanzania scraps independence celebration and diverts money to children

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has redirected this year’s budget to building dormitories for children with special needs.

Tanzania’s president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has canceled the Independence Day celebrations scheduled for Friday and has ruled that the budget should instead be used to build dormitories for children with special needs.

The 61st Independence Day event would cost $445,000, money that will be used to build eight dormitories in elementary schools across the country.

Tanzanian Foreign Minister George Simbachawene said on Monday that the money had been disbursed.

He said that instead of parades and other national celebrations, the East African country will commemorate Independence Day by holding public dialogues on development.

“The debates and conferences will be preceded by different schedules for regional and district leaders to conduct social activities in various areas, including cleaning hospitals, schools, retirement homes and special needs groups,” he said.

Usually, Independence Day celebrations are marked with pomp and state banquets.

However, this is not the first time Tanzania has canceled the celebrations.

In 2015, then-President John Magufuli canceled celebrations and spent money building a road in the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam.

In 2020, he did the same and ordered that the budget be used to buy medical facilities.

The current president, Hassan, is Tanzania’s first female head of state.

She previously attracted attention by ordering pot-bellied police officers to lose weight in order to be more effective at work.

Decades before taking up a senior position, she worked as a development officer in the government of Zanzibar. She was also a project manager for the UN World Food Program and later executive director of an umbrella body that governs non-governmental organizations in Zanzibar.

She also previously served as minister for youth, women and children’s employment, and has spoken publicly to encourage Tanzanian women and girls to pursue their dreams.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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