Tanzania’s elite think president John Magufuli is mad


Are you surprised? I’m not. The upper echelons of Tanzania – the ministers and governors who sat like fat cats for years, siphoning the country’s wealth and resources – are concerned about the sanity of President John Magufuli as he persists with the mass sacking and laying off of ineffectual highly-placed government workers.

The President has lashed out at criticism that he acts like a mad dictator, saying that the sacking of public officials is to send a message that it is no longer business as usual. And though they might be loathe to admit it, the message is certainly sinking in, hence the concern over his health.

But we’ve said it here before ke? That Magufuli is bae? He’s trying to change Tanzania by all means necessary and he isn’t even trying to play with these officials.

His efforts to sweep out wasteful government spending, tackle corruption right from the roots, and discipline lazy public servants seem unfazed. During his 7-month period as president, the John Magufuli has sacked dozens of public servants for gross misconduct as well as for lighter infringements. This might seem drastic, but I agree with him: na from clap we dey enter dance, and the sooner public officers relapse that shoddiness and bad work ethics will not be tolerated, the better for Tanzania in the long run.

It is therefor not surprising that his war on corruption and embezzlement has endeared him to many Tanzanians, especially the poor folk who regard him as the new crusader.

It is only the belleful ones, who were hoping for more of the “chop, I chop” style of governance the country has been used to that are put out and are at a disadvantage.

President John Magufuli  has repeatedly addressed concerns over his leadership style. Speaking to judges at the Law Day celebrations in February, he addressed the concerns directly, arguing that he is compelled to act forcefully by the rot and inefficiency he found in government.

“I am neither mad not a dictator,” he said, referring to criticism from some politicians that he acts like a mad dictator.

He went ahead and recited a litany of ills he found in government, which necessitate his style, including tax evasion, theft at the Dar es Salaam Port, ghost workers and massive swindling at the National Identification Authority (Nida).

And then, just two days before The Economist’s article was published online, he further doubled down in defense of his style and actions.

Addressing a contractors’ registration board meeting in Dar es Salaam, the President declared that he will continue with his governance style till things improve. He had this to say:

“If you see people wondering [about his determination], it is because they are used to business as usual. They thought I will be part of them. Never! Not me! I better give up the presidency and return to the village than being a president and entertain the rot that is in this country. I am saying never.

“I will deal [with the incompetent] squarely. If it is opening the boils [sacking public officials], I am ready to do it every day. People must change. We must change. That is my direction and I will never change. And I am thankful Tanzanians pray for me. And may the Good Lord guide me, for he is the one who gave me this job. No human beings. I am ready to defend the downtrodden even if it will mean sacrificing myself…

“To public servants I say again, we must change. There is no short-cut. No one will survive thinking this is a temporary situation. This is permanent. It is permanent and unchangeable. We must continue with the same spirit to bring back Tanzania’s lost prestige. Of recent, many investors have been trooping to the country, which even encouraged me to double my efforts. You voted for me to so that I deliver for you. You did not vote for me so that I join the corrupt club. This is our country. We were born here. We will die here.”

Choi, I wish I could print this and brand it into the heart of every living African. Every single one.

We are right behind you, Presido of laive! Also, are you giving lessons? Asking for a friend. Thanks

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