The Magufuli I Used to See and Analyse

Published on 23rd March 2021

In President John Pombe Magufuli, I see a man who was big hearted, visionary, patriotic, and full of integrity. Under Magufuli’s mantra Hapa Kazi Tu, any eye could see a man who was determined to free his country from dependency. Magufuli didn’t preach water and drink wine. He walked the talk.  

In Magufuli,  I saw a poor prophet who, like Mwl. Julius K. Nyerere once asserted, wasn’t accepted in his town. Refer to how other countries emulate Dr. Magufuli while some of our people lampoon him.

Magufuli was a no-nonsense man who refused to be politically correct. He spoke his mind without fear. He was ready to die for what he believed in. He sent shivers down the spines of corrupt, undisciplined and lazy elements in the country.

Having been in the upper echelons of power for over two decades before becoming president; the man knew the corridors of power like the back of his hand. He refused to sell his soul for material things. His mind was pinned on development.

Magufuli resolutely believed that education is key to the perky future of the nation. His tenure saw school enrolment triple as the government supported free education and provided affordable loans for higher education.

To Magufuli, the centrality of infrastructure (bridges, ferries, flyovers, planes, railways (SGR), roads, ports) was non-negotiable. For instance, according to Radio Vatican (Dec., 18, 2017), under Magufuli, Tanzania saw 2,571 kms of road repaired; tourism increase from 1,137,182 in 2015 to 1,284,279 in 2016. Further, in 2017, the government was able to connect 117 local government offices, 71 postal offices, 129 police stations, 90 hospital and 27 courts to the optic fiber networks, not to mention 425 schools that will get free internet.

Moreover, according to the Maverick (Feb., 14, 2016), when Magufuli came to power, the country’s revenue collection was Tshs. 900 billion. Tanzania saw revenue collection swell to Tshs. 1.5 trillion. Over 10,000 ghost workers were purged saving the government over $2 billion monthly (BBC, May 16, 2016).

When it comes to the equanimity and peaceability of the country, Tanzania still is peaceful, thanks to having such a unitive, but polarising figure; a go-getter per se who never throws in the towel come shine come rain.

In sum, in Magufuli, I saw a person that Tanzania, for many years, yearned for after Nyerere retired; a martinet many future generations will mention with awe even if he did not finish his projects and vision of seeing Tanzania and other African countries gain confidence that they have what it takes to be great and prosperous shall they decide to do the right thing in a right way and time. It is sad that Magufuli left the scene as fast as he came.

By Nkwazi Mhango

Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works on many issues of importance on Africa.

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