18 October 2017

Tanzania: More of the Same, Please? 23 Months of 'Magufulism'


ON the 3rd of October this year, the President of the Fifth-Phase Government of the United Republic of Tanzania - 'Tanzania' for short - Dr John Pombe Joseph MAGUFULI, addressed participants of the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Association of Local Authorities in Tanzania (ALAT).

In the event, the leader urged "leaders in Local Authorities to come up with workable strategies; strategies that'd enable our country to move from here on in various aspects... strategies that'd end malpractices in your areas (of 'jurisdiction') in order to fast-track economic development..."

After all, the President argued: "leaders are tasked with important roles to play for the development of Tanzania!" The three-day meeting attracted over 500 participants, including Executives and other Senior Officials from the Ministry of State in the President's Office (Regional Administration & Local Government) and the Central Government, as well as representatives from various top-notch Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

How true... HOW TRUE, I said! Indeed, leaders are charged with the onerous but otherwise noble tasks of initiating, masterminding, spearheading, overseeing and otherwise pursuing to their logical conclusion the measures that need to be taken to catalyze and otherwise power the drive to socio-economic development that's meaningful and sustainable on the ground in the long term! Correctly noting that "Tanzania has been blessed with assorted natural resources," Magufuli lamented that "the resources haven't benefited locals at all" - accusing the major "mining firms of cheating Tanzanians out of their fair share of the (God-given natural) mineral wealth "through tax-dodging and smuggling!" Citing as an example the rare 'tanzanite' gemstone that's virtually unique to Tanzania, the President said the precious mineral "has largely benefited foreign countries rather than Tanzania.

Tanzania gets only 5 percent of the total income from tanzanite sales worldwide, while the remaining percentage (95 percent) goes to foreign countries which don't have the rare gem; this is most surprising," he lamented - or marveled, depending!

Oh... There's much, much more of that juicy stuff, all of which was as interesting as it was appealing to the senses (feelings) and intellect (mental faculties)- each in their own way! President Magufuli is the holder of a Doctorate in Chemistry- a University degree in Laboratory-type Chemistry, NOT 'Sangoma' chemistry of the witchdoctor type!

A modern-day maverick who does not necessarily go along with the crowd, the President took the 'ALAT opportunity' to run through a 'bazillion achievements' that have marked his Regime, during the nearly-two years in which he's been in power since he was formally sworn into the Highest Office in the Land on November 5, 2015. Claimed to number 25 in all, the 'achievements' reportedly range from what are 'The Good' to 'The Ugly' - with 'The Bad' in-between! [See 'NIPASHE:' October 4, 2017].

Some of the achievements are: - 'Free Education' for the first 11 years, from Primary School to Form-IV (Secondary School). - Infrastructure development (first-phase of the Standard Gauge Railway Project launched). - Rehabilitating 'Iringa' and 'Ruvuma' motor vessels that ply Lake Nyasa. - Trashing/scrapping 87 'nuisance taxes' on Agriculture (80) and Fisheries (7). - 'Energizing' the War on Grand Graft... And, - 'adjusting' (?) the brakes on malfeasance and misfeasance... Other achievements are: - Funding 'Roadway Flyovers' construction in Dar es Salaam. - Shifting the Union Govt. to Dodoma. - Resurrecting the national air-carrier 'ATCL.'

Yet others are the 'Mining (Makinikia) Bombshell,' and freezing public salaries, wages... Hmmm... Not a bad job, all-in-all! But then: have the 'Flyovers" effectively alleviated the road traffic congestion they're intended to do? Second: was the already-paid-for brand-new 'Bombardier Q400 NextGen' delivered to ATCL last June as scheduled? [We're told the aircraft was 'confiscated' abroad following litigation involving a long-overdue US$38.7m debt Tanzania owed to Canada-based Sterling Civil Engineering! The foregoing projects cost Tanzania billions in local and foreign currency at a time when the country's in seemingly-endless dire financial straits!

Third: freezing public pay rises is rubbing workers the wrong way, thus antagonizing them no end! [Incidentally, Tanzanians are anxiously looking to the day when their Government will rip a leaf out of the US 'Book on Taxation' - and see our Presidents paying taxes on their relatively fat pay.

After all, Magufuli's Tsh9m/ month untaxed salary equals a minimum statutory pay for more than 30,000 financially-strapped Tanzanian sloggers! But, that's another story... ] Oh, I don't know... But, that's 'Magufulism' for you! And, if that's any indication worth its weight in gold tailings ('Makinikia'), then Tanzanians should ask - and hope - for more of the same in the remaining 3-plus years of Dr Magufuli's 5-year Presidential term. That's to say nothing (yet) of another 5-year possibility at State House, as the Union Constitution so considerately 'allows...' Cheers!


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