Magufuli’s 100 days in office all jubilation

12Feb 2016
The Guardian
Magufuli’s 100 days in office all jubilation

HOPE for a new Tanzania, which is free from corruption, laziness, uncertainty and poor social services is obviously on the horizon as President John Magufuli marks the first one hundred days in office.

President John Magufuli

Political analysts and social scientists worldwide have agreed that the legacy of a new leader in the highest office of the country (State House) can best be assessed within the first 100 days since ascending to power.

Nonetheless, the assessment can equally be subjective depending on the person interviewed.

For example, those whose treacherous undertakings or interests are affected by the performance of the president would not be expected to speak well of the highest authority.

However, the best yardstick for the appropriateness and appreciation of the legacy of the new leader by the people is the collective response by the general public. The popularity test is simple and clear.

This can be measured not only through talks in the streets, but also the response by the community when this particular leader appears in public. People hold high hopes on the president.

The first memorable appearance in public by President Magufuli after his inauguration on November 05, 2015 as the Firth President of the United Republic of Tanzania was on December 9, 2015.

At this time he had been in office for hardly 34 days at his new capacity. The president joined hands in general cleanliness and worked side-by-side with his neighbours at Magogoni area, the location of State House.

TV footage depicted the enthusiastic mood among youngmen who expressed the deepest appreciation for the job well done by the President in his less than two months in office.

Again, the surprise visit to the Treasury just the next day after inauguration sent a clear message to entrusted government officials at all levels that it was no longer business as usual.

The shocking revelation of tax evasion at the Dar es Salaam port, the awful practice that came to light under the influence of the new administration, marked the remarkable beginning of the new national leader who is committed to fighting corruption to the core.

Billions of shillings in terms of evaded government revenue benefitted a few individuals. Since then a new expression emerged; “containers disappearing from the port of Dar es Salaam.”

Initially such a concept, where containers could evaporatefrom a port installed with computers and CCTV cameras, was not clear.

The exposureofsuch a network of tax cheats, who met the strong arm of the government which pushed for the recovery of the ‘stolen’ revenue at the tune of billions of shillings, in fact built the credibility of President Magufuli, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and the nation at large.

The interception at the port was possible even before the appointment of cabinet ministers. This was quite impressive. Although humanity teaches us that one should not celebrate when another person loses a job, the removal from office (sacking) of some of the implicated port officials and others from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) was inevitable.

It was necessary that they stay out of duty to pave way for in-depth investigation. Some of the companies that collaborated with corrupt officials complied with the grace period offered by the President and paid back the outstanding taxes.

This includes one of the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) from which some of the containers disappeared. Others are facing court action accordingly.

Therefore, the kind of jubilation observed among the residents of Magogoni when the president joined them to clean the surroundings conveyed a strong message and served as a reflection of the scope of his popularity.

The President commands high respect among people who seem to understand clearly the legacy advocated for within 100 days in office. The majority of wananchi believe that the president ‘walks the talk’.

The pledges made during the election campaign period about the desire to have the national ‘cake’ shared equitably are now being put to practice.

Again, in the recent past, the nation witnessed yet another moment of excitement when thousands of Arusha residents thronged the streets just to salute President Magufuli who was on his way to Oljoro Military Base camp for the commissioning of army officers.

Irrespective of their political affiliation, some of the interviewed Arusha residents who turned up in big numbers to greet the President commended him, calling him a man of action with unwavering determination to uproot corruption. The lesson about revenue collection, which is taking root in the society, is also enjoying the public support.

Previously, the majority did not see the need to demand receipts after any transaction. Revenue is the lifeline of the nation and the message seems to sink deeply in people’s minds.

Today motorists demand receipts for fuel purchased from filling stations, and the Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) controversy that generated a lot of heat in the past was resolved amicably by the President.

Through the web, we learn that the level of popularity of President Magufuli has caught the attention of the international community that for many years supported the national budget and wanted to see serious collection of revenue as well as sensible spending.

Discussions are underway among our neighbours and beyond concerning the exemplary leadership attested by President Magufuli in fighting corruption even in areas perhaps thought before as untouchable.

Academics in many foreign countries continue to express admiration and trust for the President even before completing 100 days in office, a accomplishment which earns the entire nation credibility.

Addressing Judges and magistrates on the occasion to mark the National Law Day in Dar es Salam recently, the president made it clear that he was compelled to act tough against corrupt officials and was neither a dictator nor an insane person but wanted to stop the looting of national resources which should benefit all the people. This was yet another powerful speech.

The first brilliant and authoritative speech that caught the attention of the entire nation and perhaps beyond borders was the day the President inaugurated the National Assembly in Dodoma. One could tell certainly that Dr Magufuli spoke what ‘was in his heart’.

He declared the roadmap this nation should follow for guaranteed socio-economic prosperity.

Again, in a previous meeting with members of the business community at the State House in Dar es Salaam, a session led by IPP chairman, Dr Reginald Mengi, proved the trust and readiness by the President to work closely with the group under the Private Public Partnership (PPP) initiative.

He made it clear that local investors should be given priority and the necessary support to make investments at any magnitude even if it meant striking alliances with their foreign counterparts.

There are opportunities in natural gas, leather and textile industries, agriculture, fisheries, just to mention a few. Unquestionably, 100 days in office by President Magufuli has been all jubilation as a lot has been achieved within a short period of time.

He has proved the ability to lead Tanzanians out of poverty. And what with revenue collection gaining strength for the welfare of the entire nation!