THE heading of this article, is a quotation from an advertisement which appeared prominently on the front page of ‘Daily News’ for several days leading to November 5, 2019.
The advertisement was inviting “all development partners to share with the public, what they have been able to achieve during the four years of Dr John Magufuli’s presidency”.
The advertisement further said that their submissions would be published on November 5, 2019 - the fourth anniversary of President Magufuli’s accession to the presidency. I too, had received an invitation from ‘Daily News’, asking me to write a piece for their supplement to be published on that day, but instead, I chose to write this article.
The correct way of assessing a leader The Holy Bible, in Luke 9: 8–21 says as follows: “And as he was saying his prayers, his disciples were there with him. So he asked them: what does the assembled congregation say that I am?
And they answered thus: Some of them say you are John the Baptist, but others say you are Elijah and yet others say that you are one of the ancient disciples who has risen from the dead.” He asked them again: “How about you yourselves, who do you think I am? And Peter answered: You are Christ, the son of God...” (These lines also appear in Mark 8:27-30 and in Matthew 16:13-16.)
For the purpose of this discussion, the above quotation is quite instructive in the sense that it reveals the most perfect, or God inspired way, of assessing a leader, which is to ask the people who know him, to state their personal opinions regarding that leader.
Thus, what ‘Daily News’ was doing is precisely that, namely, asking the people who know President Magufuli, to state their personal opinions regarding his performance during his first four years in office.
What other people have said
And indeed, many different people have taken the opportunity of his fourth anniversary “on the throne” to express their varied opinions in assessing President Magufuli’s performance during that period, including some devoted Tanzanian scholars, who did not even wait to be invited to make such assessments.
I happen to know one such scholar whose name is Nkwazi Muhango, a Tanzanian academic pundit currently living and working in Canada, who appears to have an insatiable appetite for writing books!
For he already has more than 20 published books, with a few others waiting in the queue at different publishing houses and is still working on new ones, including the forthcoming one (whose preparatory work he is kindly sharing with me).
The title of his new book will be “Why Magufulication will One Day Change Africa’s Destiny: The Man who Makes Things Change”. It appears that certain innovative academicians, the likes of Prof Patrick Lumumba, and a few others, have invented an entirely new concept, which they baptised in the name of “Magufulification”.
Apparently, this is because they are very strongly convinced, that “President Magufuli’s style of leadership needs to be given a conceptual dress, so that it can be well studied and analysed in order to make others benefit from it”.
That is an excellent commendable idea because President Magufuli’s unique style of governance, quickly won the hearts of Africa right from the beginning of his tenure. For example,’Daily News’ of December 9, 2015 said this: “President John Magufuli has become a continental icon within just one month in office, even without crossing the country’s borders”.
It reproduced a number of captions from leading newspapers in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, all of which had showered praises on Dr John Magufuli’s exceptional performance. One commentator called this phenomenon “Magufuliphoria”, which has now been supplemented by the newly born “Magufulification”.
Nkwazi Muhago submits, in his new book’s preface, that “Under Magufulification, Tanzania has registered some positive changes which, by design or fashion, go against the norms of dependency and failures that have always plagued African countries... President Magufuli has made a true and willing sacrifice for the love of his country and its people.
This is indeed unique for a leader who occupies the seat that has made many others abuse it”. That seems to be what justifies his presumption that “Magufulification will one day Change Africa’s Destiny”. May his sweet dreams, come true. Amen.
My own personalised assessment
Many of those who have published their contributions in assessing President Magufuli’s performance, appear to have concentrated largely on the obvious, namely, on his “governance delivery performance”, that is to say, his performance in the delivery of goods and services relating to the country’s development.
But that should be pretty obvious for, as a Kiswahili proverb says, “Mwenye macho haambiwi tazama!” President Magufuli’s achievements are so glaringly conspicuous, that they can be readily noticed by anyone and everyone.
These include his most effective tax collection drive, which has enabled massive investments to be made in all kinds of infrastructure development projects, specifically, in many mega new projects relating to education, health and the provision of clean water both in the rural and urban areas, his successful introduction of ‘sanity’ in the public service, his sterling efforts in combating corruption and in poverty alleviation etc.
I will, therefore, avoid that well-trodden footpath and, instead, attempt to follow the direction that has been set by those leaned academicians referred to above, which is to focus on President Magufuli’s unique style of governance.
President Magufuli’ unique style
Indeed, President Magufuli’s unique style of governance “needs to be given a conceptual dress”. For it is his distinctive style of governance that distinguishes him from many other presidents in Africa and elsewhere.
My own observation of President Magufuli’s style, persuades me to describe him variously as follows: Firstly, that he is a “doer”, or a man of action. i.e. a person who actually does things, rather than just talking about them. In other words, a man who “takes the bull by the horns”.
Secondly, that he is ‘a man of his word”, that is to say, a person who actually does whatever he promises to do. A person who ‘walks his talk”. And thirdly, that he is an “innovator”, that is to say, a person who boldly introduces new ideas, and/or new ways of doing things.
In my considered opinion, during the four years that President Magufuli has been in office, he has amply demonstrated that he possesses all these special qualities, and in surplus abundance. The following selection of his campaign promises, and his subsequent actions in implementing them will help prove this point.
Take, for example, his campaign promise of “kuleta mabadiliko yenye tija” i.e. to bring substantive change (as opposed to mere cosmetic changes being promised by the opposition).
He started saying so in his campaign speech in Kigoma, on September 16, 2015 when, obviously with a touch of humour, he declared that the opposition Ukawa’s acronym “M4C” (Movement for Change) actually stands for ‘Magufuli for Change’.
He was strategically challenging the opposition’s presidential candidate, whose campaign was premised almost entirely on the slogan of “bringing change” “Mwenye macho haambiwi tazama”.
We are all witnesses to the fact of the hugely significant changes, both minor and major ones, that President Magufuli has successfully introduced in the management of the country’s affairs.
Minor changes include the cancellation of some of the grandiose national celebrations that involved huge expenditures of public money and re-allocating such money to selected infrastructure development projects, while major changes include the significant enhancement of tax revenue (from the former few millions to the current trillions of shillings), with its attendant development benefits.
And in particular, his unprecedented success in introducing new legislation to combat the blatant exploitation that was being practised in the rich mineral sector by some unscrupulous foreign companies. Undoubtedly, that measure was a very bold action on the part of the President, which has resulted in surprisingly huge increases in the government revenue accruing from that sector.
But, it should also be noted and appreciated, that this ‘boom’, was a direct product of yet another aspect of President Magufuli’s ‘unique’ leadership style, namely, that of his impromptu, unscheduled, inspection visits to certain carefully selected, important functional areas of government operations.
In this case, it was the Dare es Salaam Harbour, which, on that fateful day for the wrong doers concerned, he decided to visit without notification and that was when he noticed a large collection of containers waiting to be exported.
He became suspicious and wanted to know their contents. Thus, as a man of action, he immediately initiated an investigation process that culminated in the discovery of the existence of a grand tax evasion scandal.
A faithful disciple of Mwalimu Nyerere
Another distinguishing factor in President Magufuli’s unique style of governance is his apparent determination to build on the foundations which were laid by the departed father of our nation, the late President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Right from the beginning of his tenure, President Magufuli has, consistently and continuously, demonstrated this determination. Furthermore, there are certain striking similarities in his and Nyerere’s, choice of issues to be given priority as well as in the massive, positive public responses to their initiatives. Two examples will help prove this point.
(i). Putting the greatest emphasis on tax collection
Mwalimu Nyerere said this: “corrupt Governments do not collect taxes”; or, in Kiswahili: “Serikali ya wala rushwa haikusanyi kodi, kwa sababu inawatumikia wenye mali”.
President Magufuli’s bold actions in dealing with the grand tax evaders, is clear testimony of his determination to walk in the footsteps of Mwalimu Nyerere; and, by extension, also proof that his is NOT a corrupt Government.
In fact, President Magufuli’s unprecedented success in tax collection, is what has enabled him to make yet another major stride in following the footsteps of Mwalimu Nyerere, namely the completion of the mega infrastructure projects relating to moving the Government capital to Dodoma from Dar es Salaam; and the construction of the Rufiji River hydroelectricity (Stigler’s Gorge) project. Both of which were top priority projects in President Nyerere’s Administration; and very dear to his heart.
(ii) In the matter of leadership ethics
It has been authoritatively said in the books of knowledge, that “ethics is the heart of leadership”, in other words, leadership is the sine qua non of a good leader.
President Magufuli has also, very seriously and dutifully, embarked on the important task of implementing Mwallimu Nyerere’s well-known stance on the all-important question of leadership ethics; which is what actually moved him to include the “leadership code of ethics” in the Arusha Declaration of 1967.
Thus, in pursuit of that particular objective, President Magufuli has given priority to three specific ethics-related governance areas. These are: (a) eliminating wasteful and unnecessary public expenditures; (b) fighting impunity in the public service; and (c) tackling corruption, the evil that has mercilessly plagued our nation.
All these actions provide adequate proof of his determination to walk, steadfastly, in the footsteps of Mwalimu Nyerere. So: “hail to the Chief”, the Nyerere of the present generation.