THERE are two major viewpoints on what may liberally be characterized as the Magufuli presidential leadership style. Some support it and others are dissenters.
They represent, on the one hand, the constituency that sees absolute justification in a national leader applying a no-holdsbarred approach in tackling problems, some of which have attained crisis proportions.
It considers as pointless, couching messages in soft language, in order not to hurt the feelings of some people, even if nasty situations of which they are architects demand straightforward sentiments.
We don’t wish to be judgmental, but to re-state, plainly, that, diplomacy, in the liberal sense, can – and indeed does – apply in ideal situations.
But in a situation represented by the mess in which our country has been mired, courtesy, largely, of a mixed grill of misdeeds – some bordering on Satanic magnitude – pleasant, literally sugar-coated talk, egg handling-like tenderness, and looking the other way, is totally unacceptable.
Which, in our humble view, explains why the Head of State isn’t driven by cheap populism, but a staunch determination to play his part in sorting out the mess.
He primarily seeks to set the tone for his immediate and far-flung subordinates, who, if he were to be too liberal, would be tempted to pursue the devil-may-care approach that had become standard practice.
Political and technocratic leaders at various levels must, however, discharge their duties effectively, in order to off-load much of the burden off the President’s shoulders.
At public rallies, it has become commonplace for mostly ordinary citizens to seek to draw Dr Magufuli’s attention in order to air various grievances, centered largely on mistreatment and deprivations.
A few manage to secure an audience, and to prompt the Head of State (whose status embodies veritable national fatherhood) to issue directives for remedial action. A recent example is the order that Prisons Department authorities in Coast Region should surrender part of their vast land to hapless wananchi.
Out there in expansive Tanzania, there are hundreds of people with a wide range of complaints, grievances, and, consequently, hurt souls, yearning for salvation. The President can’t fix all their problems, and certainly not through a few chance encounters at public rallies.
Yet we have a wide enough network of leaders from the grassroots upwards, who can hold regular sessions at which the people can raise their concerns, to prompt leaders to explore and offer solutions for those proven to be legitimate.
What is glaring, is that some are dozing and sleeping, manifested, for instance, in local government leaders who can’t as much as mobilize wananchi to keep their surroundings clean !
They should either wake up voluntarily, or be awoken, of course not in ‘diplomatic’ fashion. The choice is theirs!