FAIRLY recently, President John Magufuli hosted an assembly of retired, respected top-level leaders, who held such positions as President, V ice-President and Prime Minister.
It was a deeply touching event for which no-one would be accused of engaging in exaggerations, save by individuals given to trashing even visibly admirable situations, by declaring that our country enjoys God’s blessings.
Top-most is the fact that, political succession has been quite smooth, in sharp contrast to the nasty drama in some parts of the African continent, where election time is clouded with tension.
Put crudely, it feels like a boiler that needs only a spark to cause a huge explosion, whose impact would be terribly devastating. So huge, indeed, that it could probably reduce a whole country to smithereens.
A holder of the top-most executive post in a country neighbouring ours is quoted to have made a statement that at the outset sounded humorous, but beneath which was a hidden, disturbing meaning.
He said something to the effect that the presidential chair was pleasantly warm. That was quite telling; coming from the proverbial horse’s mouth, anyone hearing that sort of thing would get a correct answer after adding two and two.
Which would be this: that, the joy of that warmth is too good to let go; and by extension, something that the person enjoying it should do whatever he can to retain it.
The implication, by extension, is that, whoever would get in the way of the leader’s enjoyment of the warmth would be courting trouble, by way of, at best, imprisonment or exile and at worst, being dispatched to one’s maker – to put it somewhat crudely.
The leader in question was relieved of the chair and by extension the warmth unceremoniously. But why is the ‘warmth’ such a big deal? The person whose drama I sketched above had, apparently, previously been engaged in guess-work on the “warmth factor” as it related to those, who had chanced to feel it.
Upon ‘testing’ it himself, he realised that it was so sweet that being deprived of it would be a gigantic blow. But clinging to it would entail summoning lots of guts, noting, especially, that candidates for the ‘warmth’ were plentiful.
That is where the problem lies; of the presidency being perceived as ‘warm’ in the context of enjoyment. What is overlooked is that the presidential chair is ‘hot’ as the holder of the position is tasked with highly demanding tasks of running a given country, in the manner of a captain navigating a ship through turbulent waters!
Anyone hungering for the presidential chair in the joy ride context, like a tourist having fun on a beach-front as a deserved break from taxing work in an office or factory, is certainly off-point.
Back to where we started, and on an issue on which I commented previously, President Magufuli’s engagement with former leaders, under some of whom he had served, was beneficial, by way of the incumbent picking valuable lessons from them.
At a recent public function, the President commended former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa for being rational, unlike some of his colleagues in the political opposition camp, who were obsessed with discrediting the government.
Mr Lowassa’s attendance at the function was by itself a commendable move, because, centred on the launch of a new library at the University of Dar es Salaam, it was of national significance and not related to a specific political party.
And that is the crux of the matter; that, some people, among whom are well-educated ones and fully know where the truth lies, distort issues for political gain.
In their hearts of hearts, they know the distinction between State and political party, but wish to create an impression that the President is biased against the opposition camp.
Nothing can be further from the truth, for he has been as critical as Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) National Chairman, of the negative aspects within the ruling party, in whose reformation he is instrumental.
It is significant, moreover, that Dr Magufuli has scoffed at constitutional change proposals aimed at enabling him overshoot the mandated maximum five-year two-term limits at his disposal.
The message has to be constantly hammered home; that patriotism is paramount . We all belong to the Tanzanian family; political party affiliation is incidental.
JUST IN PASSING
A mum celebrating a son’s cruel death? An audio clip I heard recently was terribly shocking.
It was centred on a mother, who was overwhelmingly happy upon learning that her son, who she said had become unmanageable, had been battered to death by people within her residential settlement, who had grown fed up of his misdeeds.
Granted, some children are a very misbehaved lot. How deeply misbehaved can a child be, though, to prompt a mother to celebrate his death in such a crude manner?
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