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Leadership: Magufuli has turned the tables on incompetence

‘TIME flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind,’ says Nathaniel Hawthorne, an American novelist, dark romantic and short story writer who was born in July 4, 1804 and died May 19, 1864.

In my view, his submission is indeed true and timely for the content and wisdom of our article today. Certainly correct and well-timed because it is now the fourth anniversary since President John Magufuli became the President and leader of the fifth government of Tanzania. In this article we reflect on his four years in office.

At a glance, the four years are rather distinctive for Dr Magufuli himself and his team. A distinguishing time well explained in the words of François Rabelais a French Renaissance writer, physician, renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar who once said; Time ripens all things; With time all things are revealed; Time is the father of truth.

Let us look at what JPM four years have become fully grown, revealed and is true. Initially let me say the four years have not been easy or stress-free. But on the other hand, the period had been undoubtedly successful in so many ways. And let us put our argument clear right at the onset of our article.

We must understand that the four years are not about the President alone. They are about many people, most importantly they are about Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Mr Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Mr Benjamin Mkapa and Mr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former presidents and people who set the tone, in their own way and style, within their national, regional and global setting, circumstances of their term; Contributed to the Tanzania we saw before Dr Magufuli took over.

So within the four years of Dr Magufuli’s term, the former presidents have their share, for they played significant roles in holding our national institutions in trust for the greater good of wananchi and the country at large. Likewise, when people speak of the four years of Magufuli in office, they should not forget the brilliant work,well done by all people under him.

Unfortunately space is not enough to mention all, but surely Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan, our Vice President, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and the entire cabinet cannot be forgotten or overlooked.They have been instrumental to what we see today. And now to Dr JPM himself.

Well, I summarized the four years in the words in my title; years of turning the page to a productive future. The four years can also be brand-named as years of setting the record by building resilience, killing a culture of dependency, fighting for a stolen future, inspiring enthusiasm, and instilling in his fellow leaders, a character of prudence so that it is deeply rooted in their intuitive mind for the Tanzania he wants.

And this agenda can be explained in many ways. By way of example, I take the issues of both swiftness and carefulness in attending to wananchi’s challenges.

I believe my reader would agree with me that, JPM’s actions in the form of hiring and firing style, some cabinet reshuffle steps, though painful at times, as well as instant and on the spot telephone orders and instructionsdo clearly mirrors his desire to keep fighting for a stolen future. These characterizes the four years of Dr Magufuli.

Likewise, the years have been associated with Mr. President’s readiness, motivated by both his personal and institutional power, to absorb shocks. And the shocks are rather many and diverse.But a few and common ones seem to be the ongoing resistance to change on part of some fellow leaders.

Here I am talking about leaders who despite Mr President setting the tone, yet we still hear spots-on the part of some institutions’ and leaders’ lack of accountability, JPM fellow leaders who continue to value their pockets than the life of citizens.

The question is, will these fellow leaders who are manipulative, exploitative and focusing on their political selfcentered agenda continue to be part of JPM team? I do not think so. I see no way in JPM stopping his filtering style. And it is rather sad.

Imagine four years on, we still hear that there are still leaders who have not captured Mr President’s vision that Tanzania needs a highly-disciplined leadership with an extraordinary sense of public purpose and urgency. Very disappointing.

Gladly though, Magufuli has not stopped working towards having a leadership which exercises an extraordinary fusion of power, and relying on the will of the same leadership to hold itself accountable. This is good news. Well, let us hope that we will get good leaders to help JPM.

Men and women who will place integrity ahead of ambition; sons and daughters of Tanzania who will think strategically, see the bigger picture, and are not willing to compromise truth, but clearly willing and ready to join JPM in setting the tone for mother Tanzania.

I am also confident to say, in the span of four years, the fifth government has been clearly driving towards industrialization agenda. This has made Tanzania to join a few countries representing Africa’s hope of successful economic growth.

President Magufuli’s task of transforming Tanzania into one among exemplary developmental states is monumental and is by no means one of the East African success that should be championed throughout the region and beyond. This said however, I am not suggesting that everyone is clapping for Mr President.

I have no problem with them. Let my reader know that those who deny the development in Tanzania have the right to do so. We have some and we read and hear them saying his style is rather puzzling because his focus seem to be on delivery and stability first and then democracy later, others say in areas of governance he has been much more restrictive and less democratic.

I will submit my opinion in the lines that follow. I am glad some have also given some positive ideas like those of empowered democratic citizenry being critical and not the presidency as a guarantee for stability.

Well, in my view, it would be very helpful if they do not appear to do so either because they are harboring sinister motives or misplaced judgments. Back to the joys and cheers in the four years.

Generally speaking, there is what I can call modest or rather tangible successes that over the past four years like the fact that there has been a very clear sense of building hope among wananchi.

We hear many saying, there is a vivid optimism simply because even the current levels of—and trajectories for corruption, past ineffective government services and prosperity are promising. In other words progress has been made. I agree.

I think as a result of the accomplishment, President Magufuli seems to be enjoying performance legitimacy within Tanzania and beyond and has proved have, by and large, become masterful in our nation branding, so much so that others have shown interest and are now attempting to adopt his style which is well commended by the people in some African countries. All this said however, no one would say all is well.

And Mr. Presidents himself knows and has said it all and all the time. He constantly say; there is no turning back, journey is not over.

He is absolutely right. He knows that citizens still suffer from many of the same and common ills such as those of combination of poverty, unemployment, some hiccups, glitches and setbacks on the drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity, to mention a few.

I wish I could continue but space in limited. Let me conclude by suggesting that in the four years of JPM being in office, Tanzania has embarked upon the journey of the developmental state. What is needed in the coming years, is simply to design its own map for constructing the road to further economic success.

Similarly, we need to keep revisiting our systems and ensure that we have far-reaching public policies to help us keep tackling persistent darkest problems of bad governance, corruption, and socio-economic injustice.

This we can do because one of Dr Magufuli’s strongest points suggest that; in every measure and situation, Tanzania is rich and plentifully blessed, should not only be an important reason for optimism among wananchi, but a key gear towards our national prosperity. As for me I want to say well done Dr Magufuli. Do keep moving.

What your people want is to see is Tanzania which is well integrated, prosperous and peaceful. They want Tanzania which is driven by wananchi and representing a dynamic force on the continent and beyond.

We all look forward to living in a country where the full potential of women and youth, boys and girls are realized, and with freedom from fear, disease and want. In short, we want a different and better Tanzania.

Cheers!

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Author: Dr ALFRED SEBAHENE, St John’s University, Dodoma

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