TANZANIAN President John Magufuli won a clear landslide victory into his second term in office by a whopping 84.4 per cent popular vote, attesting appreciation of his popular home grown reforms, the first in Africa since independence.
Magufuli, 60, who becomes the first African president to complete his first term in office without treading his feet on any Western capital for aid, has transformed Tanzania with incredible large scale public infrastructure, qualifying his country’s entry into middle income economy last July.
The victory to his second term appreciated by 25.9 per cent (26 per cent improver) from 58.5per cent he won in his first term in 2015. This is excellent news for any second term seeker. Tundu Lissu, Magufuli’s closest challenger in the October 2020 elections, lost miserably by getting 13 per cent of the vote.
On Sunday (1 November, 2020), President- elect Magufuli was awarded a certificate of winning the presidential election by NEC Chairman, Judge Semistocles Kaijage amid international observers. Observers acknowledge it was credible election As in most elections, there was misleading information about Tanzania’s 2020 General Election in running up to the voting day.
However, the head of EAC observer mission to the election, former Burundi president Sylvestre Ntibantunganya said the election was credible and peaceful. Mr Ntibantunganya led a delegation of 59 observers from East Africa.
They arrived in the country on 21 October and deployed on 26 October to observe the final stages of campaigns, polling preparations and the polling day. He did not mince words, the election was free as candidates were free to campaign and voters polled unhindered.
He assured the world, the election was credible. Nine presidential candidates representing nine political parties out of 15 which participated in the October 28, 2020 elections, conceded defeat in the election they admit was free and fair.
Queen Sendiga on behalf of the nine parties which met to congratulate Dr Magufuli for the re-election into his second term in office, said they pledged their cooperation to work with President Magufuli to ensure Tanzania remained peaceful to build a strong economy for the democracy.
They showered praises to the NEC for swift counting as it only took two days to announce all the results. Customer care of the NEC officials was also highly commended. The US Ambassador to Tanzania Dr. Donald J. Wright may have worked on unverified single sourcing information from the opposition leaders in what could be viewed as interference in the internal affairs of the host country.
Why landslide victory for Magufuli? The votes the president-elect got were historic from the first multi-party elections in Tanzania in 1995. The closest was in 2005 during Dr Jakaya Kikwete’s first term where he garnered 80.3%. Where does this popularity come from?
Magufuli’s government did wonders in transforming a country described by the West as poor despite its unspeakable riches in natural resources. The truth is, Dr Magufuli has, for the past five years, served well and touched the heart and mind of an average Tanzanian, period.
In a reasonably short time down in his first term, Dr Magufuli revived the national airline by purchasing 11 brand new aircrafts, he started to construct a new hydropower dam, the fourth in Africa (2,115MW), and went on to construct an SGR railway line.
He constructed massive dispensaries, health centres, hospitals all over the country and increased the budget for essential medicines from TSh30billion to TSh270billion. Tanzania became an agent for medical supplies in the SADC region.
He ensured hospitals had beds to ensure the inpatients slept on beds, he identified and removed ghost workers to bolster resources for development projects. Before Magufuli came to power, many poor families failed to enrol their children to schools, he then introduced free education from primary to secondary schools which almost doubled enrolment.
Dr Magufuli continued to construct roads and bridges but on top of that he also introduced flyovers and inter-change roads to reduce traffic jams in Dar es Salaam. All his reforms targeted to ease life for Tanzanians, providing them a mechanism for their development.
For the first time, Tanzania has financed its own election at 100 per cent, when most democratic African countries have always sought support from the West to finance their elections.
His closest challenger, Tundu Lissu, in his campaign trail, he vividly appeared to rely on the West for support should he win the ticket, when the dependency syndrome is being shunned by most revolutionary countries.
He has turned around the economy of Tanzania, creating many new opportunities, instilling efficiency in a country that was once ravaged by corruption, winning both national and international approval in fighting graft, saving one of Africa’s most politically stable nation.
Tundu Lissu, Preparations and if Wishes were Horses “Effective leadership must plan and prepare well,” said the Tanzania’s President elect. In management they say, failure to plan is planning to fail. This fittingly describes Magufuli’s main challenger Tundu Lissu.
During his campaign meetings, Tundu Lissu would get the facts wrong and in a dozen cases, his audience corrected him for presenting erroneous facts and figures. Mpanda is a case in point. This just erodes trust in the candidate.
“We are not trying to be smart by merely playing with literature or simply making empty speeches to influence the voters, we are loaded with the references of tangible results of our performance,” said Ngemela Lubinga, a member of CCM Central Committee.
A Kenyan political analyst, Martin Andati, told DW that CHADEMA’s leader was living in a self-styled exile until the campaign started. He just alighted from the aircraft and went straight to campaigning, “despite of his popularity, he is no match for Magufuli’s charisma,” he says.
This is typical of many African opposition politicians. Preparations help achieve the goal. Unfortunately Tundu Lissu and his team were poorly prepared and organised, it is said if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. On the other hand, Dr Magufuli and his team prepared to win the next elections from the day he won the last in 2015 by living up to his campaign promises.
Dr Magufuli, distinct from most democratic African leaders, had delivered nearly 100 per cent of his party’s election manifesto and other election promises he made when campaigning in 2015. He is pro-people and would always defend the rights of the weakest in a society.
With robust court experience, though not very successful, Lissu failed to assess unprecedented impact of the mega projects and other transformations which continue to persuade the hearts and minds of the Tanzanians.
“I have served this country in different positions for over 42 years hitherto, I have never before witnessed any administration in independent Tanzania that implements reforms swiftly as Magufuli’s,” says Ngemela Lubinga. Martin Andati also says the scale of Magufuli’s victory is not surprising.
“Magufuli came in on the platform of fighting corruption and empowering the masses, so he is hugely popular,” he said. Though Tanzania’s ruling CCM has held power since independence from Britain in 1961, it learnt to remain a learning organisation.
Currently under Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally, the party continues to transform itself to address the changes taking place in the environments in which it operates.