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Promise given to continue ‘to oversee after’ the President’s family

BY the time you read this, our beloved President, John Joseph Pombe Magufuli will have been buried in his home town of Chato, Geita Region, leaving the whole nation in grief.

Hope is now pinned on newly-sworn in President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who, according to the Good Citizen of March 23 (p. 2), has promised: “To Tread Magufuli’s Path”.

“The President made the remarks (on March 22) while leading thousands of Dodoma residents, and African leaders who had flocked the Jamhuri Stadium, for the national farewell ceremony for the country’s fifth President”. According to some writers, this ceremony, which was attended by at least 17 Heads of State, was a “state funeral”.

However, given that the President’s body was not buried as part of that ceremony, we are possibly better off calling it a “state farewell ceremony”. The funeral took place 5 days later, on 26 March, in a different place altogether. As a nation, we seem to be in a dilemma as to how to describe our new President.

Is she the 6th Phase President, the 6th President or the 6th term President? We are used to equating the change of the President with a Phase. A “phase” is defined as “a distinct period or stage in a series of events or a process of change or development”.

Have we really gone through phases, since independence? If so, should these phases be equated to the terms in office of successive Presidents? This could be a subject worthy researching but, we know that we have had the same Party running the Government since Independence in 1961.

Given that there was always the possibility of a President staying in office for a short period (we, believed in ten or more years), it is time we abandoned the idea of phases, and addressed our Presidents chronologically: 1st President, Julius Kambarage Nyerere; 2nd President, Ali Hassan Mwinyi; 3rd President, Benjamin William Mkapa; 4th President, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete; 5th President, John Pombe Magufuli; and now, 6th President, Samia Suluhu Hassan.

President Samia Hassan (should we always address her in full? Samia Suluhu Hassan? In Zanzibar, they tend to use three names) had consoling words for the late Magufuli’s family. According to our reporter: “She promised her government to continue ‘to oversee after’ this family of a President who happened to be the most famous across borders”.

I am sure the President was not thinking of the Government “overseeing after” (whatever that means) Mama Janet (the widow)’s family. She had in mind, steps to look after it.

A Citizen Columnist has words of advice for President Samia Suluhu Hassan, in a submission titled: “Tanzanian ‘Building Bridges Initiative’ needed now more than ever”, particularly urging her to introduce tax reforms (you really need new brains at the TRA) and working closely with the private sector and the international community: “It ‘behooves’ the government to support private sector players, if only because they are the engine of economic growth”. Is it “behoves” or “behooves”?

In the US, the “behoove” spelling is standard. In the UK, however, they prefer the “behove” spelling. “It behoves somebody to do something”, is a very formal way used for saying that someone should do something because it is the right thing to do. Thus, the writer argues that the Government should support the private sector.

He goes on to argue that: “Our relations with regional, continental and international development partners have taken a big hit, and while, ‘we do not want to leave no stone unturned’, suffice it here to say that Tanzania under President Samia Suluhu Hassan must quickly dust off shades of exceptionalism and become an integral member of the community of world nations”.

When you say: “we do NOT want to leave NO stone unturned”, you are using double negatives which converts your sentence into a positive mood. I would leave out the “NOT” and go for: “We want to leave no stone unturned”, meaning, we will try every possible course of action in order to achieve something”. Fare-thee well President Magufuli!


I know I have a very forgetful ...


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