Reflections on the first two years of President Magufuli’s leadership
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Pius Msekwa
Typography

NEXT Saturday, November 5th, 2017, President John Magufuli will complete the first two years of his first five-year term as President of the United Republic of Tanzania. It is therefore just and proper, that Tanzanians should take this opportunity to reflect on President Magufuli’s performance during this period.

Today’s article is intended to promote that kind of reflection among our readers. And, in particular, to try to identify the special leadership qualities which may be attributable to him as a person.

One such attribute which has been revealed, is that he is “a man of his word”; that is to say, a person who does what he has promised to do. We will talk about that a little later.

Magufuli’s adherence to the teachings of mwalimu Nyerere One other prominent feature of President Magufuli’s leadership style which he has clearly demonstrated, is that of his close adherence, in almost all aspects of his leadership functions, to the teachings of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

There are many examples of his actions in relation thereto, but because of limited editorial space, I will confine myself to only two. One is his calm response to some undue pressures being exerted on him to hasten the process for the enactment of the country’s proposed new Constitution; while the other, was his recent speech in commemoration of the 18th anniversary of Mwalimu Nyerere’s death, in which he expressed his appreciation of the enduring potency of the Arusha Declaration.

His response to pressures to hasten the Katiba process His response to the said undue pressures, was simply that the matter of enacting a new Constitution “was not one of his priorities”.

In my humble opinion, that response reveals his determination to follow Mwalimu Nyerere’s philosophy of “kupanga ni kuchagua”, which emphasizes the need to determine priorities.

In the light of the fact that the CCM election manifesto, which he is mandated to implement, covers the whole spectrum of the country’s socio-economic development needs, as well as those of the political well-being of the people; all the desired objectives which are stated in the party’s election manifesto cannot possibly be achieved at once, because of the limited financial resources available.

Hence, what President Magufuli must do, and is actually doing, is to determine the priorities that is to say, to decide which, among the many things which are stated in the CCM manifesto, will be given a higher, or even top place, in being implemented.

And with regard to the specific legislative sector, the President has chosen to give top priority to reforming the laws relating to the mines and mining activities and, as we have seen or witnessed, the initial benefits which have been brought about by this measure, as evidenced by the recent ‘Barrick Gold Agreements’. President Magufuli and the Arusha Declaration

The other example of his following the footsteps of Mwalimu Nyerere, is President Magufuli’s recent public appreciation of the enduring potency of the Arusha Declaration.

In his address to the nation from the Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar on the occasion of the annual commemoration event of Mwalimu Nyerere’s death, President Magufuli solemnly declared that his Government “is determined to implement the legacies of Mwalimu Nyerere”, and cited examples of some of the actions he has taken in order to implement that determination.

The examples he mentioned in his speech were: Shifting of the capital to Dodoma and the building of the 2,100 megawatt Stigler’s Gorge power plant. These indeed were among the major pet projects of President Nyerere during his leadership period. But the list does not end there.

There is also the extension of the Tanga-Arusha railway line to Musoma project, in order to facilitate the transportation of the Uganda bound cargo imported through Tanga Port which, upon reaching Musoma, would continue by wagon ferries to Entebbe in Uganda.

These mega projects which were initially conceived by Mwalimu Nyerere could not be implemented during his leadership period, having been frustrated by a variety of factors which were beyond his control.

But now, President Magufuli has undertaken to revive all these projects, an undertaking which confirms his determination to follow the footsteps of Mwalimu Nyerere.

President Magufuli and the Arusha Declaration Thereafter, the President came to the crucial point of reviving memories of the seemingly forgotten Arusha Declaration of February 1967, which elaborates the ruling party’s policy of Ujamaa (Socialism) and Self-Reliance. President Magufuli succinctly described the Arusha Declaration as being “more relevant today than never before”, and lamented thus : “The Arusha Declaration was completely abandoned after Mwalimu Nyerere’s death, and I ask myself: why did we do that?” Some aspects of the Arusha Declaration cannot be revived

There are, of course, certain specific aspects of the Arusha Declaration which cannot possibly be revived, specifically the concept of “all the major means of production being under the control of the Government”, which resulted in the wholesale nationalizations of the said “major means of production”, including Banks, and many others which are listed in that document.

But on the other hand, there are those other aspects of the Arusha Declaration which are indeed “more relevant today than never before”. They are those which are listed in the Arusha Declaration document as follows :- (a) “The absence of exploitation”.

This concept is presented in the following terms: “A true socialist state is one in which all the people are workers. It does not consist of a lower class of people who work for their living, and an upper class of those who live on the work of others. Everyone who is physically able to work does work, and every worker obtains a just return for the work he performs, and that incomes derived from different types of work are not grossly divergent”.

(b) “The existence of democracy”. This is presented in the following words: “for a country to be truly socialist, it is essential that its Government is chosen by the people themselves . . . True socialism cannot exist without democracy also existing in the society concerned”.

(c) “The policy of self-reliance”, which is presented in the following terms: “TANU is engaged in a war against poverty and oppression in our country. . . But it would be foolish for us to imagine that we shall rid ourselves of our poverty through foreign financial assistance, instead of relying on our own financial resources . . . It is only through taxation that money can be extracted from the rich, in order to uplift the living conditions of the poor masses”.

As can be readily appreciated, all these aspects of the Arusha Declaration, namely the absence of exploitation, the existence of democracy, and the need for self-reliance, are still as relevant today as they were at the time of its proclamation in 1967.

This reminder will, hopefully, also help to disabuse all those persons who harbor the notion that the “Arusha Declaration was killed in Zanzibar” in 1991! In the light of the above narrative, the Arusha Declaration is still alive and kicking.

But, admittedly, it can justifiably be described as ‘dead,’ simply because its implementation was totally abandoned. Thus, in his endeavor to revive memories of the Arusha Declaration by his bold actions and initiatives, President Magufuli is indeed following the footsteps of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

President Magufuli’s taxation drive But President Magufuli is also following the footsteps of Mwalimu Nyerere in his vigorous tax collection initiatives. we have referred above to the Arusha Declaration provision which says that “it is only through taxation that money can be extracted from the rich in order to uplift the living conditions of the poor masses” But Mwalimu Nyerere is also on record as having said, on a different occasion, that “corrupt governments don’t collect taxes”.

We are all witnesses to the fact that under President Magufuli’s leadership, the amount of tax money collected per annum has risen from the previous billions to the currently trillions. And, in particular, he has managed to ensure that the country gets its fair share of revenues from its natural resources, specifically minerals, natural gas, forestry, fisheries, and tourism.

And his crackdown on the syphoning off of the country’s mineral wealth is already paying handsome dividends in terms of increased Government revenues. President Magufuli is ‘a man of his word’ We can now go back to the point which we referred to at the commencement of this presentation, namely that President Magufuli is “a man of his word”.

Many people will presumably remember the humorous statement which he made in his campaign speech in Kigoma on 16th September, 2015, when he said (obviously with a light touch), that ‘M4C’ actually stands for “Magufuli for Change”.

(M4C was originally invented by CHADEMA, as an acronym for their slogan ‘CHADEMA for Change’). Many others will also remember that during those pre-election campaigns, the then Presidential candidate John Magufuli promised to bring “real and substantive change’”, which he described in Kiswahili as “mabadiliko yenye kuleta tija”, if he gets elected. Well, he got elected.

And furthermore, his political party CCM, secured a comfortable majority of seats in the National Assembly, thus providing him with a very stable base for his governance activities.

At the end of his first two years in office, and looking at the numerous glowing mainstream media reports, there appears to be a general consensus within the community, that President Magufuli has indeed “walked his talk”; namely, that he has brought ‘real and substantive change’ already during his first two years in office.

This account refers mostly to his performance on the Government side. But President Magufuli has done exactly the same with regard to Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), of which he is the national Chairman.

President Magufuli as CCM national Chairman Within only six months after his election as national Chairman of Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), he was able to present, at a meeting of the Party’s National Executive Committee which was held on 13th December, 2016, certain ‘sweeping, tsunami-type reforms’ in the party’s organizational structure.

These reforms were absolutely necessary, and timely, for the indisputable reason that in view of the vastly changed political landscape resulting from the reintroduction of the multi-party political system, the previous CCM organizational structure had become outdated, and largely unsuitable.

This is because that structure was crafted during the period of the One-Party political system, at a time when the ruling party was operating under the doctrine of the “supremacy of the Party, or “Chama kushika hatamu za Uongozi” in Kiswahili.

Clearly, the current political situation is totally different, because CCM’s current role, in the words of article 5(1) of its own Constitution, “is to endeavor to win elections, both at the national and the local Authorities levels”.

Obviously, it does not require a huge National Executive Committee of 388 members, meeting in ordinary session not less than three times a year, in order to achieve that objective!

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