The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
Dr, John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania (PhD in Chemistry) is indubitably one of Africa’s top 5 “not a normal germ of African leaders” due to the unique way he transforms his own country; building the case for other countries to emulate. We present 10 things of his Greatness as among our top 3 Transformative UnnormalAfrican Leaders of 2019.
#1. Sustaining Peace
No doubt, despite tense politics especially in the Isles of Zanzibar, Tanzania, in the four years of President Magufuli has sustained its peaceful stature.
The 2018 Global Peace Index Report (GPI) released by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) this year has ranked Tanzania as the 51st peaceful country world wide (from 58th in 2015), the 9th in Africa and the 1st in East Africa Community (EAC).
#2. Improving Business Environment
Since assuming Power in 2015, President Magufuli’s administration, among other things, has vowed to tackle the manacles of bureaucracies in doing business by creating a conducive, friendly, accountable and attractive business environment to both locals and foreigners.
The Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) of South Africa released its 2019 edition of the “Where to Invest in Africa” Report and ranked Tanzania as the 7th best destination to invest in Africa after Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya.
#3. Enhancing Democracy
Despite highly charged political atmosphere in the emerging multi-party democracy, Prof Ahmed Mohhidin, an expert in the region’s politics, says, competitiveness of Tanzanian politics is common since the first multi-party general election in 1995.
The political scientist says, in dozens of his writings, despite tense elections, Tanzania remains a stable democracy among others in the EAC region.
#4. Reinvigorated Anti Corruption War
President Magufuli, is waging against both public and private officials in relieving the country out of corruption he believes to be the main source of poverty in the resource wealth economy.
The struggle is sacred and is paying off. Transparency International has ranked Tanzania the second country in East Africa after Rwanda in the war against corruption.
The 2018 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report put Tanzania at an average score of 36 points. Globally, jumping several places from over 120 in 2015, Tanzania is ranked 99th.
Furthermore, the 2017 Afro Barometer research network, shows that over 70% of Tanzanians believe corruption in the country had decreased “somewhat” or “a lot” in the previous year. This is in stark contrast to the results of a similar survey in 2014, when only 13% reported they believed corruption had decreased in the previous year.
#5. African Solution Proponent
Tanzania under the leadership of President Magufuli is undergoing massive and noteworthy economic transformations through the vision 2025 that aims to make the country move from low to middle income economy by 2025.
What matters most to many Africans is how the President has renewed the cherished perspective that believes that with what they have interms of resources, Africans are able to solve their own problems.
Addressing the Renaissance generation of leaders like Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, in a Leadership meeting held in Dar es Salaam in 2019, President Magufuli received accolades all over Africa for his intensified efforts and belief when he pointed out explicitly to the former leaders that Africa has no uncle anywhere on earth; its own rennaissance has to start from within, using own resources.
#6. Delivering social transformations
In order to achieve what he believes as economic transformation from within, President Magufuli is leading by example. In his own country his government is seriously delivering social and infrastructural services using own tax payers’ money.
For example, since November 2015, the government of Tanzania has started to implement a free education policy to both primary and secondary education to ensure all children are accessing education in the country. Each month the government is allocating Tsh 23 billion to meet the purpose. Enrollment has now doubled.
Moreover, the government of President Magufuli has increased the health facilities budget almost ten times and modern health facilities are now constructed from the village, ward, District to regional level.
At the national level massive modernization of hospital services is on. Tanzania is now receiving patients from other African countries due to its improved national level specialist services like heart surgeries, kidney transplants, cancer diagnosis, and care and cochler implants.
#7. Protection and Equitable Distribution Natural Resources
Three laws have been enacted to enforce the protection and benefits for the locals from their mineral resources, controlling dark markets to increase national revenues.
For example, revenues from the mining sector has now more than doubled, gold production is up and more Tanzanite germstones are produced than before.
In a landmark decision, Magufuli confronted and won against the giant Barrick Gold; a new deal has now been signed that will see a number of improvements in the current mining licence to ensure Tanzanians benefit in a 50/50 arrangements.
#8. Cost-cutting President
Magufuli’s other greatness is his cost-cutting consciousness in making sure that revenues generated are effectively utilized to transform lives of the majority, not a few elites.
In the past three years, records show, he slashed down foreign travel expenditures from around USD 100m in 2014/15 fiscal year down to a total of USD 10m spent in the last three years.
Despite the notable increase of the government revenues, President Magufuli and his government over the past three years have reduced foreign trips, postponed several national level events, reduced seminars and workshops, resulting in reduced donor-dependence.
#9. Infrastructure is the way to go
Known for his great love for infrastructure especially roads and bridges construction, the former Minister of Works, President Magufuli, continues to link all the regions in the country and decreasing traffic jams in the cities along side other infrastructural projects in the mining and railway sectors.
For example, this year , the President laid the foundation stone for the construction of 19.2km eight-lane duo in the commercial Capital of Dar es Salaam (Mbezi – Kibamba to decrease the jam in the city.
The implementation of the 2.9 billion US dollar landmark deal with an Egyptian company for the construction of the Mwalimu Nyerere Hydro Power Project, a 2,115 megawatts and fourth biggest project in Africa, using taxpayers money, is another seemingly an impracticable, that President Magufuli has worked hard and against all odds to implement.
Thats not enough for Magufuli; Tanzania is currently using its own money to implement Africa’s largest Standard Gauge Railway project-stretching from Dar es Salaam to the new Capital of Dodoma. The first lot costs a staggering 3 billion USD. The other lots are expected to connect Tanzanian with neighbouring Rwanda, DRC and Burundi.
#10. Down-to-Earth President
In the continent that has seen luxury loving Presidents, always busy abroad, travelling for treatment, shopping and attending insignificant forums ranging from book launches to luncheons; a type of leaders who dispatch a plane to send their near relatives for London, Paris or Singapore treatments, Magufuli offers a totally different prototype.
He is busy in his country, never traveled outside Africa since he came into power in 2015, always seen meeting, listening, shaking hands and eating with common people like petty food sellers, local small businessmen, low cadre police officers, farmers and journalists.
He has thus far invited several groups to State House to listen to them for hours, dine with them and offer his vision.
When his own mother and wife got ill, he let them be admitted in a government hospital, until they recovered. His spirit is cherished by many SADC citizens where he currently chairs the organization and he was applauded for his cost-cutting sense when he chaired the EAC.
Dr. John Pombe Magufuli is really among a few cadres we declare to be “UnnormalAfrican Leaders”; for what he is doing was Africa’s dire need . The bad thing is, such greatness, is uncommon, and at times, like the tales of neglected Prophets by their own kinsmen, these species are rarely honoured. We did our part.
Dr. Darius Mukiza
University of Dar es salaam, School of Journalism and Mass Communication( SJMC)