The new President of the Republic of Tanzania, John Magufuli, is really a breath of political fresh air. For now at least.
He is not a typical African president. But again, he comes from the land of a man President Museveni calls the greatest human after Jesus Christ. The man he refers to is Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the first president of the Republic of Tanzania.
Nyerere is the man who built a united Tanzania as we all know, and he is the man who built the strong institutions that give guidance as to how their country shall be governed. For example, in Tanzania, term limits are sacrosanct. It’s not debatable. All Tanzanians, through national service training, believe that two terms for a president is too long a time for any one leader to contemplate changing the wishes of the people.
Nyerere was first and foremost, a nationalist. To him, being a president is a duty and a service to the people which has to be performed for a mandated period of time that has to be served by Tanzanians. And he inculcated this spirit in the minds of all Tanzanians to the extent that every Tanzanian that steps in the office of the president, does so because they promise to make a difference for the better for their country and for their people.
The man Magufuli replaced, Jakaya Kikwete, tried his best to liberalise the economy of Tanzania that had initially been built on the socialist foundation. He opened up the economy to foreign and local investment. As he encouraged private investment, it came with all the ills that go with it like corruption and government waste.
So when the man they call ‘the bulldozer’ because he pushes the lazy, and hates the corrupt, took over the leadership through a free and fair election after the expiry of Kikwete’s two-terms of service, he embarked on the serious work of cleaning government of thieving and incompetent public servants, and, putting and cutting down on government waste like wasteful government celebrations and unwarranted expensive travel.
Now, the reason Africans and non-Africans marvel at this man, is because in Africa, we are used to unproductive crooks for presidents who come to power to serve their greed instead of developing their countries for the benefit of all peoples. Magufuli therefore is like a meteor because we are not used to clean leadership on our continent.
Our prayer now is not only that he shouldn’t be corrupted by bad people, but he should serve as a beacon to all leaders and all peoples of this continent so that we can collectively embark on a serious journey of governing our countries well, while shunning bad leaders and opposing bad leadership in all its forms.
In short, Magufuli puts most of our leaders to shame.