by David Brewin
Only three weeks after being sworn in the new President Magufuli made clear that when he preached “work and nothing else” in his campaign he meant it. The ‘business as usual’ syndrome would not be tolerated.
The new broom
The new President lost no time in exercising his authority and eliminated several elements of public expenditure by reducing the number of ministers in his cabinet from 60 to about 35.
The most dramatic measures were his attacks on persons alleged to be guilty of corruption.
Following two visits to the Tanzanian Ports Authority (TPA), its Director General and Board Chairman were sacked on the spot as was the Permanent Secretary for the Transport Ministry. The new Prime Minister (see later) said that the President had acted due to failure by certain officials to address deep-rooted administrative flaws within the TPA. In addition, four senior TPA officers and eight middle-level managers plus others were sent home.
This action on the TPA followed on the discovery earlier that some 3,000 cargo containers had not been cleared from the port before payment of taxes estimated at TSh 80 billion.
The Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) was also sacked together with seven TRA officials including the Commissioner for Customs and Excise Duty who was sent for trial. The President gave a seven-day grace period to businessmen who had evaded tax to go and voluntarily pay or face arrest. Records indicated that TSh 6 billion of the lost revenues was quickly collected.
In a visit to the Tanzanian Railways head office, the President said that he had learnt that TSh 13 billion had been misused and an investigation had been started.
As we go to press it has been announced that the President has sacked the Director of the Prevention of Corruption Bureau.
The new President also ordered the cancellation of the 2015 Independence Day celebrations in order to reduce unnecessary public expenditure. He intended to use the funds for a major clean-up campaign aimed at stemming the spread of cholera in the country. He was seen on the streets of Dar es Salaam wielding brushes, as were many senior party figures.
The government also banned the use of taxpayers’ money in printing and distributing festive Christmas and new year cards. People wanting cards should “dig into their own pockets” he said.
All this came on top of the President’s announced suspension of foreign travel for government officials, allowances for seminars and management meetings as well as lavish official cocktail and dinner parties. He also ordered that meetings and conferences in hotels for public servants should be cancelled and two way videos and audio conferencing should be adopted instead.
The new Prime Minister
The media in Dar es Salaam could not prevent themselves from speculating as to who would be the next Prime Minister of Tanzania. The President’s eventual choice – Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa – surprised many people including the man himself.
The media eventually found out more about Mr Majaliwa.
He had been apparently a late-comer to national politics and only joined the government in 1984 as a head teacher and then later as DC Urambo from 2006 to 2010. He was Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government from 2010 to 2015.
It then became known that he and the PM were contemporaries or age-mates. President Magufuli was born on 29 October 1959 and the new Prime Minister on 22 December 1960. The media suggested that it was Majaliwa’s strong work ethic and his aversion to working with indolent people that made him a good choice. The observers noted that Dr Magufuli intended to make many hard decisions and would need a tough man of high integrity as his PM. Other observer noticed that Majaliwa is the MP for Rungwe which is on the opposite side of the country from the President’s own constituency in Mwanza.
The new drastically reduced cabinet
The President took a long time in deciding who to appoint to his new cabinet. It was almost mid-December before they were published and appointments to four other key posts were expected later. As part of his economy drive he then cancelled the induction seminar which is normally provided for new ministers.
The new cabinet is very much smaller than the previous one. It has 34 ministers and deputies, compared with 60 in the previous cabinet. Six of the 34 were nominated as MPs by President Magufuli, who is allowed by the constitution to nominate up to 10 individuals to parliament.
The Cabinet List:
George Simbachawene and Angella Kairuki, Minister, President’s Office Regional Administration Local Governments, Public Services and Good Governance. Deputy Minister Suleiman Jaffo.
January Makamba, Minister, Vice President’s Office – Union and Environment. Deputy Luhaga Mpina.
Jenista Mhagama, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office – Policy, Parliament, Labour, Youth and Employment and PWD’s. Her Deputies: Dr Possy Abdallah and Anthony Mavunde.
Mwigulu Nchemba, Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Deputy William Ole Nasha.
Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Minister for Energy and Minerals. Deputy Medalled Karemaligo.
Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, Minister for Constitution and Justice.
Dr Augustino Mahiga, Minister for Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation. Deputy Dr Susan Kolimba.
Dr Hussein Mwinyi, Minister for Defence and National Service.
Charles Kitwanga, Minister for Home Affairs. Deputy Hamad Yusuf Masauni.
William Lukuvi, Minister for Lands, Human Settlement and Development. Deputy Angelina Mabula.
Charles Mwijage, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investments.
Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children. Deputy Dr Hamis Kigwangala.
Nape Nnauye, Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports. Deputy Anastasia Wambura.
Eng. Gerson Lwenge, Minister for Water and Irrigation. Deputy Eng Isack Kamwela.
Prof Jumanne Maghembe, Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources. Deputy Eng Ramol Makani.
Dr Joyce Ndalichako, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training. Deputy Eng Stella Manyanya.
Prof Makame Mbarawa, Ministry for Works, Transport and Communication. Deputy Eng Edwin Ambandusi Ngonyani.
Dr Philip Mpango, Ministry of Finance and Planning. Deputy Ashantu Kizachi.
The people of Tanzania are obviously very happy with Dr Magufuli’s initial drive against corruption and waste of public money. They also say that they like his new ‘hard work’ ethic. Whether he will be able to maintain this popularity over time, and indeed how well he will be able to stand firm against the inevitable reaction that his actions will elicit from powerful vested interests, remains to be seen.
(Thank you Frederick Longino for help with parts of the above article – Editor)