Continued from last week.
WE closed our discussions last week at the point when I was beginning to present the events of the year 2015.
At the beginning of April, 2015; the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy at Kivukoni, decided to establish a new “Leadership, Ethics and Governance Training Programme”, which they aptly named “Kibweta cha Mwalimu Nyerere”.
It was established as separate Academic Unit, with its own Chairman; and I was granted the honour of being appointed by that Academy as its first, or inaugural Chairman. Another totally unexpected gift, which I highly appreciated.
This new leadership Training programme was officially inaugurated by President Kikwete on 13th April, 2015, which was Mwalimu Nyerere’s birth date.
That event also became the occasion for my investiture as Chairman of the Kibweta cha Mwalimu Nyerere. The Kiswahili word “Kibweta” means “ a small box, normally used to preserve very valuable items, such as pieces of jewellery”.
Thus, the application of the term “Kibweta” to this new Unit, was presumably intended to convey the same meaning, namely that this Unit was going to be the academic repository of Mwalimu Nyerere’s nuggets of wisdom.
My activities in retirement 2015-2020 with President John Magufuli in the fifth phase government.
Because of the fact that I had already retired from active Public Service when President Magufuli took office in November 2015; I have had minimal involvement in matters related to his governance as President of the United Republic. However. But, as I stated in the Introduction section of this book, the book’s primary purpose is to preserve our country’s political history.
President John Magufuli’s innovative style of governance has made such a positive impact on Tanzanian Society, and also because I have been a close eye-witness of these innovations; that I felt it is essential for some of his innovations to be put on record in these memoirs.
The 2015 Presidential election
The 2015 presidential election was unusually taxing for Chama cha Mapinduzi, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there emerged a very exciting internal competition within CCM; when a little more than forty serious, (i.e, not frivolous) candidates submitted their applications for consideration, including Edward Lowassa, former Prime Minister, who had invested heavily, in terms of energy and resources, in this Presidential project.
The Ruling party was therefore faced with the obviously difficult task of selecting the one among them who, according to the old Madisonian view: - “ possesses the most wisdom to discern, and the most virtue to pursue, the common good” for our dear country.
But nevertheless, CCM was, as always, equal to the task, and selected John Pombe Joseph Magufuli as its flag-bearer candidate.
Edward Lowasa, who was fully confident that his heavy investment of resources would produce the desired results of securing the CCM nomination; was utterly disappointed by this turn of events; and immediately resorted to what I subsequently described in French as ”nomadisme politique”, meaning “ nomadic politics”; as that appeared to me to be the most appropriate, and befitting, description of what took place.
Edward Lowassa defected from CCM to CHADEMA; where he was promised nomination as their candidate for the Presidency. He subsequently participated in that Presidential election as the CHADEMA sponsored candidate, but lost to John Magufuli, the CCM candidate. Thereafter, he “returned home” to CCM, thus qualifying for the description of being a ‘domestic political tourist’.
Magufuli’s Presidency has been “ an eye-rolling event”
“If there is any contemporary eye-rolling event, with big effects and big lessons to offer globally, and which has politically and powerfully defined Tanzania with good tidings; is, evidentially, the election of Dr. John Pombe Magufuli as the President of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2015”.
The above is a quotation from a new book that has just been published by GDY Publications Company Ltd, Dare es Salaam; which was co-authored by myself and my friend Nkwazi N. Mhango, a Canada based Tanzanian, titled “Magufulification: New concept that will define Africa’s future”.
This bold assertion is confirmed by many other sources. For example, just one month after he had assumed office as President, on the occasion of the 54th independence celebrations on 9th December, 2015; the local English language newspapers were awash with positive international comments regarding President Magufuli’s performance.
The DAILY NEWS carried the following front page headline: “Magufuli’s style wins hearts in Africa”; and went on as follows: President John Magufuli has become a continental icon with just a month in office, and without even crossing the country’s borders”.
The Paper then reproduced captions of leading newspapers in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe; all of them showering praises on President John Magufuli’s exemplary performance. You could call it “Magufuli-philia”.
And on the occasion of the commemoration of the 2018 African Human Rights Day, a Forum meeting of Human Rights NGOs which assembled in Banjul, with a total of 18 Tanzanian Human Rights Civil Society Organizations represented, “called on other African Heads of State to take a leaf from President Magufuli’s fight against corruption”.
This was a manifest proof of the international approval accorded to President Magufuli for his exemplary performance in that particular area.
My involvement in the 2015 Presidential election
The CCM Constitution establishes, at the national level, a ‘Council of Elders’, consisting of all the retired CCM national Chairmen (retired CCM Presidents), and all their Vice-Chairmen.
At the time of writing, retired Chairman Ali Hassan Mwinyi is the Chairman; and myself, retired Vice-Chairman, the Secretary.
It is a wholly Advisory Council, which therefore convenes only when there is a grave matter, in respect of which the incumbent Chairman feels he needs to be advised by this Council.
The 2015 Presidential election was one such grave matter. Thus, the Chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete, felt he needed the advice of the Elders’ Council; which was therefore convened for that purpose. After a private session with President Kikwete at State house, Dar es Salaam, the Elders’ Council was invited to attend the crucial candidate selection meeting of the National Executive Committee in Dodoma; at which John Pombe Magufuli was among the three candidates selected, by secret vote, to be presented to the CCM national Congress.
President Magufuli’s electionThe CCM national Congress selected Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli to be the CCM flag bearer. And he won the 2015 Presidential election, having obtained 58.46%, over his closest challenger, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who garnered 39.97% of the total valid votes. President
Magufuli’s performance was manifestly low compared to his predecessors; which is illustrative of how Chama cha Mapinduzi faced an uphill task in this particular election.
It also speaks volumes, to how CCM made a very wise choice and decision, that enabled it to retain power amidst such fierce competition.
President Magufuli’s inauguration of the new Parliament
There are two major constitutional functions that must be performed by the President of the United republic of Tanzania. One is the official opening of the newly elected parliament; and the other is the dissolution of that Parliament, at the end of its statutory five-year period. On 20th November, 2015; President Magufuli entered Parliament, in appropriate manner and style, to officially inaugurate the newly elected 11th Parliament.
In his maiden speech, President Magufuli vowed to confront the evils of mega corruption, by promising to establish a special Division of the High Court, which would deal exclusively with graft cases.
He also promised to fight the wide spread embezzlement of public funds; and to improve the management of the country’s natural resources.
He promised to overhaul the mining sector; to end bureaucracy in Government offices; and to introduce strict discipline in the public service; to increase Government revenue collections; and to improve the infrastructures relating to the country’s Social and Economic services.
To some people, it all sounded like a ‘shot in the dark’, as they appeared to be promises that cannot be implemented.
But President Magufuli meant business, and, indeed, has ‘walked his talk’, as evidenced by his other speech dissolving the 11th Parliament on 16th June, 2020; wherein, amid thunderous applause and cheers from the MPS, he succinctly presented the huge success story of his unprecedented performance in implementing all these promises. The distinguished gathering of invited guests, included all the former (retired) Presidents of he United Republic.
His subsequent performance as President
President Magufuli has certainly changed Tanzania for the better. However, even more important is the fact that he has been able to do so in an incredibly short period of time. The following is a short list of some of President Magufuli’s outstanding achievements during his first term in office:-
• He successfully embarked on a bold, new style of managing the country’s natural resources, and in particular, the mineral resources.
• He introduced new austerity, frugality and other measures, aimed at ensuring that public funds are saved, and used for the benefit of the majority of the country’s citizens, particularly the residents of the vast rural areas of Tanzania.
• His success in his brave fight against mega grafts, that were like an albatross around the country’s neck; and other vices such as poaching, drug trafficking, money laundering, and embezzlement. This does not mean that his predecessors did nothing in fighting these vices, they surely did. But President Magufuli took the fighting to a much higher level of seriousness and determination.
• His success in making a very bold assault on ghost workers in the Public Service, as well as on ghost University students; a loophole that was used by crooks to steal Government money, by secretly pocketing the salaries of ghost workers, and loans to ghost University students.
• His success is vastly increasing the country’s tax revenues; which have enabled him to revive some of the mega economic projects that had become defunct; like the shift of the Government capital to Dodoma; the Stigler’s gorge electricity generation project; the reviving of the national Airline (ATCL); plus introducing new projects like the Standard Gauge Railway project (SGR), and the construction of new large passenger and cargo ships and ferries, to ply on the country’s major Lakes of Victoria, Nyasa, and Tanganyika; the construction of numerous District hospitals ; roads and bridges; and other infrastructures.
• His success in reintroducing discipline and ethics in the country’s Public Service.
This may be correctly referred to as the “Magufuli effect”, or “Magufuliquake” / “Magufulification”.
President Magufuli assumes the CCM Chairmanship.
In July, 2016; CCM Chairman Jakaya Kikwete voluntarily resigned from that position, in order to clear the way for President Magufuli to replace him; a procedure that was smoothly accomplished.
And within only six months after his assumption of that office, Chairman Magufuli had already demonstrated his unique leadership style, when he introduced some unprecedented, “tsunami-type” organizational changes in the Ruling party; whose main thrust was to reduce the numbers of the members of the party’s decision-making organs at all levels of the Party structure; and, in particular, the National Executive Committee (NEC), whose membership was drastically reduced from a high 388 members, and brought down to a low 163 members. And this was quickly followed by other crucial changes in the party’s leadership personnel, during the party’s 2017 general elections.
(To be continued next week)