WE all have our stories: The wisdom of our elders, old wives, our seanchaí and our bards, across vast stretches of Africa, and particular to Ireland when we speak of Europe, is a shared characteristic.
The multiplicity of cultures in Africa, and Ireland’s history both modern and ancient, prominently feature a strong heritage of oral storytelling. We share other traits. Many Africans share a common colonial ruler – and we share corruption in the political class and in society more generally. Some contend that corruption is, perhaps unfairly, a vestige of colonial rule.
“To play the politics of any nation, you learn all the tricks to bag yourself more ticks at the polling station. You tell voters what they want to hear, promise you’ll deliver, a simple plan never fails. Rehearse your policies, stick to your plan, and you update your lies. Politicians use words that strike into citizens’ hearts, like the Gae Bolga, perhaps, or a Maasai’s hunting weapon. Yet they are only after the butter for their spuds, feathers for their nests.” A verse in a poem cited from a book titled ‘The Bird That Sings My Name: Poems of The Heart’ reads.
That however does not reflect all politicians. There are many good ones out there and one such was the late Dr John Pombe Magufuli, Tanzania’s 5th president who died last week from heart complications.
I know some of you may disagree but hear me out please. The late President Magufuli Dr Magufuli genuinely cared about the people he represented whether centre, left Fior right, Western Media have reported at times negatively about the President.
All I can say is ‘show me a perfect human being’ and I will show you the door to heaven! What I mean here is that the late Dr John Pombe Magufuli was human and he made mistakes, but apart from that he did good for Tanzania.
This is why he left this earth the hero of the people he led. You only needed to watch the State funeral procession to understand what I mean here. The son of a peasant farmer who became Tanzania’s 5th president in 2015 and once praised for his no-nonsense approach, he was elected for a second term in 2020 with a landslide victory.
His style of hiring and firing on the spot made him a very popular leader. Before he was president he acquired the nickname - bulldozer - for pushing through policies despite opposition and for his stewardship of programmes to build roads, railways and other infrastructure. He was hailed for his anti-corruption stance and his distinct dislike for wasting public money. He reduced corruption drastically which restored trust and attracted more foreign investments.
That is one of his many achievements. Tanzania, a good example of how to unite people of different faiths? One third of Tanzanians are Christians, another third are Muslim. The remaining third pursue one of the numerous indigenous religions. In rural places some people express their faith in an animistic religion.
Hinduism and Buddhism are also found among the members of the Asian minorities. Since Nyerere’s time to Magufuli’s era , our leaders have managed to maintain peace and unity despite the diversity and sectarianism in the country. Since independence the presidents in Tanzania have rotated between Muslims and Christians, This is the strategy by the ruling party to ensure both religions feel properly represented and it has worked.
H.E. Mama Samil Suluhu Hassan era Samia Suluhu becomes the first female president in Tanzania joining only a handful of few women leaders in Africa and the world at a large. She is affectionately known as Mama Samia in Tanzanian culture that reflects the respect she is held in, rather than reducing her to a gendered role.
She was first elected to a public office in 2000 but got national prominence in 2014 as the vice- chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, created to draft a new constitution.
She is said to have a calm demeanour in managing occasional outbreaks of pandemonium and in terms of personality she is said to be thoughtful and considerate. She is also said to be a good listener who believes in following the correct procedures. Edna is a Tanzanian based in Dublin, Ireland.