I vividly recollect the hash tag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo? that raised dust across social media platforms and even the mainstream media in late 2015 and 2016. I recollect the term magulifyalmost being mistaken as a newly discovered verb in the Queen’s language, English. I recollect the word, I had long since learned about during Agriculture Principles and Practices lessons, bulldozer which turned to be a president’s code name. Oouch, he’s gone! His Excellency Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli is gone. His abrupt demise has jogged my memory about my mother’s common narrative that heroes never die at the right. Have you ever heard about Eric Hoffer’s quote on death? He asserted, “A great man’s greatest good luck is to die at the right time.” Mr. Bulldozer was never a lucky man.
In a short inaugural speech right after taking the Oath for his first term on November, 5th 2015, he said, “We’re aware of the trust and enormous responsibility that youhave assigned us…. but with God’s guidance, people’s cooperation and goodwill, our nation can prosper.” Indeed, on July, 1st 2020 as most of the countries globally were grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic impact, World Bank (WB) declared that Tanzania’s income status had been upgraded from low to lower-middle. All credit was given to what was always labelled as Magufuli’s radical transformations. Although some thought the above tremendous triumph was realized as a result of shunning adoption of hard-hitting COVID-19 preventive measures contrary to other nations across the globe, the data used by WB Data Team was for the previous year, 2019, way before the outbreak of the deadly pandemic. For starters, World Bank classifies world’s economies into four income levels which include: low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries. These rankings are updated annually on July 1st by the bank using the Goss National Income (GNI) per capita in U.S. dollars, converted from local currency using the World Bank Atlas method. According to World Bank (2020), all 189 World Bank member countries, plus 28 other economies with populations of more than 30,000, are classified so that data users can aggregate, group, and compare statistical data of interest, and for the presentation of key statistic.
Prior, the John Baptists of this world especially those from the Western World had baptized the leadership approach of a man from Chato, Northern Tanzania numerous names among others, dictatorial, totalitarian, authoritarian, despotic and tyrannical. Nonetheless, the Bulldozer never gave a damn about his naysayers and went on and on to magulifyJulius Kambarage Nyerere’s land. Not until he became the president, the country’s Independence Day and World AIDS Day were celebrated on 9th December and 1st December respectively by participating in cleaning the local surroundings. The huge sums of funds meant for the celebrations were re-channeled to confronting alarming issues for stance road expansion in one of the country’s cities, Dar es Salaam, purchasing hospital beds and many more.
Most African presidents are known to fly to the cities of their former colonial masters, a few days following their inauguration ceremonies. BUT Hey, the former Professor of Chemistry will be celebrated for having made only 9 foreign trips and these presidential trips were to seven African 2countries. To the Bulldozer, it was rather the responsible of the Tanzania’s ambassadors to represent their country in the foreign land. His first ever trip outside Tanzania was made to Kigali, Rwanda and he was hosted by his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame on 6th -8th April, 2016 whereas his last trip was made to Harare, Zimbabwe on 29th May and 30th May, 2019. The other nations President Magufuliset his foot during his tenure of office include Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda. He was in Uganda, thrice.
The modern revolutionist and Pan-Africanist, at one point, shunned China, and cancelled their $7.6 billion funding offer for the country’s standard gauge railway citing “ethical irregularities”. When he assumed presidency for his first term, he caused discomfort to those in the corridors of power when he slashed his predecessor’s cabinet size down from 55 ministers to 19 ministersand 15 deputies. Like other magulifications, these too were all about to save the taxpayers’ shillings. Thus, this undoubtedly left many ministries and public entities merged. According to the Ministry of Finance and Planning (M.O.F.P), about two billion Tanzanian Shillings (TZS2 billion) which was meant for the induction of new ministers was allocated to priority areas. No doubt, the mentioned and other unmentioned magulified magulificationsof Magufuli caused Tanzania to graduate from low to lower-middleincome status by July, 2020.
Finally, on 11th March 2020, in his opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19, W.H.O Director-General, Tedros Adhanom noted, “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.” This marked the beginning of rigorous measures set out by W.H.O and its partners in a battle against the spread of the pandemic. To Magufuli, this was a mere flue that had no harm on an African instead the Western World had a hidden agenda that could lead Africa to an economic meltdown; or massive deaths of Africans in order to depopulate the continent, after vaccination. Like the former president of Libya, Col. Muammar Gaddafi said, “I am going to die here as a martyr,” to all those that deny the dangers posed by the virus and more so, the mushrooming COVID-19 vaccines, President Magufuli has died as a martyr.May the soul of HE Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli rest in eternal peace: Till we meet again!
Here are some of the quotes by HE John Magufuli:
1. “It’s now time for us to unite and put our ideological differences aside, I will work hard for all Tanzanians regardless of their tribal, religious or ideological affiliations.” John Magufuli
2. “The way to treat a boil is to squeeze it out, and I have madeit my responsibility to do that. I know squeezing out a boil hurts but unfortunately there are no two ways about it.” John Magufuli
3. “Corona cannot survive in the body of Christ, it will burn. That is exactly why I did not panic while taking the Holy Communion.” John Magufuli
4. “Our home was grass thatched and like many boys I was assigned to herd cattle, as well as selling milk and fish to support my family, I know what it means to be poor. I will strive to help improve people’s welfare.” John Magufuli
5. “You people of Meatu keep livestock. You are good farmers. You can feed your children. Why would you opt for birth control? These are my views, but I don’t see any need for birth control in Tanzania.” John Magufuli
6. “The CCM is here and will continue to be here –forever. Members of the CCM, you can walk with your heads held high. There is no alternative to the CCM
7. “I want you Tanzanians to believe that you have a real president, a real rock. I cannot be threatened and I am not threatened,” John Magufuli
Gilbert Rukundo (Twitter Handle: @GKRukundo) is a Co-Founder; and Director of Operations, Millennium Pundit