Last year Tanzania elected a new President, John Magufuli. He is unlike all the presidents before him in that he is not interested in being a strong man with a lavish lifestyle, but rather a servant of the people.
Soon after his election, he declared there would be no celebration of Independence Day because it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when Tanzanians’ were dying of cholera.
Instead, he has said everybody should pick up their tools and clean their backyards. After his first official visit to the Muhimbili Hospital, he ordered over 200 million shillings marked for “parliament parties” be used to pay for beds for people lying on the floor and sharing beds. He dismissed the hospital’s governing board and within days the broken MRI was fixed.
Three days into his presidential term, Magufuli announced a ban on all foreign travel by government officials. He said that’s what ambassadors were employed for. Instead, government officials have been instructed to make regular visits to rural areas to help solve problems facing everyday Tanzanians.
At the National Assembly, the President sent out the message that it will not be business as usual and now has an unprecedented 90% approval rating.
We love leaders who are willing to serve the people. We dislike leaders who think they are above us, think they are high and mighty and travel in blue-light brigades.