Mixed reactions as Magufuli marks one year in office
SOME Tanzanians have expressed mixed reactions about President John Magufuli rule as he marks one year at helm saying his tenure has been a difficult one. However, several of them have praised him for implementing most of the election promises he made during the October 2015 general elections campaign.
The President faces an uphill task to reform the nation economy with new strategies in place while seeking to deliver promises made to Tanzanians. In the last three years, Tanzania economy has been on upswing but still face challenges, according to recent European Union and World Bank reports. Currently, Tanzania economy has been growing at an average of 7.9 percent in the last quarter and is projected to grow at an average of 7.2% per annum.
Speaking in separate interviews with the ‘Daily News’, political, economic analysts, representative of civil society organizations and members of the general public said President Magufuli has rolled out a number of good development programmes and the country is now moving in a right direction.
“He has taken austerity measures to reform the economy and is strict on corruption and waste management of public funds,” said Professor Prosper Ngowi, an economist and Lecturer at Mzumbe University.
“He campaigned to fight corruption, unnecessary expenditures and tax evasion and he has done it,” the analyst said noting however that, while there has been progress on economic strides, the development has not been reflected to majority of Tanzanians.
He called for intensive investment in agriculture and manufacturing sectors and control of multiplicity of taxes to benefit investors and the general public. Sikika Executive Director, Mr Irenei Kiria also complemented President Magufuli first year administration saying there are some changes in the sector but noted, a number of issues are pending.
“There are many challenges in the health sector which require urgent attention and funding. Improvement in revenue collection should translate in the improvement of social services such as healthcare,” the Sikika Executive Director said.
“It appears the President has good intention but needs to take his time to grasp the challenges and get best advices from technocrats, competent ones some of whom may have opposing views,” he said.
The Head of State gained local and international popularity when he sacked the Muhimbili National Hospital Chief after his surprise visit to the hospital where he found patients sleeping on the floor. He also dissolved the Hospital Governing Board on discovering the scanning and diagnostic machines (MRI) were not working and in poor conditions. Dr Bashiru Ally, a Lecturer and Political Scientist at the University of Dar es Salaam said he was shocked by a wave of ghost workers which has been costing the government, a monthly cool bill of 19bn/-.
“The government has to develop proper accounting systems to ensure war on corruption, poaching and misuse of public offices is successful,” the scholar said pointing fingers on Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).
Dr Bashiru asserted the nation is facing critical challenges with regard to weaknesses in policy and other laws which spur corruption in public offices. He suggested the government should take a leading role to lure private sectors in building our economy. On education sector, he said, although the President has lived to his promise on free education, he still has to invest in building skills and technical ability.
“There is no strong polytechnics yet to feed the industrial sector. There is a need to channel sufficient resources to improve tertiary education,” Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director, Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba praised the overall performance of President Magufuli administration.
“He deserves accolade,“ the lawyer said but quickly noted the administration has not been performing well in promoting and defending human rights. “Some people have been pulled from offices and have not been arraigned in court. He has banned political rallies until 2020.
This contradicts him because Tanzania is a democratic, multiparty country,“ the activist challenged the President’s move. Meshark Juma, a trader in Dar es Salaam said the first year of President Magufuli in office has been rough on his side.
“Nothing has changed. We have just witnessed problems and there is no business like we used to. I find it difficult to feed my family,” he said.