Our Country Could Learn A Lot From Tanzania’s President John Magufuli

Tanzanian President John Magufuli joins a clean-up event outside the State House in Dar es Salaam on December 9, 2015. By Daniel Hayduk (AFP)

Tanzanian President John Magufuli joins a clean-up event outside the State House in Dar es Salaam on December 9, 2015. By Daniel Hayduk (AFP)

I usually write about American politics, but I came across a story on Reddit today about Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, that I wanted to share with our readers here at Forward Progressives. The media has been full of stories recently about the incredible negativity, hatred, and ignorance in our country – especially when it comes to the political response to the acts of terrorism in Colorado and California.

Tanzania sits on the eastern coast of Africa, with Kenya to its north, and Mozambique to its south. A former British colony, Tanzania is a very diverse country, which also has a serious problem with poverty and corruption since it gained independence over 50 years ago.

John Magufuli was sworn in as president of Tanzania back in November, and immediately took on corruption and inefficiency in the country’s government. To celebrate their independence day today. President Magufuli decided to forgo the usual celebrations, and led the country in a clean-up event instead.

Last month, Mr Magufuli cancelled traditional independence day celebrations, which usually include a military parade and concert, saying it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money while the country was facing a serious cholera outbreak.

“Let us work together to keep our country, cities, homes and workplaces clean, safe and healthy,” Mr Magufuli told a crowd of surprised onlookers as he picked up rubbish off the street, AFP news agency reports.

“Tanzania has changed – this is a new Tanzania,” one resident told AFP, on a break from cleaning up the city’s public beach. (Source)

All too often, we become cynical and apathetic towards the political system in this country. We complain about radical political figures and the latest insane thing that they’ve said, but so long as it doesn’t directly affect our lives right now, the most we’ll do is share a petition or opinion article in response before going about our business.

There’s obviously a big difference between the United States and Tanzania. John Magufuli appears to have more powers under Tanzania’s constitution than President Obama does under ours. The people of Tanzania were tired of a wasteful and inefficient government, so they elected President Magufuli, who has the appropriate nickname “The Bulldozer.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we would elect politicians who have a track record of getting things done, instead of candidates who appeal to the worst people in our country – and then we did more to support them beyond just showing up to vote once every couple of years?

After 8 years of George W. Bush and the disastrous war in Iraq, the United States elected President Obama in hopes of change – then promptly turned the control of the House of Representatives over to the opposing party in 2010, and the Senate in 2014. Instead of learning from past mistakes, we’ve repeated them over and over again, then act shocked when lawmakers declare war on climate science or promote rhetoric that inspires lunatics to shoot up healthcare clinics.

We have leaders like John Magufuli in our country. Bernie Sanders or Jimmy Carter are a couple of great examples, but we need to be the change we want to see in our government as well. If the people of Tanzania can spend a national holiday working to make their country a better place, there’s no reason why we can’t do the same.


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