With a new President, Tanzania moves on
By John Eche
The East African nation of Tanzania has been in the news for many reasons. And much of this has had to do with President John Magufuli’s governance style. Now he is dead and a new President, his former Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has assumed the lafdder as President. Tanzania now has a chance to move on.
Magufuli cuts the image of a patriot and nation lover. Under his watch, the economy was one of the continent’s high fliers. And he was one to speak his mind at all times as it had to do with what he considered to be African and Christian. He was unequiocal on both.
But he was also in the news for pushing his views as national views that must be carried out and enforced, which in the view of critics obscured the division between patriotism, a strong will and despotism.
A lot of this came to the fore in last year’s elections where the opposition was literally run out of town. And even before then, the media and civil society in Tanzania had long been at the receiving end. Coming from the liberal progressivism expoused by the likes of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere this was quite problematic.
Another challenge had to do with Magufuli’s views on COVID-19. It hovered between scepticism and the imperative of an African solution. This no doubt had affected the national response and the hope now is that on both points of health management and freedom of expression, Magufuli’s exit would bring some breath of fresh air.
John Magufuli, immediate past President of Tanzania