Tanzania’s new president John Pombe Magufuli has been criticised by some sections of the public for being populist in his management style. However, the same leader is enjoying a lot of local, regional and international reviews, winning him admirers across the world.
Mr Magufuli, who replaced Jakaya Kikwete a month ago as president, has brought a new approach to leadership, an approach The East African columnist Charles Onyango-Obbo branded “unAfrican”. The Tanzanian leader has set standards Uganda can emulate.
Where corruption jumped through the roof in his country, Mr Magufuli has drawn the red line. He might not succeed completely like his critics point out, but the message has sunk in across the country. It is imperative that leaders send a strong message and walk the talk to stop state coffers from bleeding.
The Tanzanian leader has started to cut on wastage in government spending, re-ignited work ethic among public servants, and revamped government services in places such as hospitals and at the country’s ports authority.
Magufuli offers a good example of the kind of leader Uganda deserves, particularly as the country readies for general election in February 2016.
Ugandans should scrutinize the presidential candidates carefully and vote leaders who are committed to stopping corruption, and wastage of public resources, and opulence. For instance, government spokespersons in Uganda were quick to dismiss Dr Kizza Besigye’s proposal to pay teachers more than thrice what they are earning now. They said his idea was ridiculous, and wondered where the money will come from.
These proposals are achievable so long as a leader is committed. For instance, Mr Magufuli’s move to slash the budget for Tanzania’s Independence day gala and the inaugural parliament cocktail from Tsh250 million to just Tsh5 million, and redirecting the funds to equipping the national referral hospital, transformed the health facility within just a week.
The radical cuts on wastage on foreign trips, state events, luncheons, cracking the whip on corrupt officials, ordering that meetings are held within ministries’ boardroom as opposed to hotels, and emphasising that politicians will not be paid allowances for work they are meant to do, are all ways to save money, which can be directed to sectors such as health and education.
These measures may be viewed as populist or high-handed but for a people that want decent services, it is liberation of their government from self-seekers masquerading as leaders. Mr Magufuli has started on the right track. He has made public service pro-people and worth its name. Uganda should follow suit.
The issue: Cost-cutting
Our view: These measures may be viewed as populist or high-handed but for a people that want decent services, it is liberation of their government from self-seekers masquerading as leaders.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR