Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli hit the ground running;- making drastic measures as part of his first steps towards fulfilling his election campaign promises. President Magufuli on Sunday announced that the steps being taken are aimed at boosting government coffers and steering the Eastern African country to prosperity.
The president has with immediate effect banned all foreign travels by public servants, ordering that all tasks that necessitated government official to travel abroad be done by the country’s high commissioners and ambassadors abroad. Without permission from the President or the Chief Secretary no one will be allowed to undertake any foreign trip, read part of the statement signed by Assistant Press Secretary to the President, Ms Premi Kibanga.
With numerous development challenges facing rural areas, public servants will not enjoy the 50% upward adjustment on foreign travel allowances approved earlier in the year as they will now be required to make regular visits to rural areas to help solve the problems the people are facing. More than Sh3 trillions was earmarked for allowances during the period 2015/2016.
With less than a week after assuming office, the president announced that his promise of free education would be fulfilled starting early 2016. Pupils and students that will be enrolled beginning January 2016 will get free education up to secondary school level. During his campaigns, Magufuli promised to sort out problems in the education sector affecting students especially those seeking to obtain education loans.
Magufuli did not mince his words when he warned those intending to participate in public procurement using inflated prices. There are rumours that he is exploring ways of punishing if not blacklisting any supplier of goods and services to the government at inflated prices. Tanzania, like many countries in Africa, continue to lose billions of dollars through inflated prices of goods and services, sub-standard works done and sometimes, non-delivery of goods and services paid for using taxpayers money.
While those that voted for Magufuli are happy with his actions within days of assuming office, others are asking themselves just how much the same speak of the performance of his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete who stepped down after his term expired.
President Magufuli still has a steep uphill journey through his presidency; a lot of youths remain unemployed, there is massive corruption in the country and an aggrieved population residing in the island of Zanzibar.