What you need to know about the deceased Tanzanian President, John Magufuli

The late President of Tanzania John Magufuli means so many things to many people, some he’s a dictator, while some he is a great leader, who improved the lots of his people. It largely depends on which side of the divide you belong to and support.

John Pombe Joseph Magufuli was a Tanzanian politician who served as the fifth President of Tanzania from 2015 until his death in 2021. He served as Minister of Works, Transport and Communications from 2000 to 2005 and 2010 to 2015 and was chairman of the Southern African Development Community from 2019 to 2020.

When Covid-19 arrived in Tanzania, Mr Magufuli called on people to go to churches and mosques to pray. “Coronavirus, which is a devil, cannot survive in the body of Christ… It will burn instantly,” he said.

He declared Tanzania “Covid-19 free” last June, saying the virus had been eradicated by three days of national prayer.

He also mocked the efficacy of masks, expressed doubts about testing, and teased neighbouring countries which imposed health measures to curb the virus.

“Countries in Africa will be coming here to buy food in the years to come… they will be suffering because of shutting down their economy,” he said, according to the Press.

However, before his death, are a couple of things that can be attributed to him as the president of the country, which include:

  1. As the President of Tanzania, in Eastern Africa, John Magufuli made Tanzania a Middle-Income country with various bold and determined decisions.

He vehemently rejected a $10 billion loan from China. The loan in question was signed by Magufuli’s predecessor Jakaya Kikwete to construct a port at Mbegani creek in Bagamoyo of Tanzania.

Tanzania President John Magufuli has decided to cancel the loan worth $10 billion offered by China. Magufuli said that “only a drunkard will accept the terms” of agreement in this loan.

As a president, he made sure that he didn’t leave the shores of the African continent. He didn’t go on state trips outside Africa.

Since becoming president in 2015, Magufuli has only travelled to Uganda (twice), Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Magufuli, who has championed austerity measures during his presidency, has cut government spending by imposing measures such as restrictions on foreign travel for government officials and the removal of “ghost workers” from the state payroll.

He fulfilled his campaign promise of a small government, appointing 19 ministers. That compares with 30 cabinet ministers in former president Kikwete’s government.

He ordered restrictions on foreign travel by government officials and cuts in tax exemptions, signalling the potential start of fiscal belt-tightening measures by his government.

Magufuli accused UK company, Acacia Mining of illegal mining and ordered them to pay $193 billion for undervaluing Tanzania’s gold exports, subsequently, over 250 containers of theirs were seized at Dar es Salaam port, which they paid $300 million and gave Tanzania 16% ownership in 3 mines.

President of Tanzania John Magufuli introduced free education in government schools in 2016.  Says his administration has allocated U.S. $62 million to provide free education between January 2016 to June 2017. Magufuli promised to overhaul the education sector says the government will also double the allocation. He acquired 6 Air Tanzania planes, expanded Terminal III of Julius Nyerere International Airport.

He built Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway, Mfugale Flyover, Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station, Ubungo Interchange.
Dr. Magufuli built Selander Bridge, Kigongo-Busisi Bridge, Huduma Bora Za afya, Vituo Bora Za Afya, expanded Port of Dar es Salaam, Dodoma Bus Terminal, an LNG plant, a water project, a wind farm project, Uhuru Hospital project, a gold refinery plant, and Magufuli Bus Terminal.

Late President Dr. John Magufuli excelled in infrastructure and financial affairs. He faced numerous accusations of human rights abuses and was accused of repressing the opposition. He also banned explicit images or videos online.

What do you make of his records in the office as the president?

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