President John Magufuli of Tanzania only in office for a month is already off to a good start in his pledged fight against corruption. Magufuli’s surprise visits to government employees at their offices, slashing budgets for lavish celebrations and re-direction of the funds for needed hospital beds, and creating strict foreign travel restrictions to head off unnecessary abuse are some of his strategy that the Guardian identified. Tanzanian citizens “who are tired of the endemic corruption that has stunted the country’s progress for decades” are welcoming his approach. President Magufuli is nicknamed the “Bulldozer” from his time as the public works minister when he used to make unannounced visits to road construction sites to undercover corrupt activity, and is himself “generally considered to be free from corruption.”
The article discusses how Magufuli still has yet to “tackle the deeper structural issues that have allowed corruption to thrive for so long.” These include low pay for civil servants and the corrupt activity of senior ruling party politicians who may expect favors in return for their contributions to the campaign.
His strategy cannot involve just him, it must reach into all levels of Tanzanian government, and it requires a systematic approach, as stated by Rolf Paasch, the Tanzania country director for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung political foundation.
Concerns exist about the temptations of Tanzania’s presidency and that “extensive powers granted to the president by the constitution may prove too tempting for even the most upstanding of leaders.” Damas Lucas, a Tanzanian journalist, worries that “these powers are so tempting for self-enrichment.” The constitution faces a referendum due early in Magufili’s term and according to the Guardian will be a major test of Magufuli’s presidency. Analysts believe that the “new version ignores the recommendations of the government’s own constitutional reform commission, and fails to address weaknesses in the old texts. If Magufuli really wants to eliminate patronage and corruption, he will have to push hard for a progressive constitution.”
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(The Sentry, an initiative of the Enough Project, seeks to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts.)