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Tanzania's Magufuli, Promising Accountability, Suspends 2 Officials

by Peter Clottey January 23, 2016

Tanzanian President John Magufuli suspended two senior immigration officials following allegations of impropriety and financial malfeasance, in a move to ensure accountability in all public institutions, according to Gerson Msigwa, acting director of information at the presidency.

The two officials were suspended at the beginning of an investigation into allegations of corruption, mismanagement and poor revenue collection.

"One of the suspensions ... [is in line] to the promise that President Magufuli has given to Tanzanians that he wants to have leaders who are clean leaders, who are ethical leaders, who can perform. And he is fighting against corruption, and therefore, when it comes to a situation where … there are allegations of corruption, then the president is trying to take action immediately," said Msigwa.

Revenue collection

He also said new measures the president implemented sharply increased revenue collection from $400 million to more than $600 million – an increase of over 50 percent.

"Some of the big officials suspended so far, there are some investigations that are going on in the institutions that they had been leading. They have been suspended to wait for the results when the investigations would be finished. If they are found innocent, then the president will decide," Msigwa said.

Critics say the president's actions are a mere publicity stunt in an attempt to convince Tanzanians that he is all about work.

But, Msigwa says Magufuli's actions are in keeping with the promises he made to boost the economy, create jobs, root out corruption and ensure public sector institutions work to improve the living conditions of citizens.

"President Magufuli has been a minister for construction for a long time and he has been in the Cabinet for 20 years. … And for five years he served in the construction ministry and he has performed wonders. The man is a performer, always. What he is trying to do is just to clear grounds so that he has a good environment to make sure that all the promises he gave to Tanzanians are well-implemented," Msigwa said.

"You cannot make [the promises] happen if you have people who are delaying the process, people who are corrupt and unethical, and those who are not in proper discipline of the civil service. This is what President Magufuli is trying to do, and we have been receiving a lot of feedback that all Tanzanians are happy," said Msigwa.

Public sector salaries

Opposition and civil society groups say there is a need for the government to increase the salaries of public sector workers to boost morale and encourage accountability.

Msigwa said those who are against actions Magufuli is undertaking to tackle corruption are those who might have been dabbling in graft. He also said Magufuli will not be deterred from changing the old way of doing things, which he said crippled the government's revenue-generation ability.

"According to the policies of the ruling CCM [Chama Cha Mapinduzi] party, they have promised that this country has to now [become] a middle-income country. You can't go to that if you have so many people delaying the government," he said.

"So far, many public sector workers are happy and their morale has gone very high. Those who will not be happy are those who have some scandals [and] are not performing their duties accordingly," Msigwa said.

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