Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has won the hearts of many Mombasa residents with his quite unusual zeal for saving government money.
The president, who has been christened Bulldozer for his commitment to cracking down on wasteful spending, has earned himself credibility and acclaim in the coastal city of Mombasa – with residents urging local leaders to emulate his style of governance.
In an opinion research commissioned by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Mombasa residents who were sampled feel Magufuli’s measures to tackle runaway government expenditure are impressive.
“When he (Magufuli) was elected president, we were filled with joy. He came to power on a promise to root out corruption, and so far he hasn’t disappointed. His vision for Tanzania and Africa as a whole is commendable. And during his first days as president, we saw him mix with other citizens to sweep the streets in Dar es Salaam. That proved to us he is a humble leader who can mingle with the common mwananchi,” said one respondent.
Other respondents echoed the above interviewee’s sentiments.
In unison, nearly all respondents have urged leaders across East Africa to work close with each other so that they root out perennial problems facing the region’s citizenry.
“I urge (East African) leaders to unite. This would go a long way in ensuring that the respective citizens benefit from each other’s diversity through trade and social activities,” said a businessman based in Mombasa.
President Magufuli has extensively won praise over the measures he has taken to sweep endemic corruption.
He left no doubt about his aims immediately after he was sworn in. “I’m telling government officers who are lazy and negligent to be prepared. They were tolerated for a long time. This is the end,” Magufuli warned in his first speech as president.
Three days after his inauguration, he banned all non-essential travels by government officials. He ordered high commissioners and ambassadors to fully take over government engagements in the international system.
During his address to Parliament, he declared that it would not be business as usual on foreign travels. He restricted business class flight tickets to the President, Vice President and Prime Minister only.
His modus operandi has even won over some opposition politicians.