What would MAGUFULI do

18th March 2021. Social media was awash with the news of his passing. Our typical response in the post COVID era to announcements on social media is cyncism or at best a frenzied search for cross references. This time, the news came cross referenced. It was difficult to believe. Even more difficult to accept. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli at the age of 61 had succumbed to a heart condition, Vice President Samia Suluhu announced.

He had rested from his labor. In 2015, when he burst on the scene, he made it crystal clear that his priority would be Tanzania. One of my most memorable quotes from him is:

Our home was grass thatched and like many boys I was assigned to herd cattle, as well as selling milk and fish to support my family, I know what it means to be poor. I will strive to help improve people’s welfare

John Pombe Joseph Magufuli

Bill Hybels in his book, Courageous Leadership entreats leaders to have a compelling vision. A leader sees the vision. Rais John Pombe Magufuli had a very compelling vision for Tanzania. In His Tanzania, it was possible for all citizens to prosper. He painted this vision continually, whether it was mineral rights, or education, or roads, the Tanzanian citizens were always first. First things first, corruption either in terms of money or time was dealt with swiftly. It robbed the citizens. He would show up unannounced in government offices and ask difficult questions.

You cannot talk of preserving environment when the majority of the citizens are depending on charcol or wood for most of their energy source.

John Pombe Joseph Magufuli

He felt so deeply about this that became so famous for his austerity. He barred unnecessary foreign travel, cut his own salary to USD 4,000. At one point, he chose to clean up to curb the spread of Cholera rather than hold national independence celebrations. What? Was this in Africa? Whose that guy? And so came the trending hashtag which is the title of this blog. #WhatwouldMagufulido.

We were awestruck. We were inspired. Could this be the rise of a new breed of leaders? How long would he last? We watched his every move with bated breath. We tweeted and retweeted his lastest actions. We dramatized every single action of his.

Indeed, even when COVID-19 struck, he did not disappoint. While everyone was scrambling to lockdown, Tanzanian borders were open and it was business as usual. The Magufuli approach. There were pictures of him praying in various places, but the most iconic were the ones where he was without a mask. We were all masked, in our homes, shut in tightly. He looked like some renegade cowboy or modern John Rambo, just ready to shoot down this virus. It was in the same 2020 that Tanzania moved to lower middle income status. We clapped and celebrated with them, while hoping and praying for the end of our lockdown and a return to the normal.

While we were locked down, he managed to convince our own President to take a trip down to Tanzania to expedite the harmonization of pending issues on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in Chato, Tanzania.
This is East Africa’s first major oil pipeline. The $3.5bn project will connect Uganda’s oil fields to port Tanga of Tanzania on the Indian Ocean for about 1,445 km (898 miles). extraction agreements. Tanzania was kind enough to allow the Ugandan oil pipeline to pass through their territory to the coast. He built so many bridges, physical and mental.

The bilateral meeting in Chato, Tanzania. Source; web

Visions are priceless. They are holy entrustments from God that must be taken seriously. To squander a vision is an unthinkable sin.

Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership

Habbakuk reminds us that all visions have an appointed time. (Habbakuk 2:3) As leaders, it is imperative that we know the seasons of our visions so that they speak in their time. We are grateful for the gift of John Pombe Joseph Magufuli and his emulation of a visionary leader. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

Chasing Mr. Right, Ending up with what’s Left

I decided to break the silence; there was no one left to speak for me.

In the time since this happened, I have found many comrades in the struggle. It’s in the sigh, the way they hang their heads, the way their fingers caress their cheeks, the way they hug their shoulders, the way tears well up in their eyes but do not pour out onto their cheeks. The shaking of their heads, the limpness in their limbs, the tone of voice, the staccato speech. The absence of adjectives.

It started- I was five years old, they stopped us at a roadblock on the way to Kabale- systematically stripped all the adults of anything they deemed valuable. And my sweets. Who steals candy from a baby? Mr. Right.

We hired him to guard our home when thieves overrun the University’s defences, he didn’t show up that night. We were robbed clean. He didn’t show up again, but we were given a replacement by Mr. Right. Why a replacement? Sshhh, Mr. Right is always right.

Then he was assigned to guard my daddy to keep him from harm’s way. But we found daddy in a hospital, another roadblock, badly injured though not fatally. It could have been worse, is all Mr. Right said.

We came back from burying mummy and again we had been robbed. Mr. Right needs airtime. Mr. Right wants to interview all the staff at home, he ends up intimidating them. Mr. Right needs facilitation. Mr. Right, is it possible for you to do your job quietly and leave us to mourn? Shhhhh, Mr. Right is always right. He has a very important job to do.

Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic. Lewis Caroll

The hassle -Madam, your seat belt is not on; Madam, you are over speeding, here you see the machine says so; Madam, aren’t you too pregnant to drive? Madam, it’s very hot today. Mr. Right please, don’t belabour the point. Is it reasonable for us to use the same time it takes Toyota to manufacture an entire car to “discuss” the use of a mere component?

Yes, the madness got to me.

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah
Psalms 55:6‭-‬7 NKJV

He raised his arm, as I drove by with my children, I stopped. He systematically begins finding fault with everything about me, he strips me down, shreds my integrity and crumples my dignity like used wrapping paper. I play it down, my children are in the car.

Finally, he latches onto he said-she said like a desperate man falling into a chasm. It’s his word against mine. No one stops to assist, not even the bodaboda man. Girl don’t you know your place, you don’t argue with Mr. Right. He is Right, just do as he says! In sync, and like a well choreographed dance, each one dances to his tune and they move off stage. I cannot dance any more, Mr. Right? I have only two LEFT feet. The music plays on.

I run back to my safe place, my car. He followed me, where are you going? I am Mr. Right, you cannot leave till I say so.

It is time to take back my life, I choose to take it back. I try to start my car, his hand swiftly grabs my hand and my key. I am not allowing you to take my life away again, Ssebo. I fight with all I have. He breaks my key chain, takes the key. Strips my car of its plates.

Mummy, mummy what is happening? The hammering is too loud. Mummy, are you going to prison? Mummy, Mummy, what is Mr. Right doing? Hide, hide, Where can we hide?

Satisfied with his handiwork, he puffs his chest out, gives me back the keys to the car. But it’s not my car, it’s damaged goods. Damaged like my soul by Mr. Right.

Mummy, I heard the car crying.

I can hear the sounds of Jessie Reyez’s Gatekeeper https://youtu.be/_0G2TmuDjL8

I wait for the Lord , my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord

More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
Psalms 130:5‭-‬6 NKJV