“#WhatWouldMagufuliDo” Take it With a Pinch of salt

Ugandans are euphoric with the single story “#WhatWouldMagufuliDo”, which is trending on social media (Mugendi 2015). Ugandan politicians and ordinary citizens alike want to be seen to be operating or buying into or promising to operate within the logic of the current president of Tanzania – His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli. On social media, the trending single story of President Magufuli presents the President with messianic saintly tones. He is mostly depicted as a sort of Robin Hood (Myth folklore on line 2004). His presidential decrees which are seen as redirecting resources from the seemingly unethical greedy rich towards the poor are celebrated.

One such presidential decree, it is reported (Nesoba 2015), cut the budget of the inauguration party of members of parliament from an original budget cost of 250 million Tsh to actual expenses of only 15 million Tsh. Reportedly (Nyanje 2015), by presidential decree, imported food items were cut out of the party budget and only local finger foods, juices, sodas, Tanzania’s Dodoma wine were served. The savings of 235 million Tsh that resulted from this particular decree were reported utilised to purchase 300 beds, 300 mattresses and 1,695 bed sheets which have since been installed at Muhimbili national hospital.

President Magufuli, according to news reports (SA people news 2015), has decreed a cut down on international travel by government officials, instructing them to instead take more frequent trips to the rural areas of Tanzania. The decree has also set limits that if Tanzanian civil and public officials do travel abroad they must travel ordinary economy class and not first or business class.

Plenty stories in the news (BBC News 2015) focus on how President Magufuli has decreed that a 54-year Tanzania tradition of commemorating its independence will not be done on 9th December 2015. And that instead the funds allocated for the commemoration will be used for a cleanup campaign, since there is a cholera outbreak in parts of Tanzania.

President Magufuli the saintly mover and shaker of things in Tanzania is the trending story of the moment. Ugandans on social media are full of adoration of President Magufuli. His social media profile has become larger than life itself. His persona is now a trend with many justifying their choices – good or bad – as resulting from a reflection of #WhatWouldMagufuliDo. He is heralded as the kind of leader African nations need. He is considered totally awesome. President Magufuli’s trending single story carries connotations that he should be emulated by other presidents of African nation-states – that is to say presidents of African nations should ‘efficiently’ and ‘effectively’ rule by presidential decree in favour of the poor.

There seems, in fact, to be selective amnesia among Ugandans in particular and the global media in general on matters of African presidents ruling by decree in favour of the poor. History clearly shows that President Magufuli is not the first leader of an African nation to espouse the ‘bulldozer’ mentality against the rich in favour of the poor. President Magufuli’s no nonsense results driven approach, which has earned him the nickname “Bulldozer” (Windsor 2015), has in the past been associated with other leaders of African nation-states.

Keeping it close to home, for example, Hussein Lumumba Amin (Amin 2015), the son of Uganda’s former President, Field Marshal Idi Amin, has on social media described President Magufuli’s ‘bulldozer-approach’ as being “the exact hands-on approach that Amin used to insure that government was providing expected services efficiently.” As a matter of fact, there are indeed some (Idi Amin Dada Foundation 2007) who actually consider President Amin to have been one of Uganda’s great leaders. Observers have even gone further to assess that as sections of Uganda’s population get increasingly disgruntled and heart-broken by President Yoweri Kagutta Museveni’s broken promises, including longevity in power – since 1986 to date, the opinion that President Amin was a better president than President Museveni is gaining traction in the popular press.

Analysts (Zedriga 2010) caution us to recall that in 1986 when President Museveni took power his promise of an administration that was “not a mere change of guards but a fundamental change” was received with jubilation and great hope for the future of Uganda. In 1986, when President Museveni took over power it was believed a new day for Uganda – the messianic leader had arrived. Similar with President Magufuli, it is on record that President Museveni in 1986 pledged to the people of Uganda that he and his administration would desist from indulging in a lavish life style.

Historical archives are awash with the famous promise that President Museveni made in 1986 that he would not be like ‘problem-leaders’ of Africa who overstay in power; promising that he would stay in power for no more than 10 years. During the 1990s, President Museveni’s popularity indeed soared high. He was recognised by world leaders as among the new generation of African leaders (Wikipedia 2014). He was among Africa’s new leaders who were perceived and celebrated in the popular press as being committed to democracy and economic reform for the good of their respective populations. He was heralded alongside other African leaders, such as: President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea, President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, and President Thambo Mbeki of South Africa.

President Museveni’s popularity was at its highest in 1996 when 75.5 percent of Uganda’s voting electorate democratically elected him and endorsed him as the President of Uganda. How could they not. The smoke-screen of the Museveni single story that the media had popularised was still thick in the air. Ugandans still believed, for example, that the essence of his 1986 decrees still held true. Decrees such as the one in which he ordered that plastic mugs and furniture that are made in Uganda should be used in State House. Specifically, that the furniture to be used in State House would be made by poor active Ugandans who were residing and working in slum areas, such as in Bwaise.

Like President Magufuli’s decrees, President Museveni’s 1986 decrees were popularised by the media as being revolutionary and exciting decrees. And like President Magufuli’s decrees, President Museveni’s plastic-cup decree and his local-furniture decree seemingly redirect resources back to the majority. In the case of Uganda it was the hardworking Ugandans who were getting a raw deal from unfair global trading practices who were the would be beneficiaries of President Museveni’s 1986 presidential decrees. Like President Magufuli in 2015, in the late 1980s and early 1990s President Museveni was the ‘it-leader’, he was ‘our man’ and he was absolutely adored by the press which predominantly told a single story of him.

Well, nearly 30 years later, the jury on President Museveni’s messianic rule-by-decree leadership is long back in. If at all there are any plastic cups in Uganda’s State House, judging from imagery in the popular press, it is doubtful that the first family uses such cups. It is plausible that only the lowliest state house workers currently use plastic cups in Uganda’s State House, if at all. Certainly, photos of the interior of Uganda’s State House by journalists (Oluoch and Barugaba 2012) erase any doubts that the furniture currently in State House is not made in Bwaise.

Reality checks among Ugandans began to truly sink in during the 2000s as may be deduced from that the fact that the media began to tell another single story for President Museveni – he was not the messiah after all.  Nevertheless, in 2001 President Museveni again contested and won Uganda’s Presidential elections with the endorsement of 69.4 percent of Uganda’s voting electorate choosing him to continue ‘serving’. It is popularly believed that many Ugandans thought that the 2001-2006 term would be his last term in office and that is why they overwhelmingly voted for him once more. The logic followed: let us reward and show appreciation of the messiah one more time for he is a great leader.  Some may find similarities with such logic with what is currently going on in Rwanda. The Rwanda parliament has changed Rwanda’s Constitution in order to allow for President Kagame to remain president longer – he is great, and there isn’t yet another like him, kind of logic.

President Museveni’s long time friend, Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye Kifefe (retired Colonel of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces), with whom he has fallen out, was his main challenger in Uganda’s 2001 elections. In that election, Dr. Besigye was voted for by only 27.7 percent of the voting electorate. By 2006, however, President Museveni’s popularity had significantly waned when it became crystal clear that he has irreversibly broken his promises to the people of Uganda. He is seemingly the same as Africa’s ‘problem-leaders’; those such as he had criticised in the past for overstaying in power.

While President Museveni won the 2006 Uganda presidential elections, he was endorsed by less Ugandans – 59.3 percent of the voting electorate – denoting a 10 percent drop in his popularity, in comparison to the 2001 elections; and a 16.2 percent drop, in comparison to the 1996 elections. His main challenger in 2006, again Dr. Besigye, had a 10 percent gain in his popularity, as compared to the 2001 elections; in 2006 Dr. Besigye was voted by 37.4 percent of the voting electorate.

The two friends turned into foes in 2011 again contested Uganda’s presidential elections. That time round Dr. Besigye’s popularity had waned. He was voted by 26 percent of the voting electorate; an 11 percent drop in his popularity in comparison to the 2006 elections. While President Museveni enjoyed a nine percent gain in popularity – in 2011 he was voted back into office by 68.4 percent of the voting electorate. Some are of the view that Dr. Besigye’s egotistical, abrasive, confrontational and bulldozer style tendencies repulsed a significant section of Uganda’s undecided voters who chose to vote for President Museveni within the logic of  the English idiom  (UE – Using English.com 2002) “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.

Thirty years since he took power, in 2016, President Museveni will again be one of the choices on the Uganda Presidential Election Ballot Papers. Yes, he is contesting again. And again one of his main challengers is Dr. Besigye. The other is another of President Museveni’s long time friends with whom he has also fallen out – Mr. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Uganda’s immediate former Prime Minister. No doubt, among the fundamental transformations that President Museveni has achieved, is him transforming from being among the ‘new generation of African leaders’ to being among the African ‘problem-leaders’ he once criticised in his youth. Analysts (The Economist 2013) now categorise President Museveni among those problematic leaders who cannot bear to retire.

But then again, did President Museveni go through a transformation or is it actually the case that he is still who he has always been? Might the individual of the person of President Museveni have governed Uganda differently, including retiring within 10 years as he had promised, if his individual autocratic, megalomaniac tendencies had from the onset been checked and subjugated to restrict him to operate and conform within the collective of the genuine democratic decision-making structures of Uganda the nation-sate?

Put another way, might presidents govern differently if from the onset the media focus is not popularising a single story, but that rather the media tells dual or multiple stories. That is to say, while celebrating presidential decrees, the media and all other active citizens would also at the same time analyse what the full implications of presidential decrees are. When a president makes a decree that re-allocates resources from one approved budget vote to another un-budgeted vote, what does this say about all those civil servants and politicians before him who made and approved the plans and budgets or were with him when they made or approved the budgets? Is it sufficient to simply justify the presidential decree on grounds that funds are being re-directed from the greedy rich to the poor?

How does a presidential decree affect the work ethic of those civil servants and politicians who participated in making and approving the budget now dismissed by presidential decree? What does it say about the value that individual citizens place in the formal institutions which ideally define the society, such as a country, in which they live – you know the written down policies, plans, laws, etc., and the informal institutions – unwritten down beliefs and norms? When the individual – the person holding public office – uses the public office that they hold to ‘bulldoze’ through decisions, in this context presidential decrees, however saintly they may be, in what way or not is the particular individual conforming with expectations for one who holds such an office to abide as defined – formally or informally – by his particular society?

When the individual – the person holding a public office – does not abide by norms and goals valued within his society – in this context the stipulated roles of a president and of the other public offices – is it not in fact counter-productive to celebrate that individual? Is it not tantamount to celebrating a societal deviant? After all, this person would necessarily be operating in violation of and in deviance of the particular social structure of his society.

If one is persuaded, as I am, with the school of thought that views society as an organism then one appreciates the necessity of dealing with society as a whole. As a sub-part of society, it is the responsibility of the media to inform members of their respective society so that members of their society can make informed decisions. Importantly, in addition, if the media does not do its job well, such as when it tells single stories, this has the power to over-nourish the ego of the individual beneficiary of the single story narrative. To the extent, for example, one may believe in the fallacy that within their respective society they are the only ones with a vision and the ability to run state affairs.

It is currently campaign season in Uganda. For emphasis and for your food for thought on the role of the media, I conclude by sharing here below an extract of a social media exchange we had in regard to media reports of the promises made by Candidate Dr. Besigye to return land grabbed to rightful owners. You see, Candidate Dr. Besigye is the beneficiary of a single story; a story that insinuates that he is the only one who will be able to unseat President Museveni; and a story which he, Dr. Besigye, has fully internalised.

Dr. Besigye is quoted (Kirunda and Kasasira 2015) as having said that if he is elected president, his government will ensure that all the land grabbed or acquired illegally is returned to the rightful owners; and that when he comes to power, the law will work and whoever is getting the land wrongly, will lose it. In reaction to those media reports of Dr. Besigye’s promise to return grabbed land, I provoked an exchange on social media as follows (ME = me and supporters of my viewpoint and KB = supporters of Dr. Besigye):

ME: How absurd. Land grabbing in Uganda is sanctioned by state law (Owaraga 2014). This politics of lies – promising the impossible just so that one gets a sound bite full knowing that he has no power or capacity to deliver is what depresses me about politicians in Uganda #ThereIsNoNeedToLie. Short of abolishing Uganda the nation-state for which he wants to be President, Dr. Besigye is incapable of returning grabbed land from the first nations – Teso, Buganda, Acholi, Lango, Karamoja – to it is rightful owners. Let us take Karamoja, for example, is he going to de-gazette national parks, reverse mining contracts, etc. and return the lands to Karimonjong? How is Candidate Besigye going to address historical injustices that go over 50 years back when the nation-state Uganda was formed?

KB: All those laws will be scrapped and swept away.

ME: That can only be achieved through a dictatorship and not a democracy – so there is no point of him engaging in campaigns and claiming to be a different ‘democratic’ leader.

KB: Life is about mindset! What you see as impossible, to some people is a walk over! It is important to have a positive mindset!

ME: It is not impossible to dismantle the nation-state Uganda but it is unlikely that it is going to happen in 2016 -2021. And the challenge I am throwing at you is to explain how I am wrong and show me how he is going to scrap existing laws and dismantle the nation-state Uganda and moreover within one presidential term.

KB: Nothing is impossible if you understand what is called a decree. One single decree can reverse all land grabbed as long as it is accompanied by a good bureaucracy. Amin sent out Indians by decree and it’s legal.

KB: Norah Owaraga this is how it is done (tags me to a post on President Magufuli decrees and with #WhatWouldMagufuliDo).

ME: Decrees are used by dictators because they hate consensus. It’s not the kind of Uganda I need for Ugandans.

Works Cited

Amin, Hussein Lumumba. Hussein Lumumba Amin. November 28, 2015. https://web.facebook.com/hussein.juruga/posts/10153714746601763 (accessed December 1, 2015).

BBC News. Tanzania’s Magufuli scraps Idependence Day celebrations. November 24, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34909111 (accessed November 30, 2015).

Idi Amin Dada Foundation. President Amin was a great leader. June 27, 2007. http://alemiamonye.blogspot.ug/2007/06/president-idi-amin-was-great-leader.html (accessed December 1, 2015).

Kirunda, Abubaker, and Risdel Kasasira. “Besigye pledges to return all grabbed land to owners.” Daily Monitor. November 19, 2015. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Besigye-pledges-to-return-all-grabbed-land-to-owners/-/688334/2961996/-/q7ti9l/-/index.html (accessed December 7, 2015).

Mugendi, Eric. “Tanzanian President’s austerity measures leave East Africans asking themselves what will Magufuli do?” Techcabal. November 26, 2015. http://techcabal.com/2015/11/26/what-would-magufuli-do/ (accessed November 30, 2015).

Myth folklore on line. Robin Hood. October 9, 2004. http://www.mythfolklore.net/3043mythfolklore/reading/robin/background.htm (accessed November 30, 2015).

Nesoba, Ruth. “John Magufuli – Tanzania’s ‘bulldozer’ president in profile.” BBC News. November 24, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34670983 (accessed November 30, 2015).

Nyanje, Peter. “Magufuli demonstrates he’s not a joker, means business.” The Citizen. November 25, 2015. http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazine/politicalreforms/Magufuli-demonstrates-he-s-not-a-joker–means-business/-/1843776/2971192/-/hn80r4z/-/index.html (accessed November 30, 2015).

Oluoch, Fred, and John Barugaba. Kenya risks row with Uganda over ADF militia. January 8, 2012. http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Kenya+risks+row+with+Uganda+over+ADF+militia++/-/2558/1301904/-/6h4w8d/-/index.html (accessed December 1, 2015).

Owaraga, Norah. “Land grabbing in Uganda is sanctioned by state law.” Daily Monitor. August 27, 2014. http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Commentary/Land-grabbing-in-Uganda-is-sanctioned-by-State-law/-/689364/2431608/-/od9y14z/-/index.html. (accessed December 7, 2015).

SA people news. 10 ways Tanzania’s (awesome) new president shows how to lead an African country. November 29, 2015. http://www.sapeople.com/2015/11/29/10-ways-tanzanias-awesome-new-president-shows-how-to-lead-an-african-country/ (accessed December 1, 2015).

The Economist. Uganda and its president: A leader who cannot bear to retire. October 12, 2013. http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21587812-once-much-admired-across-africa-and-west-ugandas-tarnished-president-seems (accessed December 1, 2015).

UE – Using English.com. Idiom: better the devil you know. 2002. http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/better+the+devil+you+know.html (accessed December 7, 2015).

Wikipedia. New generation of African leaders. December 16, 2014. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_generation_of_African_leaders (accessed December 1, 2015).

Windsor, Morgan. “Who is John Magufuli? Tanzania’s new president sworn in an inauguration ceremony.” International Business Times. November 5, 2015. http://www.ibtimes.com/who-john-magufuli-tanzanias-new-president-sworn-inauguration-ceremony-2171013 (accessed November 30, 2015).

Zedriga, C.D. Rauxen. “Youth must understand our past before 2011.” Uganda Correspondent. June 28, 2010. http://www.ugandacorrespondent.com/articles/2010/06/youth-must-understand-our-past-before-2011/ (accessed November 30, 2015).

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17 comments

  1. […] post that was the most viewed on THV blog  in 2015 is the one titled: “#WhatWouldMagufuliDo Take it with a Pinch of Salt.”  In that post I shared my original thoughts on why it was important to take note of and be […]

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  2. LABAN Ug · · Reply

    I must say these are brilliant brains I have learnt many things but however that does not guarantee that all those comments and analysis are completely true . thanks the writer. you see at some point term limits might not guarantee good governance but on the other hand they check on messes. for example people in government will protect themselves by enacting fake laws in their favour not citizens. this can be like in corrupting parliamentarians. term limits may help in regulating this.

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    1. Aine · · Reply

      Laban, I think it a two edged sword. either way if it is not used correctly has its limitations and opportunities. it is also subjective depending on which society it is applied.

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  3. Aine · · Reply

    Thank you for shedding light on one of hidden myth that has eluded me for sometime. Thomas Sankara ruled by decree for most of his 3 year reign and was killed, Patrice Lumumba ended the same way and they we killed by the system they served because they did not take into consideration of building consensus among the people led. Now I truly understand the mistakes they made even though they had in making of becoming the greatest leaders Africa had ever seen. Decrees are good for they remove the bureaucracies created by the systems in place but are should be limited in a such a way the balances both sides of the equation. Leadership in Africa has not been stable like in any other place because of external meddling that continue to see this continent as their second hub of where they can collect extra cash. The would be great leaders find themselves in such positions where they have to protect themselves, the populations they serve from exploitation and in so doing tend to view themselves as saviors. To me we should celebrate our leaders rather than demonize them.

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  4. 1. Magufuli’s decisions and pronouncements are not decrees by any definition of a decree. If I remember correctly, a decree has the force of law. A decree is a form of legislation. Not all decisions are decrees. To compare Magufuli’s decisions to Idi Amin’s decree is absurd. Magufuli is an elected president, on a ticket of a party that has proved that it can indeed respect the country’s constitution (regarding term limits for example) and not an unelected dictator like Idi Amin, or an unpopular dictator in office after manipulating the constitution and rigging elections. Whereas it is indeed problematic to ‘worship’ leaders and allow them to grow strong wings to enable them fly against the will of the people, the current Magufuli wave does not support the exact point you are making. It has been hijacked and ‘forced’ onto the thesis you want to make.

    2. The Electoral Commission figures cited in the post to measure Mr. Museveni’s and Mr. Besigye’s popularity have been challenged and indeed the Supreme Court has twice declared that presidential elections were held contrary to the law, even though they added that the irregularities were not substantial enough to reverse the total result, one can say that we can’t use those figures to determine a rise or drop in popularity of the two men. My problem with this post is in the ‘evidence’ it marshals.

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    1. Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire first I thank you for choosing to engage in this discussion.

      The definition of ‘decree’ that forms the basis of my analysis defines a decree as “a formal and authoritative order, especially one having the force of law: a presidential decree” here is the link to the source http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/decree.Therefore, all directives that President Magufuli gives in his capacity as the President of Tanzania are decrees ,for they come with the force of the law of Tanzania.

      It is exactly the fact that President Magufuli is a democratically elected president who campaigned on a ticket of a party that provoked my analysis. Why is he functioning in an individualistic populist dictatorial manner and not working through his party – consensus building so that the decrees are party decrees or through a cabinet so that the decrees are state decrees or through approval of parliament? Why is he functioning similar to how President Amin functioned? “Rule by decree is a style of governance allowing quick, unchallenged creation of law by a single person or group, and is used primarily by dictators and absolute monarchs.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_by_decree

      Whereas I am not of the legal community, my basic knowledge of the law tells me that unless the courts disqualified the election results and called for new elections to be held, the results and therefore the figures published by the Electoral Commission hold true. So the numbers from the Electoral Commission remain the valid historical records of the election results, particularly if the courts of law found that the “irregularities were not substantial enough to revers the total result”.

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  5. John · · Reply

    I generally tend to agree with some of your comments but your analysis and comparisons are totally wrong and somehow out of place based on facts surrounding Uganda’s political history that was temporarily marred Idd Amin military coup d’état and its aftermath, a background that cannot be compared to that of Tanzania which has been lead democratically through the ballot box for 54years since independence, I mean since independence. Tanzania has developed a legacy and culture of handing over power to the next president after a two term period of 5 years each for a total of 10 years following Miserere’s retirement from politics in 1985! Uganda is still led by I do not know what system and to get to where Tanzania is may take Uganda a milestone. Julius Nyerere, tried to help or advise Uganda to build a culture of democratic rule through the ballot box and relinquishing power after a certain period of time but that did not work for Uganda just like its having some hurdles with Burundi! I appreciate your admiration for Honorable J P Magufuli’s style of leadership but it is a serious and collective business behind a people who are tired of false promises, exploitation and continued corruption by a few government leaders that has given energy to Magufuli’s current style and strategy, in order to ensure that corruption and tardiness is taken off the gates of government leadership! God Bless Uganda!

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    1. John, first I thank you for engaging. Second I ask that in this kind of discourse you have the humility to appreciate that because you have insufficient knowledge on the subject does not qualify you to render one’s analysis as “totally wrong”. The gist of this analysis was not so much about change of power from one leader to another, but rather I used the example of how certain leaders have broken their promises to the people and have clang to power just because their egos have been inflated by a single story that has allowed them to believe that they are the only ones with abilities. This post is about leaders governing outside of the very societal norms – democratic principals – that are the basis of what is considered best practice world over and then being celebrated for it. I clarify, I have no admiration whatsoever of President Magufuli’s style of leadership, particularly his bulldozer, dictator, rule by decree style. To me a good leader is one who is able to build consensus and have the humility to work within the prescribed societal norms and practices. If the societal norms and practices are the problem, then my kind of leader would together with others fight to change them, but not self-aggrandize oneself in messianic tones as he has done with his populist stunts. As for me the jury is still out on how President Magufuli’s leadership will strengthen or not the democratic institutions of Tanzania.

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      1. Norah, I agree with you in many cases, but as far as President Magufuli’s style of leadership, particularly his bulldozer, if that is what it takes to get the job done (i.e. for and in the interests of the people), I am for it.

        In regards to “To me a good leader is one who is able to build consensus and have the humility to work within the prescribed societal norms and practices,” I wonder whether or not a leader who builds consensus working within the law and where by legislatures of his/her nation democratically keep on increasing their salaries such as those in Kenya, would be preferable to you than President Magufuli’s style of leadership, particularly his bulldozer, e.g. if he were to cut those parliamentarians salaries and does it unconstitutionally.

        Sometimes what is done within the law in Africa without bulldozer style of president, could turn out to be this – “Kenyan legislators have been ranked the second-highest paid lawmakers in the world, beating their counterparts from the developed economies of US, Britain and Japan.” – http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Kenya-MPs-come-second-in-global-salary-ranking-/-/539546/1924534/-/24knfiz/-/index.html

        Or this – http://www.blackseer.com/uganda/52613-dear-president-yoweri-museveni.html

        And then says that an increase for teachers is not a priority – See more at: http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/ugandan-teachers-fight-for-living-wage/#sthash.DAJSfa5G.dpuf

        Leadership, particularly this type of President Gen. Buhari bulldozer is arguably what is needed in Africa, because it works, and saves human lives – http://www.osundefender.org/no-mercy-for-fraudsters-buhari-orders-arrest-of-his-brother-in-law-over-alleged-scam/

        If I may, I would like to share with you the kind of changes that were made to deter corruption when a corruption scheme within lobbying was discovered in the U.S.; perhaps it will help you understand why Donald Trump is leading in polls:

        Jack Abramoff, the notorious former lobbyist at the center of Washington’s biggest corruption scandal in decades, spent more than three years in prison for his crimes. Now a free man, he reveals how he was able to influence politicians and their staffers through generous gifts and job offers. He tells Lesley Stahl the reforms instituted in the wake of his scandal have had little effect.

        After the scandal, Congress instituted a package of reforms, making what Abramoff did – like plying members of Congress with free expensive meals – illegal. But he doesn’t see the new reforms as being very effective.

        Abramoff: The reform efforts continually are these faux-reform efforts where they’ll change, they’ll tweak the system. They’ll say, “You can have a meal with a congressman if they’re standing up, not sitting down.”

        Stahl: Is that serious? Or are you joking?

        Abramoff: Oh no, I’m not joking at all.

        Stahl: So, it’s okay if you pay for lunch as long as you stand up?

        Abramoff: Well, it’s actually worse than that. You can’t take a congressman to lunch for $25 and buy him a hamburger or a steak of something like that. But you can take him to a fundraising lunch and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra and call it a fundraiser. And have all the same access and all the same interaction with that congressman. So the people who make the reforms are the people in the system.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jack-abramoff-the-lobbyists-playbook-30-05-2012/

        http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/index.php

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  6. Peter · · Reply

    I know less of Ugandan presidential term knowledge. But what Magufuli is doing is who he is as a leader for the people of TZ. For Uganda to compare with Magufuli’s administration is wrong. We used to have major opposition party CUF with an opponent for over 20 years yet he quit. And that opened a room for not a new in politic man Lowasa from the ruling party CCM. That tells alot, once if Uganda needs to change people mindsets for a better Uganda why not letting new names in presidential rally that way viters might think that we are moving on. My thoughts. Having one leader for so many years is not progressive. Because leaders must groom new minds. I believe that Uganda has a potential in becoming one of EA greatest nation. Museven had to use decrees as UG moved from Amin regime. What Magufuli is doing is what most opposition wanted. And he is supported not by 100% by opposition but he gets that. And it was supposed to be his doing as he was to clean the system before establishing his ground and he never hid these moves he is making during presidential rallies.
    I am trying to air my views.
    I like the post as it taught me a lot more than I thought I knew.

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    1. Peter, thank you for engaging and for appreciating that this post has been a source of learning for you. I will focus my response using your own words: “Leaders must groom new minds.” How is President Magufuli’s bulldozer, dictator, rule by decree style grooming new minds? And no, I disagree that President Museveni ever needed to rule by decree nor does President Magufuli. Tanzania has had 54 years of nation building during which democratic decision making structures have been established. If those who are occupying positions in the structures are not functioning well you deal with it in processes which allow them to reform and/or exist but without weakening the institutions per se. Both Uganda and Tanzania are now full fledged nations which should fight hard not to allow total state capture by the individual occupying the position of President. Our systems must be able to check those individuals and to have the power of censure over them – similar to what happens in the United States of America, for example. And what does the Constitution of Tanzania say about situations when a President has the power to rule by decree? I doubt highly that such situations if there are any are currently present in Tanzania to warrant President Maguguli to rule by decree. My understanding of rule by decree is premised on such definitions as provided by wikipedia here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_by_decree

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  7. Maggie · · Reply

    Thank you for sharing. #whatwouldmagufulido has been created by social media this time. Previous creations were through mainstream media. This will therefore be keenly monitored by the general public and not mainstream media which has an agenda and is regulated. I am concerned that my newest East African President is not being given the respect he deserves. Single story narratives by media do inform the thinking of the public and can be manipulated by good PR. How sustainable is this? The President must be seen to deliver on IMPORTANT promises. What is important to the public? Stability and security is top. Economic growth, Education, Infrastructure – ICT, Water, Electricity, Social services etc. Are we now looking at term limits as a single story narrative? Is it the only criteria for a good leader – he stood down after 10 years? Mandela was supposedly great because he stood down after 5 years? Would he not have been a better leader than those that followed? Lee Kwan Yew – how many years did it take to create the successful Singapore we see today? The public decides through the vote – is it fair that term limits prevent them from choosing #whatwouldmagufulido for President in 2025 if he does deliver on what is important to the voters sustainably?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Maggie, You have some points, but on the other hand one doesn’t wait for the game to end before cheering. When a new player steps on the field and scores a goal, he is cheered.

      I believe President Magufuli has already scored a goal or two in the most crucial sector and that is reallocation of resources. Case in point: The thoughtful move of turning alcohol and plates of food expenses on independence celebrations for a day into fighting cholera and new beds and equipment for hospitals. Those beds will be there for tax payers to use even ten years after he has left office.

      If Uganda did such a thing as this – “A state dinner for the official opening of the country’s parliament, for example, was going to cost 300m Tanzanian shillings (£92,500). Magufuli slashed the budget to 25m and ordered that the rest of the money be used to buy 300 hospital beds and 600 sheets.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/01/tanzania-cost-cutting-president-john-magufuli-twitter

      Then we wouldn’t be reading this – “How Nairobi and Kenyatta became Ugandan hospitals” – http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/OpEd/comment/How-Nairobi-and-Kenyatta-became-Ugandan-hospitals-/-/434750/2428472/-/3t8pm8/-/index.html

      Or this: “Upgrade local hospitals to save sh377b spent abroad on treatment” – http://www.newvision.co.ug/mobile/Detail.aspx?NewsID=643231&CatID=4

      At this rate of performance, if President Magufuli decided to retire after 5years, stating that his job is done, people would understand. Even if Mr. Mandela had stayed beyond one term, in fear that those after him might do worse, unfortunately as they did, would that have stopped the less capable guys from coming into power for ever?

      There are two kinds of leaders, those that do their best knowing that their time in office is limited, and others that keep telling the masses that they need to be re-elected to finish the work they started. In other words, a Catch-22 situation – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Catch-22

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    2. Prof. Maggie thank you so much for engaging in this discussion. You raise valid points for consideration. For me my most important take home from your contribution is the need to unpack the norm. Yes, good question: have term limits become the single story narrative through which the performance of Presidents of African nation states are judged? I must admit I am one who strongly believes that term limits do not necessarily add value to good governance. My one strong example is the United Kingdom where there are no term limits and where the electorate is strong in voicing their judgement through the ballot. For me the United Kingdom is closer to the ideal of democracy than in many states that are celebrated as democratic because they have term limits in place. In this post I used the example of President Museveni and President Kagame ‘instigating’ changes in the constitutions of their respective countries on the basis of them being too good a leader to ‘loose’. I also wanted to focus attention on the fact that they had initially made promises not do so, at least that was the single story narrative that dominated in the media. I wanted to convey the danger/power of the single story narrative – messianic saviour leader – which blinds us from holding leaders accountable – they made a promise and did not keep it.

      With regards to social media versus main stream media, I do not think that one can make a clear cut distinction between the two. I do not know of any mainstream media house that does not have multiple social media accounts through which they shape discourse on social media. In fact it is quite feasible that social media has indeed helped mainstream media to further their agenda and to side step regulations. This could be an interesting area for research.

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  8. Stan Burkey · · Reply

    Well spoken

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Two key differences. One is that Magufuli, reputation and all is merely a cog is democratic system that ensures change of leadership within a maximum of ten years. Museveni, as you may well know better than I do, is was, and could very well is the system itself, which Uganda runs on.

    Second difference, Idi Amin is…well Idi Amin.

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    1. Thank you for engaging. You actually confirm the gist of my blog post – the power of a single story. The single stories that were told of each of the three men generate exactly you response. The tendencies to find the difference and to justify autocratic and authoritarian behavior as good some of the time, even though autocratic and authoritarian behavior is just that.

      How will President Magufuli’s leadership weaken or strengthen democratic rule in Tanzania within the maximum ten years that he will serve? How will his rule enhance or not participatory decision making as it should in Tanzania? These are the questions that we should be debating; questions that are not being taken care of by the current single story. This is the gist of my argument.

      History has it that when President Museveni came into power he did so through a ‘liberation’ war that decried the past regimes of Uganda. Then a Constituent Assembly was constituted which assembly placed term limits for one not to serve more than two terms of 4 years each – that is to say a maximum of 8 years.

      As with the recent case of the Rwanda Parliament removing any impediments for President Kagame to continue being president, this was the case with the Uganda Parliament and President Museveni. The rationale for lifting term limits in both cases was the individuals are now much larger than the very institutions and the office – president – under which they serve. The single story that justified the change in constitutions of both countries was that the leaders are too good to retire.

      So in essence this post is about debating reputations of individuals holding the office of president versus the social institutions that govern the office of president, other public offices and the civil service of a particular nation.

      Liked by 1 person

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