I was writing this article in a very nice hotel outside the country when I had been at a conference. My Tanzanian counterparts did not have the trouble of waiting hours at airports, being fed in hotels like battery cage chicken and asked to fill in those conference evaluation forms the conference organisers circulate, asking you whether it had been worth your while to be at the conference.
The Taifas did not come to the meeting, although they had been invited, and, I was told, their tickets already purchased. But they voted for Dr John Magufuli who, in thanking them for their vote, grounded most public servants for external and much of domestic travel. What started as a simple one-person one-vote has now turned into something very big.
In case you have not been following what has been up north in Tanzania, I will fill you in now. The term of office for President Jakaya Kikwete had expired. And as is the tradition in Tanzania, they hold elections. Nobody tries to change the constitution such that they stay longer than they are welcome. So, an election they had, and a person called Dr John Magufuli won the election and became the president of Tanzania. No sooner than Magufuli was sworn in than he fired the board of management for Muhimbili Hospital (the Tanzanian version of Kamuzu Central Hospital or QECH).
There was this machine that is called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. The story is that the MRI had broken down long ago. Magufuli came on the scene and commanded that the machine be repaired and voila, the machine came into life. It is not scanning people in Dar.
Then there was the independence day celebrations which were coming. Magufuli single handedly proclaimed that there should not be expensive celebrations as is usually the case. Instead of spending on celebrations, the country had to spend on a clean-up campaign. Perhaps he had learned of the good work BEAM was doing in Nyasaland.
And then the Tanzanian parliament was going to open and followed by a State dinner that was going to cost about 300 million Shillings. President Magufuli ordered instead that a modest dinner be done and the rest of the money be taken to buy hospital beds for Muhimbili. In no time Muhimbili got 300 beds and mattresses and 600 bed sheets from that money. I do not know how much else Magufuli is going to do, impressing those that are impressed.
I have heard many a Malawian wishing they had their own Magufuli and Mphungu Village (Capital Hill). I have not asked them whether a Malawian President can declare that money for celebrations be diverted to buy hospital beds and this is done within a few days? Would this be allowable my Malawi laws? Can the government buy things like 300 beds in two days and still be compliant with Public Procurement Act? Yes, there is emergency procurement that one can do but the beds and mattress seems normal to me. President Magufuli, you are lucky you are not in Lilongwe. You can’t do that here kabisa!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :