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The East African : Dec 5th 2015
12 The EastAfrican NEWS DECEMBER 5-11,2015 Magufuli: Will he last o≥ is it all show? The answe≥ is out the≥e I n just one month in office, Tanzania’s new President John Pombe Magufuli has lived up to his “Bulldozer” nickname. His aggressive campaign against corruption, waste, and sloth has captured the attention not just of Tanzanians, but the world at large. The speed with which Magu- fuli has come to trend on social media chatter has placed Tanzania in global focus, spawned all sorts of memes such as the Twitter hashtags “#WhatWouldMagufuliDo” and led to the coining of new words like “Magulification.” People are beginning to measure their leaders against the new kid on the block from Tanzania, who has demonstrated within a short time that a new broom does indeed sweep clean. In Kenya, as elsewhere, com- parisons are being drawn between Magufuli and both incumbent and past leaders, especially on how they have confronted corruption and tried to instil discipline in government and in society at large. But questions are also be- ing asked about how long the momentum will last. President Magufuli is not the first African president to come into office breathing fire and brimstone against graft and mismanagement, promising to kick out and jail corrupt officials, restore efficiency in state institutions, and generally force through changes to make life better for the citizens. All too often however, they have run out of steam and it has become apparent that the gusto displayed was either just cynical PR, or an effort to put in their place political foes associated with the previous re- COMMENTARY MACHARIA GAITHO “His campaign is unlike anything in the region where there has been an orderly transfer of power. gime. Magufuli is certainly shak- ing up Tanzania, but it remains to be seen whether he will institute sustainable reforms designed to place the country back on the widely admired path of modesty and honesty marked out by the late president Julius Nyerere. He may well find that the Chama cha Mapinduzi of today is not the ascetic, socialist institution bequeathed by Nyerere. Successive regimes since the exit of the founding father — Ali Hassan Mwinyi (19851995), Benjamin Mkapa 19952005) and Jakaya Kitwete (2005-2015) — have steered the eternal ruling party away from the spartan socialist ideology of the Nyerere years, into fullblooded capitalism. In the process, they have also allowed the party to come under the sway of wealthy and powerful businessmen who are happy to fund the politicians in exchange for unfettered access to government contracts and general opaque means of cutting themselves a share of the public pie. Within just a few days of his taking office, President Magufuli had hit Tanzanian like a whirlwind, treating corruption as the greatest impediment to economic growth and social justice. By contrast, it took President Uhuru Kenyatta two years to publicly acknowledge that corruption is a serious issue in Kenya. The State of the Nation ad- dress delivered in Parliament in March just before he begun his third year in office marked the start of President Kenyatta’s own campaign against corruption. Five Cabinet secretaries and scores of other top officials mentioned in corruption probes were made to step aside. But after that the campaign against graft seemed to have stalled amid accusations from the opposition, civil society and other interested groups that it was all a huge public relations ploy. Buffeted by allegations that he was protecting some of those close to him, President Kenyatta last month relaunched his anti-corruption drive with the Cabinet reshuffle that officially dropped the suspended Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries. He also announced a reorganisation of government intended to ensure accountability make senior officers personally responsible for any graft in their departments. As if on cue, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions, launched some dramatic actions on some of the cases presently occupying the minds of Kenyans. It remains to be seen wheth- er anything concrete will come out of the new investigations. It does not help that EACC, DPP and CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro have had to contend with accusations that they only do the bidding of State House rather than act independently as per the Constitution. Kenyan scepticism about President Kenyatta’s anti-corruption drive is mirrored, among the Jubilee coalition support base, by scepticism and suspicion of President Magufuli’s campaign next door. The Tanzanian leader se- cured victory amid nervous glances from Jubilee leaders wary of his reputed friendship with Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga. Then the “Bulldozer, ” a nick- name that almost translates into Raila Odinga’s “Tinga”, started upsetting the apple cart as soon as he was sworn in. The common refrain is that he will soon tire, and eventually may not have the political muscle to take the war to entrenched networks within CCM that direct and benefit from corruption. President Magufuli’s cam- paign to clean up Tanzania is unlike anything in the region where there has been an orderly transfer of power. In Kenya, president Mwai Kibaki succeeded president Daniel arap Moi in 2002 promising to dismantle the corruption networks that thrived under the Kanu regime. But he was more attuned to building and strengthening institutions, and establishing Commissions of Inquiry, rather than in populist one-man shows. Although open grand corruption is seen to have declined under his watch, president Kibaki’s tenure was still blighted by the Anglo Leasing scandal and the failure to resolve the Goldenberg scandal of the Moi era. Earlier, in 1978, President Moi had succeeded the late President Jomo Kenyatta with his own populist drives to root out corruption and end the culture of sloth in government. He famously declared, to his powerful detractors still in government, that “buying a bed made of gold will not buy you a sound sleep.” President Magufuli may well have borrowed from president Moi’s copybook, and in that regard should be keen to learn what happened to the Moi drive against corruption. It was all show. Moi had no desire to wipe out corruption, but only eject the Kenyatta-era graft networks so that he could have his own unhindered turn at the trough. He went on to become one of the wealthiest African leaders, probably at par with famous kleptocrats such as Mobute Sese Seko of Zaire and Omar Bongo of Gabon. The new Tanzanian leader now has every opportunity to craft his own legacy. CCM supporters at a rally addressed by then presidential candidate and now President John Magufuli, who has ‘hit Tanzania like a whirlwind.’ Picture: File firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MachariaGaitho FDC members in Buikwe in Uganda. Picture: Morgan Mbabazi Political pa≥ties in a changing Uganda TURN FROM PAGE 6 significant efforts have been made to develop the party and to build structures across the country. However, in practice, many district FDC party offices, for example, remain closed for much of the inter-election period and only recently reopened for the official campaign period after party headquarters distributed new funds. Ultimately, however, FDC en- joys fewer resources than the NRM, and is consequently even more reliant on local activists and candidates to finance party structures and activities leading to substantial regional variation. This is important as it raises questions regarding the party’s ability to campaign deep into the villages, and to also ensure the presence of loyal party agents in every polling station. Indeed, while there is a tendency among analysts of African politics to assume that parties do not matter because leaders often treat them that way, in fact, very few opposition leaders have ever won power without constructing something that looks like an effective party. Resources will thus remain a critical issue as Uganda heads to next February’s election: As the NRM tries to stop defections, “Go Forward” tries to attract defectors, and the FDC tries to construct a more effective party that can mobilise support and monitor the elections. One of the major issues thus becomes: How tired are Ugandans of Museveni, and can the FDC and “Go Forward” teams mobilise sufficient votes on the basis of a general desire for change despite limited resources and associated institutional capacity? Or will NRM manage to benefit from the development that it has overseen, as well as from a popular sense of cynicism and fear that an opposition victory could prompt an electoral dispute and post-election violence? Gabrielle Lynch is an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Warwick, UK; Justin Willis is a professor of m odern African h istory at the Durham University, UK.
Nov 28th 2015
Dec 12th 2015