By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni yesterday laid his eulogy to the late former President of Tanzania Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli at the Tanzanian High Commission in Kololo.
President Museveni eulogized the Late Magufuli as a great leader, whose sole purpose in his reign [one complete term, had just started second] was improving the lives of his people.
“President Magufuli was such a dedicated servant of the people of Tanzania, East Africa and Africa. It is such a great loss,” said President Museveni.
He added, “It’s a challenge for the freedom fighters that are alive, to continue the struggle as we did in the past, because when we lost our comrades we never gave up, and because we never gave up, we succeeded.”
John Pombe Magufuli, the son of a peasant farmer who became Tanzania’s president in 2015, died last week aged 61. Once praised for his no-nonsense approach, he went on to become a controversial leader, especially over his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Before he was president he acquired the nickname “the bulldozer” for driving a program to build roads as minister for works, and later was hailed for his anti-corruption stance and his distinct dislike for wasting money.
On the very first day of his presidency, he sent a stark message that he would not tolerate the country’s chronic absenteeism in its civil service, when he visited the finance ministry offices, asking for the whereabouts of those not at work.
He also purged thousands of so-called “ghost workers” – essentially non-existent employees – from the public payroll, and fired officials considered corrupt or under-performing, in public. Sometimes this was even done live on television.
And he clamped down on what he saw as extravagant spending, canceling Independence Day celebrations for the first time in 54 years. Instead, he ordered a public clean-up, getting his own hands dirty by picking up rubbish outside State House.
He also banned all foreign trips for public servants.
In the first year of Magufuli’s presidency, this approach earned him a great deal of praise, inspiring the Twitter hashtag: #WhatWouldMagufuliDo.
In 2017, a Kenyan professor PLO Lumumba went so far as to call for the “Magufulication” of Africa during an address at the University of Dar es Salaam. RIP