African leaders need to learn from Magufuli

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 00:00 | By
Tanzania President late John Magufuli.

Departed Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has through his remarkable leadership style, left a rich legacy as a point of reflection in his country and the rest of the  continent.

With the speculation surrounding his absence from the public since February 27 finally put to rest by the announcement of his death on March 17, the world is still trying to come to terms with Magufuli’s controversial statements on Covid-19.

The rumours swirling around the circumstances of his death and Tanzania’s management of the coronavirus that has taken a heavy toll on the country’s top leadership, means that the new leader will have to chart a new path.

Covid-19 is a huge health crisis that has generated massive economic upheaval, destroying lives and livelihoods.

During his tenure, Magufuli demonstrated a hands-on approach in governance characterised by prudent economic management and the fight against corruption.

The results of his keen attention to Tanzania’s financial matters and the control of its resources has seen the country attain great strides of development, especially in infrastructure and the mineral sector, that has seen the country poised for economic take-off.

It is baffling why the departed leader, popularly referred to as “The Bulldozer” due to his swashbuckling approach to public service, did not adopt the highly successful approach to his country’s economic renaissance to the pandemic.

Globally, it has been accepted that the coronavirus is a major health crisis that carries with it grave repercussions requiring restructuring of the economic order.

African countries, including Tanzania are going through an economic recession caused by the virus.

As we bid farewell to Magufuli, the man who left an indelible mark in his country and the envy of many in the continent, albeit with some questions regarding human rights and freedoms, we must learn from the experience of his outstanding leadership.

Most important, Tanzanians, Africans and indeed the entire world must remember that our era will be defined by a fundamental shift perpetrated by Covid-19 and the new normal that will emerge in the post-viral era.

The reality we must accept is that coronavirus has greatly affected our lives and it is incumbent upon our leaders to chart a clear path in the dramatic restructuring of the social and economic order – leading from the crisis of today and the new normal after the battle against coronavirus.

The imperative of our time in safeguarding our lives and livelihoods requires interdependence and inclusivity, more so in the East African Community. 

The battle against coronavirus critically depends on resolve, reform and resilience.

In re-imagining the future post-pandemic, we must emphasize the urgency of solving now for the virus and the economy as we re-imagine the post-pandemic future.

Condoling with Tanzanians in tribute to their great leader, we urge the new leadership to take a closer look at the pandemic and draw on the experience of its own and neighbours reputable professional medical personnel, scientists and economists in the battle against Covid-19.

In almost all countries, crisis response efforts are in full motion and a large array of public-health interventions have been deployed. Healthcare systems are on a war footing to increase bed capacity, supplies and trained health workers.

Economic recovery efforts are underway. Inaction and paralysis can prove disastrous and costly. Leaders must navigate a clear path to the next normal after the pandemic that changed our lives. [email protected]

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