The late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has received plaudits from all over the world, with President Uhuru Kenyatta describing him as “the man who taught us that Africa can succeed without foreign aid.”
For renowned lawyer Prof. PLO Lumumba, President Magufuli was a breath of fresh air in the African political arena, who every leader in the continent should emulate.
When he came into office in 2015, President Magufuli moved with speed and resoluteness in introducing sweeping changes to the mining sector. Within two years of his presidency, Magufuli had changed the legal, regulatory, and fiscal frameworks governing the foreign dominated sector.
His administration introduced a 16 percent government ownership of mining companies’ stock, with an opportunity to purchase a further 34 percent ownership. All this was a bid to ensure that Tanzania gets her deserved economic benefit.
In an exclusive interview with TV47 Digital, Prof. Lumumba said that all these reforms had the Tanzanian people at heart, and that any true pan Africanist will miss John Pombe Magufuli.
“When he came into power, Magufuli told me that workers must be paid on the 23rd of every month and he ensured that is the case. He found 14,000 ghost workers in the government and he forced them to be removed. Mining countries from the west and different parts of the world had not paid taxes in the neighbourhood of TSh200 billion, he made sure that they pay,” said Prof. Lumumba.
Prof. Lumumba is calling upon President Uhuru to emulate the late Magufuli, in ridding Kenya’s political arena of tribalism and ethnicity as well as fighting corruption head-on, “like the Magufuli-style.”
So what made Magufuli tick?
Prof. Lumumba says that what made President Magufuli stand out is the fact that he had mastered the art of using resources prudently.
“For example, he caused mining companies to pay taxes and the taxes were deployed into infrastructure. Magufuli simply utilized the resources of Tanzania for the benefit of the people. I have gone to Tanzania several times, you can see infrastructure in all sectors, agriculture, education and he stands up,” added Prof. Lumumba.
While lauding leaders like Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo, Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi, and Namibia’s Hage Geingob, Prof. Lumumba insists that Magufuli still stood out.
“He came into power when the country was going through economic difficulties, but he steadied the ship. The kind of outpouring tributes we have seen from leaders and citizens is a testament that Magufuli was a man of the people, he tucked the right codes and did what was in the best interest of Tanzanians,” concluded Prof. Lumumba.
Even as he is laid to rest today, the late President Magufuli leaves behind an indelible mark, one which current and future leaders will want to emulate, in road to foreign aid-free Africa.