LAST Sunday, 5th November, unofficially but impulsively we found ourselves jovially observing the very successful two years of Dr John Joseph Pombe Magufuli’s presidency in this country. His leadership style has won so many hearts inside and outside the country.
We do not have that habit of marking anniversaries of leaderships, at best we do observe the first hundred days of a new leader, but this time we could not afford to let it pass just like that.
We had the whole preceding week before 5th November press coverage and talk shows about the appreciable achievements and challenges experienced within these two years and the kind of leadership that seems to have been longed for so long.
Much has been said and would not like to repeat lest I become a copy-cat parrot but suffice to say that President Magufuli’s approach towards his declared economic war has reminded me the days in which Mwalimu Nyerere through the Arusha Declaration pronounced his intentions of wresting the economy of this country to the peoples’ hands through nationalisation of all major means of production.
He did it much to the chagrin of the powerful Western capitalist countries, owners of multinational corporations. Yes, almost all heads of African countries keep on saying of the second liberation war after independence was economic war but they end up paying lip service after lavishly been doused with personal affluence at the expense of their impoverished subjects! Mwalimu Nyerere nationalisation policy was a bold and dangerous action just the same way as President Magufuli dealt with the Acacia and Barrick’s saga.
Despite all the odds, he decided to take the bull by the horns and we emerged victorious. We witnessed Mwalimu Nyerere marching from Butiama to Mwanza supporting the Arusha Declaration.
I would not be surprised people to imagine even walking on foot from Mwanza to Chato as a way of supporting President Magufuli’s bold action of safeguarding our natural resources as portrayed in those newly introduced laws.
Perhaps it could be appropriate to look back the days when we were trying to play chess searching as to who should be the next president in the fifth phase after the JK exit? Everybody had his or her own ideas and proposals.
I believe it must have been a very acrimonious task even to the top Party echelon to come out with the name that could carry the aspirations of the down trodden people. It was indeed difficult to genuinely think of a leader who would bring back to rail this nation that was dreadfully derailed by greedy corrupt bureaucrats.
I strongly believe this must have been God’s miracle that brought in President Magufuli to redeem this nation that was already simmering with corruption. I remember one leader from the opposition parties suggested that the incoming leader should have the mad man’s courage to bring this country back to order.
Indeed JK was very right when he introduced him, Magufuli as ‘Tinga Tinga” on his attitude of a no nonsense mind-set! But the former Party Secretary General, Mzee Yusuf Makamba in one of those political campaigns prior the General Elections, as usual he used a Biblical saying that, “Jakaya was baptizing people with water, but the incoming one, Magufuli would baptize them with fire!” And without mincing his words, President Magufuli in his inaugural speech at the Parliament, he said, “Mimi ni mtumbua majipu,” meaning that he would not spare anybody involved in dubious corrupt tendencies, and surely he is walking on his words.
Similarly in one of my columns, having seen by then that the country was going to the dogs, I dared to write that “we need a benevolent dictator” to steer us away from this messy. I argued that the concept of a benevolent dictatorship is, in most cases, a good model of running government affairs. Benevolence means being inclined to acts of goodness.
Unfortunately the world has a bad connotation of the word dictator fuelled by power-hungry lunatics like Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Uganda’s Iddi Amin. These “dictators” were not benevolent, or respected, and their actions were based purely on self-interest and that is never good.
According to an article in The Bull, an American publication on - “What is bad to be a benevolent dictator?” The Bull tells us that benevolent dictators do the right things– they grudgingly accept the responsibilities that ultimate authority demands and they put their own interests behind the needs of the wider organization.
They also show a readiness to act decisively even in desperate situations knowing the buck stops with them. This only works if a leader is respected. Respect doesn’t happen overnight but is built over time by proving personal capability and commitment.
It doesn’t automatically come with a job title, nor should it. So a benevolent dictator is ethical, kind, transparent and inclusive but also decisive. And he makes sure focusing on building a strong team to support him. People respond to strong inspirational leadership with a clear vision of the future and the courage and drive to take it there.
If that sums up to a benevolent dictator I wonder if there is anything wrong with that! We have examples of benevolent dictators like Singapore’s first President Lee Kwan Yew who in less than fifty years he could transform his country into a first world nation with GDP per capita income higher than the USA.
If that is the case, I would not mind for my President to be a benevolent dictator as I would have been more at home to address Mwalimu Nyerere as a benevolent dictator too!
- mgosiwasui87@gmail. com +2554342711 Senior Citizen Board Member Penal Reform International, National Parole Board Tanzania.