African countries take the celebration of Independence very seriously, but frankly the event holds very little significance when judged with its impact on the welfare of the citizens.
Independence celebration in Africa is 'big business' and the budget allocated to things like the Independence cake, publicity, logistics and refreshment for the top government functionaries in attendance is often unbelievable.
It is an event for parting by politicians in the ruling class who spend millions on conspicuous outfits, food and decorations that are laid to waste minutes after the lights go out.
Well, President John Magufuli may have his flaws, but approving the unnecessary spending associated with independence celebrations while top priorities in areas of health and infrastructure suffer is not one of them.
The president continues to stay true to his principles of "tusifanye kazi kwa mazoea" (avoid doing things in the way they have always been done); and obviously, he is a good disciple of Nyerere's principle of "kupanga ni kuchagua" (making proper choices between a variety of desirable competing demands).
Prime Minister Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa has announced that President Magufuli has canceled the proposed independence celebrations which were to be held in Dar es Salaam on the 9th December, 2018.
According to the prime minister, the president has directed that the money allocated for the celebrations should instead be spent on constructing a new hospital in Dodoma, which is to be named "Uhuru Hospital".
This is not the first time the president will be taking such actions.
In 2015, just a few days after assuming office, the president declared that he would not fold his arms and watch as such huge amounts are spent on independence celebrations when "people are dying of cholera."
It was the first time in 54 years that Tanzania would not hold celebrations to mark independence from the British masters.
He also repeated the decision, when he ordered that the funds allocated for independence should be used instead on a road expansion project along Ally Hassan Mwinyi road in Dar es Salaam.
Citizens in the country continue to express excitement at the decisions as they feel it shows the president's commitment to ending the lavish spending of the political class in the country.
What are your thoughts?
Header Photo: Sadi Said/Reuters