• Tanzanian President John Magufuli has suspended the head of his nation’s telecoms industry regulatory body and disbanded its board, his office said.

    The suspension was passed due to the weak management and incompetence at the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority which cost the East African nation about 400 billion shillings ($181.7 million) annually.

    The Tanzanian president has aggressively been moving sweeping out of his government's corrupt leaders as well as cutting down on government wastage.

    The suspension follows the recent cancellation of celebrations marking Union Day with an aim of saving money for a road project.

    President Magufuli said in a statement, earlier in the month, that the one million US dollars could be used to expand a road stretch from Mwanza Airport in northern Tanzania to the City Centre. The project is aimed at easing traffic jams in Mwanza, a city on the shores of Lake Victoria.

    “The money was earmarked to buy food, drinks as well as paying allowances to those who will be involved in the celebrations including parades and mass plays,” said the statement.

    The Union Day is celebrated on April 26 and marks the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964, to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

    Money-saving measures

    Magufuli started his money-saving stringent measures few days after he was sworn in December last year. Among his initial moves, was the cancellation of celebrations marking Independence Day on December 9 and directed the $2 million set aside for the festivities to be used to construct a 4.3 km road section in Dar es Salaam.

    World AIDS Day (1st Dec) celebrations in Tanzania were also suspended and instead the money saved from what he termed as “unnecessary government spending”, was used to purchase drugs.

    There were jokes circulating in Tanzania that the president might cancel Christmas. Although he did not cancel the celebrations, he barred the printing of Christmas cards at government expense.

    Impromptu visits

    On his first day at work, the president conducted an impromptu visit tour of the ministry of finance offices and demanded to know the whereabouts of officials whose desks were unoccupied, Mail Guardian Africa reported.

    Due to his strict and hard-driving nature, although he is soft spoken, Magufuli was nicknamed ‘tingatinga’, Swahili for bulldozer, in his previous position as the country’s minister of works.

    So far Magufuli has fired at least seven government officials since coming to power in November last year, including the chief of Tanzania Railways, a top immigration official and the head of the country’s anti-corruption body.

    The money-saving measures have earned Tanzania up to 37.5 billion shillings and was directed on school grants, 46.3 billion shillings on water projects and another 80 billion shillings on an electricity plant in Dar es Salaam over in the three months to March—money that wasn’t previously available.

    Due to these and many other tough measures which were taken by the president, social media generated a meme on Twitter that prompted the question #WhatWouldMagufuliDo? While sceptics suggested that Magufuli was a lone ranger and would finally give up, he is still a strong driving force set to develop Tanzania.

    Image credit: JPM/FB