Mixed views on Mafuru removal

Friday December 09 2016
pic mafuru

Mr Lawrence Mafuru

Dar/Mbeya. The removal of Mr Lawrence Mafuru from the powerful position of Treasury Registrar has prompted mixed views among analysts and politicians.

While others say the decision shows that President John Magufuli is sensitive to criticism and opinions that differ from his positions, others are of the view that people should not speculate on the move.

No reason has so far been given for the sacking of Mr Mafuru. A brief statement issued by State House on Wednesday evening said President John Magufuli had appointed Dr Oswald Mashindano to replace Mr Mafuru, who is to be assigned other duties.

Some analysts said yesterday that Mr Mafuru’s removal could be a result of his outspokenness on various policy issues that seemed to “go against the grain,”

especially on the management of public finances.

Mr Mafuru was quoted recently saying it was not an offence for public institutions to open accounts with commercial banks.

The comments came after President Magufuli had repeatedly spoken against the depositing state funds in commercial banks, saying the government was at times being forced to borrow its own money from banks. A political analyst, who is also a member of the opposition Civil United Front, Mr Julius Mtatiro, told The Citizen that there was more to Mr Mafuru’s removal than meets the eye.

“If difference in opinion between him and the appointing authority was the cause of tension then there was a need for him to explain to the President why he thinks he is right,” he said.

However, he added that it was unlikely that Mr Mafuru was given an opportunity to explain his position. “It is unfortunate that our political leaders don’t heed experts’ professional advice.”

Former CCM lawmaker Edmund Mjengwa said the impression that was being created was that Dr Magufuli does not need the advice of experts.

“President Magufuli is doing a wonderful job in building a new Tanzania, but the fact remains that he needs to value the advice of experts and his aides. He should also listen to ministers, permanent secretaries and even senior CCM officials,” Colonel (rtd)

Mjengwa said. He added that he was aware that some of the President’s aides feared they would be sacked if they said something that would not please their boss.

For his part, Kigoma Urban MP Zitto Kabwe said it was not wise to speculate on reasons behind the removal of Mr Mafuru, “who has done a commendable job in transforming the Treasury”.

Mr Kabwe, a former chairman of the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, said Mr Mafuru was among the most patriotic civil servants he had worked with.

“If I’m asked to name the five most patriotic civil servants I have met and enjoyed working with, Mafuru will be one of them,” said the ACT-Wazalendo chairman.

Mr Kabwe said he hoped that Dr Mashindano would continue the “good work” done by Mr Mafuru at the Treasury.

Former Kigoma South MP David Kafulila, said Mr Mafuru was a victim of the President’s “immense” powers to hire and fire senior public officials.

“Granted, the President has constitutional powers to appoint and remove officials, but you cannot expect public officials to have peace of mind and deliver if things continue to be done in this manner.”

Mr Kafulila added that it was within the Treasury registrar’s authority to clarify statements made by the President.

Mr Mafuru holds a masters’ degree in business administration from the University of Dar es Salaam and a certificate from the Chartered Institute of Banking in London.

Before joining the government as Director of Resource Mobilisation in the President Office (Presidential Delivery Bureau) he worked with various commercial banks in senior positions.