Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli revealed yesterday that the decision to name the Tazara Flyover in honour of the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) director Patrick Mfugale was not based on favour but the engineer’s outstanding commitment in serving the nation.
Although Dr Magufuli has, since May this year made a similar statement about Mr Mfugale during the launch of the Magufuli Bridge over Kilombero River, little was known about the motivation behind the president’s decision until yesterday.
He said that he happened to personally know Mr Mfugale whom he worked with for almost the entire time he served as works minister during the fourth phase government.
"I know him as a hardworking person, patriot, faithful and creative in his undertakings," said Mr Magufuli during the launching of the Japanese-granted Eng. Patrick Mfugale Flyover.
But things were not as rosy to Mr Mfugale as pleasing to his seniors in the ministry of works where he was assigned with the supervision of the construction of rural roads.
President Magufuli revealed that during the period between 2007 and 2008, Mr Mfugale and his colleague, Mvungi rejected orders from the ministry’s big wigs. They were later sacked from their positions.
However, Dr Magufuli said that the sacking was later deemed unlawful and the then Permanent Secretary at the ministry of works intervened and prevented their sacking.
Dr Magufuli said the two were harassed for sticking to engineering ethics.
"I expected at that time – given the Hehe’s tradition of committing suicide – Mr Mfugale would’ve killed himself," President Magufuli said jokingly. But while Mr Mfugale never took his life, his colleague, Mr Mvungi, did.
Although it is in public record that Mr Mvungi took his life by firing a shot to his head, no one had associated the incident with the frustration that may have come following government decisions made against him and Mr Mfugale.
"Today he is dead because he chose to stick to ethics as an engineer," President Magufulihailed Mr Mvungi. "That is the price of being faithful in the work place."
For Mr Mfugale, President Magufuli said that he chose to stay until when he (Magufuli) was reappointed minister for works and found that MrMfugale had just been assigned a desk for simply reading daily newspapers.
"Whenever people at the ministry found challenges somewhere in their operations, they would summon him for assistance,” said MrMagufuli.
Thereafter, as a minister, Magufuli decided to appoint him as Chief Executive Officer of Tanroads.
"This is Mfugale whom I know. Here Mr Mfugale who was walking without a stick but today moves around with a stick. He served his country with great honesty and I believe that you (the citizens) will agree with me that we name this flyover after his name," urged the head of state.