Dar es Salaam. Mr Ombeni Sefue, who was President John Magufuli’s voice for the last four months, was yesterday removed from the powerful position of chief secretary.
A brief State House statement said Mr John Kijazi had replaced Mr Sefue, who would be assigned other duties.
Interestingly, Dr Magufuli reappointed Mr Sefue on December 30, last year, and he effectively becomes the first high-ranking government official appointed by the President to be removed from office.
State House also released a two-minute video clip showing President Magufuli speaking about the change of guard.
He commended Mr Sefue for his “good performance” and assistance during the President’s first three months in office.
“...I have, however, decided to make minor changes and appoint Engineer John Kijazi, our high commissioner to India, to take over,” President Magufuli said. The State House statement did not say why Mr Sefue was removed less than three months since his reappointment.
Mr Sefue joins the list of more than 150 senior government officials who have been removed from their posts since Dr Magufuli was sworn in on November 5, last year.
Speaking to The Citizen about a fortnight ago, Mr Sefue said everything was being done to ensure that the “cleansing” campaign being carried out by Cabinet ministers does not victimise anybody. He said every minister had his or her management style, adding that the most important thing was to ensure that the law was observed.
Mr Sefue spoke following concerns that ministers were arbitrarily sacking and suspending senior official without following due procedure.
“The point I want to drive home is that nobody will be victimised, but crooked public servants should know that their days are numbered. If you happen to be in this group, you will be identified and stern measures taken against you,” he said.
Mr Sefue was first appointed chief secretary in December 31, 2011 by the then President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete.
Before his appointment, Mr Sefue, who was born in 1954, served as Tanzania’s Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations for two years. He was previously Tanzania’s ambassador to the US (2007-2010); high commissioner to Canada (2005-2007) and the President’s speech writer from 1993 to 2005.
His successor, Mr Kijazi, was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works before he was posted to India as high commissioner. Mr Kijazi worked for several years under Dr Maguful when he was the Works minister.