JPM'S 100 Days: Why Magufulis first 100 days of 2nd term differ from those of his first term

Tuesday February 16 2021
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Dr John Pombe Magufuli is sworn in by Chief Justice Mohammed Chande Othman as President of the United Republic of Tanzania at Uhuru Stadium, D’Salaam. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Luqman Maloto

Dar es Salaam. Dr John Magufuli has already completed 100 days since he was sworn into the Presidency on November 5, 2020 to lead the country for another five-year presidential term.
If the question is about the comparison between the first 100 days of the second five-year presidential term and the first 100 days of the first five-year term, then my answer is this: the new Magufuli distances himself from the Magufuli of the past.
On February 13, 2016 when Dr Magufuli completed 100 days of his first five-year presidential term, he arguably used almost half of those days to form his Cabinet.
Since the President seemed to be serious about making appointments to avoid appointing ineligible ones, he had to make appointments twice.
On December 10, 2015, President Magufuli formed his Cabinet without the four ministries of Finance and Planning; Education, Science and Vocational Training; Natural Resources and Tourism, and Works, Transport and Communications.
Even when the President formed the full Cabinet, the head of state had to shift his minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, within a very short time, from the ministry of Water and Irrigation to the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications.
On December 5, last year, which means 30 days since Dr Magufuli was sworn-in to become the President for the second five-year presidential term, he completed forming his 21 ministry Cabinet.
So, in his second five-year presidential term, President Magufuli formed the full Cabinet without going through phases.
However, in his first five-year presidential term, President Magufuli appointed some people who were not from the ministry.

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President John Magufuli (centre) in a group picture with some of his cabinet ministers after they had taken the oath of office in the national capital Dodoma on December 9 last year. PHOTO | AFP

These were Prof Joyce Ndalichako, who was appointed the minister for Education, Science and Vocational Training, Mr Phillip Mpango (Finance ministry), Dr Abdalla Possi (deputy minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy) and Prof Palamagamba Kabudi (minister for Constitutional Affairs and Justice before being shifted to the ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation).  Dr Magufuli has appointed ministers who are MPs while others were permanent secretaries.
When Dr Magufuli was sworn-in to become Union President for the first five-year presidential term, the head of state most likely did not know the performance capability of permanent secretaries in most ministries.
However, within the first five-years of his leadership, the president is currently fully abreast of his permanent secretaries and that is why some of them contested and won parliamentary seats and appointed ministers and others were nominated MPs and appointed ministers.


President John Mgufuli shakes hands with State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi (left), after the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of the 341-kilometre section of the Standard Gauge Railway by two Chinese companies.

How Magufuli has distinguished himself
In the first 100 days of his first presidential term at State House, President Magufuli  made several impromptu visits of public offices. This time, he has completed 100 days of his second five-year term without doing so.
What is more is that, in the elapsed 100 days of President Magufuli’s second term, his ministers have seemingly come of age.
In the early days of his administration, President Magufuli was the speaker about everything regarding his government, speaking about one ministry after another.
On February 13, 2016, President Magufuli completed 100 days at State House and that was when the head of state was in the spotlight - followed by his Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa.
However, currently the ministers in the fifth-phase government appear to be the ones mostly in the limelight.
President Magufuli once said in the early days at State House: “I’m sleeping with my files in the bed.” This shows how the president did not trust his aides  - and he wanted to do everything by himself to satisfy himself.
After five years, the Prime Minister has remained the same - Mr Majaliwa - and Chief Secretary Dr John Kijazi still holds his former position. So, why doesn’t the president trust them? Another thing is that the president has reappointed the same ministers whom he appears to have trust in - including ministers for Education, Finance, Lands and Human Settlements, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Home Affairs.
President Magufuli has also appointed some permanent secretaries to become ministers, as he clearly appears to trust them after working with him and he was  satisfied with their performance.

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President John Magufuli opens a water pipe to launch the expansion of the water network from Lake Victoria to Kagongwa and Isaka townships in Kahama District, Shinyanga Region, yesterday. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

If one critically looks at the first 100 days of the second five-year term of President Magufuli, one may discover how the president isolates himself from what he was doing in the past. Start with the ministers who have the freedom to speak and be in the spotlight - and how the president himself speaks about the issues regarding our country.
When Dr Magufuli assumed office, his addresses as president seemed to be full of hurtful feelings - and the rot he found in public services.
Now - after leading the country for five years and 100 days - the president cannot blame the rot in the Union  government which he leads.
This is because what is there currently, in one way or another, may have been created during the period of his leadership - and what problems he found he was supposed to solve.
Nobody to blame
You can put it this way: when President Magufuli first assumed power in November 2015, he was like a coach who is given a team that  already had registered players, and whom he is supposed to continue grooming. And as a result, his coaching would depend on the type of players he had found in the place.
When the president started leading the country, he had to work with ministers who had been in the system since the administrations of former Presidents Benjamin Mkapa (1995-2005) and Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015).
The ministers were the ones who became Members of Parliament (MPs). For a person to become a minister, that person was supposed to first become an MP. The President has the authority to nominate ten  MPs, preferably five men and five women.
So, you can see how the president failed to appoint the people he wanted. Even in parliamentary constituencies, the president had no say to decide who should contest a parliamentary seat - even from his veteran ruling party CCM!
In 2015, Dr Magufuli was an aspirant along with contestants for parliamentary seats. But, the difference was the positions they were seeking.
In that logic, there were those who were elected MPs during the 2015 polls, but Dr Magufuli did not want them because he had no say in their election.
For now, Dr Magufuli - apart from being the president - is the national chairman of CCM, meaning that a big percentage of CCM parliamentary seat contestants during the 2020 polls were the ones with whom he was satisfied to be endorsed to become MPs as he also participated in the candidates screening exercise.
So, here is where the concept of a coach comes in. In his first five-year term, President Magufuli had to work with the people he had found in the system. But, now, things are different as he had a good chance of selecting people who could help him to work in the last five years of his leadership.
When a coach registers players of his choice, that coach will have nobody to blame when things go awry .
And if that coach blames his team for not playing well, people will be surprised because he (the coach) is the one who registered the players.
If and when President Magufuli  criticises his ministers, aides, etc, people will be surprised because he had a good chance of selecting and preparing good aides.
This is why the Dr Magufuli of today distances himself from the Magufuli of yore  in his first 100 days of his first presidential term.
The Dr Magufuli of today is not heard saying ‘This country has strange things...!’ Instead, he moves to call for issues that he wants people to understand - and the people should as well understand the intention of his government.