Magufuli shows faith in technocrats

Saturday December 12 2020

Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli’s new cabinet is effectively under the control of technocrats, if his recent appointments is anything to go by, signalling a new direction for the Head of State who may be keen to secure a legacy.

With overwhelming numbers of politicians elected into Parliament under the ruling party, CCM ticket, President Magufuli has overlooked them to pick some of his ministers from a pool of technocrats.

And while that is not to say that there are no hardnosed politicians in the cabinet, the President has apparently tended to favour individuals he has tapped from civil service hierarchy and brought them in the centre of his government.

In fact evidence point to the fact that Dr Magufuli started courting the technocrats since his first term as President between 2015 and 2020. He has only remained faithful to his belief in technocrats after the 2020 polls in which he was declared winner with 84.4 per cent of the results. His party CCM also scooped over 97 per cent of the Parliamentary seats.

Yesterday, President Magufuli yet again swooped from the civil service another bureaucrat, Prof Shukuru Manya, whom he nominated as MP and named him deputy minister for minerals. Prof Manya was serving as the executive secretary of the newly established Minerals Commission.

Prof Manya took over the position earlier earmarked for Kilwa North MP Francis Ndulane who fumbled his oath of office at the Chamwino State House this Wednesday. He became the third technocrat to be nominated into Parliament this year and named into the government. In total, of the 10 new full cabinet ministers, President magufuli picked six of them from among the rank of technocrats, including those who were apparently plunged into elective politics with an eye on their future role in the very top government structure.


If you include, the ministers re-appointed this year after being in the first term cabinet, more than half of the line-up comprises of Dr Magufuli’s blue-eyed technocrats, some of whom also gained entry into the cabinet via nomination into Parliament. They include Dr Philip Mpango (Minister of finance), Prof Joyce Ndalichako (Minster for Education) and Prof Palamagamba Kabudi (Foreign affairs).

The five technocrats in the new full cabinet list include the ministers for Agriculture, Prof Adolph Mkenda, Industry and Trade’s Geoffrey Mwambe, the minister of state in the President’s Office responsible for Investment, Prof Kitila Mkumbo, Dr Dorothy Gwajima and Dr Leonard Chamuriho who were nominated legislators and then appointed ministers for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and Works and Transport respectively.

The new non-technocrats ministers are those for Defence and National Services, Elias Kwandikwa, Water’s Jumaa Aweso, Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Damas Ndumbaro, Communications and Information Communication Technology (ICT), Dr Faustine Ndugulile as well as Livestock and Fisheries, Mashimba Ndaki.

Prof Mkenda and Prof Mkumbo served as permanent secretaries in Dr Magufuli’s first term, while Mr Mwambe was the director general of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) before the trio contested and were declared winners of respective parliamentary seats.

Dr Gwajima served as deputy permanent secretary at the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) responsible for Health, while Dr Chamuriho was the permanent secretary in the defunct ministry of Works, Transport and Communications.

“After reforming the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC); the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA); the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and other departments in the ministry, I believe you can perform better after becoming a full minister,” the President told Dr Chamuriho after the cabinet had taken oath.

Magufuli said top government officials used to downplay Dr Gwajima’s directives because she was deputy permanent secretary, saying he had given her the full mandate to reform the health sector under her new role as minister.

Analysts view Dr Magufuli’s approach differently but with an overriding view of a President keen on pushing his agenda and secure an everlasting delivery legacy. President Magufuli is serving his second and last five year constitutional mandate.

The University of Dar es Salaam political science lecturer, Dr Richard Mbunda , told The Citizen that the President’s decision to pick technocrats to head ministries was a welcome decision.

He said the country erred when it considered ministerial positions as political, instead of picking experts who could formulate better policies for stimulating the country’s development. “The decision to promote professionalism in bringing positive results should be commended,” he said over the phone.

Prof Gaudence Mpangala of Ruaha Catholic University said the president could be considered a technocrat himself even though having stayed in politics for over two decades now. He said the President liked to have positive results from everything under his supervision.

“However, technocracy should be linked with political leadership because apart from striving for efficiency and positive results, the appointees are people working with the society. Therefore, expertise alone cannot be helpful in bringing development as expected,” Prof Mpangala observed.

Another Udsm political science and public administration lecturer, Prof Bernadeta Killian said: “The President was very categorical when swearing in Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa that his fate will be determined by his performance, which is important factor for him to complete the second term of his five years’ leadership. The same applies to cabinet ministers and deputies.”

University of Iringa political science lecturer, Dr Stephen Kimondo, said the president hasn’t changed his leadership style, worrying whether the appointees will be given full freedom to apply their creativity and display their talent in executing their responsibilities.


By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 [email protected]