Dar es Salaam. Some more changes could be coming in President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government as she seeks to lead a cabinet of individuals who can deliver in line with her noble aspirations.
Speaking during an event to swear-in three new cabinet ministers and a replacement Attorney General yesterday, President Hassan said she was still on a mission of making more changes to her government.
She said: “Where I am now, I have just put a comma - and not a full stop! The changes are ongoing.
“Based on what I have observed on how the ministers and other government officials perform,restructuring and other changes will continue,” the President added.
The statements by the President were interpreted as her way to keep the leaders in check, and/or drive for good performance at the ministerial levels especially those that touch key economic sectors.
From the department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Richard Mbunda said that, by telling her officials that they should brace for more reshuffles, it gives the impression that she wanted to keep them in check.
“She wants them not to relax in the high positions that they currently occupy; the President wants them to be accountable and responsible to their duties,” Dr Mbunda told The Citizen.
However, he said such statements would also have undesirable outcomes such as some of the officials may lack confidence and creativity, in fear that they will be stripped off their titles at any time something goes wrong.
“Some subordinates will now start walking on eggshells. It might result in some of them being afraid of making risky and tough decisions. There is a danger of creating a team of ‘flatters’ who praise anything so as not to be on her bad books,” said Dr Mbunda.
On her recent changes, President Hassan has dropped Dr Medard Kalemani as minister for Energy and appointed the Bumbuli MP, January Makamba as a replacement. She also replaced Dr Leonard Chamuriho with Prof Makame Mbarawa as the new minister for Works and Transportation.
President Samia also appointed Dr Ashatu Kijaji as minister for Communication and Information Technology replacing Dr Faustine Ndugulile whose appointment has been revoked.
The executive director of Tanzania Constitution Forum, Bob Wangwe, for his part said the aim of these changes that the President has been making to her government is her mission to create her very own team which will carry her vision and mission well.
“First of all, some of these changes are coming in late as others usually make them as soon as they come to power. They always start changing the administration ranks shortly after assuming power,” he said.
Commenting on the new changes, leader of the opposition party ACT-Wazalendo, Zitto Kabwe, said the President can hire and fire at will - and as long as the public welfare and democracy are being promoted.
“The most important thing is the service to the people and ensuring that she rebuilds our democracy by respecting fundamental freedoms - press, expression and political rights,” he said.
Honeymoon is over
Speaking yesterday, President Hassan said during her first six months at the office she has learned that some of her appointees took her calmness as a sign of weakness.
She said she spent the period learning government processes.
According to the President, during that period there were public leaders who mistook her calm demeanour for weakness and started doing as they pleased.
However, she also noted that there are others who leveraged on her reserved deportment to showcase their capabilities.
“I have used the first six months in office to learn. I was the Vice President before, but during that time I did not get the chance to acquaint myself with ‘inner’ operations, now I have,” she said, adding that she now knows the tactics to use in her leadership.
“Now I know the flow of how to go with you,” President Hassan said.
The President said as per observation she has learned that there are a lot of things that need to be changed in the ministerial offices.
She noted the two leadership styles commonly known as carrot and stick. “I have chosen mine. As we go forward, the government will be led solely on strong action and not noise.”