Home Business John Pombe Magufuli’s legacy will live on

John Pombe Magufuli’s legacy will live on

by Wanjiku Mbugua
Tanzania denies blocking release of scathing IMF report

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has died, the country’s vice president announced yesterday night in a televised address to the nation.

Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the 61-year-old president had died of a “heart condition”, which he had suffered for 10 years at a hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today on the 17th of March, 2021 at 6:00 pm we lost our brave leader, the President of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” said vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Magufuli, had not been seen in public since February 27, sparking rumours that he had contracted Covid-19, however, Tanzanian officials denied such claims stating that he had fallen ill.

Bulldozing Tanzania’s Economy to Success

Magufuli was elected back in 2015 endearing him to a population weary of graft scandals. Under His Excellency President John Pombe Magufuli’s leadership. A lot had changed since then.

Magufuli had shown a leadership different from that of any previous Tanzanian President, winning the hearts of many.

Since his tenure as the minister of works he was nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, this affirmed the title for his infamous rule of issuing swift directives.

Magufuli, who was the candidate of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) – loosely translated to ‘Party of Change’ ran his campaign with a promise to combat corruption, a new style of leadership. His policies also enable regional trade, capitalize on the nation’s natural resources and facilitate increased industrialization.

Back in 2015, just a few days after being elected Magufuli fired a number of government officials in his anti-corruption crusade.

He also cancelled the symbolic Independence Day fete and directed all the funds budgeted for the event to be used to widen a highway causing traffic snarl-ups to the city of Dar es Salaam.

In another move, the late Tanzanian President also reduced the size of the presidential convoy, as well as the size of the presidential delegation that travels with him.

Magufuli ordered an immediate ban on foreign travels by public servants on his third day in office and put a stop to the purchase of first-class tickets.  He decreed that henceforth, government meetings would be held in state buildings rather than in expensive hotels. He also called on all public institutions to significantly cut expenditure on refreshments during meetings.

To cut down on unnecessary costs that the government incurred from meetings and conferences, Magufuli issued a directive for unnecessary physical meetings to be stopped and for public servants to conduct conference calls instead.

Moves such as these were welcomed by the Tanzanian public and made Magufuli one of the most popular figures in the country.

Years later, the country has seen tremendous economic, social and education progress, all thanks to Magufuli’s governance. 

His leadership saw the country posting-annual economic growth figures of 7 per cent one of the highest in the world supported by Magufuli’s drive against corruption and tax evasion. Magufuli also significantly reduced the country’s dependency on partners when it comes to implementing its development projects to boost Tanzania’s revenue.

Indeed, Magufuli’s effort in improving the country’s economy the livelihoods of the people of Tanzania has paid off during his five-year administration; extemporaneously, making him a continental icon with his excellent and commendable unique style of governance, winning the hearts of Africa right from the beginning of his tenure.


Other achievements worth noting are provision of free education and improvement of education infrastructure, boosting the country’s tax collection as well as fighting corruption.

Magufuli implemented flagship projects, which have become the most remarkable and historic achievements including revival of the Tanzania’s national carrier, the implementation of the country’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), development of Julius Nyerere hydropower project in the Rufiji basin, expansion of ports as well as construction of road networks.

Industrialization drive has also become his fundamental feat, under his administration he created a conducive environment which saw it attract over 4,000 investors who are building factories all over Tanzania in a bid to make Tanzania a middle-income status by 2025. 

Magufuli record in numbers

Part of his campaign promises Magufuli swore to pull out low-income earners from poverty and ensure that they have access to social services which includes healthcare, water and free education.

Below is a breakdown of his achievements in the period 2015 since he clinched power to date;

Discipline in public service

A total of 32,535 public servants have been disciplined. Out of them, 15,508 were removed from the government payroll because they were employed on forged academic credentials. 19,708 of ghost workers were removed from the payroll which was costing the government a total of Sh 19.8 billion ($ 9 Mn) per month.74, 173 new employees, with relevant qualifications, were employed.

War on corruption

Part of Magufuli’s plan to re-ignite the economy was rooting out corruption from public offices. This saw the Corruption and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court established back in 2016 at least 407 cases was registered at the court.

2,256 cases have been handled by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) which has seen an amount of Sh273.38 billion in illegally obtained cash that recovered by PCCB.

War on drug trafficking

Under Magufuli’s tenure, his government has been able to Impounded 97.99 tonnes of bang, 85.54 tonnes of Khat (Miraa), 567.96 kilograms of heroin and 23.383 kilograms of cocaine, they have also been able to arrest 37, 104 suspects on drug trafficking charges.

Revenue collections

Since 2015, President Magufuli had dismissed about four Tanzania Revenue Authority bosses, demanding more action on tax collections. Transformation and demand for widened tax sources were extended to improvement in digital ways of tax administration, improvement and efficiency among public Parastatals and amplified taxpayers’ awareness.

In December 2019 a record Sh1.97 trillion ($ 851 Mn) tax revenue was collected compared to an average amount of Sh850 billion ($ 367 Mn) in monthly tax collections in 2015.


Education was a big part of Magufuli’s Campaign pledges, indicating the provision of free basic education.

Class one enrolment back in 2015 stood at 1.6 million in 2020 Class one enrolment is at 1.648 million. The number of secondary schools has increased to 5,330 from 4,708 that were recorded in 2015, making an increase of 622 schools.


Magufuli’s tenure boasts of an improved healthcare delivery system, which employs modern technology at major referral hospitals.

The government has built 352 Health Centers and 77 District Hospitals, all of which have to be staffed by doctors.

Just three years into leadership, Tanzania witnessed, for the first time, kidney transplant surgery was performed successfully at the country’s national referral hospital.

By 2020, the number of outlets for delivery of health services of increased by to 8,783 in 2020 from 7,014 in 2015. The country also the increase of health sector workers employed by the government rising to 100,631 in 2020 up from 86,153 in 2015.

The country also saw a 90 per cent drop in number of Tanzanians patients who receive referrals for treatment outside the country in five years, evidence of a working healthcare system.


Tanzania has seen 4,423 total number of water projects implemented in five years with 70.1 per cent of the population receiving access to safe and clean water which is upward trajectory as compared to a 47 per cent coverage reported in 2015.

Rail and Roads

Magufuli’s administration has seen at least 3,500 kilometres of tarmarked road built in five years, with 13,000 kilometres of tar-marked road across Tanzania. Two flyovers/interchanges built and 13 Long bridges built in five years.

Over 70 percent is on the completion stage of the 300-Kilometre Dar-Morogoro Standard Gauge Railway line (SGR) Section and 30 per ent nearing completion of the 422-kilometre Morogoro–Makutopora SGR Section, with Sh7.062 trillion ($ 3 Bn) spent on the SGR project.

Aviation and Tourism

Perhaps one of the most remarkable industries Magufuli has been keen on is the Aviation & Tourism industry which goes hand in hand.

In aviation, improved infrastructure in terms of better international airports with more modern lounges, immigration counters, runways and installation of the state-of-the-art radar systems, the airports have since attracted more big aviation companies in the country for non-stop flights.

This has also seen the country receiving international airlines that have introduced flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) with much bigger airplanes including; KLM royal Dutch airlines with Boeing 777, Emirates and Ethiopian airline with Airbus as well as Boeing.

A more recent one is the flights by flydubai – a Dubai Aviation Corporation, a government-owned budget airline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This has seen a great boost in the tourism front. The country has received 1,510,151 tourists visiting Tanzania in 2019 compared to 1,137,132 received in 2015. This has seen tourism earnings go up from $1.9 billion in 2015 to $2.6 billion in 2019.


About 240 Megawatts of power from Kinyerezi has delivered by Magufuli’s administration with another 2325 Megawatts expected to be delivered after completion of the ongoing expansion.

The government is also set to spend Sh6.5 trillion on ongoing construction of the 2,115 Megawatts Nyerere Hydro-power Dam at the Rufiji River.

In 2015, 2,018 villages in Tanzania were connected to electricity via the Rural Energy Agency (REA), today at least 9,112 villages are now connected to electricity as of April 2020 with around 3,156 remaining.

This has seen Sh719 billionaved after government switched off Symbion, Aggreko and IPTL power generation plants.


In the last five years, a total of 8,476 new industries were built with also 201 large scale industries and 460 medium-sized factories.

Currently, Tanzania is the fastest growing economy in East Africa with it is also leading in East and Central Africa in infrastructural development, particularly in expansion and improvement of the road network, port facilities, access to finance, and telecommunications.


In addition, the president has maintained good governance, rule of law, and international human rights standards. The direct involvement of President Magufuli has been important in ensuring that stakeholders on every project work together towards a common vision.

Magufuli’s sterling efforts in combating corruption and in poverty alleviation have consistently and continuously demonstrated a noble leader worthy of appreciation.

As a testament of his astute leadership, Magufuli was conferred an honorary doctorate degree by The University of Dodoma in recognition of his outstanding leadership.

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