SAMIA Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s new president who came to power one month ago following the death of John Magufuli, is slowly overturning some policies that had become a public nuisance in the past five years of Magufuli’s autocratic rule.
Although she has repeatedly attempted to silence some of Magufuli’s adorers by claiming, “Magufuli and I were one and the same thing,” she is practically taking a completely opposite direction that will shape her legacy.
She has promised to strengthen international relations and diplomatic ties that had strongly weakened under Magufuli. New embassies will be opened in some “strategic countries.” She has insisted that Tanzania is not an island.
President has promised to promote democracy and observe the rule of law. And she has challenged the parliament to criticise the government, a sign that she encourages diversity of opinion.
The president has expressed a desire for reconciliation by accepting meetings with political opposition leaders. She said she would meet them shortly from now.
President Samia has shown indications of assuring the media of their freedom. This means, there is hope that the events of reporters being arrested, beaten, abducted, may come to an end.
She has promised to improve the welfare of civil servants, by raising salaries and wages. For the past five years, the Magufuli government ignored civil servants’ interests such as promotion or statutory salary increase.
The new president also promised to employ 6,000 teachers to fill the vacuum that was neglected by her predecessor.
On youth empowerment, President Samia urged the local councils to continue allocating 10% of its budget for loans to women, youth and the disabled. But here President Samia should be more watchful and do a thorough monitoring.
For example, in the financial year 2019/20, Temeke Municipal Council approved a budget of 48 billion, of which 4.8 billion was to be allocated for youth activities. But the amount allocated for youth does not reach 500m/-. There is a need for monitoring.
Regarding the national carrier, Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL) – President Samia has admitted it is making a loss, as pointed out by the CAG report.
President has promised to ease some taxes and levies to give room to ATCL to operate profitably. Last year, Magufuli lied to the public when he said ATCL made a profit of 28 billion.
On COVID-19, Samia has taken a different approach, forming a special advisory committee and advising the public to observe laid down protocols on combating the pandemic. Magufuli was a corona denialist.