Spectator In The Gallery: What Would Magufuli Do?

Extreme Opposities: Corrupt Mugabe and the saint Magafuli
Extreme Opposites: Corrupt Mugabe and the saint Magafuli

By Vokal Da Poet

“Man’s reach should exceed his grasp…” Robert Browning

I am a sceptic. I am not sure whether it is by nature or by nurture. But I am not inclined to discuss that because I know nothing about genes and genetics and their effect on one’s character.

In fact, the only ‘genes’ I know are denim jeans. Especially those that are mass produced in China because they are the ones one is prone to finding in Zimbabwe. And the only ‘genetics’ I know about is a female American spoken word artist, Jannett-Iks.

The one thing that I am sure of though, is that I have witnessed a lot of lying in my time, so much so that I do not take one’s word as bond in far too many instances.

For a very long time it has been my belief that you can’t take the word of a black man as a bond. So when the Tanzanian former interior minister was elected to the presidency and he began talking about cutting government expenditure, I wasn’t impressed.

Where I come from successive presidents since independence have been talking a lot of reform, but none is noticeable 36 years after independence.

Please do not ask how many presidents Zimbabwe has had since independence, just know that whoever has been in the highest office has been self-serving.

It is really not a new thing that African politicians will declare and promise one thing and then turn around and do the opposite once they are safely ensconced in their positions. Some will even advocate austerity practices just so that there is more to loot.
Or maybe I wasn’t impressed because like many other black Africans I just do not trust or praise anything by a fellow Blackman. Maybe I just enjoy looking down on the efforts of my fellow African brothers and sisters because I believe there is nothing good that can come from them? Who knows.

But now, over 6 months have elapsed since J. P Magufuli took office, and he is unrelenting in his quest. For him rooting out corruption doesn’t mean settling scores. And cutting government expenditure doesn’t mean cutting salaries and bonuses of regular civil servants while those of the ones at the top of the ladder keep increasing. No.

For them tightening belts seems not to mean reduced tools and equipment and uniform supplies for those that are in the uniformed forces, and lowering of standards in areas of employment for regular civil servants while ministers get more allowances and more expensive top of the range vehicles. For Magufuli it is cutting down the luxuries for those at the top.

And this is when our current president is globetrotting at the taxpayer’s expense. He travels with a complete entourage, and spares himself nothing while the rest of the country wallows in abject poverty. He goes off to summits that discuss the welfare of African people when the people in his own country are starving.

He travels for routine check-ups with foreign doctors while the health situation in his own country is dire. Hospitals are not stocked with sufficient medicines and are using obsolete machinery. His own daughter gives birth abroad. He lives a life of ridiculous excess at the expense of the masses.

Just recently he found it befitting to travel to Uganda to attend the swearing in ceremony of Yoweri Museveni, accompanied by a minister. And obviously, with complete entourages for the two men.

Of all the things a president from a cash strapped economy can travel for…

At community level the Zimbabwean President is a perfect example of a husband and father who affords to buy beer for himself and his friends while his family is forced to scrounge around for food, even begging for assistance from neighbours and relatives.

Vokal DaPoet is a Spoken Word Artist, Poet, Writer, Blogger