John Pombe Magufuli - A Man True to His Word

John Pombe Magufuli - A Man True to His Word

By: Naomi Nana Mattary 

His past, his experience, and everything he did are fitting for this place. At the beginning of this chapter, his story is told. His happiness, the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, is the reference for what will be discussed and written here. I can understand that all the previous articles and speeches about his leadership have been written extensively to explain everything he did, his impact on the public, and all those who loved him, as well as those who criticized him.

Well, I am part of the audience, local, influenced, the person who lived through change and differences. And now I am writing a story. A legend lived by another human being, and the impact he brought to us, "the public." He was a great leader for some and a dictator for others.

Most of it was written extensively to explain the impact he had on our country and for some, the challenges they had to face during his rule. Let's start with the details of his response to COVID-19. Once again, I was broke, I lost the only job I had, and when I returned home at the age of 26 in this condition, it should have been embarrassing, but I had to go back to my country. Everyone was confined to their homes, only home had meaning. When there are two problems, the bigger problem takes precedence, so COVID was important to me. And thus, some of us were forced to stay indoors, and we had a chance to listen to only one voice, the voice of our president, who guided us on how to behave, how to visit friends, and I can't stop thinking about his speech about the lost COVID-19 samples. His reaction to the pandemic was unique and deserves to be talked about, and an article or event organized for it.

It's a story that can be told and can also be a whole book to write. Because he defied tradition. He defied the world. He had battles that gave speeches to warn us of his short time with us. It was like he gave one last duty and knew it was his last mission. Because he did it to live an impact we can feel and remember long after his body is gone. I'm only talking about the things I saw, I didn't touch even what was hidden. Those who stood with him when we didn't even know. Because not everything reaches the public. There is more hidden than what is known. I am still talking about a man who was able to stand by his promise and his decision even when the whole world was collapsing, asking us to act differently. It's tough when the world says "listen," and at home, parents insist that you don't listen to the same thing. Some of us chose home because it was all we had. I remember the question he asked:

"What will you eat if you stay indoors?" indicating that more than 80% of Tanzanians rely on daily activities for a small income to spend daily. 80% of us need to move to earn a living. No movement, no profits. And COVID came with two threats. But as a man of the people, he had to see what the less fortunate among us could do, and that's what he asked all of us to do. He didn't really care about the so-called "rich and poor." Those who could afford masks and those of us who lost our jobs and had no savings, even the mask itself seemed expensive.

We had to follow what our then-president said. Take those fabrics and make your own masks, music to my ears then and music to my ears now. The leader was and is still a wonderful person. It takes a human being to understand another human being even when he's given privileges or an office that comes with immense power that the individual didn't expect. It takes a human being to understand that every action will affect the third and fourth parts. Not caring about everything, but taking everything seriously. As I mentioned earlier, with his story, I can only focus on the general public that I am part of. I focus on the direct impact he had on the basis of his actions and reactions and decisions. I was the type who once said that politics and leadership decisions wouldn't really affect me. It's impossible to engage so much that I feel a change in taxes, a change in the value of the dollar, a change in leadership, or a political decision.

I thought I was immune and could go on in life without facing a question or the need to challenge the leaders we trusted through our votes. The joke was on me. I met John Pombe Magufuli in 2015. His campaign was like any other for the CCM party. Strong and ready to win, Magufuli was the unexpected presidential candidate we never saw coming. Well, I was full of smiles and joy and laughter when I took a picture of myself voting, a picture of my vote. Then October ended, and he entered office. And just a few days later, I received news that I could now pursue higher education thanks to Magufuli's change himself from what he was present, no matter what the loan committee said, all I knew was that I could go to school...

(Image Cobyrights: mpayukaji.blogspot)