Prez Of Tanzania Magufuli Keeps To His Words As Independence Day Is Used For Clean Up Exercise

It’s Independence day in the Eastern African nation of Tanzania. The nation turns 54 years after independence today but contrary to the usual pomp and pageantry that is characterized with such celebrations,the situation is different in Tanzania now.

Mr John  Magufuli won Tanzania’s 29 October poll with 58% of the votes to Mr Lowassa’s 40% in a fiercely contested election.

Since his election Tanzania has seen a drastic turn in policies with his decision to cancel the independence day celebration and replace it with a clean up exercise.

Tanzanians have been reacting to the changes that President John Magufuli has introduced since his election in October.

Mr Magufuli cancelled today’s Independence Day celebrations as part of his campaign against wasteful spending – and spent the morning cleaning the streets near his official residence in the main city, Dar es Salaam .

Tanzanian academic Benson Banna has been telling the BBC’s  Newsday radio programme that Mr Magufuli is a change-maker:.

It is not a common scene in Tanzania – the president, dressed casually and wearing a hat and  gloves, joining hundreds of people in sweeping streets and picking up rubbish in the main city, Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's President John Magufuli

But this is just what newly elected President John Magufuli did this morning after cancelling today’s usually lavish Independence Day celebrations and ordering Tanzanians to clean-up their neighbourhoods.

The scene was replicated across the country, with schools and shops remaining shut as people swept streets, pruned trees, and tidied up their areas from the crack of dawn. Children cleaning streets in Tanzania

This is the first time in 54 years that Tanzania has not held celebrations to mark independence from the UK.

In many ways, the clean -up exercise was symbolic of President Magufuli’s pledge to remove what many Tanzanians see as the rot in public institutions, and their failure to perform effectively.

Last month, Mr Magufuli said it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when “our people are dying of cholera”.

Cholera has killed about 60 people in Tanzania in the last three months – many of them in poor areas which lack proper toilets.

Mr Magafuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, was elected in October.