Tanzania: JPM Yet to Form Cabinet 30 Days After Taking Oath

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Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli today clocks 30 days in office since he was sworn in.

He is yet to form a cabinet and so setting a record when compared with his predecessors Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete.

Dr Magufuli was sworn in on November 5, after his 58 per cent victory against his archrival Chadema’s Edward Lowassa.

According to Article 51 (2) of the 1977 Constitution, a president must nominate a prime minister and present the name before Parliament for approval within 14 days since his swearing in, but the supreme law is silent on when a full cabinet should be formed.

Unlike Dr Magufuli, former president Jakaya Kikwete formed his cabinet on his 14th day in office while former president Benjamin Mkapa took about 12 days to form his team after he was sworn in.

Before and even after appointing Kassim Majaliwa as his Prime Minister, President Magufuli had managed to oversee government operations in the last 30 days through Chief Secretary Ombeni Sefue and permanent secretaries.

Among issues that have been effectively attended to in the past 30 days include the appointment of the Prime Minister, inaugrating Parliament and nominating Dr Tulia Ackson a Member of Parliament.

Moreover, Dr Magufuli’s government has so far made drastic changes in the health sector, revenues and infrastructure development.

On November 6, Dr Magufuli paid a surprise visit at Finance ministry where he held talks with officials on various matters including discipline at places of work. Moreover, on November 9, the Head of State visited the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in an unannounced visit.

He was welcomed with tears and complaints from patients and their relatives over the poor conditions at the health facility including patients sleeping on the floor and overcrowding. Some few hours later, President Magufuli dissolved MNH board of trustees and ordered the repair of CT-Scan and MRI machines immediately.

During the month under review, President Magufuli has suspended Republic Day celebrations, which takes place every December 9, whereby he ordered Sh4 billion, which was allocated for the event to be used for the expansion of a stretch of the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road from Mwenge to Morocco in the city.

He urged wananchi to participate in cleaning up their environment so as to fight the spread of cholera and other poor hygienic related diseases.

The President also suspended HIV/Aids ceremonies, which take place on every December 1. He said his government suspended ceremonies in order to save money that would be used to purchase Anti-Retroviral drugs for people living with the virus.

Few days later, Dr Magufuli’s government unearthed corruption scandals at the Dar es Salaam Port, where involvement of some Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officials was revealed. Tax records for more than 2,700 containers were missing. Dr Magufuli had to send packing TRA Commissioner General Rished Bade and other officials.

Some political analysts and ordinary wananchi who spoke to The Citizen on President Magufuli’s 30 days in office said so far everything was going on well and asked the Head of State to come up with a competent, slim and patriotic cabinet to assist him in pushing country’s development agenda.

Commenting on the matter, Arusha-based economist and researcher Simon Mapolu said President Magufuli had proved that government operations could go without a big number of ministers.

“Worldwide, all government operations are carried out through strategic plans which are normally implemented by experts. Ministers are just prefects to oversee professional transformation of policies,” said Mapolu.

“I’m sure President Magufuli will come up with a slim cabinet of say 15 ministers, as he has already shown that running the government through permanent secretaries and other experts is possible,” he added.

For his part, High Court advocate Method Kimomogoro urged the President to dissolve some of the ministries formed by his predecessor by combining Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries in one docket.

“The President should also put together Finance, Planning, and Budget under one ministry with experts in each docket,” advised advocate Kimomogoro.

In order to succeed, he said the government should fully and correctly utilise professionals and experts. “It’s better having more experts in ministries than ministers who are purely politically motivated in their undertakings and decisions,” Kimomogoro said.

President Magufuli’s delay in appointing his working team has raised mixed opinions among members of the public with some believing he is studying particulars of the candidates to get suitable people to implement his plans.

University of Dodoma (Udom) lecturer Paul Loisulie said the Head of State has set standards that his appointees should emulate.

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