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June 19, 2021
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Was the Magufuli miracle in Tanzania bound to fail? | Democracy in Africa

Preident Magufuli helping to sweep the streets

This analysis published at the onset of the Magufuli presidency predicts that his commitment to re-directing the government systems towards concretely meeting the interests of the ordinary citizens was bound to fail and would not last long. The reasons point to the classic dilemma of democracy: caught up between “fair outcome” and “fair process.”

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has begun his time in office with a set of high profile policies and a blaze of publicity. The regional and international media has revelled in images of Magufuli sweeping the streets and disciplining civil servants, praising his efforts to reform a political system that has failed to meet citizens’ needs for many years. However, in the shadows of these laudable activities the president has demonstrated a worrying authoritarian inclination to repress dissent and reject institutional checks and balances.

It is therefore important to deconstruct Tanzania’s ‘Magufuli miracle’, and to reflect more critically on the capacity of populist presidents to promote development and democracy in Africa. If history is any guide, the overwhelming popularity that Magufuli enjoys today is unlikely to last.

Read the full article titled, Deconstructing the Magufuli miracle in Tanzania | Democracy in Africa

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