Opinion and Analysis

Farewell John Magufuli. A great leader, and one very intelligent dictator

Surely Magufuli achieved more in five years of his presidency than his three predecessors achieved in 30 years By Robin Makayi The world woke up to a terrible morning on March 17, to hear the shocking news of the demise of John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, PhD, President of the Republic of Tanzania. His death robbed Africa of a rare and pragmatic Pan - Africanist, a beacon of development, a visionary technocrat and perhaps one of the hardest working presidents the continent has ever produced. The cause of death of President Magufuli remains officially heart failure (cardio myopathy) although some suspect he had contracted Covid-19. Many will recall Deacon Magufuli as an unapologetic ultra-nationalistic dictator whose rise to power was dramatic yet celebrated by the populace. Many Tanzanians showed little antipathy to his autocratic rule as his leadership was largely viewed as benevolent. This then begs the question- is benevolent dictatorship an answer to Africa’s myriad of problems. Great visions are easier to conceive than implement. Many good ideas died with their owners as those privileged enough to offer support often rejected them. Surprisingly four out of every five revolutionary ideas were successfully implemented only by dictators.

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