Tanzanians get taste of Kagamecracy made in Rwanda, AND loving it
Tanzaniaâ€™s new leader President John Pombe Magufuli was inaugurated on November 5. Days later, he was in action. He surfaced unannounced at Tanzaniaâ€™s biggest national hospital.
At first there was panic. The hospital director quickly got news that the countryâ€™s most powerful citizen was in the premises. He rushed there of course â€“ only to find the president was many blocks inside.
In an emotional encounter, Magufuli met a man who had been admitted two months earlier. He cannot move his body and there has been no diagnosis of his illness â€“ REASON: the MRI Scanner had broken down months ago.
You canâ€™t imagine the rage on the presidentâ€™s face as he rambled. Hundreds of other patients had no beds and many others reported not seeing doctors for days.
Magufuli cracked the whip. The director of the main state hospital was sacked.
Magufuli also broke up the governing board at Muhimbili National Hospital after discovering the main scanning and diagnostic machines were not working and seeing other poor conditions.
Just a day after his swearing in, Magufuli made a surprise visit to the Finance Ministry and was shocked to notice that most workers had not reported to work.
The President was only beginning to witness inefficiency on an industrial scale. At the finance ministry, Magufuli found literally thousands of requests for foreign travel. For a man who had travelled abroad only six times for the 20years he had been minister, it was a shocker.
In another change of act, Magufuli ordered a ban on foreign travel for ministers and all government officials. All international invitations will be handled by Tanzaniaâ€™s diplomatic missions.
Such is the new state of affairs for the people of Mwalimu. Finally, they are getting a leader who is making things happen. At the main Tanzania hospital, deafening applause escorted Magufuli out.
Tanzanians are getting a taste of the action Rwandans have enjoyed since 2003 when President Paul Kagame became leader. In Rwanda, government is so effective that all you have to do to get an appointment with a cabinet minister is send him or her a Twitter message.
Several years ago, President Kagame launched a â€˜cow per familyâ€™ initiative to help combat poverty and malnutrition. Some years latter it emerged some cows had ended up with people who do not belong in the target category. Line officials prayed the nightmare disappeared.
A road connecting Uganda-Rwanda was funded by same source. Media reports say that it cost Uganda about Euro 950,000 to construct a kilometer of tarmac road compared to Rwanda’s cost share of about Euro 600,000. Ugandan lawmakers were furious!
Eight years ago, Kagame sat with his cabinet in his office. On agenda; how can Rwanda be wired up at the blink of an eye? A road map was initiated that set out requirement that for any new building to rise up in Kigali, there had to be fibre cable laid first.
Why waste time in the courts
Thousands of kilometres of cable will be criss-crossing Rwanda to be completed in two years. Recently, officials at local hospital in rural Nyamasheke district complained that the cable had been stopped 3km away. Within weeks, the staff at the hospital had so much bandwidth they had nothing to do with it.
Corruption is a thing of the past in Rwanda. In as long as you work for government, all that police and criminal investigators need is proof that you have acquired illegal financial benefits. You will lose your job.
Hundreds of police officers have been dismissed for taking small bribes. The law is straight â€“ you are found guilty by the courts, before you head to jail, the state will sell off your property to recover what you stole. Of course the balance is returned to you.
Anti-graft group Transparency Internationalâ€™s annual index tells it all in testament of Rwandaâ€™s progress.
The security services perform so exceptionally well that Gallup Poll rates Rwanda the safest place on planet earth. You can move on the street across all Rwandan territory at anytime. For women, it gets safest.
During Kagameâ€™sÂ â€œPresidentialÂ Citizen Outreach Programâ€, he moves down the villages to speak directly to locals inÂ anÂ unscripted format.
The president isÂ always complete, with hisÂ advisors, ministers, all top security chiefs, and heads of institutions. Any issue raised by any villager will be settled there or directive issued with deadline.
â€œYou do not want to be absent when people are raising concerns on projects that concern your ministry,â€ one of the ministers toldÂ KT Press, a news agency in Rwanda.
Along this long trail of effectiveness, critics are bitter. At least one thing synonymous to Kagameâ€™s success is the fact that his office is having a hard time coping with the ever-flowing invitation letters to speak at global conferences.
In Rwanda, people take so many things for granted because they feel entitled to anything. The latest craze; pedestrian sidewalks and cycling lanes are being dug out of road pavements. Kigalians now want space to ride their bikes!
For the ordinary folks, a new word has been coined to describe Kagameâ€™s way of doing things; Kagamecracy!
And the Tanzanians might just be about to begin enjoying the fruits.