Tanzania’s Magufuli scraps independence day celebration

Tanzanian President John Magufuli

Tanzania’s newly elected President John Magufuli has cancelled independence day celebrations, and has ordered a clean-up campaign instead.


It would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when “our people are dying of cholera”, he said, state television reported.

John Magufuli addresses delegates after the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) elected him as the presidential candidate for the October 25 election in the capital Dodoma, July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
John Magufuli addresses delegates after the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) elected him as the presidential candidate for the October 25 election in the capital Dodoma, July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Cholera has killed about 60 people in Tanzania in the last three months.

This will be the first time in 54 years Tanzania will not hold celebrations to mark independence from the UK.

Mr Magufuli’s party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), has governed since colonial rule ended on 9 December 1961, winning a new mandate in elections last month.

Many people were caught by surprise by Mr Magufuli’s announcement but have welcomed the move, the BBC’s Sammy Awami reports from the main city, Dar es Salaam.

They feel it shows his commitment to ending lavish spending and tackling the cholera outbreak which has caused widespread concern, he says.

But it remains to be seen whether people will heed his call to spend independence day cleaning up their residential areas and work-places, our reporter adds.

Independence day celebrations are usually marked with a presidential address, a military parade and performances by music groups at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
MPs party targeted

Mr Magufuli’s spokesman Gerson Msigwa did not say how much would be saved by cancelling the event but said the money would be spent on hospitals, and the fight against cholera – a major problem in poor areas where there is a lack of proper toilets.

The president wants people to clean their neighbourhoods, including markets, on independence day
Mr Magufuli has announced a range of cost-cutting measures since he took office, including a ban on unnecessary foreign travel by government officials.

Last week, he ordered the cost of a party to inaugurate the new parliament to be slashed from $100,000 (£66,000) to $7,000.

He also sacked the head of the main state hospital after finding patients sleeping on the floor during a surprise visit to the facility.

Mr Magufuli beat opposition candidate Edward Lowassa in last month’s election to become Tanzania’s fifth president since independence.

Nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, Mr Magufuli is reputed to be a no-nonsense, results-driven politician.
He was the works minister, before being elected president.


  1. He has started on the right foot only that enthusiasm fades with time. Keep the fire burning for the public welfare.

  2. New broom trying to sweep clean. Makes a great deal of sense. What is the point of celebrating so-called independence when these poor nations are worse off than they were under whites? Most are in denial. I hope this new President won’t tire quickly. These are the sort of people who should be in government – realists not bull throwers like you know who.

  3. This is true leadership, Zimbababwe NEEDS a leader of this caliber. A leader who will clean up corruption and uplift the living standards of those who are poor. Not this rubbish from Mugabe and his cabinet which is regularly reshuffled at the expense of citizens

  4. No! No! No! (fist slamming the desk) We will not go the Tanzanian way. It is not our way. We will do things the Zimbabwean way as usual.

  5. I don’t think His Excellency, President Magufuli deliberately brushed aside this important day when the peoples of United Republic of Tanzania commemorate and retrace the foot steps of the progenitors of the state. Rather he was driving two points home one, that celebrating independence does not entail blowing scarce state resources, but it should be to empower the populace by giving them hope. Secondly, cholera is highly contagious disease which is spread rapidly during gatherings. It was those motivations, and through advice by sagacious elders there and aides, that he found it appropriate to decree such an unprecedented act. I wish to clarify the issue especially for the BBC.

  6. Stunning move! ibvai maramba makadaro until the last day in your office. Zvavo maTanzanian who are heading for a change vamwe ndopavarikutogadzirira kunoita blow up mamillions kuenda kuconference. Dai ZANU ine pfungwa vaisatomboenda havo kuconference honestly kunoitei to evaluate how many vote of confidence were passed nemawhirlwind rallies aGrace ndozvese zvatakaona zvamakaita muna2015. ZANU you are joke.

  7. And to think ZANU-PF is about to blow millions on a useless conference in December wotoshaya kuti mapriorities awo ari pai chaizvo. ko kungobvuma kuti hapana chamakaita henyu zvine basa rei? All we witnessed was Grace whirwing tours and Votes of no confidence chimwe chamakaita chii.

  8. … But what really is the point of getting the whole army using tonnes of litres of gas to go “celebrate” some event which we can just do in the privacy of our homes. Vanhu kutoenda kuNSS kuti macelebrations. Inga Xmas tongoita tega wani. Zvese zvana defence airforce what what nxaaaa kutambisa mari uko

  9. This is one of the best news that I have heard from an African country in a long time …PRESIDENT GREAT MAGUFULI ,we pray and hope you stay on this path …people must come first , public workers in the whole continent must understand that they are public servants .You have already demonstrated that you mean serious business . GOD BLESS YOU ,YOUR FAMILY ,AND FELLOW COUNTRY MEN AND WOMEN.

  10. People endorsing you know who are doing so not out of their love for him but rather to protect their personal gains and interests. They however forget that our current system & situation can never be changed as long as we still have the old guard. If as Zimbabwe we had a culture of constantly changing the reigns at the top we would have given most African countries the blueprint of governance, unfortunately we are always going to be at the receiving end. Congradulations TANZANIA your campus is pointing you in the right direction, may the Lord guide MAGUFULI from not being corrupted by power. He can become the contemporary African hero

  11. I want to meet this Mr President. Well done, well done Magufuli. This is what the 4G leaders do, they are not swayed by POWER but they are moved by the development of their people and their countries.

  12. That is highly unpatriotic, unAfrican and more importantly an insult to the founding African fathers. Besides he seem to be suggesting that we should drop our revered 18 April celebs. The net effect is for our peace loving and vigilant Zim people to end up questioning if at all our ruining party should be spending millions in a couple of weeks in Vic Falls when Harare Hospital is burning. This Magufuli boy needs to know that Africa is not Europe thats why when these people came here already having the automobile technology we were busy doing musengabere on our women

  13. Here in Tanzania every public servant is worried. They are no longer staying in the office. They are in fields. If you want to give a bribe so that your need is given faster, they are rejecting by saying that it might be from MAGUFULI?

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