The sudden dying of Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has thrown the East African nation right into a interval of political uncertainty.
Vice-president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has been sworn in as his successor, making her Tanzania’s first lady president.
The transition is all of the tougher given the key rupture – each political and financial – attributable to Magufuli’s presidency. Magufuli, who received a second time period in October 2020, dramatically centralised energy and pursued an interventionist financial coverage agenda. He courted controversy on numerous fronts, most not too long ago, by claiming that Tanzania – opposite to mounting proof – was Covid-free.
Hassan has known as for unity and counselled that
now shouldn’t be the time to have a look at what has handed however fairly to have a look at what’s to come back.
Regardless of the 61-year-old chief’s forward-looking stance, questions stay about how Magufuli’s legacy will form her time in workplace.
The authoritarian flip
Magufuli oversaw the marginalisation of opposition events and a decline in civil liberties. His first time period was outlined by heightened intimidation and violence towards opposition leaders, together with disappearances and bodily assaults.
Thanks to 5 years of repression, the October 2020 common elections noticed the opposition all however worn out of elected workplace. The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi now controls all native authorities councils. It additionally holds 97% of straight elected legislative seats, up from 73% in 2015.
As well as, media freedom and civil liberties have been additionally restricted. A regulation handed in 2018 imposed jail phrases for questioning the accuracy of official statistics.
However Magufuli’s authoritarian tendencies weren’t unprecedented in Tanzania. For example, the rule of his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete was additionally marred by human rights abuses as nicely civil society and media repression. Kikwete additionally cancelled Zanzibar’s 2015 election as a result of a probable opposition victory.
It stays to be seen whether or not Hassan will undertake a extra liberal method, loosening restrictions on opposition events, the media and civil society. Even when she does, the injury will take time to restore. Opposition events, as an example, might nicely battle to regain their power. Amongst different setbacks, they’ve misplaced nearly all native elected representatives – a core factor of their organisational infrastructure constructed up painstakingly over a long time.
Centralising energy within the celebration
One other key pillar to Magufuli’s legacy is the centralisation of energy throughout the Chama Cha Mapinduzi.
Within the early years below founding president Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s ruling celebration was dominated by the president and a hierarchy of appointed state and celebration officers. However, following financial liberalisation within the 1980s and Nyerere’s retirement from politics, the celebration turned steeped in factional rivalries. These have been spurred by new political alliances and an rising personal sector enterprise elite.
This factionalism reached its top below Kikwete amid accusations of widespread corruption. Magufuli’s nomination as celebration presidential candidate solely occurred as a result of the rivalry amongst these factions left him because the surprising compromise candidate.
As soon as in workplace, although, Magufuli rapidly signalled he could be no one’s puppet. He used his place as ruling celebration chairman to create a “new” Chama Cha Mapinduzi. This concerned breaking with celebration heavyweights, together with Kikwete, suppressing factional organising, and consolidating his personal help base.
Magufuli’s new base was a cohort of freshly appointed celebration officers in addition to civil servants and cupboard ministers. His loyalists likened these modifications to a revival of Nyerere’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi. However, in our view, the comparability is deceptive.
Like Magufuli earlier than her, Hassan will probably be taking workplace – and celebration management – with out her personal political base. She can even should take care of revived factional manoeuvring as sidelined teams attempt to regain an higher hand.
Hassan may align with a loyal Magufuli faction, which incorporates influential figures throughout the celebration. However, early indications counsel she intends to observe the recommendation of “celebration elders”, notably Kikwete. The previous president reportedly attended the celebration’s most up-to-date central committee assembly on Hassan’s invitation.
Aligning herself with Kikwete will seemingly result in the reemergence of the inner factional rivalries that characterised the previous president’s tenure.
Implications for financial coverage
If president Hassan does proceed to take a political steer from Kikwete, one seemingly end result is that there will probably be a change in financial coverage. Specifically, a return to progress that’s led by a extra business-friendly method to the personal sector.
Calls are already being made for such a plan of action..
The hazard for Hassan, nevertheless, is that below Kikwete this mannequin was related to excessive ranges of corruption and unproductive rent-seeking.
A cautious reassessment of the Magufuli period is required to information future policymaking.
Magufuli used his management over the ruling celebration to pursue an formidable coverage agenda. This was additionally linked to his political undertaking of centralising energy.
Though this development really started below Kikwete, Magufuli accelelrated a transfer in the direction of extra state-led funding. Beneath his management, each state-owned and, more and more, military-owned enterprises have been supplied strategic contracts.
This formidable programme initially received him reward. However over time, his authoritarian decision-making, mismanagement, and lack of transparency prompted a extra vital response.
Many state enterprises remained cash-starved, relied on authorities monetary help, and registered losses.
When the federal government’s controller and auditor common known as for extra scrutiny of public funds, his price range was slashed. And he was finally compelled to retire and changed by a Magufuli loyalist.
Alongside state funding, the president additionally sought to self-discipline personal sector actors. Some observerssuggest that this led to extra productive funding, notably by home buyers. However others level to renewed crony capitalist ties.
Magufuli’s most excessive profile company battle was towards Canadian-owned Barrick Gold and its former subsidiary, Acacia Mining. From the 2, he demanded USD$190 billion in tax arrears and a renegotiation of working phrases.
Many noticed this resource-nationalist method as an inspiration and a mannequin for African international locations in search of to take higher management of their mineral wealth. However in the long run – partly as a result of externally imposed authorized and financial constraints – Magufuli walked again on a few of his calls for. As an alternative he opted for cooperation fairly than confrontation.
He negotiated a three way partnership through which Barrick took a majority stake of 84% and Tanzania the remaining 16%. Key parts of the nationalistic mining laws handed in 2017 have been additionally reversed.
On the plus aspect gold overtook tourism as Tanzania’s largest foreign-exchange earner. As well as, some small-scale miners noticed their livelihoods enhance. Outcomes have been extra combined elsewhere, particularly for Tanzanite miners within the nation’s north.
Finally, Magufuli leaves behind a combined financial legacy. It combines misdirected authoritarian decision-making with optimistic efforts to pursue an lively industrial coverage. Reining in unproductive home buyers and renegotiating antagonistic contracts with international buyers have been a part of this agenda.
There’s a danger, given this advanced combine, that Tanzania’s policymakers might be taught the flawed classes from his presidency, main again to the flawed mannequin present earlier than.
Considerably, neither Magufuli nor his predecessors managed to attain extra inclusive progress. Because of this poverty ranges have remained stubbornly excessive.
The pandemic and past
One quick concern is what steps Hassan will tackle the pandemic, and whether or not she’s going to change course.
No matter she does, the well being emergency and related financial disaster will seemingly outline her presidency. It may certainly outline the financial trajectory of the African area in years to come back.
Each Kikwete and Magufuli dominated by way of an financial growth interval. Commodity costs have been excessive and entry to worldwide finance was pretty simple. This gave them latitude to decide on between varied improvement approaches.
If Tanzania reverts to the established order of the Kikwete years, the danger is a reemergence of rent-seeking however with out the identical extremely beneficial financial progress situations. Certainly, as exterior situations worsen, Hassan might discover her choices way more restricted.