President Magufuli – nicknamed „The Bulldozer“ – figures out ways to save money, earning him political praise as well as a Twitter phenomenon.
When I come in on Monday morning I find one of my coworkers giggling in front of the computer. „What’s happening?“ I ask, curiously. Instead of answering, he just shows me his screen. Apparently, President Magufuli has gone viral on twitter – or better, how to save money mode Magufuli.
It’s been almost a month since Magufuli’s election, and it’s hard to tell whether the reverence with which he is treated is deserved. Hardly a day goes by without there being some kind of congratulatory ad in The Citizen. The first Tanzanian press conference I get to tag along, I understand hardly a word except for Magufuli’s name – because the speaker pauses and does a dramatic voice every time he says it. The new president’s popularity exceeds the one of its party, CCM, by far.
Then again, Magufuli has been a politician for more than twenty years. And in a country where many see politics mainly as a money-making scheme, he apparently still lives simply, earning him the reputation of being incorruptible. His nickname „The bulldozer“ he earned during his time as minister of works, when he sent out bulldozers to take down illegally built villas so a public road could be constructed as planned.
His pre-election promise of scaling back on government spending he seems to be keeping, too. First class train tickets for those government officials? A thing of the past. Government printed Christmas and New Year Cards? Not anymore. The yearly held costly celebration for independence day? Cancelled.
Magufuli’s saving binge has not gone unnoticed on social media (to get back to the Twitter meme that amused my work colleague). Want to save money? According to Tanzanian Twitterers, all you got to do is ask yourself: What would Magufuli do?
— It’s Gitz Bruh! (@iGitz_) November 26, 2015
— Fat Albert (@MisterAlbie) November 26, 2015
— Verified (@njiiru) November 26, 2015
— Dave (@MyUglyMustache) November 26, 2015
— Philip Maina (@kimutaimaina) 26. November 2015
— Allan Ssenyonga (@ssojo81) 26. November 2015