Since the news of the demise of Tanzania’s Bulldozer, President John Pombe Magufuli broke, Western media has taken a very negative approach to ridicule his long-built reputation even against official reports that, he died out of heart attack.
The Guardian headlined its report on his death as follows: “Tanzania’s Covid-denying President John Magufuli dies aged 61”. The CNN wrote, “Tanzania’s President John Magufuli who urged citizens ‘to pray coronavirus away’ has died. DW Africa captioned their report as, “Tanzania’s covid-skeptical President John Magufuli dies at age 61” same headline was maintained by USnews.com among others.
From these angles of media report, it is obvious that, there is a deliberate attempt to create a certain perception and control public opinion regarding Magufuli. However, the well-meaning people of Africa have equally flooded the media space to report their own version of the Man called Magufuli with the hashtag, #TheMagufuliweknow.
The Magufuli we know was one of the best Presidents the African continent has ever had, and arguably one of the best in the world. The magufuli we know was a true statesman and Pan-Africanist who would rather die protecting African values than yield to Western demands; The Magufuli we know was the unconventional President who rejected the usual extravagant life of some African leaders at the expense of their subjects.
This is the man who served a whole year without travelling outside Africa, followed up to ban foreign travels for public officials just to protect the public purse; the Magufuli we know was the man who draw hatred for his outright radical approach towards the fight against corruption and neocolonialism.
John Pombe Magufuli as President drove massive economic change to improve the living standards of his people; Magufuli the Bulldozer was not a mere political demagogue but an action oriented man who effected positive change in the development of the Republic of Tanzania.
Yes, we admit Magufuli was not perfect because no human can ever be. He was criticized for his over dependence on religion to address the pandemic and his crackdown on fake media reports which was interpreted as “undemocratic.” However, this alone cannot rob him of all his good deeds.
To many of us, Magufuli was and will forever remain a hero irrespective of whatever media agenda is being hatched for whatever purpose. #TheMagufuliweknow is different from the Magufuli they are projecting.