Who was John Pombe Magufuli, Tanzania’s ‘Bulldozer’?

John Pombe Magufuli, now deceased was the 5th President of the Republic of Tanzania. Before becoming President, He was nicknamed ‘The Bulldozer’ for driving a program to build roads across the country as the Minister for Works and also for his anti-corruption stance. Magufuli The Bulldozer shot to worldwide fame following his exemplary leadership.

After assuming office in 2015, he took the following radical but necessary decisions: …He served his first term in office without traveling out of Africa. …He cut government expenditure by preventing officials from traveling abroad unnecessarily; saving the country 47 billion Kenyan Shillings within a year. …He diverted funds meant for independent day celebration to fight cholera; according to him, saving lives is better than a wasteful venture. …He cancelled a Chinese loan worth US$10billion stating that, the terms do not make sense. These and many others won the admiration of people across the world

Magufuli was born on the 29th of October 1959 in the northwestern town of Chato. He took his primary education in Chato Primary School from 1967 to 1974. He attended Katoke Seminary in Biharamulo, for his secondary education from 1975 to 1977. He moved to Lake Secondary School in 1977 and graduated in 1978. He later joined Mkwawa High School for his Advanced level studies in 1979 and graduated in 1981. After graduating, He took a Diploma in Education Science, majoring in Chemistry, Mathematics and Education from the Mkwawa College of Education.

Young Magufuli

He earned a bachelor of science in education degree majoring in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Dar es Salaam in 1988. He proceeded to earn masters and doctorate degrees in chemistry from The University of Dar es Salaam, in 1994 and 2009, respectively

Before he started his mainstream political career, Magufuli worked as a teacher at the Sengerema Secondary School where he taught chemistry and mathematics and later as an industrial Chemist. He was elected as Member of Parliament in 1995; He served as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000. Minister of Works from 2000 to 2006, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015.

He was chosen by the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party to succeed after former president President Jakaya Kikwete in 2015 of which he won the election and became President till his demise in 2021. Despite his leadership successes, Magufuli faced some criticisms for his approach towards the pandemic. He was criticized for his overreliance on religion to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

However, Magufuli became famous across Africa after running tests on pawpaw, oil, goats and other non-human elements with the free test kits distributed in Africa. He prevented his country from using such kits because he found them suspicious after the above-mentioned tests proved positive.

Magufuli the Bulldozer may have fallen but, his good works remain forever. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

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