Government Christmas Cards Scrapped in Tanzania to Save Cash

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President John Magufuli has scrapped the usual government Christmas and New Year cards this year as part of his belt-tightening measures.

This is the latest in a string of new measures designed to cut costs since he was sworn in on November 5. Magufuli’s election campaign promised tight austerity measures and a strict battle against corruption, tax exemptions and wasting of public funds – something the new president looks keen to live up to.

 

The austerity measures continue

The scrapping of Christmas and New Year cards this holiday season may seem trivial at a first glance, but this is only the latest belt-tightening measure brought in by Magufuli. Earlier this week he cancelled Independence Day celebrations in the country, instead choosing to spend that money on a “clean-up” campaign.

“It is so shameful that we are spending huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera,” he said in a televised statement.

The president has also placed heavy travel restrictions on government officials, who will now need to seek approval first. Magufuli has said only the most necessary overseas journeys will be approved and officials will be expected to spend more time focusing on issues in remote parts of Tanzania.

 

Overdue response to government expenses

Magufulli’s stance on government spending has received widespread praise and satire from the Tanzanian public. Build-up to the October 25 elections was tense after Magufuli’s CCM party appeared to be losing favour with the public.

Tanzanians have had to tolerate intense corruption for an entire decade now, with only the most scandalous cases being made a public example of. Magufuli’s reputation as “The Bulldozer” – a politician who acts, not only talks – was key to his election victory and the president is so far living up to his name.

Presidents taking a tough stance has become a mini trend in African nations with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and Senegal’s Macky Sall also being lauded for their austerity measures in uncertain times.

 

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.