Tanzania's New President: A breath of fresh air

Samia Suluhu Hassan: Tanzania's President
Tanzania’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, celebrated her 100 days in office last week. And this Publication, faithful to our tradition of not rushing to comment on issues welcomes her to the hot seat.

 Her middle name in Kiswahili means a solution. So has she been the solution or the problem? Will she be the solution?

 The seat she occupies is very hot. She inherits a country that was a pariah in many critical ways owing to her predecessor’s abrasive and isolationist management style. 

Her predecessor, John Magufuli, “the bulldozer.” had little respect for Science and due process. It was his way or the highway and that cost him his life. He rattled everyone from Civil Servants, Politicians, to investors to his neighbors.

 I must confess that this publication was no fun of him. We are the only publication that branded him “Tanzania’s major risk factor.” Please Read  http://eaers.blogspot.com/2017/02/president-magufuli-is-tanzanias-major.html.

He never disappointed. In fact, he went beyond our fears, endangering the whole country.  He crossed swords with investors and changed laws to a point of scaring investors away.  Also see http://eaers.blogspot.com/2018/11/tanzania-prey-turned-predator.html.

 He even rattled Tanzania’s largest market for primary products in Africa, Kenya. He yanked a proposed crude Oil Pipeline between Kenya and Uganda and diverted it to Tanzania’s Tanga Port. He sought to sabotage the Northern Corridor Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Kigali to the Central Corridor that traverses Tanzania. Also, Read http://eaers.blogspot.com/2020/12/how-zombie-ideas-sabotaged-sgr-project.html.

Branded “Remarkably Trumpian” by the US publication, the Daily Beast, Magufuli had no qualms rejecting science and due process if they conflicted with his fantasy. In the end, he led a country that was; ravaged by Covid-19, a devastated economy, and was isolated at home and abroad. That is the country Samia Suluhu inherited and will lead.

She has executed herself well and has her priorities right. Immediately she assumed office, she set out on a charm offensive in a bid to repair relations soured by her predecessor. She met with her peers in the neighborhood including Uganda and Kenya and the Bretton woods institutions, the IMF and World Bank.

In all the meetings, she cut business and economic deals. Among these was signing the agreements for the start of EACOP, the 1443 Kilometer oil Pipeline from Hoima oilfields in Uganda to the Port of Tanga in Tanzania. She also extracted a deal to supply Kenya with LNG by a Pipeline from Dar-es-Salaam to Mombasa in Kenya. Within the month, she and her Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, signed the HGA with EACOP, setting the stage for its construction. This publication has reservations about the project going by the name East Africa Crude oil Pipeline (EACOP) and its Kenya counterpart, Lokichar - Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline (LLCOP).  See also http://eaers.blogspot.com/2021/01/east-africas-crude-oil-pipelines-in.html Our reservations are strongly anchored on the shift in consumer taste towards clean energy and the declining crude oil prices.

 The talks with the Bretton woods institutions opened the purse strings for financial support, bagging US$1.5 billion in loans from them. Not a bad result for one month’s work if you ask me.  Her announcement that talks about the construction of Bagamoyo Port, with the Chinese investors, are set to re-open set everyone sitting up to take note. Samia (the solution) Hassan is thus a breath of fresh air coming after her predecessor.

While the oppressive laws promulgated under Magufuli to protect his incompetence are still in place, she seems less keen to enforce them, making pronouncements that appear to suggest they are on their way out.

We sense a changed Political and economic environment in Tanzania, a welcome move and hope the Solution, remains just that, the solution.

Tanzania is well-endowed with resources. All it needs is proper exploitation for the sleeping giant to awaken. We must hasten to add; Proper exploitation of resources is not akin to robbing investors.

 

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