The work of ETI and the Karagwe Diocese is affected by the national political climate in Tanzania. ETI and KAD have worked together on each of the issues below and look forward to continued progress under a new Tanzanian president.
Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s president, has been described as calm, conciliatory, inclusive, rational and diplomatic. And the path she has paved since being sworn in, in March of 2021, can be described the same way. In two months, President Samia has set a tone of openness to address the pandemic, increase foreign investments, support media freedoms and include diverse views in decision-making. She has also made it clear that she does not want to be compared to Tanzania’s past president, John Magufuli stating, “It is unhealthy for our nation” (BBC News, May 2021).
Below are a few of the changes that have transpired since she was sworn in two months ago (March, 2021)
President Samia has stated that Tanzania can no longer ignore the global pandemic. Since taking office in March, 2021, President Samia formed a committee of experts to advise her on the status of Covid-19 in Tanzania and to outline the necessary steps to take. Her efforts are promising, however, no new policies or guidelines have emerged yet. Tanzania is particularly vulnerable with this pandemic since the previous government denied that Coronavirus was a problem. Magufuli had ordered his government to stop reporting COVID statistics in May 2020, so with no reliable data on cases or deaths, there is quite a bit of catching up to do.*
President Samia has openly said there is need to regain investor trust in Tanzania. She wants to bring back investors who moved their businesses to other countries due to the unpredictable tax and work permit requirements, corruption and an environment that was unfriendly toward business development. She has promoted foreign investments and international trade and has broadened the tax base. She has directed the ministries responsible for investment and trade to remove barriers and bureaucracy, and to desist from corrupt acts. Her goal is to rebuild Tanzania’s tarnished reputation and help put Tanzania back on the global map.
Diplomacy & Democracy
President Samia has a reputation for diplomacy and maturity in balancing opposing views in order to strengthen democracy. She became known in Tanzania in 2014 when she was elected to draft a new constitution. At the time, she demonstrated her belief that civic debate is healthy. Her leadership has prompted more openness to public discourse in the current environment, and has provided healthy pressure on politicians and others to work together. Her reputation for diplomacy is further enhanced as she was the only government official that visited opposition leader, Tundu Lissu in 2017 after the assassination attempt that nearly took his life.
In sum, President Samia’s approach to leading the country is not about tarnishing her predecessor’s reputation but rather about “choosing democracy” and doing away with what was stifling it (BBC News, May 4, 2021).
* ETI commends our Partners for providing education, sanitizing stations, PPE and hospital equipment to help curb the reaches of the pandemic in a political climate that pressured them not to.
ETI Blog: https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=841bed81b0d69d6eb4a199682&id=3296eacb37