Tanzania president sacks council directors who failed to recite road budgets on TV

Tanzanian President John Magufuli this week sacked two senior municipal officials after they failed immediately to recall, at a televised public gathering, how much cash his government had given them for road construction.

Nicknamed "the Bulldozer" for his uncompromising approach to infrastructure schemes, Magufuli has been cracking down on corruption and is known for his ability to recall precise details of projects, including costs and measurements.

"You can’t talk to me like that," Magufuli said at the launch on Monday, 6 November of a new airport in the town of Bukoba after he confronted the director of Bukoba Municipal Council and the director of the Bukoba Rural Municipal Council, Reuters reports.

A statement issued by the president’s office hours later said the directors would be assigned to other duties, and did not explain the reasons for the sackings.

One of the directors, Mwantum Kitwana Dau, of Bukoba Rural Municipal Council, said she oversaw many departments and so could not immediately recall the exact budget allocated for road projects, reported Reuters.

Publics works minister for many years before being elected president in 2015 on a pledge to transform the economy, Magufuli has sacked thousands of civil servants over the past two years in a crackdown on government inefficiency and corruption.

According to Reuters, he has purged more than 20,000 "ghost workers" from the public payroll and has sacked 12,000 government employees for forging their academic transcripts.

"I will continue to straighten out those few people who have been looting this country in order to ensure that the majority of the population can reap the benefits," he said.

Image: Street in Bukoba town, Tanzania (Wikimedia Commons)

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