As golden and rainbow-esque the transition to democracy was for South Africa, the country still has such a long way to go until it actually gets it shit together. Yet other countries on the continent are flourishing. The past week just saw Ethiopia’s stabilising economy out-do ours and Rwanda is owning its painful past and moving forward to create a better place for all its citizens.
Now, Tanzania’s newly elected President, Dr. John Magufuli has become a Twitter sensation and for something pretty positive. Immediately after his inauguration, Magufuli scrapped independence celebrations and chose to rather spend the money one sanitation, fighting cholera in affected areas and buying hospital beds and equipment. My Man. See how easy it is, Jacob? This is what Magufuli had to say:
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.
Instead, the president declared that on Independence day, every household was required in a nation-wide clean-up. (Rwanda does this on the last Saturday of every month).
Other cutbacks include the suspension of unnecessary foreign travel for government officials, sitting allowances for seminars and meetings including those of Member of Parliament, and lavish cocktail parties and dinners by public institutions.
A state dinner for the official opening of the country’s parliament, for example, was going to cost 300 million Tanzanian shillings. Magufuli slashed the budget to 25 million and ordered that the rest be taken to buy 300 hospital beds and mattresses and 600 bed sheets.
And when a group of 50 government officials was about to set off for a tour of Commonwealth countries on November 21, 2015, the president cut that list down to four people, saving the government 600 million shillings in tickets, accommodation and per diems.
Other austerity measures include a moratorium on foreign travel; when trips are necessary, they will be done economically — no more first-class tickets for government officials (with the exception of the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister), expensive hotels or cars. Allowances have also been stopped and the government plans to reclaim any non-operational state companies that were privatized.
What followed was a series of radical cost-cutting-measure memes on Twitter, using the hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo:
And of course people got serious:
[imagesource: Twitter / @NicoleGraham031] At the height of South Africa's unrest and lo...
[imagesource: Henri Szwarc/Bongarts/Getty Images] As it stands, South Africa is still w...
[imagesource: YouTube / Aaron Evans] There is a three-minute song online that has many ...
[imagesource: Getty Images] It's fair to say that South Africa's collective psyche has ...
[imagesource: YouTube / Rémi Gaillard] It's a miracle that Rémi Gaillard hasn't been ...