Christmas card ban for gov’t officials

Magufuli in Magomeni. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Magufuli says government officials wanting to send greeting cards can do so at their own expense. But the question people are asking is ‘how far will Magufuli go?’ Photo: Daniel Hayduk

The government will not be sending out Christmas greeting cards this year, as president John Magufuli continues to tighten Tanzania’s purse-strings.

Chief Secretary Omeni Sefue says Magufuli has “prohibited the printing of Christmas and New Year cards at the government’s expense.”

“The funds set aside for the cards should be used to pay off debts that government ministries, departments and institutions owe citizens and other creditors for goods and services rendered or should be directed toward other priority areas,” says Sefue.

Sefue says anyone who wants to print greeting cards can do so at their own personal expense.

“How far can he go and how far should he go?”
So far Magufuli’s austerity moves have been welcomed: restricting travel by government officials, opting for conference calls instead of conferences, using $100,000 USD earmarked for a government party to buy hospital beds, scrapping Independence Day celebrations to buy more hospital supplies and insisting money to be spent on World AIDS day goes straight to buy ARV drugs.

But how far can Magufuli — a mere three weeks into his presidency — go?

“How far can he go and how far should he go? I think he can go far and I think there are areas in which he can dig deeper to ensure there is stringent control on government spending,” says political science professor Benson Bana.

“The public opinion is that the president is doing the right thing. A leader is always an inspirer and we expect the people to follow his footsteps, especially those with responsibility and authority,” says Bana.

Bana says he fully expects others to jump on the #WhatWouldMagufuliDo bandwagon, citing Kinondoni District Commissioner Paul Makonda ordering the arrest of tardy land officers on Wednesday, November 25 as an example.

“You don’t expect the president to win the battle single-handedly. We talk the talk but we don’t walk the talk. It’s high time we emulate the president’s stance and live this talk and do the right thing.”

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