Africa

Tanzania cancels Independence Day celebrations

President John Magufuli redirects funds earmarked for celebrations to buy hospital equipment

Kizito Makoye   | 04.12.2020
Tanzania cancels Independence Day celebrations

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania

The Tanzanian president Friday canceled the country’s Independence Day celebrations scheduled for Dec. 9, directing the funds to be used to purchase hospital equipment.

According to a statement by the prime minister’s office, President John Magufuli directed that nearly 835.5 million Tanzanian shillings ($360,000) earmarked for the lavish military fanfare should be spent on buying equipment for the newly-built Uhuru hospital in the capital city Dodoma.

Speaking at an occasion Thursday to mark 60 years of the Association of Tanzania Employers, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the hospital, with its construction nearing completion, received massive funding support from the president.

The statement said the citizens should spend Independence Day engaging in community activities.

"There will not be Independence Day celebrations, everyone should be doing community activities in his/her area," Majaliwa said.

After years of dilly-dallying, the government of Tanzania officially moved to Dodoma -- a city perched on sun-fried soils of the central plateau in 2019 -- a move hailed for creating a significant social and economic improvement of the city which has been considered a potential new capital prior to the country's independence from Britain.

Magufuli, known for his strict work ethics and propensity to get things done, has launched a sustained campaign against corruption and wasteful spending of public money.

The president, who won the disputed Oct. 28 election on the ticket of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, embarked on cost-cutting measures, including a ban on unnecessary foreign travel by government officials.

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