Tanzania leader turns rubbish cleaner


It is not a common scene in Tanzania – the president, dressed casually and wearing a hat and gloves, joining hundreds of people in sweeping streets and picking up rubbish in the main city, Dar es Salaam.

But this is just what newly elected President John Magufuli did this morning after cancelling today’s usually lavish Independence Day celebrations and ordering Tanzanians to clean-up their neighbourhoods.

The scene was replicated across the country, with schools and shops remaining shut as people swept streets, pruned trees, and tidied up their areas from the crack of dawn.


This is the first time in 54 years that Tanzania has not held celebrations to mark independence from the UK.

In many ways, the clean -up exercise was symbolic of President Magufuli’s pledge to remove what many Tanzanians see as the rot in public institutions, and their failure to perform effectively.

Last month, Mr Magufuli said it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when “our people are dying of cholera”.


Cholera has killed about 60 people in Tanzania in the last three months – many of them in poor areas which lack proper toilets.

Mr Magafuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, was elected in October.

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