Tanzania’s newly elected president John Magufuli’s recent austerity measures have caused a stir on social media, with #WhatWouldMagufuliDo trending on Twitter. Magufuli has instituted various measures meant to curb government excesses and save Tanzanian taxpayers’ money. To that effect, he has:

  • Cancelled Independence Day celebrations
  • Limited foreign travel to only what is most essential, with those travelling needing to get special permission must be sought from him or the Chief Secretary of the Cabinet
  • Limited first and business class travel for all officials except the President, Vice, and Prime Minister.
  • Cancelled all workshops and seminars held in expensive hotels, with ministries having to use their own boardrooms
  • Removed sitting allowances for government employees
  • Cut the budget of an inauguration party for the new parliament from $100,000 to $7,000.

As a result, Twitter users have been posting situations where they have avoided spending more money than they had to using the hashtag, to hilarious effect. The hashtag highlights some creative but questionable ways to save money.



Magufuli’s impact has spread to the English language, with his name being used as a verb, ‘to magufulify‘.

Magufuli, who was nicknamed “The Bulldozer” when he was Minister for Works because he oversaw the building of  many roads, is all the rage in Kenya, with some preferring his cost-cutting measures to the Kenyan government’s seemingly extravagant expenditure.


He also won a Kenyan election, albeit on Twitter.

Another poll, proposes that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania merge, with Magufuli taking over as president of the resulting country.

His impact is also being felt in other countries.

Magufuli’s impact is clearly being felt in the region, although whatever money some of these measures will save may wind up being used for damage control. Only time will tell.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Eric Mugendi Author

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