There are some promising signs that have potential to bring true renaissance to parts of Africa. However, history has taught us to be cautious because leaders have at times won elections on the platform of change, anti-corruption and putting the people above the self interest of leaders but in a number of cases these have later proved to be hollow promises.
Really promising signs are seen within some student groups who have learnt to question long established ways of doing things. There is a large and growing realisation among young people that the widespread corruption and self-interest amongst so-called leaders in politics, education, business, social services and other sections of society requires dramatic changes.
In our article : ’A Christian understanding of keys to Renaissance in Africa’ we point out that good ideas and good goals cannot take hold within our African nations unless human nature is taken seriously and the need for changed lives is accepted. Furthermore, changing lives from being essentially self-centred to being God and fellow-humanity centred, requires rejecting all our false gods and some harmful customs associated with some of those false gods. We approach this from our Christian faith understanding because we and most of sub-Saharan African people claim to be Christians.
The word ‘renaissance’ means ‘New Birth’ and so it is not at all surprising that the Christian message of New Birth in individual human lives has great relevance to renaissance in families, communities, nations and the African Continent.
In the rest of this article we highlight some encouraging developments taking place in Tanzania. It is our hope and prayer that the new President will be enabled to carry on with his God-given vision for renaissance. He needs our prayers because such radical agendas are bound to generate serious opposition.
His actions within his first year as President serve as examples of some of the keys that we expanded upon in our earlier article. We present these developments under the following headings:
John Magufuli’s background
Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli
5th President of Tanzania
He was democratically elected and assumed office on 5 November 2015
His training in science and education, combined with his very strong Christian convictions, have potentially prepared him for the enormous tasks ahead.
A BBC report on John Magufuli: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34670983
The KEYS to God’s blessings
His leadership has the potential to enable Tanzania to become an example to other African nations of how God blesses leaders and nations who humble themselves, seek his face, turn from wrong and dishonest ways and seek to put truth and justice as their motivation, and genuine love for their people as their inspiration for upliftment of the poor above the self-interest of the few who hold the reigns of power.
Promising early actions
John Magufuli’s actions since becoming president are a refreshing wind of change that gives hope to millions of African people who desire to see renaissance in our continent. We have vast mineral, agricultural and human resources in Africa and yet are struggling to escape from the things that have kept us from achieving the progress that is so desperately needed.
Below is a quote from an article in Wikipedia : John Magufuli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
As he began his term as President, Magufuli displayed unusual zeal for austerity and impatience with corruption and waste. He cancelled Independence Day celebrations, traditionally a time for the government to spend big on a public display of nationalism.
Instead the time is to be spent on street cleaning to improve sanitation and arrest the spread of a cholera outbreak.
Magufuli also downsized by more than 90 percent the budget for the opulent state dinner that usually marks the opening of parliament and ordered the money saved to be spent on hospital beds and roadworks.
He also cancelled foreign travel for officials and banned the purchase of first class air tickets, although the president, his deputy and the prime minister were exempted. Furthermore, he ordered that government meetings and workshops be held in government buildings rather than expensive hotels and cut a bloated delegation of 50 people set to tour Commonwealth countries to just four.
He also publicly issued a serious warning to the people he will select as ministers that he would not tolerate corrupt and bureaucratic government officials and that the ministers would have to work tirelessly to serve Tanzanians along with him. END OF QUOTE
From speech to action, he recently fired the Home Affairs minister Charles Kitwanga who showed up in parliament and responded to questions while drunk.
Words transformed into actions
Confronting Muti Killings and Witch Doctors
Killing of people to provide body parts for witch doctors (sangomas) is a common practice in Africa. In central Africa some of the main victims are albinos while in southern Africa it is mainly children. The body parts are often cut from victims while they are still alive because perpetrators of this horrific evil believe that the body parts make more powerful Muti if accompanied by the pain of the victims. Muti concoctions are believed to give recipients power and protection. Here is one link to a BBC report on albino killing
It is rare for those responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice because many law enforcement officials fear having a curse placed upon them. Now in Tanzania President Magufuli has done the right thing.
Over 200 witch doctors were arrested and witch doctors outlawed. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31849531
Sex workers arrested because of their link to organised crime and illness: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35815997
Fired corrupt officials Africa highlights: Tanzania fires anti-corruption boss, US ... - BBC.com .
Removed 10.000 ‘ghost workers’ from the government payroll: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36303031
He cleaned the streets himself: Tanzania President John Magufuli helps clean streets - BBC News In the link to cleaning the streets there are links to other articles. For instance: ‘Africa Live: BBC News Updates’, ‘Magufuli: ‘The Bulldozer’,:’ BBC Africa’s Resident presidents’.
He sacked corrupt officials at the main hospital in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's new president sacks hospital chief after surprise inspection ...
Why Africa needs to support this courageous Renaissance President
We hope that this article may inspire business people and others to support renaissance in Tanzania in practical ways, such as possibly investing in the country. In this regard there could be initiatives to consult with President Magufuli and explore possible ways that such investment could be encouraged.
Why should we be motivated to support Tanzania?
The bold moves in Tanzania need to be encouraged and supported because these developments can demonstrate to all African nations the blessings that flow when leaders put God, honesty, justice and their people as genuine priorities. In this way Tanzania can be a challenge and inspiration to leaders in our own countries and so spread genuine Renaissance to our own people.
Programmes for True success
It is often said that there is no success without a successor. We believe it is time for African leaders who have shown sustainable success, based on principle-centred and biblical values, to mentor the youth of our continent.
It is regrettable that the most prominent initiatives for training young African leaders often come from abroad. This is particularly regrettable because some of their agendas are incompatible with core African values and with biblical values.
Africa needs a new generation of leaders who can give us the feeling that we are at last on the right track. Raising of these new leaders is absolutely essential if Africa is to realise renaissance goals.
It is no longer acceptable that most African schools and universities do not provide all their students with basic instruction in how to become constructive leaders when they graduate into the wider society. We know that education has the potential to prepare a new generation of leaders in all aspects of our society, not solely within politics. We need a new generation of motivated teachers, health carers, scientists, business entrepreneurs and parents who are also present in their families and who together are raising happy and well adjusted children.
The challenge is for esteemed and ethical current leaders to participate in mentoring programmes where our youth can be exposed to real life challenges and taught through practical situations the essential aspects of problem solving.
Our youth need encouragement to analyse what they are being taught and not to simply learn it without also discussing how to apply the learning to real life situations, especially to new situations where solutions need to be worked out. Our youth need instruction in question asking and need to be encouraged to come up with their own ideas on how to solve problems.
In other words we need a generation of motivated young people who are inspired with the potential of becoming a part of true
renaissance in their own home communities, in the work situations for which they are being trained, and in their wider interactions within society.
All graduates from schools and universities should become leaders in society. Education that incorporates mentoring and instruction in problem solving, can equip these young leaders to propose their own ideas within an open and debating environment, both in their future work situations and within the politics of their nations.
What is happening in Tanzania can serve as part of the practical teaching material on how to confront problem situations and how to apply Christian principles to real life problems. Positive developments in Tanzania and in other places in Africa need to receive good publicity within our education systems and in public media.
Our prayer is that President John Magufuli will keep going on this renaissance road by staying humble before God, seeking his face, continuing to turn from wrong and dishonest ways and seeking to put truth and justice as his motivation. We ask God to enable him to continue with courage and we ask for his health and protection and the protection of his family.
Dr Michael Jarvis
PhD in zoology (1971) from Cape Town University.
Consultant: Agriculture and wildlife interactions.
Director: Fact and Faith Publications.
PO Box 292, Wellington, 7654, South Africa.
Pastor Christian Ilunga