TANZANIAN President John
Magufuli has rejected calls
from some of his supporters
to extend his rule beyond the
constitutional limit of two, fiveyear
terms.
His stance on tenure
elongation, declared at a rally,
bucks a trend in the region.
Several leaders including
Uganda’s President Yoweri
Museveni, Rwanda’s Paul
Kagame and Burundi’s Pierre
Nkurunziza have all tinkered
with or defied their constitutions
to extend their rule.
“It’s impossible. I will respect
the constitution,” Magufuli
told a public rally in the coastal
Tanzanian town of Tanga after a
member of parliament from the
ruling CCM party called for an
extension of his rule to at least 20
years.
“I have sworn to defend the
constitution … I shall play my
part and pass on the leadership
reins to the next president when
the time comes.”
Tanzania, one of Africa’s most
stable democracies, has held five
relatively peaceful multi-party
elections since 1995, all won by
the ruling party.
Magufuli was elected in
October 2015 for his first term
and he has not indicated whether he will seek re-election at the next
polls in 2020. But if he does and
wins, he would then be ineligible
to contest the vote in 2025.
Some opposition leaders say
there is a shadow campaign
being carried out by Magufuli’s
supporters to find ways of
prolonging his rule beyond the
two terms.
Former president, Ali Hassan
Mwinyi, from the ruling CCM
party, who himself served only
terms in 1985-1995, first publicly
raised the idea in June.
“If it wasn’t for term limits,
I would have suggested
that Magufuli should be our
president for eternity,” Mwinyi
told a cheering crowd in
Tanzania’s commercial capital
Dar es Salaam at the time.
Nicknamed “the Bulldozer”
for his strict leadership style,
Magufuli has won praise from
some Western donors for his
tough anti-corruption fight.
Opponents, however, accuse
him of cracking down on dissent
and limiting democratic space.
He has denied the allegations,
saying he was not a dictator.
The drive to root out corruption
has felled ministers, the head of
government’s anti-graft body,
the tax chief and thousands of
civil servants.

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