Tanzania: Incumbent president John Magufuli seeks re-election to complete his agenda

Tanzania: Incumbent president John Magufuli seeks re-election to complete his agenda

More than 29 million eligible voters in Tanzanian will choose a president, members of Parliament and councillors on Wednesday in the next general elections.

Incumbent president John Pombe Magufuli, who took office in November 2015, is seeking re-election for a second and final five-year term. He is facing competition from 14 other presidential candidates.

Shortly after he was sworn in to become Tanzania’s 5th president, Magufuli, of the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi, hit the ground running by implementing mega projects across the country.

In his campaigns across the country, Magufuli has been mentioning some of the unfinished flagship projects, including the standard gauge railway, the 2,115 MW Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station in the Rufiji river basin, and an international airport in the capital, Dodoma.

President Magufuli is campaigning for a second term in office promising voters that his government led projects will turbo-charge growth in East Africa’s third-largest economy.

The 60-year-old president’s nickname “The Bulldozer” is testimony to both his fondness for massive public works and his reputation for pushing through policies despite opposition.

Magufuli’s presidency has also been marked by a focus on curbing corruption, cutting government spending, and investing in Tanzania’s industries.

His two main challengers, veteran opposition leader Tundu Lissu and former foreign minister Bernard Membe, could split the opposition vote with 12 other candidates.

The presidential election will be held alongside parliamentary polls.

For the past five years, Tanzania recorded an average economic growth of about 7 percent, making the country one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

The growth has benefited from implementation of various infrastructure plans and resulted in increased government revenue to finance development projects, improvement of social services and increase in economic opportunities.

Magufuli was born in Chato, Kagera region, on Oct. 29, 1959. He attended several schools for his primary and secondary education, then enrolled for teacher training at Mkwawa College of Education from 1981 to 1982.

Magufuli earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Dar es Salaam, majoring in chemistry and mathematics, from 1985 to 1988. He received his doctoral degree in chemistry in 2009, from the same university.

In 1995, Magufuli was elected member of Parliament in Chato constituency.

He served in the Ministry of Works as deputy minister in 1995-2000 and then as minister in 2000-2005. He also served as minister at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development in 2005-2008, the Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries in 2008-2010, and at the Ministry of Works for a second time in 2010-2015.