East Africa: Hail to President Magufuli for Directive On EAC Flag, Anthem

Recently, I read somewhere that President John Pombe Magufuli is Tanzania's modern-day 'Robin Hood!' (For details: Google 'President Magufuli: Tanzania's Robin Hood,' by Global Risk Insights, published on June 17, 2016).

The writer of that piece, Elliot Kratt, pontificates that, "for investors struggling to understand what influences (President Magufuli's) decisions, it may be helpful to think of him as a politically-astute Robin Hood who makes good political decisions in the interests of a poor population!" Kratt then hazards the opinion that such decisions "may have serious economic implications for those with capital, namely foreign companies!"

However, Kratt continues in what amounts to self-deprecation: "Daudi Riganda - the Public Relations Manager of the Tanzanian Investment Centre - recently stressed that, since Magufuli stepped into Office, the number of investment projects in Tanzania has increased by 20%!

Evidently, the country remains an attractive destination for foreign investors..." In my humble view, that's more than good enough for Tanzania... A 20% rise in foreign direct investments (FDIs) over a mere six months since Dr Magufuli assumed the highest Office in the land, the Presidency, on November 5, 2015 is phenomenal, bordering on the miraculous! Incidentally, Robin Hood was a legendary Englishman in the 14th Century Christian Era (CE) who became an immensely popular folk hero because of his generosity to his poor and downtrodden compatriots.

Living in, and operating from, Sherwood Forest, the fellow basically did this good deed by simply 'taking' from the filthy rich and giving to the abject poor! But, that's a tale fit to be told another day...

The story in this particular LUCUBRATION is really about Dr John Pombe Magufuli - not only as elected President of his 50m compatriots, rich and poor alike - but also as selected Chairman of the 6-member country, East African Community (EAC), home to around 170m souls! Steadily becoming more popularly-known simply as 'JPM'- from the initials of his names - President John Pombe Magufuli is on record as subtly seeking to sensitize more Tanzanians on the concept of East African communality.

This is the case on the ground, especially in the regional integration stakes. So, here we've President Magufuli unequivocally directing the Tanzania Govt. Minister for Foreign Affairs, East African Cooperation, Regional and International Affairs, Dr Augustine Mahiga, to ensure henceforth that the Official EAC Flag must be hoisted alongside Tanzania's National Flag.

This ought to be done at all public offices, on official cars, and other places where the Tanzanian Flag is hoisted as a matter of course - and for the same causes, reasons, including status identification!

As if that weren't enough of a strategy by way of sensitization, education, the Official EAC Anthem must also be sung, played and otherwise 'published' at all functions, times and places where and when the Tanzanian Anthem is sung, played and otherwise 'published!'

The foregoing nobleness of purpose was revealed by Ambassador Mahiga in the National Assembly meeting which ended in the country's national capital-in-the-making, Dodoma, at the end of June, this year.

The occasion was the tabling by Mahiga in the august House for debate the Ministry's budgetary estimates for the 2016/17 financial year.

In My Book of Things, the most intriguing bit is that past Presidents never cottoned on to the need and prudence to walk up the Flag-and-Anthem Road in lifting EAC sensitization to the next higher level as Dr Magufuli seeks to do!

Admittedly, we've seen now and then the national Flags and Anthems of the countries of visiting dignitaries hoisted and sung along with those of Tanzania. But, that's been a transient fad which is quickly forgotten.

It's not a lasting state of affairs - the way the EAC Flag and Anthem will be hoisted and sung in Tanzania alongside the latter's cherished symbols of nationhood as a matter of course

! According to Minister Mahiga, the Magufuli directive is principally aimed at creating public awareness among Tanzanians about the regional bloc -- to enable them participate in, and benefit fully from, business and investment opportunities within the regional grouping.

In the event, Mahiga also urged the private sector and MPs to heed the directive by hoisting the EAC flag alongside the national flag at their offices and on their vehicles! "In the same vein, I urge the electronic media to play the Community's anthem whenever the national anthem is played," Mahiga said.

What a subtle, gentlemanly way to 'sell' EAC and regional integration! Indeed, if President Magufuli's directive to fly the EAC Flag, and play the EAC Anthem, alongside those of Tanzania is gracefully reciprocated in Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Juba and Bujumbura, it'd oil the regional integration machinery on the otherwise tricky road to EA Federation... Cheers!

Source: Tanzania Daily News