No doubt that when President John Pombe Magufuli (58) burst onto the scene, the politics Tanzania and Africa received a facelift. Magufuli took Tanzania, Africa and the world by storm when he started his operation Tumbua Majipu or cleanse the boils that saw many bigwigs pay for their sins resulting from corruption. Recently, another kid burst onto the scene. This is none other than Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (64) who recently sacked the chief of staff, Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda, after the Attorney-General’s office implicated him in an investigation into a fraudulent international credit scheme worth $50 billion scam. Reuters (Sept., 26, 2017) quoted him assuring Angolans of doing justice as saying that “no one is so rich and powerful that they cannot be punished and no one is so poor that they cannot be protected.” Like Magufuli, Lourenço is for the poor as opposed to the high and mighty. However, this is subject to dialogue if the duo is purely for the poor or just a melange.
Already sacked two children of his predecessor and mentor of whom one is facing the charges of attempting to fraudulently obtain $1.5 billion from the government
He has already shocked many who thought he was a protégé-cum-stooge of his predecessor, a long time-sit-tight president Jose Eduardo dos Santos whose empire spans for over four decades of corrupt and oppressive kleptocracy revolving around clientelism and nepotism.
The Daily Nation (April 23, 2018) reports that “Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of the former president, has been charged after allegedly siphoning off $1.5 billion when he ran the oil-rich country’s sovereign wealth fund until he was sacked in January.” While Jose Philemon is waiting for the court of law to decide on his fate, his sister, Isabel do Santos, Africa’s richest female, has already discharged from being head of state oil giant Sonangol; and is currently under investigation.
Due to his commitment to fighting corruption, there are those who believe that his nets will soon net his predecessor which is something unAfrican to do.
Political para-diddles aside, Lourenço is the person to watch carefully. For, his style of dealing with graft is merciless. While Magufuli declined to crucify his predecessors by averring that he could not exhume graves, Lourenço is mercilessly exhuming them, the biggest and holiest ones. A section of Tanzania of Tanzanians wanted him to revisit the scams allegedly his predecessors committed. According to Mtanzania (November 5, 2016) he was quoted as saying “Nimeshughulikia changamoto mbalimbali lakini siwezi kuyafukuwa makaburi yote kwa sababu kuna mengine nitashindwa kuyafunika, sikuja kufukua makaburi nataka kuanza na yale niliyoyakuta ili tujenge Tanzania yetu,” namely “I have dealt with different challenges; but I am not ready to exhume all graves because they are some I will not be able to cover. I did not come to exhume graves; I want to start with what I found (on my plate) so that we built our Tanzania.” When Magufuli openly refused to exhume the graves, Tanzanians understood him though with a heavy heart. Again, looking at the enormity Tanzania was in, it was wise for Magufuli to take such stance. However, how long will he maintain such a stance while as the days go by, the smell, from the graves, disturbingly grows bigger and repugnant. Will Magufuli emulate his Angolan twin or just maintain his stance.
As for Lorenco, indeed, he’s proved to be his own man. He didn’t like to cheat Angolans or allow wrong belief that he’s a stooge to take roots by mollycoddling his predecessor, his family, courtiers and conspirators. Different from his twin sibling in Tanzania, Lourenço is a silent lion that catches his prey [s]; then announces. Like his sibling, he is the product of the party theMovimento Popular de Libertação de Angola–Partido do Trabalho (MPLA-PT) or the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola–Labour Party that’s been in power since independence who wants every Angolan to be invited and enjoy the national cake. Different from Magufuli, Lourenço has moderate education and he’s a loyal party soldier (Mail&Guardian, Sept., 26, 2017). Like Magufuli, he is a patient seeker who spent time scheming to take the reins of power from a long-time potentate.
When it comes to civil rights, Lourenço has not escaped controversy. The Amnesty International (January 18, 2018) notes that “Lourenço has made significant changes in the state media, opening space for diversity of opinions and political views. However, freedom of the press and expression remains under threat after parliament approved and the president signed a problematic new media law despite opposition from the journalists’ union and other groups.”
In a nutshell, Lourenço soon will become another Magufuli of Africa signifying that Africa is neither bankrupt nor barren when it comes to siring clean leaders of this generation.
Source: Citizen, May 2, 2018.