Tanzania: JPM Axes Uhuru Fete… Channels Fund to ‘Uhuru Hospital’

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has again shelved Independence Day celebrations and directed the allocated fund be spent on medical equipment for Uhuru Hospital in Dodoma Region.

The President also asked the general public to use the day to conduct various social activities.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the President’s decision yesterday when officiating the 60th Anniversary of Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) held in Dar es Salaam.

The construction of the hospital which is nearly complete by 92 per cent has been bankrolled through the funds which had been allocated for the 57th Independence celebrations in 2018.

On November 21, 2018; President Magufuli cancelled the Uhuru celebrations which were to be held in Dar es Salaam and directed that the fund amounting to 995m/-, meant for the event, be spent on constructing the new Hospital in Dodoma– “Uhuru Hospital”.

Last year, Dr Magufuli further added 2.415bn/- to the hospital’s construction, which was a portion of dividend he received from the telecommunication company of Airtel.

According to Mr Majaliwa, the Head of State has again directed the fund, amounting to 835,498,700/- which was set aside for the 59th Independence celebrations to be spent on purchasing hospital equipment.

The Premier revealed that the construction of the hospital has so far cost 4.2bn/-.

The fifth phase President, Dr Magufuli has taken similar action previously, opting against costly celebrations in favour of development projects.

In July this year, Dr Magufuli canceled Heroes Day celebrations that are traditionally marked on July 25.

President Magufuli asked the general public to use the day to remember national heroes who shed their blood for the nation, including individuals who played their roles at different levels in building the nation.

It was the second time President Magufuli cancelled Heroes Day, directing the funds to development projects. In 2018, the president ordered that 308mil/-that had been set aside for the Heroes Day commemorations to be spent on road construction in Dodoma.

He specified that the money should be spent on the installation of traffic lights along Kisasa Road and on the 1.4 kilometre Emmaus-African Dream tarmac, which is under construction.

During the first month of his leadership in 2015, Dr Magufuli cancelled Independence Day celebrations, substituting them with a nationwide cleanliness drive.

He ordered the reallocation of the money to fund the expansion of the Mwenge-Morocco Road in Dar es Salaam.

President Magufuli also cancelled the 2016 Union celebrations and directed that the money be spent on the expansion of the Mwanza City-Airport road project.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the 56th National Union Anniversary ceremony (500mil/- ), and Uhuru Torch race (1bn/-) were cancelled.

The funds were channeled to Zanzibar to fund logistics for tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Independence Day celebrations are staged every December 9, often in the traditional form of mounting a huge, glittering, military parade, being held at the Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam; accompanied by other entertainment programmes performed by thousands of Primary School students; plus traditional dances by dance groups brought to Dar es Salaam from far away Regions; leaving the rest of the country only to watch the show on television.

The activities obviously require weeks of preparation, through rehearsals, which require enormous amounts of money.

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