DAR ES SALAAM, Monday
Ombeni Sefue, Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s voice for the past four months, was on Monday removed from the powerful position of Chief Secretary.
A brief State House statement said Mr John Kijazi had replaced Mr Sefue, who would be assigned other duties.
Interestingly, Mr Sefue was reappointed to the post December 30 last year, making him the first high-ranking government official appointed by President Magufuli to be removed from office.
State House also released a two-minute video clip showing President Magufuli speaking about the change of guard. He commended Mr Sefue for his “good performance” and assistance during the President’s first three months in office.
“...I have, however, decided to make minor changes and appoint Engineer John Kijazi, our high commissioner to India, to take over,” President Magufuli said.
The statement did not say why Mr Sefue was removed after less than three months.
Mr Sefue joins more than 150 senior government officials who have been removed from their posts since Dr Magufuli was sworn in as President on November 5, last year.
Speaking to The Citizen about a fortnight ago, Mr Sefue said everything was being done to ensure that the “cleansing” campaign being carried out by Cabinet ministers does not victimise anyone. He said every minister had their management style, adding that the most important thing was to ensure the law was observed.
SACKING SENIOR OFFICIALS
Mr Sefue spoke following concerns that ministers were arbitrarily sacking and suspending senior officials without following due process. He said then: “The point I want to drive home is that no one will be victimised, but crooked public servants should know that their days are numbered.”
Born in 1954, Mr Sefue was appointed Chief Secretary in December 31, 2011 by the then president, Mr Jakaya Kikwete. He had served as Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations for two years, Ambassador to the US (2007-2010), High Commissioner to Canada (2005-2007) and the President’s speech writer (1993-2005).
Mr Kijazi was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works before he was posted to India as High Commissioner. He worked for several years under Dr Magufuli when the latter was the Works minister.