DAR ES SALAAM, Tuesday
Newly elected Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has scrapped independence day celebrations to spend the money on a clean-up campaign, a statement from State House has said.
“It is very shameful that we are spending huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera and other treatable diseases,” Magufuli said in a statement read on state television late Monday.
Magufuli, who took power early this month after winning the October 25 elections, has introduced a swathe of austerity cuts and crackdowns on public corruption.
“The money should instead go to delivery of social services,” Magufuli said, announcing the street cleaning campaign.
Tanzania last month saw a major cholera outbreak with nearly 5,000 cases and dozens of deaths, according to officials and the World Health Organisation.
Annual independence celebrations usually see military parades, choirs and traditional dances at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
No official cost has been given of the savings made by cancelling the celebration.
Magufuli ordered government officials to oversee the clean-up in their districts.
Tanzania, then Tanganyika, won independence from Britain on December 9, 1961. It merged with Zanzibar to become Tanzania.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere was the country’s founding president.
The others were Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.