Tanzania civil servants arrested, detained for late coming


Tanzania civil servants locked up for lateness


Rights activists in Tanzania have condemned the decision of a district commissioner to lock up civil servants for coming to work late.

Paul Makonda ordered police in the Kinondoni area of the main city, Dar es Salaam, to detain 20 workers after they turned up late for a meeting.

Mr Makonda said the officials had failed to explain their actions.

On Tuesday, newly-elected President John Magufuli replaced independence day celebrations with a clean-up campaign.

Wednesday’s failed meeting was rearranged on Thursday morning and the officers arrived two hours early.

The commissioner’s action has received widespread support among Tanzanians on social media.

However, human rights groups have criticised the move, saying rules and regulations need to be followed to avoid chaos.

“If someone does not show up for work, then we have to follow the laws and procedures we have,” Onesmo Olengurumwa, from the Tanzanian Human Rights Defenders’ Coalition, told the BBC.

But he added that they were in support of the efforts shown by the current president to ensure that everyone was held responsible.

The BBC’s Tulanana Bohela in Dar es Salaam says lateness and long tea breaks are a constant source of complaints from citizens seeking services from public offices.

The district commissioner may be seen as taking inspiration from the new president, who has the reputation of a no-nonsense, results-driven politician, she says.

Since coming to power last month, Mr Magufuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, has announced a range of cost-cutting measures, including a ban on unnecessary foreign travel by government officials.


Tweeps have already come up with a hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo which is currently trending and ridiculing in a way some actions the Tanzania president has taken of recent.

Last weekend, a parliament function and a state dinner was planned to cost Shs 300m but President Magufuli reportedly cut the budget to Shs25m and ordered that the rest be taken to buy hospital beds for Muhimbili hospital.

He had fired a hospital administrator after finding patients sleeping on floors.

Muhimbili hospital now has 300 new beds and mattresses and 600 bed sheets bought with money saved from the luxurious state dinner.

President Magufuli has reduced the size of the presidential convoy, even reduced the size of presidential delegation that travels with him.

While officially opening parliament, Magufuli didn’t go by plane but reportedly drove the whole 600km from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.

On Saturday 21st November 2015, a group of 50 people were reportedly about to set off for a tour of commonwealth countries but the President reduced the list to 4 people, saving government Shs600m in tickets, accommodation and per diems.

No more foreign travel, embassies will take care; if it’s necessary to go, special permission must be sought from him or Chief Secretary.

No more 1st class and business class travel for all officials except President, Vice, and Prime Minister.

No more workshops and seminars in expensive hotels when their so many ministry board rooms available.

Apparently, there engineers will use pickups to do their work instead of V8s, no more sitting allowances for Members of Parliament, finance ministry was ordered to scrap all tax exemptions so everyone must pay taxes etc.

There is an allegation that after being confirmed winner of October presidential elections, people started congratulating Magufuli but he turned away those who took brought gifts.


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