Tanzanian President cancels independence celebrations, orders clean- up campaign instead

Tanzania’s newly elected President John Magufuli has cancelled Independence Day celebrations, and has ordered a clean-up campaign instead, reports the New Vision of Uganda.

It would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when “our people are dying of cholera”, he said, state television reported.

Cholera has killed about 60 people in Tanzania in the last three months.

This will be the first time in 54 years Tanzania will not hold celebrations to mark independence from the UK.

Magufuli, who took power earlier this month after winning October 25 elections, has introduced a swathe of austerity cuts and crackdowns on public corruption.

Those include the suspension of unnecessary foreign travel for government officials, allowances for seminars and meetings as well as lavish cocktails and dinners by public institutions.

“The money should instead go to delivery of social services,” Magufuli said, announcing the street cleaning exercise.

Tanzania last month saw a major cholera outbreak with nearly 5,000 cases and dozens of deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Annual independence celebrations usually see military parades, choirs and traditional dances at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Magufuli ordered government officials to oversee the clean-up exercise in their districts.

Tanzania, then Tanganyika, won independence from Britain on December 9, 1961.

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