Newly elected Tanzanian President John Magufuli has scrapped Independence day celebrations to spend the money on a clean-up campaign, an official statement said.
“It is so shameful that we are spending huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera,” Magufuli said in a statement read on state television late Monday.
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.
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“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 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 revelries.
Magufuli ordered government officials to oversee the clean-up exercise in their districts.
Tanzania, then Tanganyika, won independence from Britain on December 9, 1961.
SOURCE: THE EAST AFRICAN