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President Turns Garbage Man on Tanzania's Independence Day

  • VOA News

Tanzanian President John Magufuli joins a clean-up event outside the State House in Dar es Salaam on Dec. 9, 2015. Magufuli cancelled Independence Day celebrations and ordered a national day of clean-up instead.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli joins a clean-up event outside the State House in Dar es Salaam on Dec. 9, 2015. Magufuli cancelled Independence Day celebrations and ordered a national day of clean-up instead.

Tanzanians marked their country's independence day Wednesday not with a parade but by cleaning the streets — the president included.

President John Magufuli was one of several top officials who picked up trash around the capital, Dar es Salaam, as part of a nationwide clean-up exercise.

The newly-elected president, who campaigned on promises to reduce corruption and waste, said last month he was canceling the traditional independence day festivities to save money.

It's one of several moves he's made to show Tanzanians he's watching the treasury. Magfuli has also banned foreign travel for most officials, slashed the budget for a state dinner to celebrate the opening of parliament, and had several officials arrested for alleged graft.

The clean-up exercise is aimed at beautifying the country and preventing diseases like cholera than can break out where trash piles up.

Tanzanians have generally welcomed the new president's efforts. Analysts say Magfuli appears to be serious about reducing corruption in the East African country, though some note it will take sustained, organized effort to root it out entirely.

The nation usually ranks toward the bottom of Transparency International's annual index of the most corrupt countries in the world.

The former British colony of Tanganyika gained independence on December 9, 1961 and later joined with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.

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