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“I Track Telephone Conversations of All My Ministers,”: Tanzania’s President Magufuli Admits

The president, while urging his ministers to improve their working relations and attitudes has revealed that he tracks the telephone conversations of his ministers in a bid to monitor the reactions resulting from his government’s policies. He made the remarks during a speech delivered at the swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed permanent secretaries and other senior officials to be inducted into his cabinet; which took place at the State House, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

While the speech gave the newly appointed cabinet members a heads-up, it was not ascertained whether the previous crop of ministers were informed that their conversations were being monitored by the president upon acceptance of office.

The president went further to say his ‘spying’ antics were responsible for the recent cabinet reshuffle in the country announced earlier this week. At least, the affected ministers now know what prompted the president’s decisions and it will undoubtedly be a sit-up call to the others; but is this right?

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Is it in-line for a president to track telephone conversations of his ministers in a democratic government?

However, the current changes in the cabinet does not involve any terminations yet, it is just a re-shuffle.

As part of the current reshuffle, the President moved Dr Zainab Chaula from the office of local government to the health ministry, and Dr. Mpoki Ulisubisya has been appointed as an ambassador. Dotto Biteko, who was deputy to the head of the Minerals ministry became head of the ministry.

During the speech, the president said:

“When I tracked the telephone message communication between the Minister of Health and Dr Chaula, I noticed a strain in their working relationship. So to make their quarrels come to a stop, I decided to place them under the same ministry.

“I am watching them. This should stop.”

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