Tanzanian President John Magufuli has promised the electorate more investment in the country ahead of the national polls set for Wednesday.
During his campaign rallies President Magufuli highlighted the billions of dollars his government has spent on a new hydropower dam, a railway, and the revived national airline.
President Magufuli is campaigning for a second term in office promising voters that his government led projects will turbo-charge growth in East Africa’s third-largest economy.
The 60-year-old president’s nickname “The Bulldozer” is testimony to both his fondness for massive public works and his reputation for pushing through policies despite opposition.
Magufuli’s investments and his refusal to shut down Tanzania’s economy this year have buoyed his already strong chances of winning a second five-year term.
His two main challengers, veteran opposition leader Tundu Lissu and former foreign minister Bernard Membe, could split the opposition vote with 12 other candidates.
The presidential election will be held alongside parliamentary polls.
Shortly after he was sworn in to become Tanzania’s 5th president, Magufuli, of the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi, hit the ground running by implementing mega projects across the country.
In his campaigns across the country, Magufuli has been mentioning some of the unfinished flagship projects, including the standard gauge railway, the 2,115 MW Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station in the Rufiji river basin, and an international airport in the capital, Dodoma.
Magufuli’s presidency has also been marked by a focus on curbing corruption, cutting government spending, and investing in Tanzania’s industries.
For the past five years, Tanzania recorded an average economic growth of about 7 percent, making the country one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
The growth has benefited from implementation of various infrastructure plans and resulted in increased government revenue to finance development projects, improvement of social services and increase in economic opportunities.
Magufuli was born in Chato, Kagera region, on Oct. 29, 1959. He attended several schools for his primary and secondary education, then enrolled for teacher training at Mkwawa College of Education from 1981 to 1982.
Magufuli earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Dar es Salaam, majoring in chemistry and mathematics, from 1985 to 1988. He received his doctoral degree in chemistry in 2009, from the same university.
In 1995, Magufuli was elected member of Parliament in Chato constituency.
He served in the Ministry of Works as deputy minister in 1995-2000 and then as minister in 2000-2005. He also served as minister at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development in 2005-2008, the Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries in 2008-2010, and at the Ministry of Works for a second time in 2010-2015.