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Five things you need to know about John Magufuli

By Hilary Kimuyu November 5th, 2015 2 min read

Fifty six year-old John Pombe Magufuli was on Thursday sworn in as the fifth President of Tanzania.

Raised from humble beginnings, he has been quoted as saying that: “Our home was grass thatched and like many boys I was assigned to herd cattle, as well as selling milk and fish to support my family.”

Here are five things you need to know about the new President of the most populous country in East Africa.

1. He is a former teacher – He was a Mathematics and Chemistry teacher who went on to become an industrial chemist – and was awarded a doctorate in Chemistry from Dar es Salaam University in 2009.

2. A devout Catholic – Mr Magufuli is a staunch Catholic who loves singing in the church choir and playing traditional drums.

3. Nicknamed “The Bulldozer” – As works minister in the outgoing government, he was reputed to be a no-nonsense, results-driven politician. He became known as “The Bulldozer” for driving a programme to build roads across the country.

Those close to him say he is keen on details and when he embarks on an assignment he pursues it to completion. However, this very trait has cost him friends.

4. Known for not tolerating corruption – “He was for many years minister for works, supervising execution of mega projects worth trillions of shillings, but was never implicated in any corruption scandal,” Joseph Warioba, a former prime minster and veteran CCM politician, told AFP news agency.

“He could have been the richest politician in the country.”

On the campaign trail, he tried to portray himself as a humble man from a poor background.

“I know what it means to be poor. I will strive to help improve people’s welfare,” he had pledged in campaign rallies.

5. Married and father of five – He is married with five children. His wife Janet Magufuli teaches Standard Five Geography, History and ICT, at Mbuyuni Primary School.

The Magufuli children attended Mbuyuni Primary School. One of their children is in Form One at Oysterbay Ward Secondary School.

“Instead of taking their children to private or famous schools, they send them to local government schools,” said one of the teacher.

“She (Mrs Magufuli) never misses her classes and, if she has an emergency, she always swaps with another teacher.”