Tanzanian president disbands telecoms board

President Magufuli continues to combat corruption and waste.

Tanzanian president John Magufuli has suspended the head of the regulatory body that governs the country's telecoms sector and disbanded its board, over claims that the watchdog failed to do its job.

Citing “weak management and incompetence”, the president's office said that since 2013 the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority had cost the nation around 400 billion shillings ($181.7 million) annually in lost tax revenues.

The cost-cutting measure came days after Magufuli cancelled Tanzania's Union Day celebrations, celebrated annually on 26 April, directing the funds instead for road construction purposes.

Since his election as president last November, Magufuli has fired at least seven government agency heads, including the chief of the country’s anti-corruption body, the head of Tanzania Railways.

Magufuli's aggressive crack down on corruption and government waste, which has been largely popular with the electorate, began when he scrapped Independence Day ocelebrations in December, marking the first time in 54 years that the country did not commemorate independence from Britain. The $2 million set aside for the festivities was instead used to build roads in Dar es Salaam.

He also cancelled celebrations marking World AIDS Day on 1 December, ordering that the event's “unnecessary government spending” be used to purchase medicine. His austerity measures extended to restricting "unnecessary" foreign travel by government officials, and banning Tanzanian officials from sending out their usual government-printed Christmas and New Year cards.

A tough, no-nonsense politician, Magufuli is known by his supporters as "the Bullodozer" for building much-needed roads across Tanzania in his previous post as minister of works.