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Just who is a Populist?


So what about Tanzania's John Pombe Magufuli started off as "populist" and quickly gravitated into an authoritarian that he is. Was he actually a populist or a clever totalitarian who mastered the game so well as to know when to pull his populist card (electioneering period) and then go back to his true self immediately after? Magufuli kept on telling Tanzanians nice things and seemed to be on the side of the people against oppressive systems. He rode into power on the promise of getting power back to the people. He kept telling Tanzanians that he stood for "mnyonge (the lowest and weak). In fact, like Kenya's William Ruto who often tells his followers that he is a fellow "hustler" (poor man), Magufuli kept telling Tanzanians how he hailed from a poor background and how he was "masikini mwenzao" (fellow poor man) and the message seems to have resonated very well with a lot poor people across Tanzania majority of whom went on to vote for him in the hope that he would liberate them. Never mind that he had to rig in order to top up the vote, anyway. Now that politicians are very good at knowing and telling the masses what they (populace) want to hear and how they want it said to them, doesn't populism, at least in its distorted version, lend itself as a political ideology most vulnerable to abuse? I have heard, not once, people refer to Mr. Donald Trump as a populist. Is this guy really a populist or just some racist, sexist, xenophobic, tribalistic (African touch), Islamophobic, and largely cynical old American man?!

Just who is a Populist? Just who is a Populist? Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on November 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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