Written By Beatrice Mahlonga
This week, exactly four years ago, a truly historic event was witnessed in the nation of Tanzania. No, I’m not referring to the inauguration of its trailblazing President John Magufuli – although that indeed was a meteoric moment. I am talking about the extraordinary visit of Nigerian Pastor TB Joshua. At a time of political upheaval and division, the news of Joshua’s surprise journey literally dominated the headlines nationwide and significantly contributed to the reduction in post-election tension. Within hours of his touching down in Tanzania and meeting the main opposition leaders, the retributive rhetoric fuelled by the hotly-contested election cooled significantly and calmness replaced anxiety on the streets.
But why else would his visit rank so highly in my reckoning, I hear some of you inquisitively ask? Well, to put it simply, the evidence of TB Joshua’s spiritual covering in the life of President Magufuli – and the country of Tanzania by extension – is unequivocal. Since coming to office, the ‘Bulldozer’ has made a lot of ‘enemies’ – especially among those foreign business entities whose corruption and extortion he so visibly exposed. However, he has remained dogged and determined in his pursuit of betterment for the Tanzanian people – a reality which everyone, slowly but surely, is starting to reap from. Indeed, even his sternest critics can acknowledge that Tanzania has grown in leaps and bounds since his arrival to office. There was, therefore, understandable alarm when news ran amok several weeks ago that Magufuli had collapsed and was ‘allegedly’ airlifted to Germany for emergency treatment.
Days later as rumour-mongers peddled various outlandish outcomes, the President appeared back in public with his trademark stern charisma. I am personally convinced the prayers of TB Joshua led to his restoration and revitalisation. I even heard (on good authority from a Tanzanian journalist) that he sent one of his pastors from Nigeria to personally intercede for the Tanzanian leader! Sceptics and cynics may scoff and question why Nigeria’s sickness-stricken leader Muhammadu Buhari could not equally be helped by Pastor Joshua – but such arguments stem from misinterpretation of the prophetic role. President Magufuli openly acknowledges Joshua’s place in his life and leadership, even referring to him as a ‘mentor’. President Buhari has been conspicuously silent about the cleric since his assumption to power, despite bipartisan calls for him to seek prayers for his litany of debilitating ailments.
TB Joshua acts only under God’s instruction and would not undertake going to meet such leaders on his own accord. Fame and fortune are certainly not mitigating motivators. The fact is that our recognition and value of God’s servants often end up being the key that releases God to release them! As a frustrated Mr Francis Kotche penned on Facebook addressing this very issue, “Our West African Presidents in ECOWAS are sleeping, still chasing and worshipping wealth, fame and position – forgetting that the Lord is the One that makes men great and His servant TB Joshua is in their midst.”
I am not here to suggest that everything has automatically become perfect or there are no challenges in the nation. Of course there are! However, Tanzania is being shepherded by a no-nonsense leader whose policies are producing economic turnaround, stamping out corruption and encouraging morality and good neighbourliness. When TB Joshua re-shared the video of his historic visit to Tanzania on Facebook, Alpha Jeremiah succinctly surmised in a comment: “Yes, we as Tanzanians can boldly say that God has remembered our nation! The development we are experiencing in these four years since the Man of God came to visit is tremendous.”
Today, Tanzania shines as a bastion of development and progress in a continent often dominated by reports of corruption and stagnation. The Biblical adage in Matthew 10:41 springs readily to mind. Tanzania and its leader honoured the prophet and God’s blessings, wisdom and protection have flowed freely ever since!
Beatrice Mahlonga writes on African Affairs