FREE SPEECH

The Budget debate in the National Assembly on the estimates of different Ministries of Government has been characterised by a great deal of free speech.

Amongst those suffering an avalanche of criticism was the Minister of Communications and Works. Part of the debate was reported in the “Daily News” as follows:

The MP for Liwale, Major Abbas Ngayaga demanded that the Government should explain properly the reasons delaying the construction of the Kibiti-Lindi road for over two decades. He said that the people in the southern regions had at one time decided to work on the project on a self-help basis, but the Government restrained them saying that it would handle the project. Since then nothing had been done. He t old the House that the Southern Region could not carry on commercial production because they could not transport the produce for lack of reliable roads.

Kajor Ngayaga also called on Cabinet Ministers and other senior Government officials to stop blaming every problem the country was facing on “the difficult economic situation,” saying that such lame excuses demoralised the people. “If they are not blaming the problems on the difficult economic situation, then they are blaming it on the break-up of the East African Community, dictator Idi Amin’s war of aggression or lack of assistance from donors” he said. “It was hypocritical for the Government to talk of a “difficult economic situation” when people caught stealing Government property were not being taken to task” he continued.

Ndugu Alfani Kihiyo (Korogwe) said that the Segera-Tanga road remained as bad as ever with the Mwananchi Engineering and Construction Corporation (MECCO) “dilly dallying” on the road in the name of carrying out repairs.

Ndugu Edward Lowasa (National) said that he could not understand why Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) failed to make profits in its domestic operations. He said the defunct East African Airways used to make its profit in Tanzania where there were more passengers and airports than in Kenya and Uganda. He said he was shocked to learn from the Minister’s estimates that ATC books had not been audited, “How can one run such a big airline without auditing its books ?” he asked. On airports, Ndugu Lowasa said that he could also not understand why the Ministry took 3 months to float a tender for the reconstruction of the Mwanza Airport. He said Mwanza airport was one of the most important airports in the country and should not have been left to disintegrate.

Ndugu Mussa Shaaban Rajab (Kikwajuni) also slated ATC for cancellation of flights and corruption, threatening to withhold a shilling if the Ministry did not give satisfactory information on steps taken against certain ATC officials who had “subjected passengers coming to the Isles to hardships.”

And so it went on. Day after day and Ministry after Ministry

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