A whirlwind! A phenomenon! A sensation! Unparalleled! Many words and phrases have been used to describe President Jakaya Kikwete’s first 100 days in office. He has made a great impression and has added to the popularity he had already gained as indicated by his 80% success in the 2005 elections. Former Prime Minister and CCM stalwart, Mzee Rashid Kawawa showered the president with praise saying he was “offering the kind of leadership Tanzanians had wanted for a long time.’’
President Kikwete waited many years to attain the highest office in the land. But when he finally attained it, he wasted no time. In the first few days after his installation he attended both a Muslim celebration and the consecration of a protestant bishop while his newly appointed Prime Minister was opening a Catholic school. He told his new cabinet that they could remain in their positions for five years but only if they delivered.
People seemed delighted by the energy and drive with which he launched his presidency. His election had been accompanied by much bad news – more than 16 armed robberies had been reported; there was widespread drought and food shortages which seriously affected electricity supplies in Dar es Salaam and other centres.
This is a summary of his first hyper-active 100 days:
He began by visiting all the ministries in Dar es Salaam and lecturing the ministers and their staff on what he expected from them. Examples:
He told his Minister of Lands to take legal steps to enforce the Dar City Plan and unlawful construction in Masaki – Mwananchi.
He warned corrupt public servants that his government would offer zero tolerance. His government would not be curtailed by the law in disposing of public servants implicated in graft.
At the Ministry of Agriculture he said that it was a shame for Tanzania to lag behind countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand that had started economic reforms in 1986. “While they made an agrarian revolution we stick to the hand hoe that is mentioned in the Old Testament.” He said that now that Songosongo gas had reached Dar es Salaam and there was plenty of phosphate at Minjingu and Manyara there was no reason why the country couldn’t manufacture fertilizer itself instead of importing it from Jordan and elsewhere. Kikwete said that the Maasai were traditional cattle herders but were now flocking to urban areas to work as security guards. At the Kongwa cattle ranch, the number of stock had fallen from 10,000 to only 3,000 “How can this country, with 18 million cattle, be a net importer of milk and butter?” he asked. He told the civil servants to stop sitting in their offices enjoying fat salaries and allowances and to go to the countryside and rescue the country from backward farming – Nipashe.
At the Ministry of Natural Resources Kikwete gave the staff three months to resolve the problems that have been dogging the Tanzania Fishing Corporation (TAFICO). “If it collapses so will you,” he snapped. Minister Anthony Diallo lost no time in sacking or moving five officers to other posts after he revealed that hunting blocks had been ‘dubiously sold’. The Acting Director of Forestry who was said to have licensed illegal logging was moved to another post.
At the Ministry of Trade and Industry, President Kikwete gave the officials six months to make sure that Tanzania had an industrial and trading plan in place. “When I return to you in six months I want to see something concrete and not just reports,” he warned.
The President directed the Minister for Lands and Human Settlements to put his house in order within six months and sack immediately all those who were found responsible for double allocation of plots. The Prevention of Corruption Bureau (PCB) was reported in Mwananchi to have been grilling two Mwanza city officials over allocation of 16 plots to one businessman. The President said that, where title deeds had been issued to more than one person, their signatories should be fired and they should be reported to the PCB immediately. He went on: “This ministry has been completely disregarding the laws of the land as if there were no government in place.” Minister John Magufuli said that, since entering the ministry, he had been receiving about 100 complaints from the public every day. In most cases the complaints were against dishonest officials in his ministry.
The President ordered the Ministry of Education to reinstate the subjects it had scrapped from the secondary school curriculum pending a new consensus – Guardian
At the Ministry of Higher Education the President ruled out the possibility of the government granting scholarships for students pursuing education in private and foreign universities, because of financial constraints. “We can not use the meagre funds from the Higher Learning Education Scholarship Board to sponsor someone who opts for Oxford” he said. The president said some universities, especially overseas, charged exorbitant fees.
He ordered the new Minister for Water Stephen Wassira to tell Dar es Salaam residents the truth about perennial water woes the city was experiencing. – Guardian.
At the Ministry of Health, the President criticised existing health policies as unworkable and directed the ministry to review them immediately. They provided for the construction of dispensaries and health centres in areas or villages with a population of between 10,000 and 50,000 people, an approach the President said was unrealistic. “This forces people in remote areas of the country to travel long distances in search of health services” he said.
The President issued instructions to the Minister of Natural Resources that the Ihefu Wetland area of the Usangu Game Reserve, which had been accommodating 400,000 cattle – with resultant destruction of the environment and hence a reduction in the amount of water flowing to the Great Ruaha River, (which serves the vital Mtera dam) must be cleared of livestock. Livestock keepers were issued with a seven-day ultimatum for them to move away. The local DC later reported that livestock were being moved and slowly the wetlands would be restored to their natural state – Guardian.
At the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) he complained about ineptitude at the Dar es Salaam Port. “At Durban port” he said “it takes less than three days to clear cargo, but here in Dar it can take up to 12 days.” He added that Malawian and Zambian users would rather pay for the long distances to Durban than be subjected to the lethargy at Dar port and that Burundian and Rwandan business persons preferred Mombasa because of the poor infrastructure in Tanzania – East African.
President Kikwete warned local councils to stop protecting dishonest officials and be ready to throw them out. Kikwete said that from now onwards councillors should see to it that money was spent as budgeted.
In a major reshuffle of Regional Commissioners eleven were dropped and nine were retained and moved to other regions. The President also appointed three new women RCs while dropping one. The new team included seven ex military officers and three doctors –Nipashe.
He also announced that, in future, government leaders would be referred to as ‘honourable’ rather than as ‘excellencies’. Kikwete promised to maintain the use of the portraits of the founding father of the nation on currency notes and coins. The President also stopped the use of school children to hand out bouquets and scarves to government leaders when they disembark from planes or vehicles or attend public functions.
Majira reported that the President, after stopping to greet a disabled person in a Dar street, had given him Shs 10,000/-.
PERFORMANCE CONTRACTS AND INCENTIVES
As civil servants reeled under the constant attacks on the probity of some amongst them, it was announced that government officers would be required to sign ‘Performance Contracts’ with effect from July this year. The aim was to increase efficiency and control expenditure at all administrative levels. This would enable the government to evaluate civil servants’ responsibilities and develop a strategy to attain targeted development goals. After announcing this to parliament, the new Prime Minster received a standing ovation from MP’s. He said it was time to change the way the government had traditionally transacted its business to a more pragmatic style that would guarantee quality service delivery to the public. Government duties would have to be carried out decisively, promptly and successfully; there was a need for trustworthy and accountable public servants,’ he said. Explaining the ‘Performance Contract’ the PM said that the objective was to set standards on time taken and money spent on development plans. This would help the government to decide who to reward after meeting the objectives and who to punish for being irresponsible. In Arusha some officials had misused the relief food supplies provided by the government and sold the grain at the prices they wished. They had been fired and charged in court – Guardian.
Public officials accused of financial mismanagement by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) will henceforth be liable to disciplinary action before the report is tabled before parliament. The Deputy Minister for Finance, Mustafa Mkullo, said the power is vested in his minister by virtue of the government Directive number 15 of July last year. Mkullo said the government decided to issue the directive so as to give the CAG teeth to perform better the task of auditing public expenditures. He said this was just the first step and that more directives would be given as and when the need arose.
REVEALING FURTHER MISDEMEANOURS
Encouraged by the President’s clearly stated intention to curb corruption the press began to reveal all sorts of other misdemeanours. Examples:
Shs 21.6/- million paid to 251 ghost workers in Zanzibar’s Health Ministry – Mtanzania.
The payment by the Works Ministry of Shs 375 million for work not done in Dodoma – Mwananchi.
The payment by the Health Ministry of Shs 85/- million for medicines not delivered – Nipashe.
Shs 16.8/- billion stolen in bank raids since January 2005 – Majira.
The Tanganyika Investment and Oil Transport (TIOT) found to be involved in massive tax evasion: it was instructed to deposit a bond equal to the amount demanded by the Tanzania Revenue Authority. (Majira)*
CRIME AND THE POLICE
President Kikwete has created a whole new ministry – the Ministry of Public Safety and Security – for dealing with crime and other security matters. He said that the police had made such a poor show of their job that there was talk to the effect that the force was colluding with criminals.
The East African reported that, before President Kikwete declared his war on banditry, robbers had begun to mock his election campaign slogan – ‘new vigour, new enthusiasm, new speed’ by repeating it during their armed raids on premises. Taking his cue from the President, Minister of Public Safety and Security Brian Mwapachu vowed that the government would adopt a ‘shoot-to-kill’ strategy if need be. On January 14, gunmen ignored these warnings and robbed two premises selling gems in Dar es Salaam in broad daylight. The police sprang into action. But then it turned out that these policemen were themselves using the crackdown on crime to mount their own robbery. The three gem dealers from Mahenge were dead. This led the President to appoint an inquiry commission on January 24, chaired by Justice Mussa Kipenka. On February 17, the commission handed its findings to the President who immediately ordered the arrest of the 15 police officers involved.
Next, it was reported that a document had been handed to the Minister of Public Safety, as he entered the parliament building, by two junior police officers in plain clothes It alleged that a prominent private businessman was involved in violent crime and that they had tried to arrest him several times but he had been released by their boss.
In late January armed gangsters staged a daring robbery at the West Bureau de Change near the clock tower in Dar. The Guardian reported that the suspected robbers posed as customers and accomplished their mission without being noticed by passersby. One of them brandished a pistol and threatened to shoot the Security Guard while the other two briefly took hostage the cashier and customers inside the shop, as the third smashed the glass window in front of the cashier’s desk and got inside. The robbers left the scene without being suspected by those outside the shop. Customers inside the bureau had been ordered to surrender their cash and valuables.
Four armed robbers got away with more than TShs 300 million from the Standard Chartered Bank in Dar es Salaam on March 8 at 9 am. The money belonged to agents for the Vodacom cellular phone company and had been brought in to be deposited.
Media reports on alleged dishonesty among Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) executives sparked off a full investigation. The Minister for Finance, instructed the Commissioner General of the TRA to take stern measures. Some of the officials were said to have resigned before the axe fell on them. They were said to own fleets of vehicles, houses and other properties. Their bank accounts were also frozen – Tanzania Daima.
NEW INSPECTOR GENERAL
Meanwhile the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Omar Mahita got himself into very hot water. He stated publicly that the Civic United Front (CUF) opposition party was behind some of the violent crime wave. He made things worse by saying that CUF would never come to power while he remained as IGP.
The opposition in parliament immediately protested to the government and on February 20 thousands of supporters of the CUF, CHADEMA and TLP parties staged a huge demonstration in Dar es Salaam urging President Kikwete to sack the IGP. As the clamour grew Mahita decided to retire. He did so on March 4 when he reached the age of 60. The Guardian reported him as saying that he wouldn’t become a politician in retirement but rather hoped to venture into farming and livestock keeping in his home region Morogoro.
On March 7 President Kikwete appointed Said Ally Mwema, 53, as the new IGP and Sungura Manumba, 53, as the new Director of Criminal Investigations. Mwema had been Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of the Interpol Sub-Regional Bureau in Nairobi and was, before that, a Regional Crime Officer. His appointment was praised by all parties and the general public. The President also made a major reshuffle in the police force, promoting some senior officials and appointing new ones. He designated Dar es Salaam as a Special Police Zone with three regional police districts.
DIRECT CONTACT, MOTIVATION AND TRANSPARENCY
The new IGP lost no time in springing into action. On April 6 he published in the press the office, residential and cellphone telephone numbers of Regional Police Commanders (RPC’s) all over the country (plus his own!) so that the public would be able to contact senior officers directly about crime. The objective was also to ‘create a sense of transparency.’
A few days later, according to the Swahili press, some people began making hoax calls, some at ‘ungodly’ hours, ranging from life threats to intimate advances. However, several RPC’s reported that they had been provided with useful information. Morogoro RPC, Steven Ngowi, said he got information leading to the arrest of eight suspected criminals with firearms. Also, one village officer was arrested on charges of stealing bags of cement.
The government has also set aside Shs 3bn/- to motivate the police force. The money would also be used to settle arrears in police allowances that had been outstanding for many years.
The IGP also announced that the police, in collaboration with the CRDB Bank and Bank of Tanzania (BoT), had set up a special fund amounting to TShs 43m to reward people who furnished it with information leading to the arrest of criminals.
POLICE ACTION AGAINST CRIME
Among many other actions the IGP suspended the Tarime District Police Commander – Mtanzania.
Some 30 persons, most of them businessmen, were picked up in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro in March. One was a Tanzanian of Asian descent suspected of being involved in a network of criminal activities including car thefts and armed robbery. Two of them were taken to court where they were accused of being ‘dangerous’ to society as they had sponsored criminal gangs – Mwananchi.
Police arrested 18 businessmen in Manyara on organised crime charges – Tanzania Daima.
Seven businessmen were arrested in Mererani – Nipashe.
Eight businessmen were arrested in Morogoro on robbery charges – Majira.
Police arrested a number of businessmen and officials in Babati over the possession of stolen cars – Tanzania Daima.
A businessman, a contractor and an engineer were charged with defrauding TANROADS – Nipashe.