PRESIDENT KIKWETE – NO LET UP

There has been no let up in President Kikwete’s extremely energetic governance of Tanzania during the last few months. Some of his actions and the statements he has made give further indications as to his future policies and what he wishes to achieve.

Prime Minister Edward Lowasa has stated that the President has been getting over 100 messages a day from people needing answers to their concerns. Mostly the messages are about local governments and their alleged failings. The PM added that the President forwards the messages to him and he then warns local officials to be extra careful as, with modern means of communication, their weaknesses can be instantly detected and exposed.

In a major restructuring of his administration the President has appointed 46 new district commissioners and either moved or retired many others. Assah Mwambene of the Daily News reports that more important than the number of changes is the improvement which can now be expected because of the earlier good performance and integrity of many of the newcomers. One he mentioned in particular was Mr Fabian Massawe, a former Headmaster and Head of Sport in the army.

Immediately after being elected as National Chairman of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Party on June 25 Kikwete confirmed the appointment of Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Yusuf Makamba MP as the new Secretary General of the party. He replaces Philip Mangula who had held the post since 1997. Yusuf is a teacher by profession and started at the bottom as a ward secretary in the 1970s. His deputy (Mainland) is Jaka Mwambi while Igunga MP Rostam Aziz has become the party’s Treasurer. The MP for Siha, Aggrey Mwanri, has been appointed Ideology and Publicity Secretary. Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Asha-Rose Migiro now heads the Political and International Relations Department. The Deputy Secretary General of the party in Zanzibar, Ramadhan Saleh Ferouz, has retained his post.

The President has told people that CCM has started to implement its election manifesto. He has begun to talk about the many promises he made during the election and reminded his MPs and councillors that they should ensure that some of these projects are incorporated in their regional development plans.
The decision to form tribunals to arbitrate in land disputes was no joke the President said, when speaking to Tanzanians living in Nigeria. It was a tough decision intended to sort out persistent complaints over land allocations. “Please furnish me with correct information and I will act on it,” he added. The President said that the Lands Department had been infested with corrupt individuals. “They all know that we know their sins. Please send the name of the land officer to our High Commissioner who will forward it to me for action,” the President said – Guardian.

The President has also launched a new $33 million ‘City Integrated Upgrading Project’ (CIUP) in Ilala and Temeke in Dar es Salaam. Residents who live in shanties would be the first in Tanzania’s largest city to benefit from modern street lighting when the project is completed. Those losing their existing dwellings would be compensated, he said.
A full-scale military ‘National Anti-Livestock Operation’, aimed at evicting herdsmen from game reserves, water catchment areas and other protected areas in the country is making good progress. The Ihefu Wetland has been cleared of hundreds of pastoralists and over 300,000 head of cattle have been moved out. The operation is part of the government’s strategy to restore the flow and water levels of the Great Ruaha River by 2010. This is expected to guarantee hydro-electric power generation at the Mtera and other dams.

The President has announced that public servants would not get a pay increase this year because of the many problems the country is facing.
Speaking at a meeting on nature conservation, Kikwete said: “I am a conservationist at heart. I am one of your own. I love nature because I believe all of us are made of nature and we are sustained by it. In this regard, conservation of nature, including flora and fauna, is for our own good.” He said his love for nature did not entail denying others from consuming its products. “I support responsible hunting that takes into account the cardinal tenets of wildlife conservation….If people benefit from conservation or hunting they become the best guardians against poaching and other forms of destruction of wildlife and its habitat.”
In another move he said the government was also committed to maintaining the size of the wildlife protected areas in the country. Tanzania has approximately 38 per cent of its land area designated for wildlife protection and conservation.
President Kikwete has been the first Tanzanian Head of State to visit the prisons of Dar es Salaam. He was quoted as saying: “The situation is terrible. There is a lot to be done to see to it that inmates are treated like human beings.” (Thank you John Sankey for this extract from the journal ‘White Fathers – White Sisters’ – Editor).

In a significant change from the policy of his predecessor he has stopped the privatisation of the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA). It was reported that he wished first to get details on how the nation would benefit from this divestiture. 13 foreign countries including the UK, South Africa, France, the Philippines, and Kenya have already submitted bids to run the authority. This decision is in contrast to the privatisation policy on which President Mkapa was so keen – Rai.

Following the signature of an agreement with the World Bank for a $200 million IDA credit in support of Tanzania’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty on May 9, the President indicated that each region of the country would be granted TShs 500 million to support the provision of soft loans as part of the poverty eradication strategy.

The President has decided to continue with the clearance of street hawkers from city streets. In March this year, following protests from vendors, Prime Minister Edward Lowassa postponed the operation for six months until September. Kikwete told the vendors that no leader would defend them this time. He also announced that the Ilala Municipality was to join a firm from Malaysia in clearing 272 shacks built during colonial times so as to upgrade the area – Majira.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has been encouraging people to be open with him during his visits up country. In Liwale the people asked him to remove a District Council Director as he was ‘of no use’ and the local MP who ‘never visits’ the constituency. The PM asked the Director to stand up and reply to the charges against him. In doing so the Director claimed that those complaining belonged to the opposition CUF party, upon which jeering and heckling greeted him. In Ruangwa district, Lowassa was welcomed by people carrying placards one of which read: “For the last 10 years we have been deducted money from our crops yet we are not given the accounts.” Other placards said that education funds were pocketed by a few individuals, and opposition parties were suppressed – Mwananchi.

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