After only ten months in office, on October 15, President Kikwete changed the portfolios of ten of his ministers and eight deputy ministers. No reasons were assigned for the changes, but MP’s had begun to complain about delays in executing development projects, uneven allocation of funds to the regions and careless negotiation of important contracts. There had also, according to the Daily News, been criticism of the handling of specific issues such as the power crisis; the food deficit; the management of forest resources and wildlife and the distribution of communication projects.
The main changes were as follows:
Anthony Diallo became Minister for Livestock Development. He was replaced at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism by Prof Jumanne Maghembe.
Home Affairs Minister, Captain John Chiligati, took over from Prof. Maghembe at the Labour ministry. Veteran cabinet minister Joseph Mungai became Home Affairs Minister, and was replaced by Stephen Wassira at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives.
Dr Ibrahim Msabaha left the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to become the Minister for East African Co-operation. His office was taken over by Nazir Karamagi from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing.
Minister of Infrastructure Development Basil Mramba, moved to Industry, Trade and Marketing and was replaced by East African Co-operation Minister Andrew Chenge.
Dr Shukuru Kawambwa (Livestock Development) replaced Mr Wassira at the Water ministry.
But, according to the East African (22nd October) the business community and opposition parties had dismissed the changes as cosmetic and ‘too little too late’. The President was attempting to mask massive graft allegations and there were economic dangers ahead. The Government’s debt stock had ballooned by $310 million since the beginning of last year and now stood at US $9.38 billion. The paper said that the verdict of the majority was that the President was living in utopia and that his populist approach to serious national issues was bringing the economy to its knees.
There have also been changes in political parties.
According to Majira Donge MP Ali Ameir Mohammed has been elected secretary of the CCM parliamentary committee which controls the activities of MP’s, with 120 votes, defeating George Mkuchika (64) and Ruth Msafiri (12). This was described as a victory for an influential CCM group calling themselves the ‘net workers’ (wana mtandao) who played a pivotal role in the presidential nomination of Kikwete last year. It had been expected that Ameir, a Zanzibari, did not stand much chance and the election was postponed four times. Mkuchika used to be close to Kikwete since their days as CCM youth but last year he decided to not to back Kikwete’s nomination. The net workers were also said to have arranged for Dr Fortunatus Masha to be elected as an MP in the East African Legislative Assembly as a representative the opposition, defeating strong candidates like Prof. Beregu and Prof. Wangwe. He is the father of Deputy Minister Lawrence Masha who was said to belong to the network.
Meanwhile the opposition is again reported to be facing internal squabbles. According to Mtanzania, CHADEMA ex-Secretary General Dr Amani Kabourou was said to be planning to defect to CCM. In the 1990’s Kabourou gave CCM a good run for their money when he won the Kigoma parliamentary seat with a big majority. As an outspoken MP he was appointed Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. After losing the Kigoma seat in the last election, he was said to to have found himself to be on a different wave length from the new CHADEMA Chairman, Freemen Mbowe, and the ‘young Turks’ in the party such as Zitto Kabwe, the MP for Kigoma North [incorrectly noted as Kigoma South in original publication]. The last straw was when he was subsequently replaced as Secretary General of CHADEMA. The paper reported that his defection would be announced in Hai district as that is the home ground of Mbowe.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Mbowe himself is studying for under and post-graduate degrees at various universities in Britain, the US and Japan. He told Mwananchi that he was working for a BA in Philosophy, Political Science, International Relations and Economics at the University of Hull while at the same time reading for an MBA from Japanese and American universities. The whole programme was to take three years, he said, adding that, since it was tailor-made, he would not be obliged to be at the universities all the time.