Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday shared a glimpse of the issues that give her a headache, urging her recently formed cabinet to do whatever it takes to address the issues lest the administration proves incapable of solving Tanzanians’ problems.
She was speaking with cabinet members in Dodoma whereby in a mother-like language the Head of State explained what she expected of them, emphasizing her burning desire to see a cabinet that is not only committed to serving Tanzanians but also resistant to the temptations of corruption and other forms of malpractices.
Some of the issues that irk Tanzania’s first female president are the lack of coordination among government’s departments; personal feuds among government officials; corruption that she called “excessive”; the entertainment of the business as usual culture among civil servants; and nepotism in government employment.
Samia was particularly concerned with the misunderstanding that exists between ministers and deputy ministers and permanent secretaries with their deputies. She seemed astonished why such misunderstandings happen while everyone was in the government by the virtue of their qualifications.
She gave an example of the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources where she said feuds can happen due to personal interest in allocation of hunting blocks whereby everyone between a minister, deputy minister and permanent secretary would like to allocate some of them to his/her people.
“It is just an example,” she said. “I don’t have such a case now on my table. But it has occurred in the past.”
On December 31, 2019, former President John Magufuli gave the then Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Hamisi Kingwangala and his permanent secretary Prof Adolf Mkenda a five-day ultimatum to either settle their differences or else he will revoke their appointments.
“I know that your top administrators, the minister and the permanent secretary have been squabbling over certain issues, I have asked the chief secretary to talk to them and if they don’t change I will have to remove them,” Magufuli, who died on March 17, 2021, said then.
When it comes to government officials enriching themselves through their respective government positions, President Samia accused her assistants of “over-eating,” pointing out that some corrupt tendencies within the government are “excesses.”
Demonstrating her point, President Samia gave an example of an Sh438.8 billion deal with an alleged Turkish ship-building company YÜTEK to construct five government vessels, and payments were made, but it turned out that the company was neither financially capable nor expert to execute the contract.
“And this is not an exception,” Samia pointed out. “The same thing could be said about road construction projects as well as other projects.”
President Samia also accused her assistants of “putting themselves before the people” by “cooking up data” that eventually misinforms the government’s interventions in solving people’s problems.
The Head of State also reminded her assistants of the importance of preserving government’s secrets, claiming that recently some state secrets have been observed circulating on social media.
She wants her team to also follow laws, policies, guidelines and the advice offered by experts during the course of implementing their official duties as well as on the need to be creative and avoid the business as usual culture.
Urging them to run their respective sectors as if they were their own, Samia said: “As they were your own organisation. How would you like it to be run? What would you do to make it more profitable? The end goal is to make people feel like they’re being served.”