Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Monday convened an emergency cabinet meeting at the Chamwino State House, in the capital Dodoma, to discuss the November 6 plane crash which took place in Lake Victoria, killing 19 people.
The aircraft, 5H-PWF, ATR42-500, was flying from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba when the accident occurred around 08:53 am. Reports suggest that there were 39 passengers (38 adults and one infant) and four crew on board the plane.
President Samia was away when the accident happened, attending the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh.
Briefing reporters on the cabinet meeting’s deliberations on Monday, the Government Chief Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa said in Dodoma that the cabinet received the preliminary report into the accident and steps that have been taken since the accident took place.
“The Cabinet directed local experts to partner with foreign ones in investigating the accident,” Mr Msigwa told journalists on Monday.
He said the scope of the investigation is to find the real source of the accident as well as proposals for preventing similar accidents from occurring in the future.
Already, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency is expecting to send in a team of investigators to look into the accident.
According to reports, the team will be accompanied by technical advisers from Franco-Italian planemaker ATR, which built the ATR 42-500 turboprop.
According to reports, under international rules, the locally-led investigation would usually include the participation of authorities in France, where the plane was designed, and Canada, where its Pratt & Whitney engines were developed.
Mr Msigwa told journalists on Monday that Tanzania is a signatory to a number of international aviation protocols which stipulate steps to be taken in case a plane accident occurs, committing that the East African nation will implement each of the protocols’ guidelines.
“The Cabinet also directed that all disaster management agencies should have their capacities improved,” Mr Msigwa added. “This is for ensuring that Tanzania, as a country, is better placed to respond to disasters when they occur.”
This directive will be received with open arms by experts in the field of disaster management who told The Chanzo recently that Tanzania’s ability to respond to disasters leaves a lot to be desired.
One of these experts is Dr Egidius Kamanyi, an expert in disaster management from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), who told The Chanzo during a recent interview that the first step to solving the problem is for authorities to accept that there is a problem.
“Only when such an appreciation of the problem has been firmly established, the issues of infrastructure and gears necessary to allow timely disaster response can be easily taken care of,” said Dr Kamanyi who teaches sociology and anthropology at UDSM.
“A mapping of the riskiest areas for disaster is also important,” added the scholar. “[This mapping] will allow the government to know where investment in disaster response is highly needed and thus take necessary steps to prevent disasters from occurring.”
Jackline Kuwanda is The Chanzo’s correspondent from Dodoma. She can be reached via email@example.com.