Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday hinted at the reasons why she replaced Kennedy Gaston with Hussein Othman Katanga as Tanzania’s ambassador to New York, U.S., saying she seeks to restore “the lost reputation” of the country’s embassies around the world.
The Head of State made the appointment on Tuesday evening alongside the appointment of Moses Mpogole who is replacing Katanga as Chief Secretary and the appointment of Diwani Athumani Msuya as Permanent Secretary of State House, replacing Mpogole.
She also appointed Said Hussein Masoro as the Director General of the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service (TISS), replacing Mr Msuya. Before Tuesday’s appointment, Mr Masoro worked as deputy director general of TISS.
Speaking on Tuesday evening, President Samia said that the position in New York “requires a smart diplomat who knows international politics, a patriot for his country, and a calm person of wisdom and tact.”
She noted that this step is the beginning of a process aimed at restoring the reputation that Tanzanian embassies around the world have lost “due to the misuse of money and power in those offices,” she remarked.
“You will remember that last year, in November 2022, parliament had a serious discussion about the use of money and power in our embassy offices located in various countries around the world,” the Head of State said.
“The government is working on the defects described to allow or return the reputation of our ambassies, for starters, I have decided to make changes in the embassy office in New York,” she added.
One of the known defects of the embassy of Tanzania in New York is the operation of the government building.
The building which is located at 307 East 53 Street, New York, NY 10022,was purchased at the price of USD 25 Million in 2011. Thereafter, Tanzania’s New York embassy established a company called 307 East 53 Realty LLC to manage its six-storey building for rent.
While the embassy only used the 5th and 6th floors, from February 2020 to December 2021, the building did not find any tenant due to poor management of the company. This caused government to incur tax costs and the building to run down.
Gaston’s sacking also comes almost three months since Samia dropped Ambassador Liberata Mulamula as foreign affairs minister, replacing her with Dr Stergomena Tax.
Ms Mulamula had just arrived back from New York, where she was part of the Vice President Philip Mpango-led delegation to the UN General Assembly. President Samia did not explain why she sacked her right-hand woman.
However, her comment that some officials within her government seen “overstepping” their boundaries would be purged left analysts to consider that to be the explanation for Ms Mulamula’s dismissal.
“The second thing is boundaries,” said President during a function at the State House. “There is an authority in this country and the power assigned to you [as a Minister] has its limits. If you want to go above your [authority] you must receive permission from the higher authority.”
Lukelo Francis is The Chanzo Journalist based in Dar es Salaam. He can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org