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Simu 2000 Traders Protest Over Plans to Relocate Them for a New World Bank-supported BRT Depot

Traders fears the depot will destroy their businesses and return them to the street

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Hundreds of small-scale traders have protested the government’s plans to relocate them to build a new depot for the fourth phase of the World Bank-supported Bus Rapid Transit systems. Traders started their protest early in the morning of July 08, 2024, closing roads around Simu 2000, a popular bus stand, chanting, “We don’t want a depot, we want our market.”

The planned depot is part of the third and fourth phases of the Dar es Salaam BRT Systems which is supported by a USD 287 million loan from the World Bank. The forth phase involve the construction of BRT roads from Posta-Mwenge to Ubungo and Mwenge to Tegeta as well as the construction of two depots at Simu 2000 and Mbuyuni Tegeta.

The planned depot at Simu 2000 and Mbuyuni as well as Kivukoni terminal will be constructed by a joint venture of Kunhwa Engineering & Consulting Co. Ltd and Seoul Housing & Communities Corporation for TZS 60.9 billion.

“There are thousands of us who depend on this market, we don’t have anywhere to go. A depot is not something that will add value to this space, Ubungo has many vacant areas that can be used for a depot,” said Musa Ndile, a small-scale trader and Market Improvement Subcommittee Chairperson

Ndile expressed disappointment at the Municipality’s decision, noting that the traders had invested heavily in their businesses and had faced multiple relocations since 2014.

Between March 8 and March 22, 2024, a World Bank mission team met with representatives of the Government of Tanzania for a joint technical review of the project’s implementation progress, one of the items noted was the relocation of traders for the construction of a depot was yet to be implemented.

World Bank report reads: “The land for the two BRT-4 depot is yet to be acquired, although the Ubungo municipality has preliminarily agreed to allocate 39,000 square meters of Simu 2000 site for a BRT-4 depot, the process for relocation of the petty traders market is yet to be concluded.”

The report continues: “It was agreed that DART and PO-RALG will follow up to address Simu 2000 challenges to enable the contractor to be provided with possession of the site by April 30, 2024.”

However, on July 04, 2024, Ubungo Municipal through a councilors meeting approved the plans for the Dar Rapid Transit Agency (DART) to acquire the Simu 2000 area for the construction of a depot.

“Small-scale traders were moved here for the construction of the Kijazi Interchange, all of them were told to move off the street and come here, but now they are told to move again. We are pleading with the government, if you tell us to move again, we will not have any trust left for you,” said Godfrey Mapesa, Chairperson of the Simu 2000 drivers.

In the heat of the moment, traders refused to listen to the Ubungo District Commissioner citing that he had tricked them into believing him, which forced the Regional Commissioner Albert Chalamila to meet the traders and offer a temporary solution until July 13, 2024.

“I am aware of the plans in place, and the concerns raised are valid. However, the formal decision is yet to reach my office, and you should have been involved in the process,” Chalamila assured the traders.

He instructed the Ubungo Municipality to finalize their discussions with DART and present the matter to his office for further review. Chalamila assured the traders of his commitment to finding a fair resolution and pledged to hold meetings with all stakeholders in the coming week, with a direct engagement scheduled for Saturday, July 13.

“Today is Monday; please continue with your activities until Saturday when I will return. I intend to hear from DART and all relevant parties. This will be an open forum where all concerns will be addressed,” Chalamila emphasized.

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