Minister for Water, Professor Mark Mwandosya yesterday emerged, breaking the silence by speaking about his future political plans as to vying for the country’s top job as well as on rumours about his health condition.
Prof Mwandosya was hospitalised in India for five months and returned on Thursday this week.
During the press conference, Professor Mwandosya opted to remain non-committal about personal plans for the 2015 presidential candidacy, saying a discussion of that nature is irrelevant until 2014.
He said it was untimely to discuss a successor to President Jakaya Kikwete while the reigning government had a good number of public commitments to honour.
He said: “Every government has a specific tenure to reign and thus has to serve the public. Likewise the CCM government made pledges which are to be fulfilled; in my case I have a responsibility to ensure Tanzanians get safe water.
“I should concentrate fully on that and others should do the same to push the development agenda which should not be compromised by premature presidential aspirations,” he told the press conference in Dar es Salaam. “This question (of presidential candidacy) should be posed to me in year 2014 because at the moment the public will not understand us when some of us dwell much on the presidency than delivering the services.
“I am aware that it is a general concept that the presidential race needs investment as some do but for me it does not work in that way since really I have got nothing to invest,” he stated Minister Mwandosya who is Rungwe East Member of Parliament intoned that the Kikwete government had the capacity to fulfill the pledges made during the 2010 election run, and that is why such pledges were made. The former university don came a distant third in the CCM presidential candidacy race in 2005, behind eventual winner Jakaya Kikwete and the former Secretary General of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim.
He once served as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals under Kikwete as Minister, and as Minister for Communications during the third phase administration of President Benjamin Mkapa. Prof. Mwandosya is believed to be among senior CCM cadres aspiring for the presidential candidacy in Tanzania in the 2015 general elections.
On the nature of the disease he has been suffering from, his health condition and prescribed medical restrictions, Prof. Mwandosya was not ready to give details as he gave a well known principle that the disease was a secret between a patient and a medical doctor. He said it was normal that he would be flying back to India for medical checks on his healing progress.
“All medics are happy to see their patients recover as per their professional oaths, thus they provide prescriptions which finally lead to total healing of the patient,” he remarked.
Asked about the cause of the disease he is suffering from and whether had ever thought that was in any way associated with his deemed political matters he said: “I believe this disease is natural as other diseases. There is no witch-hunting in this case as by doing so you risk entering into unnecessary conflict with so many people. Doctors look at various aspects including the patient’s history. Remember I had never been admitted at a hospital during my 30 years of civil service. It is therefore an important reminder that everybody can fall ill.”
A few months ago the Deputy Minister for Works, Dr Harrison Mwakyermbe, who is currently admitted in India, was quoted as saying that a number of cabinet ministers and other influential political figures were on an elimination list drawn up by a group alleged to work for big fish corruption suspects. He named himself and Prof. Mwandosya as among those targeted.
Minister Mwandosya whose area of specialization is electrical and electronics engineering expressed his thanks to President Kikwete, Vice President Dr Gharib Mohamed Bilal and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda who coordinated a get well card, signed by all cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.
He also thanked Zanzibar’s First Vice President Seif Shariff Hamad and opposition CUF chairman, Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba, who visited him at the hospital in India. Prof Mwandosya said he had realised that Tanzanians are passionate as he received mobile phone text messages and phone calls wishing him quick recovery from different sections of the public, including religious leaders.
The press conference at the ministry headquarters was also attended by Deputy Minister Jerryson Lwenge, Permanent Secretary Christopher Sayi, Deputy PS Bashir Mrindoko and heads of departments.