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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Failing public services…..does the government care?

2nd April 2012
An Ilala municipal worker, going about the business of controlling `wrong parking`. Motorists say notices indicating where parking is allowed, or not, should be clearly indicated, otherwise fines should not be imposed.(file photo)

Jambo, for the week, and let’s start with the judiciary, or one particular aspect of it. A few columns ago, I wrote about the ridiculous reasons for court case postponements, and though a recent one isn’t quite in this category it’s still questionable.

The much watched corruption case facing former Tanzanian envoy to Italy, Costa Mahalu, was adjourned at Kisutu court on the 21st March, and scheduled for April 30th, because the presiding magistrate was apparently attending a seminar in Morogoro.

A valid explanation only if you think seminar attendances take precedence over cases of public interest, and also have a disregard for cost implications that such delays have on the public purse.

There’s another implication here of course. Given the fact that the one of the players in this trial was the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, and is now President of the country, conspiracy theorists will welcome every opportunity to capitalise their cause…….as one did in this instance when telling me, “that court case postponement was deliberate you know”.

However, even those not given to such thinking might be doubtful if they asked themselves, aren’t court duties pre-planned? ….so didn’t the magistrate know he’d be working on the day he chose to attend the seminar?.....did he rate one function more important than the other?.... had he lost his calendar?. …or his memory?.

…….Ah ha that’s it…. my anti-conspiracy theory is that the seminar was a crash course in memory training, so that’s why he forgot to say he ‘wouldn’t be in at the ‘office’ that day!.

Anyway, let’s leave the problem in limbo, like the legal profession do here, just more examples of inefficiency to impact on development, and who cares that no rational explanations are forthcoming, for any of the irrational trial deferment excuses.


There’s another issue we don’t get any answers on either, but then few people ask the questions. I’m referring to the long standing parking scandal.

Car parks are a standard amenity, but the thinking behind this operation, appeared to be the same official illogic here, of making comparisons with other countries where none exist.

You can almost hear someone saying, “Hey, you know they charge by the hour for parking in London, why don’t we?”. Quite forgetting that in the wastelands of shanty town Dar, there were, (and are) barely any debris free flat surfaces on which to park properly, let alone security once you’ve managed to do so.

The same mindset applied to parking meters. Thirty years ago, a few of these rusting little metal aliens still dotted a town centre landscape un-conducive to their function, as lacking a monitoring system, human or technical, not many motorists I was told put money in them.

In January l998, at home in London, I learnt that the then City Commission, had contracted a private company to operate a car parking system, and was pleased there’d be this much needed facility.

But on returning to Dar, was surprised to see no designated paved areas, or business infrastructure at all, but only randomly sited little wooden ticket kiosks, the kind of eyesore the commission was demolishing when I left.

From the start, the dubious treaty arranged between the City Commission and Tanzania Parking System, or Tanzania Parking Scam, as I continued to call them, (even after their solicitors letter!) was questionable. And given the various un-transparent deals over a decade and a half, and charges of

nepotism in awarding the contract, it’s hardly surprising that this sector has evolved into, and remains a shady area today, with motorists not knowing where their payments are going too, and for what purpose.

At times it’s been run like a Mafia fiefdom, with auction mart contractors hi-jacking and clamping cars, then demanding huge penalties for various ill defined mis-demeanours.

In 2004, a motorist complained to the Guardian, at paying 96,000sh to retrieve his vehicle after a ‘wrong parking’ offence.

Without any officially designated parking areas, who defines ‘wrong parking’, or which bye-law specifies or prohibits it?.

Strange to recall, the one time offence of random parking, was quickly sanctioned when money could be extracted from it, but who benefits, and why weren’t even basic requisites, like paved and clearly defined areas a mandatory requisite for parking company operators past and present?



Erratic power supply continues, despite those comments by the Minister and Chief Executive of Tanesco denying load shedding, which is now happening, so let’s give this problem a neat descriptive tag.

Some years ago parts of Arusha were hastily renovated for a much hyped business event called the Sullivan summit. One building had been painted at the front, but not the back, and I thought of it as being ‘sullivanised’.

Perhaps this idea is applicable to the power issue..…let’s see…Executive Director of Tanesco is William Mhando, and Energy Minister William Ngeleja, so all citizens experiencing the ‘non-rationing… rationing phenomenon’……. should make a ‘kelele’ about being ‘Williamised’…what do you think?!

……in fact, we can apply it to Ministers who have at least one example under their watch that has underperformed big time.

……..whose call does the Mwenge market/trading centre, with a bus station attached as an afterthought come under? ……Ah yes…Transport Minister Omari Nundu…..and there’s so much in this sector that is dirty, chaotic, and not fit for purpose, …. it’s been Nundu-ised’, but in this instance, with help from Kinondoni Municipality, whose involved officers, should all be sacked.

……..time to close on that satisfying exit line!

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