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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Mr President, Make a cleaner, decongested Dar one of your biggest legacies

18th December 2011
Editorial Cartoon

Jakaya Kikwete has so far spent six years, as the fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and according to our current constitution; he still has four more years, before he ends his second term.

We, at the Guardian on Sunday, would like to urge the President to make a cleaner, decongested Dar es Salaam, one of his legacies once he ends his presidency in October 2015.

We know that as the head of a young and poor nation, he has so many burdens on his shoulders, as well as many political storms to weather within, and outside his party.

But, above all, he can still choose to spearhead the cleaning, modernization and decongesting Dar es Salaam, which is our sitting room and the centre of our economy, contributing about 60 percent of the total government revenues currently estimated to be Sh400 billion per month.

The current Dar es Salaam needs at least five flyovers to help reduce the worsening traffic jam, and we strongly believe President Kikwete can do this within the next five years.

Last year he spoke about the needs to have flyovers in Dar es Salaam to reduce traffic jam, but we would like to tell him that he should go beyond by making this dream a reality because he is the head of State.

The President should hear our advice as well as the recent request by the Minister for Works, John Pombe Magufuli of having a special metropolitan Ministry to manage the development of Dar es Salaam as well as other major cities in the country.

This is because the current Ministry of local government functioning under the Prime Minister’s office has either failed or overwhelmed by the worsening situation of our major cities especially Dar es Salaam where traffic jam, unplanned human settlements and poor environmental conservation.

The truth is that neither the current city council nor the recent elected ward councilors have the idea on how to save the dying image of Dar es Salaam, a home to about 5 million people and the hub of our economy.

Dar es Salaam needs more than ward councilors or the current mayors. It needs a special ministry or a special commission formed by technocrats, business people and top government planners. Failure to that in next five years, driving, working and living in Dar es Salaam will be walking in the valley of hell.

While it takes a plane three hours to fly from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam, because of traffic jam and dilapidated infrastructure, it takes a resident of Tegeta the same time or more to drive from home to the airport.

Dar es Salaam lacks green face at the time when the world is battling the worse global warming, and therefore specific efforts are needed to plant more trees alongside our key roads as well as in our residential areas.

Dar es Salaam needs to revoke the construction of unplanned skyscrapers in its outskirts because for the past few years it has been a survival of the fittest and no wonder the whole Mbezi Beach has been clouded by hotels. Today, there’s no space left for public recreation as if those tasked are blind or absence in their offices.

But, Mr President you can still save your sitting room, the city of Dar es Salaam. Yes, you can still make it one of your legacies. We know that this is not just a four-year- assignment, but you can still lead the process and others will follow.

Mr President, what we are requesting you today has been successful in Kigali and Nairobi, and we strongly believe that you too can spearhead this move of making Dar es Salaam a cleaner and decongested city.

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