Suffering decades of social and economic neglect, rural-based communities in northern zone regions raised their voices, complaining of unfulfilled promises by politicians.
They said political leaders at all levels do make promises on their campaign trails that they hardly fulfill.
“In election campaigns, politicians have been making promises on a number of issues, but at the end of the day they fail to fulfill them,” said Agnes Stephen, from Migombani village, in Monduli district.
She raised the concern here over the weekend when speaking at a one-day seminar organised by Arusha-based CSO — Hakikazi Catalyst, on “Leadership, Discipline, and Development in Tanzania: We prepare what kind of a nation”. The seminar which attended by over 200 villagers, local government and religious leaders was facilitated by a renowned activist and reformist, Deus Kibamba.
Agnes said unfulfilled promises, keep people in rural areas in abject poverty.
According to her, people living in rural areas, constitute over 70 percent of the country’s population, but they are denied access to improved social services including hospitals and health centres.
"During election campaigns, politicians use people’s poverty as their climbing ladder, and once they win election they leave those problems as they are…this is a serious problem that need to be rectified if we want to address poverty to this important segment of society.”
“When our leaders fall sick, they are taken abroad for treatment…this is unacceptable because we are all equal before the law,” Agnes said, urging leaders to keep their promises and work on people’s demands.
“The problem with Africa leaders is that they make too many promises and sometimes they are unable to fulfill them. Our leaders must begin to be true to their voters” said another participant, Melita Kaine from Longido district.
“If our children don’t get better education, we will remain backward, while others make advances,” said William Nnko, from Arumeru district, adding: “We managed to build secondary schools in our areas, but there are no teaching and learning facilities. This makes our children unable to compete with others who are in English-medium schools, with all facilities.”
He said the way things are happening, it seems that ward community secondary schools are for the poor people as leaders sometimes take their kids abroad. “I am sure if leaders were to take their kids to these schools, they might have improved the teaching and learning environment,” he said.
Charles Isaya also observed that there were too many priorities in the national budget, explaining that it is very difficult to implement the budget with so many priorities.
"I remember in the first-phase government, every year the government used to set few priorities and work on them accordingly. But, today the national budget has 24 priorities…how can these priorities be realised?” he asked. Kibamba asked the public not to disqualify community-based secondary schools, saying: “It is better to have such schools than not having any.”
He said a Form Four leaver from the schools, even if a failure, is far better than those who did not have a secondary school education.
Kibamba coached rural-based communities that better education comes from “good management of a particular school.”