Dr Bashir Ally, a political science lecturer at UDSM, told this paper yesterday that Dar es Salaam is chaotic and lacks the ambiance for a commercial capital or government seat and it is time for a makeover.
“It’s strategically a significant move for Dar es Salaam to redefine its status as the country’s commercial capital. Although relocating the capital to Dodoma might not reduce the number of people migrating to Dar es Salaam, it would create new opportunities for youngsters from across the country,” Dr Ally said.
He explained that as a government seat, Dodoma is poised for a construction boom which is likely to bolster investment thus creating jobs.
“We anticipate that the economy would get a boost through well established and developed infrastructure such as roads, rail and air connecting the central corridor to various parts of the country,” he noted.
A major highway connects Dodoma with Dar es Salaam via Morogoro Region in the east. To the west, there are roads to Mwanza and Kigoma going through Tabora.
The Great North Road links the city with Arusha to the north, via Kondoa and Southern Highlands regions of Mbeya, Ruvuma and Njombe and Iringa via Mtera.
The city is also served by the central railway line which connects it over a distance of 465 kilometres with Dar es Salaam in the east. Dodoma airport is limited to small aircraft but is being upgraded for medium commercial planes as well.
There are plans to build a new airport outside the city with increased runway length and weight-bearing capacity.
Dr Ally also said the relocation would certainly help to regulate various real estate markets in Dar es Salaam as rent charges would be expected to go down in response to government and its department’s move to Dodoma.
Although there might be long term effects over moving to Dodoma on various spending as it may bring an economic shock, Dr Ally says the decision would never be regrettable.
Beatus Silla, a Dar es Salaam-based economist, said most of the challenges facing the relocation to Dodoma could be termed as social costs as opposed to economic costs. He said the nation would not regret moving to Dodoma owing to a string of economic benefits associated to it.
“As government headquarters it would attract huge surge investment speculations attracting financial institutions, real estate developers, hospitality industry, manufacturing industry as well as shopping varieties,” he noted, adding that such development would be a platform for massive employment.
He explained that apart from other qualities fitted to the capital, its landscape is friendly to affordable construction industry and its accessibility from any part of the country is significantly made easy.
“Unlike Dar es Salaam, Dodoma would attract less traffic jams owing to its accessible routes to different parts of the country with linking trunk roads,” he said.
He acknowledged that social costs facing people over relocation to Dodoma would ease gradually, describing the current situation as fear of the unknown.
“Reluctant minds would be accommodated as we move on. Some simply fear that they won’t enjoy specious executive offices they used to have in Dar es Salaam, others are thinking of residential houses as opposed to their own modest houses they have built in Dar es Salaam but those are what we call social costs which can be managed easily,” he noted.
Dodoma was founded in 1907 by German colonialists during construction of the Tanzanian central railway. In 1973, the Tanzanian government announced that the capital would be moved from Dar es Salaam to a more central location to better serve the needs of the people.
Dodoma was selected for this purpose, as it was an already established town at a major crossroads with an agreeable climate, impressive landscape, and room for development.
American architect James Rossant developed a master plan for the new capital in 1986, sponsored by the United Nations. Tanzania's National Assembly moved there in February 1996, but many government offices remained in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital.
Born in 1928, Rossant was an American architect, artist, and professor of architecture. A long-time Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, he is also best known for his master plan of Reston, Virginia, the Lower Manhattan Plan.
He was a partner of the architectural firm Conklin & Rossant and principal of James Rossant Architects. He died at 81 from complications of leukemia in 2009 near Condeau in Normandy, France.