Magufuli: No state handouts, just work hard

01Aug 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Magufuli: No state handouts, just work hard

President John Magufuli yesterday challenged Lake Zone residents to work hard and improve their well-being for themselves, saying his government will not dish out food relief and other state-funded goody goodies.

Addressing a public rally at Mwakata village in Kahama district during his ongoing tour of the zone, the head of state told multitudes of wananchi who turned up that they shouldn’t expect government help if hunger happens to hit the region, since they can avert the situation by producing enough food now.

He also dashed the hopes of hundreds of locals that the government will build modern houses for them after heavy rainfall destroyed many of their homes in March last year.

The rains claimed 47 lives and injured 112 people, leaving more than 900 locals without shelter. The villagers - apparently relying on a promise of new, government-built homes reportedly made by ex-president Jakaya Kikwete – have been waiting with infinite patience since then.

They were evidently happy to see President Magufuli, in the expectation that he would formally announce when the construction of the new homes will begin. But what they heard from the current president was exactly the opposite. And he didn’t mince any words in telling them as it is.

“I don’t want to lie to you; my government will not build houses for you. Our duty as a government is to provide you with important infrastructure like railways and social services such as water,” he said.

He told them that building houses for the wananchi is not a government duty, and admonished locals who were waiting for such a thing to be done for them as being guilty of not thinking properly because putting a roof over their own heads was their own duty.

“…The promise made by (ex-president) Kikwete can’t be implemented. Your children sit on the floor in school…instead of doing something about it, you wait for the whole year hoping that the government will build houses for you. I am not ready to do that,” Magufuli stated.

Later in the day, in Geita region, the president issued a three-week ultimatum to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) to jointly conduct an assessment of the hazards posed by remnants of soil disposed by big mining companies so that if there is no harm, wananchi can be allowed to scavenge on the piles of waste, popularly known as Magwangala.

He said he had received complaints that the mining firms were prohibiting locals from such scavenging activities for fear of the possible health hazards.

According to a statement released by State House yesterday, Magufuli also directed the Tanzania Cotton Board to shift its base from Dar es Salaam to the Lake Zone where the cash crop is primarily produced.

“The president has put on notice the board’s executives and staff who engage in supplying cotton seeds that do not geminate. If this happens again, stern measures will be taken against the liable staff,” the Ikulu statement said.