Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli may have hinted yesterday why he sacked Dr Mwigulu Nchemba as Home Affairs minister, citing a list of things he said was frustrating.
Dr Magufuli said he was dissatisfied with the performance of the top leadership of the ministry which he blamed for not acting to resolve some of the problems he had listed.
The President appeared to blame Dr Nchemba (whom he did not mention by name) for inaction on reported corruption, embezzlement of public funds, frequent fatal road accidents and general malaise affecting the sensitive cabinet docket.
“Many of these things have remained unresolved…yet the person in charge is busy elsewhere,” said Dr Magufuli yesterday during the swearing in of new members of the cabinet and other senior state officials named in the weekend reshuffle.
During the function at the State House in Dar es Salaam, the President also opened up on the recent cashew nuts saga in Parliament, revealing the intrigues behind the push to have MPs approve the budget and an amendment of the Finance Bill to give government unfettered access to billions of shillings in cashew nuts export levy formerly belonging to farmers. The President said he dispatched CCM Secretary General Bashiru Ally to Dodoma during the final budget session to “take a rollcall” of the ruling party MPs and see who abstained from the vote.
He also said he called the Prime Minister in the thick of the night to warn him of the consequence of MPs not approving the amendment of the Cashew Nut Act, following spirited efforts of CCM legislators from Cashew Nut growing regions to block the amendment.
On Sunday, Dr Magufuli appointed Mr Kangi Lugola to replace Dr Nchemba in the reshuffle that saw Mr Isack Kamwelwe of the ministry of Water and Irrigation switch places with Prof Makame Mbarawa of the ministry of Works, Transport and Communication.
Dr Magufuli said the Home Affairs ministry was one of the worse performing. He listed the controversial Sh37 billion forensic contract between Lugumi Enterprises and the Police Force, the contract with Ashok Leyland in 2013 for supply of 777 vehicles worth $29.6 million among the issues that concerned him.
Others were slow investigations into the scandals around the Sh176 billion national identification project, supply of police uniforms, issuance of work permits, frequent road accidents and crackdown on bogus NGOs. “I am tired of sending condolences every now and then while the one in charge is busy elsewhere,” he said, directing the new minister to immediately take charge and act accordingly.
The Citizen learnt that the police were planning a sweeping reshuffle of traffic command around the country. He said the workers’ welfare must also be given priority.
On the Cashew Nut saga, Dr Magufuli said the government was ready to forego support of the 17 CCM lawmakers from Mtwara and Lindi regions for opposing the amendment. “We would still have the quorum in the House,” he said, revealing that he told Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa that he would “also be gone.” The PM hails from Lindi but supported the government’s amendment amid pressure from local MPs.
Scores of other new appointees also took oath during the function and included new chairman of the national electoral commission.