Wednesday, August 9, 2017


On Monday, The Citizen ran a story exposing what should be a matter of grave concern as far as good governance and the war against corruption are concerned. The report revealed happenings in the Vice President’s Office, specifically within the environment docket, that are worrying, to say the least.

According to the report, Union Affairs and Environment minister January Makamba has had his major plan to overhaul the National Environment Management Commission (Nemc) scuttled. It is not clear by who and why.

The gist of the matter is that in order to speed up service delivery and hold officials at Nemc accountable, Mr Makamba dissolved the board and removed four top directors from the agency. The four were meant to be re-deployed elsewhere.

But before the ink had dried, the board members and directors were back in office. Their removal by the minister was reportedly reversed “by higher authorities”. We have no qualms about why these officials are in office. Our main concern here is the manner in which they have found their way back.

Apparently, Mr Makamba, who is the minister to whom they report, was left in the dark. The questions that need urgent answers are: is Mr Makamba powerless? Is he in control of his own docket? How will the minister work with people he has lost faith in? How is he expected to hold them accountable?

It is only fair to say that the public needs answers to all these questions. After all, Mr Makamba publicly announced the removal of the officers and explained why he was taking the measures.

If answers are not forthcoming, the government will have opened the door to speculation. Conspiracy theorists will have a field day filling the gaps, and this will not be very helpful.

The Vice President, to whom Mr Makamba reports, owes Tanzanians an explanation to restore public confidence in Nemc and confirm that the minister is indeed still in charge.


education IS A RIGHT FOR ALL

The importance of education cannot be overemphasised. Educating an individual is not only important to that person, but to the whole society as well.

It is because of education we had people like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Education transforms potential into reality. This is why no one should be discriminated against in accessing education.

Statistics for 2016/17 from the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) and other institutions show that some people are denied education due to lack of money.

For example, seven people out of 10 who applied for higher education loans in the 2016/17 academic year missed out for lack of funds.

The number of HESLB beneficiaries at University of Dodoma dropped to 16,758 in 2016/2017 academic year from 23,786 the previous year.

There were 1,105 students who postponed studies at the University of Dar es Salaam in the 2016/17 academic year due to financial reasons, while 1,082 at the University of Dodoma did the same.

To enable all to have access to the loans facility, the government must now align financial institutions and together work out a mechanism that will help students secure loans from these organisations.

In this way, no one will be discriminated against in accessing loans for education. After all, these are loans that must be repaid at some point in the future. With the right environment, financial institutions would be too happy to step in and offer the money.