Yesterday, this paper ran a story on the controversial Sh369 million subvention from the government, which was supposed to be deposited in the CUF account, but for some unclear reasons, it ended up in Prof Ibrahim Lipumba’s faction bank account. On the face of it, the manner of deposit, withdrawals and transfer of the funds reeks of procedural illegality.
According to CUF Supreme Governing Council chairman Julius Mtatiro, Political Parties Registrar Francis Mutungi’s letter dated October 10 last year, addressed to both the embattled CUF national chairman, Prof Lipumba, and the party’s secretary-general Seif Sharrif Hamad, says the money cannot be released to the opposition party until a solution to the leadership problem is found.
Yet, what we know is that the intra-party rift hasn’t been healed and this is evidenced by the existence of a court case.
Now why did the Registrar, who is supposed to be independent and impartial in political issues and knowledgeable about the laws of the land and good governance principles, allow this to happen if no ulterior motive is harboured? Why does he allow himself to appear like he is taking sides? Since the fifth phase government is cracking down on abuse of office as well as economic and organised crime, senior public officials should set good example to those below them and members of the public in general. It is shocking that Judge Mutungi is playing games using tax payers money that he is supposed to safeguard in the first place.
But what we see the Political Parties Registrar doing in the matter of CUF funding sets a bad precedent. What he is doing culminates in fuelling unnecessary political impasse, while he should be striving to bring the CUF factions together so that they end their conflict and serve the public as would be expected. The government must take responsibility in this matter and indeed, people must be told what is going on.
CONNECT GAS TO FACTORIES
Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) is planning to supply four factories with the natural gas to increase energy efficiency. The factories are Coca-Cola in Dar es Salaam, Bakhresa and Goodwill Ceramic both in Mkuranga; and the Mtwara-based Dangote Cement.
TPDC is waiting for the gas indicative prices from the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) before it can link the four plants with the natural gas pipeline which has been laid from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam.
TPDC needs to speed up the connection because there are a lot of industries which need natural gas especially at this time when the government is geared to implement industrialisation.
The State-owned company has been pledging it would be connecting factories and other institutions with the natural gas since 2014, but the pace to that effect has been rather too slow. Since that year, only 39 institutions have been connected, according to a top official of the corporation.
Use of natural gas in factories is important, not only for ensuring reliable supply of energy, but also for reducing the cost of production since natural gas is much cheaper than hydro-electricity.
With reliable and cheaper energy, we expect, not only to improve the cost of doing business, for that will also mean availing the market with low-cost products.