Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli yesterday warned leaders of opposition parties to mend their ways if they are to avoid going to jail.
Already, a number of opposition politicians have appeared in court over the last few years charged with, among other offences, sedition, unlawful assembly and incitement.
Speaking at the ceremony to inaugurate the $41 million (Sh90 billion) state-of-the-art library at the University of Dar es Salaam, President Magufuli urged opposition leaders to emulate Mr Edward Lowassa, a former prime minister and 2015 presidential candidate on the Chadema ticket, for maintaining a composed disposition despite losing to him (Mr Magufuli) in the last general election.
Mr Lowassa had defected from the ruling CCM to the opposition and ran for presidency against his old party.
“I commend you (Lowassa). This is the kind of Tanzania we want to build. Political parties should not be vehicles for dividing us but rather catalysts for development.
“I’m saying this with all due respect so that you (Lowassa) can go and counsel those who are under you or else they are going to end up in prison,” Dr Magufuli warned.
He also said that the government would continue to seek support from the Chinese government in financing development projects, arguing that the Asian economic powerhouse had friendly terms in loans and grants compared to other development partners.
President Magufuli said the financial support that China has been extending to Tanzania over the years has boosted socioeconomic transformation.
He said that for a long time China had been providing loans and grants on terms that were favourable to Tanzania, and described the support as proof of true partnership between the two countries.
“I would like to thank the government of China for extending to us a grant of over Sh90 billion for the construction of the library that we are inaugurating today,” he said.
Speaking earlier, UDSM vice chancellor William Anangisye said the construction of the library, which covers a total of 20,000 square metres, started in December 2015.
The facility can accommodate 2,100 students at a go, with other services including a conference room capable of accommodating 600 people and 160 internet-connected computers.
According to Prof Anangisye, some Sh1.78 billion was set aside for purchasing books for the library in the 2017/18 financial year. During the current financial year, some Sh1.1 billion has been set aside for the same purpose.
President Magufuli directed the university’s administration to ensure that the library, with a storage capacity of 800,000 books, is filled with materials that will not only benefit UDSM students, but also those from other universities.
“This library should be a source of knowledge and eventually a catalyst for improvement of the quality of education,” said the Head of State.
The Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Wang Ke, said the library should act as a catalyst for the production of skilled and innovative Tanzanians.
“This is the largest and most modern library China has built in Africa. I believe that students and other stakeholders will use knowledge gained from this library to spur the industrialisation drive,” she said.