The rise, fall and rise again of former TPA boss Eric Hamissi

Wednesday August 10 2022
Eric pic

Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL), director Mr Eric Hamiss speaking during the past event. PHOTO | FILE

By Jacob Mosenda

Dar es Salaam. The name Eric Hamissi should not be unfamiliar to anyone who follows development issues, especially in the marine transport sector in Tanzania.
His excellence speaks volumes that is why many were left with unanswered questions following the sadden sacking of Mr Hamissi four months after he was appointed Director General of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).
However, the queries seemed to lean on the manager’s performance portfolio in the position he held before the new appointment.
In her first month as President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan began to form her line up of permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretaries at various ministries as well as heads of government institutions.
In the new list, the name Eric Hamissi could be singled out and was entrusted with the mandate to strengthen and make the TPA to make Tanzania’s ports, especially the Dar es Salaam one, a commercial refuge, after his predecessors failed to do so.
Mr Hamissi was appointed to become the Director General for the ports authority just almost a week after the President suspended the former director general.
The tasks that awaited the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL), are also believed to be some of the reasons the latter was dropped.
The President has been on the neck of those working at the authority as she severally expressed her dissatisfaction with the Dar es Salaam port’s operations and supervision. She once said the port of Dar es Salaam had a great potential to connect African countries with their Asian counterparts that have fast-growing economies compared to others.
She also noted that the country’s economic efforts should be directed at the port.
“This means those entrusted with port supervision should now work with utmost speed. I’m not satisfied with the current pace and political interference,” she added.
Without further ado, experts believe that it was why the manager was dropped by President Hassan as she continued to try to find her perfect bet for the port, thus appointing Mr Plasduce Mkeli Mbossa who served as TPA deputy director-general as new TPA boss.
Little did most people know that his sacking never undermined his profile and the mark he left at the MSCL, until he was reinstated a few days after his dismissal.
When Mr Hamissi was appointed to lead the port authority, many development stakeholders had no doubts about President Hassan’s move due to the great records he accumulated while at MSCL.
It was during his leadership that the government through its marine firm, MSCL injected Sh152 billion to revive three vessels and financing the construction of a slipway at Mwanza South Port in Mwanza Region.
This is the project that led to the construction of a mega ship (Mwanza-Hapa Kazi Tu), New Butiama- Hapa Kazi Tu along with the general improvement of the lake zone’s harbour. The fifth phase President, Dr John Magufuli, praised him for his excellent performance in 2019.
That performance is what experts believe made President Hassan to be sure that the right person to lead the journey of Dar es Salaam port to become a business attraction is none other than Mr Hamissi.
However, they consider the President’s bet did not go as she expected due to the situation that the port was in.
“I was shocked after seeing that within a few months Mr Hamissi was dropped as TPA boss, in fact, the current state of the port needed someone’s time to solve the challenges and I think he was not given enough time,” says Dr Yunus Maziku, an expert on development issues and a resident of Dar es Salaam said yesterday.
“But we must understand that the President cares about a person’s ability. It’s like she realised that Mr Hamissi should have not been re-allocated yet he was doing well, that’s why she has brought him back there,” he explained further.
For his part, a PhD student with experience in matters of marine sciences from the State University of Zanzibar, Abdul Ahmed Salehe, said that removing a person from one place does not mean that he cannot do well in another place.
“The President has shown to value the ability and creativity that Mr Hamissi had, whom I know well from when he was in the banking sector. I believe he will continue the good things he left at MSCL,” he said.