What awaits Makonda as new Arusha regional commissioner

Makonda pic

CCM ideology and publicity secretary Paul Makonda rides a camel as he waves to Geita residents during his tour of the district on November 13, 2023. Mr Makonda was on Sunday March 31, 2024 appointed Arusha regional commissioner.  PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Newly appointed Arusha regional commissioner Paul Makonda has his plate full of tasks to perform, residents say, urging him to change his leadership style and cultivate a culture of inclusivity

Arusha/Dar es Salaam. Newly appointed Arusha regional commissioner Paul Makonda has his plate full of tasks to perform, residents say, urging him to change his leadership style and cultivate a culture of inclusivity.

Those who spoke to The Citizen on Sunday said Mr Makonda will have to listen more before making any crucial decision.

“Yes, I knew him when he was the RC for Dar es Salaam. May be we need somebody like him here,” said Mr Allen Mmbaga, a resident of Arusha when reached on the phone.

He said he expects the new RC to address burning issues facing the residents of the city such as piling filth and garbage in the market places.

“In Dar es Salaam, he was tough on such issues. He did not brook nonsense nor did he entertain lame excuses from the city officials,” he told The Citizen.

However, he advised the new RC for the country’s safari capital and opposition stronghold to tread carefully in his administration style upon assuming duties.

“We would like to see him act tough on poor performance by public officials. But he should avoid being “too hard” on the dedicated officials,” he said.

Mr Mmbaga, who operates a tour firm, said instead of focusing on political wrangles, the new RC should turn his energies to improve the socio-economic services.

“Arusha is sometimes in a mess. Traffic jams have become too common. There is no order on the roads and the commuter buses are stopping anywhere,” he stated.

On the tourism sector, he suggested that Mr Makonda should emulate the former RC Mrisho Gambo (2016-2020) who was passionate about the hospitality sector.

Challenges facing the tourism sector include a host of taxes and levies which, according to him, have negatively impacted on the locally-owned companies.

Mr Mmbaga said with Arusha still perceived as a stronghold for the opposition, Mr Makonda should tread carefully “by listening to both sides of the political divide”.

Dr Sifueli Mafie, a medical practitioner, appealed to the new RC to ensure successful completion of landmark development projects in the region.

“I know Makonda as a hard worker regardless of his working style. I also know that some people had not been impressed by his modus operandi,” he told The Citizen.

However, he said he expected him to ensure projects such as the construction of a new bus terminal and key roads in the city are successfully completed.

Improvement of roads should extend to the national parks and other remote tourist attractions as some were in “pathetic conditions,” he pointed out.

Dr Firmin Nguma, who heads a lobby called The Arusha We Want, said he has a simple message to the new regional boss; change Arusha to a modern and prosperous city.

Robert Kamakia, an activist working for a pastoralist NGO, urged the new RC to cultivate dialogue with the livestock keeping communities, especially in Ngorongoro.

He said there had been “a lot of propaganda” on matters pertaining to traditional livestock keeping in Ngorongoro and Loliondo areas and that views of nomadic pastoralists should not be ignored.

He called on the RC’s office to initiate a meeting between the conservation agencies operating in the Arusha region and the livestock keepers for the benefit of both sides.

Roman Chuwa, the director of Equatorial Safaris, said upgrading of some roads in Arusha should be among the priorities of the incoming RC who until his appointment on Sunday was the CCM secretary for Ideology, Propaganda and Training.

Mr Makonda is the third RC to serve in the Arusha region since President Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed the presidency in March 2021 following the death of John Pombe Magufuli.

His predecessors were Iddi Kimanta ( 2020-2021) and John Mongela, the first RC to be appointed to serve the Arusha region by President Hassan shortly after taking over the highest office in land in 202.

Mr Makonda, whose leadership style when he was Dar RC from 2016 to 2020 put him at loggerheads with a number of other leaders, becomes the new RC for Arusha, replacing Mr John Mongella who will be assigned other duties, the State House announced at midnight on Sunday, March 31, 2024.

The leadership style of Mr Makonda, who was appointed the CCM ideology and publicity secretary in October, 2023, has attracted debates in various circles.

His interventions in some government affairs has sparked debate on the legitimacy of his mandate.

During some of his trips as CCM ideology and publicity secretary, Mr Makonda could publicly interrogate government officials, including Regional Police Commanders and other presidential appointees such as RCs and District Commissioners about reported issues raised by citizens.

Opinion has always been divided over his style of direct involvement in problem-solving including compensating individuals facing various challenges while simultaneously castigating government officials at district and regional level.

For instance, in Bukoba, he announced to hand over Sh15 million to a woman who complained to have been mistreated by government officials there while in some of his trips, a young man who complained to have been abused by a district director was given Sh2 million.