Several big names swept aside in latest changes

Tuesday April 06 2021
PS PIC
By Alex Nelson Malanga

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Sunday night announced sweeping changes in the top public offices structure, dropping five heads of public institutions and three permanent secretaries, replacing them with new faces.

Officials whose appointments were revoked include the director generals of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Mr Deusdedit Kakoko; the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Mr James Kilaba, and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mr William Erio.

The list of those who lost their positions also includes the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) commissioner General, Dr Edwin Mhede, and Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (Tasac) director general Emmanuel Ndomba.

Permanent Secretaries who were dropped are those of the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Joseph Nyamhanga, the Health ministry, Prof Mabula Mchembe, and ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Aloyce Nzuki.

The dropping of TPA’s Kakoko - who is replaced by Mr Erick Hamis - comes just a week since President Hassan suspended him over alleged embezzlement of Sh3.6 billion.

The decision to suspend the ex-TPA boss who served in the post since June 2016 was made after the country’s new Head of State received a report compiled by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) for the 2019/2020 financial year.

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He was appointed by the-then Works, Transport and Communication minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, to replace Mr Ephraim Mgawe, whose appointment was revoked.

One day after Mr Kakoko - the ex- Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroad) projects manager - was suspended, he was arrested by the PCCB in Morogoro Region in what has been said to be an attempt to flee the country.

TCRA’s Kilaba - who was appointed by the late President John Magufuli as the TCRA boss in 2016 - is replaced by Mr Jabir Kuwe. Revoking his appointment came just two days after the government suspended telecommunication firms’ new high prices for data bundles which had raised a public uproar. Mr Kilaba has been working in the communications sector for more than 23 years.

During that period, he pioneered several ICT development projects - and was an active participant in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Standardization and Development activities.

For his part, Mr Erio - who was yesterday removed from the position of NSSF director general - is not a new name in the social security funds sub-sector.

His journey there started in 2002 when he served as the PPF Pension Fund director general.

He served the position until 2018 when the late President Magufuli appointed him as the NSSF director general, replacing Dr Godius Kahyarara whose appointment was revoked.

This time round, however, Dr Kahyarara was appointed by President Hassan as the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (Investment), a move which observers say cou bring positive changes to the national economy.

In anotherdramatic development TRA’s Mhede was dropped and replaced by Alphayo Kidata.

Dr Mhede was appointed to head TRA in June 2019, replacing Mr Charles Kichere, who is currently the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).

The dropping of Dr Mhede comes just three days after the Head of State directed the TRA chief to stop harassing businesses by milking them dry and instead look for new ways to expand the tax base and boost revenue collections.

The appointment of the new TRA chief can be described as a rise, fall and rise in his career.

In December 2016 President Magufuli appointed Mr Kidata as the TRA Commissioner General. But that appointment was revoked in March 2017, and he was appointed Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Canada (and Cuba).

It did not take long before ex-President Magufuli sacked, recalled and revoked his diplomatic status with effect from Monday, November 5, 2018.

About the appointment of Mr Kidata and Dr Kahyarara, Dr Frank Tily from the University of Dar es Salaam’s Political Science Department said the President might have recognised their potential for the development of the nation.

“She has realised that sidelining them is a waste of important human resources,” said Dr Tily.

For his part, Mr Ndomba - who was appointed Tasac Director General in April 2019 - is replaced by Mr Kaimu Mkeyenge.

Revoking his appointment came just a month after the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (Taffa) President, Edward Urio, cried foul over Tasac, saying it was adding operational costs to importers due to delays in berthing time and vessels demurrage charges.

But, Mr Ndomba dismissed the claims, saying: “If all the documents are there, and procedures followed, it takes less than 24 hours to issue a delivery order to an importer.”