Unguja. Zanzibar’s president, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, yesterday faulted opposition party ACT-Wazalendo’s claims regarding the awarding of tenders for various projects without an open bidding process.
ACT-Wazalendo leaders have said the government awarded contractors tenders for the renovation of Amani Stadium, management of the Malindi Port, and some other projects in contravention of the Procurement Act of 2016.
Speaking at a rally on Sunday, Ismail Jussa, a member of the Central Committee of ACT Wazalendo, said the awarding of tenders was dubious and suspicious.
“The renovation of the Amani Stadium is set to improve its current seating capacity from 12,000 to 15,000, but at what cost?” he questioned. Mr Jussa also questioned the basis of the privatisation of the management of Malindi Port operations and the procedure used to reach the decision.
But Dr Mwinyi told journalists upon his return from his visit to Qatar yesterday that those who were criticising the procurement procedures were envious because his government has implemented development projects in record time, pre-empting detractors’ anti-government agenda.
Dr Mwinyi also took a dig at those who claim that CCM has never won a free and fair election on the island, reasserting that the 2020 polls were the most transparent within CCM.
Dr Mwinyi had gone to Qatar to represent President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Investment Expo.
In his response to questions from journalists at a state house press briefing, President Mwinyi said the procurement act gives room for single-source and restricted tendering as long as conditions were met.
“We wanted to reconstruct the Amani Stadium in time for the 60th anniversary of the revolution on January 12. If we had opted for an open tender, it would have taken us a very long time for the successful bidder to start work and deliver the project on time.
This is why we settled on Orkun and CRJE because they were already here and have the capability of delivering in the required period,” said Dr Mwinyi.
He added: There was no law that was broken, and the guys are already at work, ready to deliver a FIFA Standard stadium that can host such games now that Tanzania is bidding to host the 2027 AFCON tournament.
Regarding the Malindi Port, he said that it was the heartbeat of Zanzibar’s economy, and it had reached a point where ships had to spend up to two months waiting to offload cargo because the port operations were manual in this era of automation. The inefficient port operations affected the economy, he noted.
“The slow process at the port of Malindi was hurting businesses in Zanzibar, so we had to act,” he said.
As a result, the Ministry of Works, Communication, and Transport signed a five-year contract with a French company, Africa Global Logistics Group, which is a subsidiary of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, to manage the port.
“You can’t have a port where you’re not sure when your cargo will be offloaded; that’s why we said we had to look for a competent company to run the port on a special contract,” he said.
He said that apart from the MSC subsidiary, which was eventually awarded the tender, several other companies had expressed interest, and the negotiations were held by the government negotiation team.
According to President Mwinyi, under the outgoing arrangements, Zanzibar only earned 16 percent of the total revenue, whereas under the new arrangement with the MSC subsidiary, the government will pocket 30 percent of the total earnings.
“We also decided to cut the berthing time from the current seven days to two days because some ships were starting to avoid docking at our port due to the delays,” he noted.
Regarding the key figures named in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Dr Mwinyi said steps were being taken and that there were various ways of dealing with such misuse of public funds and abuse of office.
Speaking about a statement he made recently over allocating jobs to CCM youth, President Mwinyi said he meant jobs within the party because government jobs have their own procedures.
In the Sunday rally, Mr Jussa said that the Procurement Act of 2016 only allows single-source and restricted bidding in times of emergence and not otherwise