Friday, July 17, 2015

Employment creation in agriculture cause for joy

‘A new broom sweeps clean’ is an adage that could apply to CCM’s newly-elected presidential nominee, Dr John Pombe Magufuli.

In his first public address on Tuesday at the Mbagala Zakheem grounds in Temeke, Dar es Salaam, he proved that the sages who concocted this adage were indeed wise.

For in Dr Magufuli’s to-do list he outlined priority areas that he would deal with if elected to the presidency of this country. He mentioned them as job creation, health, infrastructure, water and human rights.

These are problems that have been with us from the time of independence. At that time the Father of the Nation, the late Mwalimu Julius identified only four enemies for the new nation: Illiteracy, ignorance, disease and poverty.

But over the years a fifth one, clearly the worst, has reared its ugly head on this nation; corruption. This has eluded all solutions, despite the formation of the Warioba Commission during the Mkapa era and the Prevention Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) establishment.

The idea given by Dr Magufuli that he would tackle unemployment through a revolution in agriculture, industry and trade is very feasible.

This country has vast areas of arable land which, if well exploited, would indeed make a revolution in agriculture. Looking back, this country was leading others in the world for producing sisal.

It was also among leading countries in the production of cotton and coffee. This is not to talk about livestock for which Tanzania is second in Africa as far as the number of cattle it has is concerned.

It will be recalled that in the early 1970s Tanzania had several factories that linked with agriculture. They used cotton or leather as their raw materials.

However, these factories collapsed and this was the beginning of the end of the linkage. Their new owners turned them into godowns for storing hardware and other materials or used them in ways completely unrelated to agriculture.
The Fourth Phase made headway in the health sector by building health facilities in several areas. It had plans to build a dispensary within a walking distance of villagers in every ward, a plan which Dr Magufuli would well continue with.

As for infrastructure, for which he was responsible, many roads have been built, some of them to tarmac level. But these are being damaged frequently because of overloaded motor vehicles.

It is plausible that there are restrictions on the weight they carry and culprits are punished. But corruption in this sector is very high and drivers can always get through the dragnet.

The only viable solution would be to put emphasis on the use of the railway system. Attention has to be placed on the use of the Central Line between Dar es Salaam and Kigoma and the Uhuru Railway between Dar es Salaam and Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia. Both need massive rehabilitation.

We hope that Dr Magufuli will also stick to his word on solving the water problems and ensuring that human rights of Tanzanians are not violated in any way. Good luck.