opinionBy Judicate Shoo
HEAVILY loaded trucks with all sorts of merchandise that are indiscriminately seen moving day and night on various roads and streets allover Dar es Salaam's three Municipal Councils, are contributory factor to the defeat of the good intention of the government in clearing the roads of the ever mounting traffic jam in the City.
All is not fine as nearly all major roads are almost impassable because of awful and consistently jamming. Likewise, the alternative routes too are full of pot-holes-- almost the size of canyons--caused to a greater extent, by the very same heavily loaded trucks, forcing nearly the entire traffic to use the only available pathway.
Some of the notorious spots for traffic jam include the whole of Morogoro Road mainly from Ubungo to Shekilango and Ubungo to Kimara stretch. And the Magomeni to the city centre portion of the same passageway. Likewise, the Mwenge to city centre on the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road and the Kawe to Ali Hassan Mwinyi on the Old Bagamoyo Road are other areas of vehicle congestion.
Also in the list are Nyerere, Mandela, Kawawa, Chang'ombe and Bibi Titi roads, just to mention but a few. And some streets including Uhuru, Msimbazi, Sokoine Drive, Samora, and the entire Kariakoo area are also notorious for traffic jams. Economic reports have it that congestion scenario is estimated to cause a loss of more than 4bn/- daily in terms of lost man-hours, and this is on the rise as days go by, while damages on the roads and streets that are not built to put up with the kind of heavy trucks, although not yet estimated, will nevertheless be, not short of more than twelve digits.
The jamming scenario in some of the roads, is due to heavy traffic, while in others is contributed mainly by a mixtures of the trucks, non-motorised gadgets, motorcycles and tricycles. The muddle is commonly found on the Ubungo - Magomeni stretch (notorious after Mabibo intersection and Manzese) of the Morogoro Road, and some parts of Kilwa Road.
Others are Kawawa, Chang'ombe and the Nyerere road from the Chang'ombe junction to TAZARA intersection, Uhuru Road from Buguruni traffic lights all the way to the intersection of Nkrumah Street, and the Ubungo -Maziwa to Kigogo round-about on the on-going construction of this up-graded road.
Streets that are suffering the consequences of the merciless truck drivers are Shekilango, Mabibo, Mikumi, Makuti, Tandale and Temeke, to mention but a few and this mischief is apparently being manifested in almost all over the City. One wonders why this mess happens as if the country does not have road supervisors?
However, two pseudo-public bodies responsible for day to day building and regulatory of road transportation are headquartered in the City, where all the shenanigans are openly manifesting. These are the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), under the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) under the Ministry of Works.
With the duo institutions now under the two re-known down-to-earth nationalists and no-nonsense Ministers Dr Harison Mwakyembe and Dr John Pombe Magufuli, for the two Ministries respectfully, who prior to the recent cabinet reshuffle, used to work under the Works Ministry, will no doubt give most Dar es Salaam roads jam victims a sigh of relief by invigorating their respective institutions so that they can work closer to ensure the ensuing mess on the City roads is solved once and for all.
In that case, the duo leaders will be expected to order the relevant authorities to issue mandatory instructions forcing all trucks to fully use the passageways categorized for their movements in the City, that being the Sam Nujoma and the Nyerere roads for the industrial area purposes, and the Mandela from the Morogoro Road junction, all the way long to and from the Dar es Salaam Port.
That means no trucks will be expected to continue to contribute to the road congestions, causing pot-holes and humps on any other roads and streets in the City. And this is not going to be the new order as when construction of the Mandela Road was completed sometimes between the 70s and 80s, no trucks were seen crisscrossing nearly everywhere in the City as is the case today.
But the menace has excessively increased perhaps because the public figures were allowed to own properties in the early 90s after abandoning the socialist guidelines of governing in the administration of President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, but things worsened during President Benjamin Mkapa's tenure of 1995 to 2005. And when President Kikwete took-over, things were already almost uncontrollable, hence the on-going quagmire.
If the impending exercise is a success, no question some tarmacked roads such as the Ubungo - Maziwa to Kigogo - Kawawa Road, now under construction, yet overwhelmed by the movement of the heavy trucks,will be saved from further damages. The trucks apart, some motorized and non-motorized gadgets that devastate the already jammed roads are some of overlooked issues when brain-storming the best ways of readying the city roads off the all-time congestion.
And their movements can easily be monitored and controlled by the respective municipalities in conjunction with SUMATRA and the Police Traffic Unit. These include the multitudes of unlicensed Hice popularly known as vipanya mini-buses that were abolished from city road services as commuter buses, but now have come in full swing operating on pirate status while others that have obtained licenses from the neighbouring region for long safari buses are vividly encroaching some City routes.
This violation of laws is popular on Morogoro, Old-Bagamoyo, and Kilwa roads among others. Some of the buses though, are said to be owned by some police and other high ranking officers. And there are those that are bold enough and operate openly before the eyes of the traffic police without any licences. These are popular on routes like the Mabibo-Kigogo and Mburahati-Kigogo roundabout, Magomeni-Makuti to Sinza, Manzese-Sinza-Mwenge and elsewhere in the city.
Some drivers of these buses claim to be raising between 2,000/- and 3,000/- each day to bribe the traffic police on duty. And the most disturbing roads/streets hindrances are the two-wheel push-carts of various sizes, followed by the heavy-duty three-wheel cycled implements also known as gutas and the icecream selling three-wheel cycles and many others like eggs-selling bicyclers together with the newly introduced on the roads the three wheel motor-cycles and the passenger motor-bicycles also known as bajaj and bodaboda.
However, for the trucks that cause road congestion, SUMATRA is expected to impose as soon as possible stiff regulation that is common to all cities in the world. That is to pronounce entrance and exit time that will be mandatory to all trucks with say, a minimum capacity of five tonnes.
At the moment traffic police at Mbezi on Morogoro Road stop entrance to the city all lorries at Kibanda cha Mkaa area in Kimara-kwa-Msuguri area on Morogoro Road from 6 a.m. up to 9 a.m. to lessen the traffic congestion during morning peak-hours on the Morogoro-Dar es Salaam road.
But things are worse in the evening peak-hours since no regulation is in force on any trucks out of Dar es Salaam roads, hence it is every driver's chance and the huge-slow movers dominate the fray. They come from all directions with their chameleon-pace when negotiating the Ubungo 56533 Dar roads jam needs immediate solution escarpment on the Morogoro Road, blockading the entire smooth traffic movement, thereby allowing passage to just a handful of motor-vehicles resulting to intolerable traffic jamming that takes some commuters hours to get back home.
This scenario, although it does not portray any tangible loss to the nation, but the workforce is disturbed whose result could be felt in the latter days of service. And this calls for immediate action by SUMATRA and the Traffic Police Unit to work together to ensure that all incoming trucks to Dar es Salaam are not permitted between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and the outgoing ones should not be allowed out of the city between 4p.m. and 10p.m.
Since there is no shortage of any kinds of small vans for transportation of small, medium and large merchandises, the local authorities should work together with SUMATRA and the police to restrict movement on the roads of all sorts of push carts, motorized and cycled gutas, eggs-cyclers and motor-tricycles, bodaboda and the like from all-over the City.
The gadgets would have been profitable if the country was denied importation of all sorts of pick-up vans, but roads and streets are self-telling of the whereabouts of these facilities, and many more found in all sorts of motor-vehicle
show-rooms across the City. When planning for development, though, one should ponder about which service was more promising, between the motorized or the push carts services. The choice is in one's hand.
The Ilala Municipality once resolved to control the movement of the above mentioned devices but before implementation, the move was stopped by the then regional administration, however, the resolve should be revived,with the support of traffic police, and the rest of the councils should follow but for the betterment of the city and all its residents.