Kishapu — WILLIAMSON Diamonds Ltd of Mwadui (WDL) has been advised to make a follow up on the development grants worth 156m/- that they had issued to neighbouring villages, following claims of embezzlement.
Aggrieved students from villages surrounding the mines of Songwa, Maganzo, Utemini and Idukilo said since the inception of WDL support a few months ago, there has been little progress in the improvement of education services. The students came from primary and community secondary schools of Songwa, Mondo and Mwadui-Lohumbo wards. WDL is in Kishapu District Council (KDC), Shinyanga Region.
"Albeit the fortune of getting the diamond mine grants, the process of making significant changes in poor schools in Kishapu district is very slow compared with the speed WDL has been disbursing the funds at least every month," said the students, suggesting that inspection and audit from KDL and WDL be conducted before further issuance of funds.
Students from Maganzo and Songwa schools claimed that there was no chalk or water supply. They also complained of few classrooms, latrines as well as books, adding that the school did not have a laboratory equipment. They raised these issues at a meeting with reporters and staff from Tanzania Gender Network Programme (TGNP).
The recent expose of multi-billion shilling embezzlement allegations against their council and the poor WDL fund administration Grants from Petra Diamonds Ltd were thorny issues that were discussed in the meeting. Earlier Kishapu District Council Chairman, Justine Sheka told reporters that the WDL support will focus on construction of classrooms, water supply and improvement of facilities in health sector.
He said about 20,000 people, particularly students, women and children in three wards of Songwa, Mwadui, Lohumbo and Mondo will benefit from WDL. The Acting Kishapu District Executive Director, Engineer Lucas Said, told reporters that the district faces a shortage of 1,137 teachers' houses while only 243 houses were available. Many teachers were reluctant to work in the district as a result.
He warned embezzlers would be punished but also emphasized that there has been an acute shortage of facilities in all 114 government schools. More than 623 classrooms and 1,998 latrine as well as 13,772 desks are needed. He said that the money from WDL was a relief to the district.
Meanwhile, primary school pupils told reporters that they had no toilets and the only place to relieve themselves was in the bush.
Responding, the headteacher of Songwa Primary School, Mr Obadia Kitali agreed that it was true, the children were exposed to danger but added that another toilet block was in the final stages of construction.