Dodoma — The government will not change ownership of the 12 stadia owned by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), because it has no reasons to do so, the National Assembly was told here on Tuesday.
Deputy Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Amos Makala, said the venues are legally owned by CCM and will remain to be the party's properties.
"The government has no reasons to change ownership of the 12 venues from its current owner CCM and transfer it to the respective councils as advised by the MP," said Makala.
Chadema Special Seats legislator, Lucy Owenya, said the stadia are rightly owned by all Tanzanians because they were fully involved in construction process at the time of one party system.
Ms Owenya advised the government to change ownership of the stadia and give the councils full authority to own them. She said such a move would help the councils to generate funds, which will benefit all people regardless of their political affiliation.
However, Mr Makala said according to the ministry's references, the 12 stadia are always free to be used by all people in the country, regardless of their political affiliations and the venues' managements were paying taxes to the relevant authorities, which he said, is for the benefit of all.
The deputy minister also insisted that the venues were not constructed by the efforts of 'wananchi' but rather he said, it were the efforts of CCM members. He teased members who were involved in the venues' construction but have since defected from CCM, to return back and enjoy ownership of the venues.
In his supplementary question, John Mnyika (Ubungo - CHADEMA), also demanded for the transferring of the venues' ownership from CCM and hand them over to the councils. He also said that Judge Francis Nyalali's Commission also proposed the venues to be handed over to the government to avoid conflicts.
"CCM have also admitted several times that they have failed to run the stadia as evident with their current pathetic condition," charged Mnyika.
Kinondoni lawmaker Idd Azzan (CCM) said it was within the CCM manifesto to develop sports and that it is why the party owns the stadia. However, he called for the government intervention to renovate them because, he said, most of the venues' pitches are in poor quality and need upgrading so that players don't get hurt.
"You could at least lay artificial turf in these venues, which will help transform the pitches and make them playable throughout," said the MP. Mr Makala promised to take the advice.
There are at least 27 stadia around the country, among them 12 are owned by the government and same number of stadia are owned by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
Only three top flight football clubs, which are Yanga, Azam and Mtibwa Sugar, own their stadium. Yanga, which is the country's most successful club domestically, owns the Kaunda Stadium located at the the club's Jangwani headquarters in Dar es Salaam. Mtibwa Sugar, two-time Premier League winners, owns Manungu ground found in their Manungu base in Morogoro region.
Azam FC, a team that joined the top flight football in 2008/09 season, is the only local club that owns a modern venue, the newly-built Azam Complex located at Chamazi area on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.
The first-class stadia in the country are National Stadium, the historic Uhuru Stadium and Karume Memorial Stadium, all located in Dar es Salaam and owned by the government. And venues with second-class status are Mwanza's CCM Kirumba, Jamhuri in Dodoma, Majimaji (Songea), Sheikh Amri Abeid (Arusha), Jamhuri (Morogoro) and Sokoine (Mbeya).
Third-class stadia include Mkwakwani in Tanga, Kambarage in Shinyanga, Nyamagana (Mwanza) and Mtwara, while Namfua in Lindi, Mgambo (Dodoma) and Ushirika (Moshi) have fourth-class status.