Zanzibar — EVEN after the government promises to improve marine transport, backbenchers in the Zanzibar House of Representatives on Wednesday complained that authorities are still inactive.
Debating the Ministry for Infrastructure and Communication budget proposal for 2012/2013, legislators demanded to see improved 'search and rescue' department to help in disaster and accidents. "Many people died in the recent ferry accidents just because rescue operations took long. We should improve rescue operations to save lives," said Mr Abdallah Juma Abdallah (CUF-Chonga).
A fortnight ago Mv Skagit was hit by strong sea waves and capsized killing at least 130 people, a second marine accident within a year as victims and grieving families blame laxity in implementing transport regulations. A probe team has been formed to investigate the July 18 accident.
He said that the Zanzibar Marine Transport Authority (ZMTA) should be blamed for past accidents because it has failed to minimize marine accident by making sure that only seaworthy vessels operate in the Isles. The legislator for Chonga in Pemba also alleged that embedded corruption in the transport department is to blame to substandard vessels being registered and allowed to operate.
Moving the motion for the 50bn/- budget estimates for his ministry, the new minister, Mr Rashid Seif Suleiman, said that the government had sleepless nights in search for a new standard ship to operate in Zanzibar. "The president has already directed us to work on plans to purchase a new boat. We are on track to implement the order alongside strengthening sea transport regulations," the minister said sparking a heated debate on marine transport.