10 September 2012

Tanzania: The Rot at the Port Must Be Contained

Photo: Facebook
The Minister for Works Harrison Mwakyembe (file photo).


THERE emerged at the weekend, disturbing news that some unscrupulous members of the police force and Dar es Salaam port workers have been colluding to steal from the facility.

Transport Minister Harrison Mwakyembe brought to public attention the 'rot at the port' during his latest tour of the facility during which he stumbled upon massive theft of copper and fuel.As a cross-section of the media reported, while such siphoning off was happening, a police officer in the vicinity changed from his uniforms to a Kitenge shirt and helped the thieves!

Tanzanians would shudder to imagine how much cargo has been stolen from the port using trains, sealed trucks and other transportation facilities. The scam boggles the mind, to say the least. The equally offending theft attempt involved a group of thieves who broke into an Oryx petrol storage tank and drew the fuel using 40-litre plastic containers.

Again, it was Port Police who intervened, taking the youths and the thieves in the tank by complete surprise. This is thumbs up for Port Police. In their vigilance, they must have saved billions worth of copper and fuel. The port security arrangement, that includes the police officers, deserves accolades for the job well done. Their prompt action sent a message to would-be thieves who could be planning similar forays. It also sends a message across the port security planners that more care is needed to stave off such deeds in future.

To start with, the port security apparatus must include men and women in uniform of proven integrity. One would be at a loss as to just imagine how the very people entrusted with security of the people could be involved in crime. The government, as we all know, has already taken action to restore 'sanity' at the port. To start with, Dr. Mwakyembe has terminated the services of the top management team at the port, including its director-general, Mr Ephraim Mgawe. However, it is imperative to mention here that the attempted thefts smack of greater wrongdoing. All port operations must be probed now.

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