columnBy Ramadhani Kupaza
President Kikwete visited Kilimanjaro and Arusha Regions recently to witness various development projects. It reminds of what some residents of Arusha say about presidents' priorities.
Transport is one of Kikwete's visible priorities. The president witnessed completion of a tarred road to the Kenyan border in Kilimanjaro recently. Political fanatics say that even the president's most vocal political rivals in Kilimanjaro acknowledged his efforts to establish roads in the country.
The president travelled to Arusha from Kilimanjaro to announce the status of Arusha Municipality as a City. Many roads have been upgraded in Arusha recently supposedly as one of the criteria for upgrading the Municipality to a City status.
Meanwhile, residents of Arusha witnessed serious traffic jams when the president was addressing people at the Arusha Declaration Museum. It reminds City planners to upgrade access roads to ensure smooth flow of traffic when there are public functions in the City Center.
Kikwete has supported the Minister of Transport to establish the historic city transportation program by train in Dar es Salaam City. Many believe the service contributes to ease transportation problems there.
There is talk to establish more organized public transportation by boats in Dar es Salaam as well. And, residents of Dar es Salaam are still waiting for "flying roads" which the president promised to establish in City.
Many people in the country support Kikwete's efforts to establish roads. But there are exceptions. Conservationists oppose the president's proposition to establish a tarred road across Serengeti National Park.
Higher education is in the president's priority list for sure. Therefore, he officially attended official opening of the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM AIST) during his recent visit to Arusha. The government has shown much commitment to establish the facility within a short time. NM AIST is fully operational with modern teaching facilities like laboratories, video equipped classrooms and digitized library. The Institute has recently enrolled more than 100 students to study course at Masters and PhD levels.
Meanwhile, Kikwete is associated with establishment of the University of Dodoma which is probably the biggest University in Tanzania. It is said that he has mobilized local financial institutions to finance establishment of the University.
Reports indicate that the president intends to mobilize more local funds to establish another University in Musoma Region someday. It is not clear if he has adequate time to act on this as president. His term as president of Tanzania ends in 2015.
The president is on record promising to support institutions like religious organizations to establish more universities and colleges in the country. He urges the institutions to establish quality educational facilities.
Public security was the president's first priority when he became the president of Tanzania. He established a full Ministry of Public Safety then to ensure that members of the public and public properties like money in the banks are safe.
Smiling is also a priority for president Kikwete. Many Tanzanians do not know how to interpret the reason for the president's smile. Some interpret the president's regular smile as an expression of affection to people while others believe the smile is a strategy to hide some cunning maneuvers against his political rivals.
That said Kikwete showed his affection to people by sparing time to attend a funeral during his visit in Arusha. An aide working for the State House Residency in the City died during the week the president w as visiting Arusha.