Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: New Year Must Come With a Difference

WHILE addressing graduands at the Sebastian Kolowa Memerial University in Lushoto, retired President Mr Benjamin Mkapa urged them to be role models in good leadership, saying the nation had great expectations on university graduates.

Mr Mkapa also cautioned the graduands against imitating the behaviours of people like politicians who make huge promises but never fulfill them. The former president made the remarks at a time when the world awaits to usher in the New Year 2013 and basically when many people have taken stock of 2012 events.

The year 2012 was quite eventful, with social and political activities, some sweet, some sour. The political scene was awash with election petitions. Those who won have celebrated while the losers had no other option but come to terms with the reality.

The ending year will also go down in history as one that saw a strike by medical doctors, who were misled to believe that their profession was just like any other. So, they flouted ethics and downed their tools in the middle of the nation's dire need for medical services and the rest is history.

Another area that was hit by strikes was Kampala International University. The lecturer-students crisis still lingers, while parents who pay dearly to have their children educated in one of the most expensive universities in the country, point an accusing finger at the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU).

They blame TCU for not intervening in time to thwart a possible fall-out in which no one would benefit. In the banking sector, some customers will not forgive ATM thieves, who used fake cards to empty their accounts. The good news however, is that banks have moved in swiftly and improved security on their ATMs. On the part of the government, the Ministry of Transport has taken the lead in problem-solving.

Kudos to Dr Harrison Mwakyembe for reaching out to people and making prompt decisions. Thanks to the minister, there is discipline on the part of bus passengers as they now have to adhere to good sanitation practices, otherwise bus owners will have to pay a heavy penalty.

The minister has also taken to task officials suspected of mismanagement at the Dar es Salaam Port and went as far as halting operators of passenger buses at Ubungo Upcountry terminal, for hiking fares. More importantly, Dr Mwakyembe has helped revamp the long forgotten Dar commuter trains, which have eased transport woes. He did not stop there, but did the same to the Central Line.

While everyone waits to toast to the dawning new year, it is worth assessing deliberate moves that may have made the ending year a bad experience to the nation. Some of those entrusted to run government institutions have failed miserably and turned out to be a liability.

Why, for example, should people voted for fail to deliver to the utmost satisfaction of those that have given them the mandate? Will this country ever be corruption-free, if the private and public sectors will continue to be perpetrators of tribalism, religious bigotry and gender discrimination? Shall we ever learn? Let's hope we do and make 2013 a year with a difference!

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