OUR attention has been drawn to the facility train tour in which members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of CCM have travelled from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma.
There are several dimensions to this tour. First of all, the CCM entourage is heading to the remote Lake Tanganyika-side town to attend the ruling party's 36th anniversary celebrations.
In choosing to travel by train, the CCM officials, some of whom are also senior government leaders and MPs, will see for themselves the achievements registered in the nation-building endeavour in all aspects and the challenges still being faced.
Starting with the train itself, the CCM leaders, who deserve accolades for showing that they care by choosing to use this transportation mode instead of the more expensive air travel or a ride in those fuel - and cash - guzzling four-wheel drive vehicles, will probably see the state of disrepair of the wagons and the track itself.
The CCM-led government has always advocated the urgent need to address poverty and improve the living conditions of Tanzanians, especially those who live in rural areas, who constitute the majority among the population.
This train ride will surely serve as an eye-opener to the CCM leaders as it will expose development challenges the population in the countryside face. The people living along the train route will likely interact with the leaders and brief them on their problems.
And these are many. Despite the commendable effort by the government, in all its phases since independence, to improve the infrastructure, including roads and bridges and upgrading social services, most people have to trek many miles to find the 'nearest' market place for their produce.
Most feeder roads are still in a state of disrepair, the situation made worse on occasions of heavy rains. As a result of this, most food crops are left to rot in the farms due to infrastructural shortfall.
Schools, classrooms and health centres are still, according to reports, in short supply while in those cases where such facilities are in place, there is always shortage of teachers and learning aids and a few doctors and medical supplies, including drugs.
The CCM leaders train ride to Kigoma will probably reveal all these and much more. It is everyone's hope that several challenges will be adequately and immediately solved.