Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

2 February 2013

Tanzania: Mtwara Back to Peace After Premier's Tour

Newala — PEACE and tranquility has returned in Mtwara Region, thanks to the recent tour by the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda.

A survey conducted by the 'Daily News on Saturday' for the past two days here has ob- served that Mtwara is peaceful now and people's spirit towards their security is high. "Welcome to Mtwara, feel at home because Mtwara of chaos and lawlessness is gone.

The current situation is highly related to the recent tour by the Prime Minister," said a taxi driver who identified himself with one name of Kudra. Another resident who preferred anonymity said that Mtwara was under intensive security in the past weeks as soldiers were everywhere,but now the security men and women are no longer a common spot in town.

"If you came here a day before yesterday (Thursday) you would find soldiers in the streets, they stopped whoever they suspected in the night, but now the situation is back to normal," he said. The Police Force Training and Operation Commissioner, Mr Paul Chagonja who is still in Mtwara added his voice on the security situation here, saying that all is well.

"Mtwara is cool and stable now, we attribute the situation to the tour by the Prime Minister because we have witnessed a steady progress after his tour," he said. Mr Chagonja who was on his way to Tandahimba District to inspect police activities in the district said that police are, however, well prepared to proactively stop any chaos from happening.

Meanwhile, the Head of Anglican Church in Newala Diocese, Bishop Oscar Mnung'a has called on resi- dents of Mtwara to give time to the government to fulfil its promises in gas economy. Bishop Mnung'a told journalists on Friday that there was no need to op- pose the government's plan to construct a gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam, even after the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda had held talks with leaders of various groups.

"People of Mtwara should remain calm and give time to their government to fulfil promises made on construct- ing a gas economy to benefit people of Mtwara. Any move to oppose government at this level should not be enter- tained," he said. He added that there was no need to oppose the govern- ment, adding that compelling the government to halt gas pipeline construction was like refusing a farmer to take his/ her crops to the market.

"Someone should come out and pragmatically explain how people of Mtwara will benefit by not transporting the gas to Dar es Salaam. We should give time for the gov- ernment to bring more inves- tors to Mtwara," he said. He called on fellow reli- gious leaders to find time and talk to their followers on the things that were agreed in the talks between them and PM early this week.

"I will on Sunday spend most of the time talking to believers over the need to bury our differences with the government and open a new chapter," he said. He noted that those opposing the plan at the moment had a hidden agenda and called upon national security officers to do their work. In another development, Bishop Mnung'a has warned the media over what he termed 'adding salt' to the Mtwara saga, saying that there have been incidents where the media has misreported the matter.

"The time will come when we shall name media that lead in 'adding salt' to the situation in Mtwara, because some journalists are deliberately fuelling chaos in the region," he noted. He challenged authorities to make a critical analysis on media coverage in the incident and arrest the situation before it is too late.

"Media should not look for news for the sake of selling their papers, this is the matter of national interest and if media are left to play foul we will end in shedding bloods," he said. Elsewhere in the streets of Mtwara Municipality residents are saying they are yet to hear from their leaders who were involved in the talks with PM.

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