SOMETIME early in the 1980s, President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere warned of the looming consequences over un-controlled traffic in Dar es Salaam, saying if the haphazardous trend is allowed to continue, time will not pass before the traffic jam will be the likes of Bombay city, India's commercial hub.
Deafening noise in most roads and streets in Bombay is common, caused by some exasperated motorists who go about hooting, honking and blaring horns in the traffic jams as means of venting their frustrations. It is like a tradition there.
And the situation is worsen by seemingly enjoyable atmosphere accorded various mixed grill kinds of motored, paddled and pushed apparatus, aggravated by innumerable passenger mounted elephants and the roaming herds of cattle - the sacred animal in Hindu religion - commanding above 90 per cent of India's a billion-plus population.
No wonder the going astonished many people in Mwalimu Nyerere's entourage in India in 1982 (among whom the author of this article), that spent time in Bombay before flying back home at the end of his last State visit, hence the remarks meant to distance Dar es Salaam from becoming this India's continuous city roads/ streets mess.
As the going gained momentum since Mwalimu's profess over two decades ago, nothing serious has ever materialised in Dar es Salaam to remedy the situation except for the fact that the leaders and the led are treated to sleepless nights.
The authorities go out-ofthe- way in the struggle to get short and long term solutions to the ever increasing traffic jams - estimated to cost the nation more than 4bn/- daily in loss of man-hours, while the led are forced to wake up in the middle of the nights in order for them to reach their respective destinations in time.
The traffic jam is on all major roads leading to and from the city centre, although the congestion in the downtown business district is worsening by the day, especially around the Kariakoo market complex expanse.
For example, in Kitumbini the situation is sickened by the multitudes of two-wheel commercial push carts (mikokoteni) that are fond of struggling against the licensed cargo pickup trucks for business and on winning, they are crammed on the centre of the roads/streets causing a hell of jam due to their snail speeds.
These crafts are also a common eye-sore (within the commercial transport community and other walks of life) in Kariakoo-shimoni wholesale trade area.
They bargain for overweight lug gages (more than two tonnes) destined for as far as Kigamboni ferry or Sokoine Avenue based port areas-- about a couple of kilometres away, negotiating their trails through heavily jammed streets including Uhuru, Samora and Ocean Roads - adjacent to the State House.
It is in the two above mentioned vicinities where you will undoubtedly find the likes of Bombay. More-over, it is in this location where you will find some streets forced closure.
And if you happen to drive through you can get stuck for the whole day because vendors will have commandeered the passageways by spreading their merchandise due to the carefree attitude or simply corruption by those tasked with clearing the areas.
These areas are overwhelmed by all sorts of commercial push carts--single and two tyre wheelbarrows, small, medium and large sizes of push carts--mikokoteni, three tyre heavy-duty peddled cargo rickshaws (maguta) that are still maintained on the populace at this digital era when such carts are supposed to demand space in the museum.
And, indeed, for the sake of fairness to the investors in various sorts of pick-up motor-vehicles and in order to promote efficiency on the roads, is it not high time for the authorities to curb this snail paced apparatus and replace them with the innumerable numbers and sizes of pick-up vans?
During the socialist era of the 1970s - 1980s, when the ownership of any kind of motor vehicles was an issue of exploitation limited to capitalist tendencies, in that importation of the vehicles was regulated by the state, definitely the carts played a pivotal role of transporting minor to medium size merchandise particularly in the urban centres.
Therefore, now when the country is trying to catch-up with leading world economies counting on our un-exploited natural resources including gas, oil, gold, diamond, coal, copper, uranium etc, is it not time some of the 'business as usual' habits were done away with?
In order to promote efficiency on the busy urban roads, all kinds of commercial push carts, paddled commercial rickshaws popularly known as gutas, the single tyre commercial wheelbarrows, commercial ice-cream vending tricycles together with the recently introduced cargo motor-tricycles, scooters and even the motorcycles should pull off the roads and streets.
It is better to remember that Mwalimu's profess was sounded during the socialist era and most of the roads/streets were as free as ever, due to import restrictions imposed on the motor-vehicles. It is better late than never, the room is still there for effecting the change.