Moshi — KILIMANJARO Regional CHADEMA Chairman Mr Philemon Ndesamburo has requested the government to consider construction of a railway line to link the northern regions Tanzania with the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Mr Ndesamburo said that it is crucial to have such infrastructure in place as it will have social and economic benefits.
Speaking at a public rally at Bondeni ward in Moshi over the weekend, Mr Ndesamburo, who is also Moshi Urban MP, said that the railway, among other things, would boost the people's income.
The MP was supportive of President Jakaya Kikwete's idea on the importance of infrastructural network linking the whole of East Africa region, although Kenya had started on its own.
Last week, Kenya launched construction of a China-funded 13.8 billion US-dollar railway project, hoping to increase trade and boost Kenya's position as a regional economic powerhouse.
The link is to run from the busy port city of Mombasa to the highland capital of Nairobi and eventually extend onwards to Uganda and then connect with proposed lines to Rwanda and South Sudan.
Ndesamburo, who is a prominent businessman in and outside the country, said that construction of the proposed railway will be a step towards reorganizing railway transport and transportation of goods from one place to another.
He said that no nation can stand alone, hence a need for leaders of different countries, especially neighbours, settle any differences and move forward to put in place the much needed infrastructure.
He pointed out that railway haulage is much cheaper as compared to road transport, hence if it is established; it will ease traffic and subsequent carnage.
He said he was sure East African people would prefer to use trains from one country to another. While Kenya is seeking to replace the dilapidated British-built railway, Mr Ndesamburo was of the view that it is time for Tanzania to replace the northern railway that is similarly dilapidated.
He added that it would be a brilliant idea to bring back Usambara Railway that was operating during the defunct East African Community that was dissolved in 1977.
The railway was constructed by German colonialists and later extended by the British. After construction of the connection to Voi, traffic between Arusha, Moshi and the coast was directed to the port of Mombasa and the eastern part of the Usambara Railway was reduced to a local service. Passenger trains operated on the line into the 1990s.
Speaking at the public rally, Moshi Municipal Mayor, Mr Jafari Michael, said there are sustainable plans to create a conducive environment for street vendors.
Mr Michael said the petty traders will in the near future enjoy doing their activities peacefully on good infrastructure and nobody will disturb them, as opposed to the case now.