9 February 2016

Tanzania: Zero Tolerance for Railway Saboteurs

editorial

Disgruntled workers of Tanzania Railways Company Limited are increasingly exacting their revenge on their employers by sabotaging the railway infrastructure.

During a visit to TRL workshop in Morogoro on Sunday, the Minister for Communications and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa said he has been reliably informed that some workers conspire to fell railway wagons and locomotives in acts of sabotage. He declared zero tolerance to the saboteurs and emphatically said the government will have no mercy on them.

It will investigate and take them to task including their accomplices as well as their sponsors. Prof Mbarawa's warning reminds us of sabotage acts on the railway installations that have led to disruption of railway services, huge damages to the government, sufferings and even deaths to commuters.

There are reports of derailments that causes disruption of services in the central railway line and these acts are counterproductive to our efforts to revive the line which is vital for our economy and a more viable alternative to roads in transporting goods from the port of Dar es Salaam to upcountry regions and landlocked countries.

The government is investing heavily to revive the central railway line and is also planning to construct a 2,561 km (1,536 miles) standard gauge railway connecting Dar es Salaam port to land-locked neighbours at a cost of $7.6 billion as the country aims to become a regional transport hub. Two additional lines, to cost $6.6 billion, would connect Dar es Salaam to the coal, iron ore and soda ash mining areas in the south and northern parts of the country.

In 2014/15 financial year for instance, Eight locomotives and 89 wagons were re-manufactured. Similarly 274 new freight wagons, 25 new ballast hopper wagons, 13 new locomotive, 34 brake van and 22 new passengers coaches were procured and are operating.

This is a clear determination on the part of the government to create competitive and reliable railway system to enable exploitation and/or transportation of bulk natural resources and evacuation of products especially where long distance transport is involved.

We are reminded also of serious allegations by President John Magufuli during his campaigning trail that state power company employees were draining dams at night to cut electricity supply so they could benefit from fuel import deals for emergency power.

We abhor such acts of vandalism for whatsoever reason. We cannot let any one throw a spanner into such a good work that costed us millions of our hard earned foreign exchange.

We feel it is time we inculcated high spirit of patriotism and love for the nation. This is our mother country and we should therefore let no one sabotage it

Tanzania

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