17 June 2017

Tanzania: Political Will Fuels JPM Sand Success - Experts

Photo: State House/Daily News
President John Magufuli in a conversation with the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, who visited him at State House in Dar es Salaam.

The political will to embrace local expertise by President John Magufuli has been singled out as the major reason behind the success story of the performance of the two teams, formed to investigate copper concentrates export business.

According to a brief survey conducted by this newspaper regarding the success story of the two teams, if the President had no political will to work on the two reports submitted by the teams, the results that have so far been seen wouldn't be there at all.

Dr Bashiru Ally, a political scientist from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), said the current president has shown the public that his leadership and governance style must be driven by home grown ideas and vision.

"Like in the past presidential probe task forces consisted of academicians and politicians, the only difference with President Magufuli is that he works on their research findings," Dr Ally observed. Dr Ally said "Dr Magufuli has nationalist feelings towards this nation. He is a visionary and transparent leader."

Speaking on the contribution of academicians towards the country's development, Dr Ally said since 1980s Tanzania's major institutions were under highly skilled people, ranging from those with a bachelor's degree to PhD holders, but the problem had to do with the political will.

Economist, Dr Bohela Hoseana Lunogelo, said since 1980s academicians and other local experts had good ideas towards the country's development but politics was the stumbling block.

"Academicians have, at different times, proposed a lot of beneficial things to the government in good faith, but politicians turned them down. This practice ended up discouraging and even frustrating them," he said.

Dr Lunogelo said the difference that is seen now with President Magufuli is his willingness and courage to do things. Reverend Joseph Matumaini commended President Magufuli for valuing professionalism and commissioning experts in resolving issues of national interests.

Referring to the two mineral sand probe teams that comprised geologists, economists and legal experts, the commentator said using researchers and professionals was one brilliant idea that has helped the government to get crucial information on the matter.

He said the decision by Dr Magufuli to commission academicians and experts in various areas has helped the nation to get valid information basing on professionalism. He said the Head of State has started to inculcate an important culture in dealing with complicated issues that need experts' intervention.

"Most of developed countries such as UK and US, political leaders and the public at large respect and value academicians and experts' research findings, this has been different in our country, President Magufuli has shown the way through these two probe teams," he said.

He said it is high time for Tanzania to value and use its experts in solving various issues. According to Rev Matumaini, the two probe teams on mineral sand have proved beyond doubt that professionalism and expertise can change things for the better.

"The two probe teams have submitted reports that are well prepared. They followed proper research methodologies in probing the matter and their reports tell it all," he said.

He added that Tanzanian academicians have been researching and publishing a lot of issues in various areas of their expertise but very few have been utilised for the country's development.

"I accolade President Magu fuli for daring to value academicians and experts, this culture must grow in this country, developed countries respect academicians and experts' reports," he said.

He added that the government needs to utilise experts' knowledge. "We need to utilise these people's skills and talents," he said.

According to Rev Matumaini, the mineral sand reports must serve as a lesson to all Tanzanians to value and respect experts and academicians' contribution in the country.

Prof Khoti Kamanga from UDSM expressed his views, saying political will is an important aspect in governance. "We have seen the findings of the probe committees bearing fruits because the President had and still has political will to achieve something."

However, Prof Kamanga said it was important for the nation to have an explicit system of dealing with the problem clearly stipulated by the law.

On the other hand, Prof Samuel Wangwe said it is good for experts to be used in resolving problems, but it is much better to use their expertise in providing technical advice to prevent glitches from occurring, instead of rushing to use them whenever a problem occurs.

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