Dar es Salaam — The World Bank (WB) office in Dar es Salaam has dismissed claims that they requested the government to suspend demolitions along the Morogoro Road.
The claims, which were reported by a local newspaper and went viral on various social media platforms, had it that the WB directed the government to stop the exercise because it was the chief financier of the project.
According to one local English newspaper, the WB threatened not to release funds for the expansion of the road due to violation of human rights.
The paper claimed that the WB gave the government conditions that it must compensate all victims of demolition before they can sanction release of the funds.
Responding to the claims yesterday, the World Bank Tanzania spokesperson, Ms Loy Nabeta said the bank did not issue any condition nor statement over the matter.
"We understand that the newspaper (name withheld) interviewed some of the property owners, but the World Bank has rigorous policies that are required to be followed for any project it finances," she said in a statement.
"These are embodied in the legal documents that we sign with the government in any WB-financed project and we ensure that all agreements are properly implemented."
The spokesperson explained that over the past year, the World Bank received and responded to several complaints from private property owners along the Morogoro Road, who were issued with 'Eviction Notices' by the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) and those which relate to different activities along the road.
"We registered these complaints to the government and received a letter from the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Works, Transport and Communication dated December 22, 2017 informing us that they were going to halt the eviction process of private properties along the Ubungo-Kimara section," says the World Bank statement.
The demolitions conducted by the government from Kimara to Kiluvya for the purpose of constructing a six-lane highway are not associated with any current or planned WB-financed project, reads the statement.
The exercise would eventually pull down about 1,300 buildings, which had been built within the road reserve, measuring 121.5 metres from the centre of the road.
So far, over 1,000 houses have been demolished.
According to the ministry of Works Communication and Transport, the expansion of the Kimara-Kiluvya, a section of Morogoro Road will start anytime this month.
The construction is meant to expand the highway to six lanes on the 16 kilometre stretch between Kiluvya and the Bus Rapid Transit Terminal at Kimara from the current two lanes.
"The goal is to reduce traffic jams on this road, which serves more than 35,000 cars out of which 40 per cent are trucks, which convey goods from the Port of Dar es Salaam to landlocked countries," the permanent secretary in the ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Mr Joseph Nyamhanga was quoted as saying.