20 August 2017

Tanzania: State Clears Air On Bombardier

Photo: The Citizen
Air Tanzania (file photo)

THE government has categorically stated that some opposition politicians in the country are behind the standoff that has caused delays in the commissioning of its passenger aircraft Bombardier Q400 by the Canadian manufacturer.

However, it has expressed confidence that the stalemate will be resolved and that the aircraft will be delivered as planned. Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Acting Director of Tanzania Information Services (MAELEZO) Zamaradi Kawawa (pictured below) said the government has begun instituting legal and diplomatic measures to resolve the problem.

Ms Kawawa, who was addressing the press on behalf of the government spokesperson, the Director of Tanzania Information Services, Dr Hassan Abbas, implored the public to ignore propaganda carried out by certain opposition leaders.

The passenger plane, Bombardier Q400, was planned to have been delivered in July, but a conflict that emerged later caused delay in its commissioning.

The statement from the government came yesterday, a day after opposition politicians claimed that lawyers representing an Italian company had attached the government property to exert pressure for payment of a debt that Tanzania owed it.

According to Ms Kawawa, the conflict was engineered by the opposition politicians for their personal and political interests, completely unmindful that they, too, were Tanzanians.

"Our fellow countrymen who have all along been either engineering or supporting conflicts that aim at thwarting efforts by President John Magufuli to bring about development are indeed unpatriotic," she emphasised.

She added, "The government has been deeply saddened by such counter-development propaganda waged by the opposition politicians." She said a patriotic person would always throw their weight into finding solutions to obstacles hindering the country's development efforts instead of being in the forefront to support them.

"We have information that the same opposition politicians are sabotaging development efforts, including endangering the state of security in some parts of our country," she said.

Ms Kawawa said it was unfortunate that the same opposition politicians were recently waging a campaign that targeted to deter development partners from helping the country.

She said no stone will be left unturned until such actions were exposed to the general public. "Interesting, some of these opposition politicians have begun going public." Ms Kawawa allayed the public fear over the delivery of the plane, asking Tanzanians to have confidence in their government.

The acting government spokesperson said lawyers who filed charges; including attaching the government plane had no locus standi to do so. She said the lawyers were just conmen who were pushed by opposition politicians in the country to take such action.

"We would like to assure Tanzanians, especially development oriented people that the new plane will be delivered and will serve all, irrespective of our political inclination," she said.

It was on Friday when Chadema politician and Member of Parliament (MP) Tundu Lissu addressed reporters, claiming that the Bombadier Q 400 plane, the third in line to be manufactured by the Canadian company, has been seized.

The passenger plane, that was scheduled to be commissioned last month, according to Mr Lissu, has been seized after the government failed to pay the Canadian Stirling Civil Engineering 38million US dollars.

In his claims, Mr Lissu said the company won the tender to construct Wazo Hill-Bagamoyo Road, but the contract was terminated without paying compensation. Ms Kawawa could not get into the details of the conflict that caused delays in commissioning of the plane nor did she explicitly state how the problem occurred.

The government received the first two aircrafts, Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 in September, last year, from Canada for use by Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL).

Since then talks to buy two bigger aircrafts for passenger flights within and outside the African continent began.

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