Tanzania: VP Launches Spirited Tree Planting Drive

Tanzanian VP launches tree-planting drive.

VICE-PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan makes a thumbs up gesture shortly after planting a tree at Mzakwe, some 20 kilometres from Dodoma municipality, along the road towards Arusha, yesterday, to signal the launch of a campaign to transform Dodoma into a green city. (Photo by VPO)

VICE-PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has declared that she will be in the vanguard of an ambitious plan to transform Dodoma into a green city, a vision that Founding President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere had orchestrated.

Lamenting the failure of the government's previous tree planting campaigns, Ms Hassan, who was launching a nationwide tree planting campaign, remarked: "District and regional leaders did not oversee the campaigns effectively and were submitting false statistics to the central government."

The vice-president's sentiments were voiced against the backdrop of indications that 61 per cent of the country was at risk of turning into a desert. The government launched the first campaign in the 1970s, a follow-up of which was in the 2000s, tasking every council to plant at least 1.5 million trees annually. The visibly upset Ms Hassan noted, however, that, poor implementation was a big letdown.

"Our environmentwould have otherwise been pleasant," she told the audience. At least 2,500 trees were planted at Mzakwe, some 20 kilometres from Dodoma municipality, along the Dodoma- Arusha highway.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism said 100,000 trees were on hand for planting in the municipality, 650,000 others would be distributed to other parts of the regions. Ms Hassan set a 14-day timeframe within which trees allocated by the ministry should be planted, declaring, emphatically, that not a single tree end up drying due to being abandoned.

The vice-president instructed the Ministry in charge of Regional Administration and Local Governments to introduce by-laws that would make participation by individuals, households, communities and institutions in the programme compulsory.

Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Union and Environment) Mr January Makamba, explained that the newly-launched programme sought to make Dodoma the country's model of greenery.

Under the programme, the ministry will identify new green belts, plant trees across all open lands, alongside the main highways, plant new artificial forests around the city as well as commission water systems to ensure proper irrigation of green sites.

"I will form two nationwide committees. The first will involve a team of experts and the second one, of executives who would supervise the process broadly," he explained. Minister for Water and Irrigation Engineer Isack Kamwelwe, told the Vice- President that Dodoma had enough underground water for facilitating success of the ambitious campaign.

The minister said despite the region being among the dry lands, the Dodoma Urban Water and Sewerage Authority (DUWASA) produced at least 72 million litres of water daily which stood at 46 million litres.

"The President has also announced that the government will fund the construction of Farkwa dam, to ensure availability of enough water for the envisaged transformation of the region," he said. Natural Resources Minister Dr Hamis Kigwangalla and Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango, said sustainable environment was one of the country's main development priorities.

The campaign is being supported by Tatu Mzuka, a sports betting company.

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