13 June 2018

Tanzania: Hot Debate in Parliament Over Dodoma City Status

Dodoma — The Parliament adopted a motion to congratulate President John Magufuli over his decision to elevate Dodoma Municipality to Dodoma City after a heated debate that saw legislators divided along political leanings.

Mr George Simbachawene (Kibakwe - CCM) moved the motion on Wednesday, saying Dr Magufuli deserves to be congratulated for his recent elevation of Dodoma into a city.

He also asked the Parliament to press the government to channel a good chunk of its development funds towards improving infrastructure in Dodoma and that it (the government) should hasten the pace of bringing a law that would make the President's declaration legally binding.

But the move did not go down well with the opposition bench which said the motion was just like any other political machination that it did not deserve their praises.

"We do not oppose the idea of elevating Dodoma to city status. We only want Dodoma to be declared a city after meeting the qualifications," said Mr Abdallah Mtolea (Temeke - CUF).

He said Dodoma does not have even a bus terminal. "The only famous place in Dodoma is the fresh meat auction at Msalato which is also very dirty. Commuters do not have a specific terminal. Dodoma needs meaningful social services before it can be elevated to a city," he said.

Cecil Mwambe (Ndanda - Chadema), Saed Kubenea (Ubungo - Chadema), Anthony Komu (Moshi Rural - Chadema) and Mr Zuberi Kuchauka (Liwale - CUF) shared similar sentiments.

But their CCM counterparts supported Mr Simbachaweni's move, saying Dodoma had been the capital designate since the days of founding President, Julius Nyerere and that President Magufuli's move came at the right time.

Fronted by their colleagues who come from Dodoma like Ms Felister Bura (Special Seats), George Lubeleje (Mpwapwa) and Mariam Ditopile (Special Seats), CCM legislators said there was no reason for one to oppose the motion.

"Mwalimu [Julius Nyerere] declared Dodoma the country's headquarters since 1973. Since then Dodoma has been built following a master plan that is better than most urban centres in this country... We believe certain issues will come as time goes," he said.

From the government side, the Minister for Information, Culture, Sports and Arts, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, his President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities), Mr Selemeni Jafo and Ms Jenista Mhagama who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youths and the Disabled) spoke highly of the motion before it was adopted by the House.


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