S UCCESSFUL fight against poverty, ignorance and diseases stands out as an icon of 57-year independence that Tanzanians commemorate today, experts have observed.
Many observers have however called for increased efforts to help the country become self-reliant in budget financing, bridge the poverty gap between urban and rural population and undertake agricultural reforms through creation of linkage between the sector and industrialisation drive.
More efforts are also needed to intensify the crusade against graft. Speaking to 'Sunday News' yesterday, politicians and academicians analysed the key areas on which "we have improved as a nation since 1961." Former Speaker of the National Assembly Pius Msekwa said the country has recorded major feats on social service delivery, thanks to government efforts during all administrative phases.
The country has built many schools and universities with the aim of creating a literate and highly skilled generation, he said. "Soon after independence, the founding father of the nation Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere introduced adult education to have all citizens equipped with writing, reading and arithmetic skills," said Mr Msekwa.
He said similar efforts were made on health sector. Unlike the past when majority people relied on traditional medicines due to shortage of health facilities, as the country celebrates 57 years of independence, heath centres are everywhere.
Mr Msekwa appreciated efforts on provision of entrepreneurial skills and loan schemes to help citizens to start their own business at small and medium scale level in efforts to eradicate poverty. "But it isn't easy to alleviate all the big enemies at once, we need sustained efforts to contain the effects that come along," he explained.
Statistics from the Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST) have it that during independence there were only 333 primary and 41 secondary schools, but as of 2016, primary schools had increased to 17,174 with 16,109 of them publicly owned. There were also 4,759 secondary schools, 3,614 of them public.
Universities have increased from one college-the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), formerly known as the University College, Dar es Salaam-in 1961 to 64 universities today. The government boasts 43 tertiary institutions.
UDSM's Political Science and Public Administration Lecturer Dr Richard Mbunda seconded Mr Msekwa's views, calling for more efforts on development activities to enable the country to graduate from poor to middle income nations. "Besides all efforts to address social challenges, it's high time the government intensified efforts to improve individual income, especially for the rural folks," charged Dr Mbunda.
Senior Political Science Lecturer with UDSM Dr Benson Banna said Tanzanians have all reasons to celebrate their ability to maintain and protect the independence and Pan-Africanism that has complemented the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Dr Banna explained that the country has also succeeded to maintain her culture of democratic succession of power under multiparty elections.
"Tanzania is a good example to many other African countries and the world over... since independence all government leaders have been elected democratically, no leader was overthrown or violently removed from power," said Dr Banna.
Economic Diplomacy Lecturer at Tanzania- Mozambique Centre of Foreign Relations Innocent Shoo applauded the fifth phase government's relentless fight against corruption and bringing the country back to the foundations that Mwalimu Nyerere laid down.
He said the government now has to revive all the dormant industries if the country has to create more jobs for the citizens and add value to agricultural raw materials. "The industries will help to build our economy and stabilise the currency," he explained.