Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli yesterday ordered the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) to take over the Ukonga Prison Housing project after an apparent failure by the Tanzania Building Agency (TBA) to complete it on time.
President Magufuli gave the order after he made a surprise visit to the site of the Ukonga Prison housing project for prison wardens.
Appearing vividly disappointed, President Magufuli inquired from the TBA officials who were present on site why there was not much progress on the project.
"I do not want to see any TBA personnel here, nor any Prisons Department official. Let the army take over the project to its completion," President Magufuli said, adding that he would seek a report on how the Sh10 billion that the government released for the project was spent.
The housing project started two years ago and was being undertaken by the TBA in collaboration with the Prisons Department. Early this week, the deputy minister for Home Affairs Hamad Masauni, visited the project and urged the contractors to speed up the construction.
"The deputy minister came here the other day and told TBA to meet with the Prisons Department to see how to speed up the construction. Have you met?" President Magufuli added.
The project would now be undertaken by the National Service, an arm of the TPDF, which has promised to complete it in two and a half months. "You built the Mererani wall and other similar projects. I know you can complete this project on time," President Magufuli told Colonel Charles Mbuge, a senior military official from the National Service.
The project, which involves construction of 12, four-storey buildings to house prison wardens, is 45 per cent to completion.
Meanwhile, President John Magufuli yesterday held talks with a special envoy of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the Magogoni State House in Dar es Salaam.
A press statement released said the envoy, Mr Sam Kutesa, who doubles as Ugandan Foreign Affairs minister, delivered the message.
"After presenting him with the letter from President Museveni, Mr Kutesa and President Magufuli held talks on the good and brotherly relations and cooperation between the two countries," reads part of the statement.
According to the statement, their talks focused on economic relations, especially transportation of cargo to Uganda through Dar es Salaam and Tanga ports. He said President Magufuli assured him that Tanzania would continue improving infrastructure of cargo transportation to Uganda.
That will be done by revitalising the Central Railway. "The country is also revamping 400 wagons. Hopefully, the completion of these measures will enable Uganda businesspeople to transport their cargo without barriers," reads part of the statement.