Tanzania: Mwinyi Hits Ground Running

ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi receives briefing on operations at Malindi Port from its Acting Operations Director, Mr Juma Sururu, when he made an impromptu tour of the Isles' main port. (Photo by State House)

A DAY after his inauguration, Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi has hit the ground running, making an impromptu tour of Malindi Port where he demanded efficiency.

Mwinyi's surprise visit to the Isles' main port sought to address congestion caused by inefficient handling of cargo at the major water gateway to the Indian Ocean semi-autonomous archipelagos.

Dr Mwinyi, who enjoyed a landslide win in the presidential polls held mid last week said he made his first visit to the port since it's among the major drivers of the Isles economy.

While at the port, President Mwinyi instructed the management to act accordingly by ensuring timely delivery of services, so as to stimulate business and eventually boost Zanzibar's economy.

He implored them to put forward national interests.

The new leader was dismayed with the delay in cargo dispatch and congestion of containers at Malindi Port, the protracted Inland Container Depot (ICD) Terminal project at the Maruhubi area-- a grand plan envisaged to decongest the port premises.

"This port is very important in the building of Zanzibar's economy, we need to ensure the country fully benefits from it ... this will be possible if everyone will work diligently and improve service delivery," he said.

According to Dr Mwinyi, due to a limited space at the Malindi Port, most ships are now using Dar es Salaam and Mombasa Ports in Mainland and Kenya respectively, eventually shooting up the prices of goods in the isles.

Dr Mwinyi noted that decongestion of the Malindi Port would attract more ships.

President Mwinyi suspended the issuance of over 1bn/- that was meant to be spent on the feasibility study for constructing the ICD at the Maruhubi area.

He then instructed the port management to increase the speed of offloading the containers from ships and attract more vessels to Zanzibar.

"We need efficiency in public funds expenditure and ensure effective delivery of services," insisted Dr Mwinyi.

Briefing President Mwinyi, the Acting Director General of Zanzibar Shipping Corporation Mr Ali Haji Haji said on average, a ship spends five days at the port, while offloading the containers. Malindi Port is the main entry point handling International Trade for the Islands of Zanzibar.

About 95 per cent of Zanzibar imports and exports pass through this Port. The port, located in the Urban West region, has the busiest passenger terminal in the East African Region handling an average of 1.5 Million people per year.

This Port has one berth for large foreign going vessels, with a quay length of 240m and one for coasters with 113m length; it can accommodate first Generation Container Vessels with 10m draft.

There are no shore cranes on the wharf, ship gears are used to offload and load cargo.

In another development, President Mwinyi has appointed Dr Mwinyi Talib Haji as a new Attorney General (AG) for Zanzibar, replacing Said Hassan Said, who served under the seventh phase government.

According to the statement released by Zanzibar State House and signed by Chief Secretary Dr Abadulhamid Yahya Mzee, the AG's appointment is backed by section 55 (1) of the Zanzibar Constitution of 1984.

Prior to the appointment, Dr Haji was serving as the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation.

This was Dr Hussein's first appointment after taking over as Zanzibar President on Monday. He won the top leadership position with 76.27 per cent of the valid votes in the General Election.

Meanwhile, children today returned to schools after a weeklong closure due to the General Election, which culminated by the swearing in of the new President on Monday.

Parents and teachers were happy for the re-opening of schools as Form Two students prepare for their national examinations before the end of this year.

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