Tanzania: Mkenda Orders Suspension of Cooperatives Boss

MINISTER for Agriculture Prof Adolf Mkenda has ordered for suspension of Lindi regional acting assistant registrar of cooperative unions Edmund Masawe over mismanagement of public funds.

Mr Massawe is accused of forcing the Umoja Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societiy (AMCOS) of Liwale District in Lindi to rent a privately owned warehouse for storing cashew-nuts despite having its own facility.

The Minister issued order in Dodoma when he was addressing reporters.

Prof Mkenda also asked the registrar and the Executive Director of Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC) Dr Benson Ndiege to assess himself whether he was fit for the position.

According to the minister, Dr Ndiege has failed to issue professional advice on the joint project being implemented by 32 Amcos in Kilimanjaro region.

"The Registrar of cooperative union must be joking... maybe he thinks I cannot kick him out, but for sure, TCDC needs to be overhauled," said the minister.

Prof Mkenda said he has put Dr Ndiege under probation period, giving him a three- day ultimatum to present the advice.

The minister maintained that since the Agriculture docket was among the key drivers of the economy, all officials from the ministry should play their roles well for the sake of uplifting the living standard of farmers and Tanzanians at large.

The agriculture ministry, among other responsibilities, has to ensure the cooperative unions excel to the maximum possible and improve productivity from the sector that has employed over 70 per cent of the country's population.

Speaking of the recent incident where the northern part of Tanzania was invaded by desert locust that crossed the country's border from Kenya, the minister said the government successfully managed to contain the situation.

Between January 14 and February 24 this year, locusts invaded eight districts of Mwanga, Siha and Moshi (Kilimanjaro), Simanjiro (Manyara) Longido, Monduli and Ngorongoro (Arusha) as well as Lushoto in Tanga region.

"The locusts spread to land totaling to 6,441 hectors in four regions in the northern part of the country," said Prof Mkenda.

In efforts to fight the locust, the government used four Fenitrothion aircrafts and one helicopter in spraying poisons in the affected areas.

The government has also been using motorized sprayers in the areas that experienced a small group of desert locusts.

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