Magufuli cancels Union Day celebrations to ‘save money for road project’

The project is aimed at easing traffic jams in Mwanza, a city on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Tanzania's president John Magufuli delivers a speech during his swearing in ceremony in Dar es Salaam, on November 5, 2015. He has cancelled Union Day celebrations in Tanzania to save money for a road project.  PHOTO | DANIEL HAYDUK | AFP

IN SUMMARY

  • Tanzania will mark its Union Day on April 26 to mark the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • He also cancelled celebrations marking World Aids Day on December 1 to cut what he termed as “unnecessary government spending”, ordering the money saved be used to purchase drugs.

DAR ES SALAAM, Tuesday

Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Monday announced the cancellation of Union Day celebrations in the country, saying one million US dollars could be saved for a road project. 

The president said in a statement that the money would be used to expand a road stretch from Mwanza Airport in northern Tanzania to the city centre.

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The project is aimed at easing traffic jams in Mwanza, a city on the shores of Lake Victoria.

‘‘The money was earmarked to buy food, drinks as well as paying allowances to those who will be involved in the celebrations including parades and mass plays,” said the statement.

Tanzania will mark its Union Day on April 26 to mark the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

Days after he took office last year, Magufuli cancelled celebrations marking Independence Day on December 9, and ordered the two million US dollars set aside for the festivities be used to construct a 4.3 km road section in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

UNNECESSARY GOVERNMENT SPENDING

He also cancelled celebrations marking World Aids Day on December 1 to cut what he termed as “unnecessary government spending”, ordering the money saved be used to purchase drugs.

The US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) last week cancelled $432 million (Sh48billion) aid to Tanzania over Zanzibar polls. Dar said the move did not come as a surprise.
Finance minister Dr Philip Mpango told The Citizen on Tuesday that the government had anticipated the move and prepared with alternatives.

The MCC fund was meant to implement various development projects in energy, road and water sectors.

The MCC board of directors which sat in Washington on Monday voted to suspend the agency’s partnership with the Government of Tanzania over the Zanzibar election and application of the Cybercrimes Act run counter to this commitment.

Dr Mpango said they are currently focusing to fund its projects through local sources of funds.

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