19 Jan 2010

DAILY NEWS Reporter, 18th January 2010 @ 12:13,

IN an interesting twist of events, President Jakaya Kikwete failed to hand over two ambulance vehicles today, after controversy ensued over the rightful identity of the targeted receivers.

The confusion ensued after a representative from Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region turned up instead of an official from Longido, whom documents indicated was supposed to receive the donation.

The twist happened at the State House grounds before officials and journalists, when the president seemed confused after he discovered it was a representative from Ngorongoro and not from the targeted Longido, who had turned up.

A representative from Mbozi District in Mbeya Region who was meant to receive the second vehicle on behalf of his district had not yet arrived, prompting the president to hand it over to someone else who was present.

When he approached the two cars recently donated by CMC Automobiles Limited, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Abdul Haji, President Kikwete was introduced to the receiver as the Executive Director of Ngorongoro District Council, Kayange Jacob when he suddenly stood back.

“You are….. (as he was being introduced by the State House Comptroller), ahh, you are from Loliondo, this car is not yours, I won’t hand it over to you. It’s not yours. It’s for the people of Longido and not Loliondo.

Turning to State House officials, he asked: What is this. This is scandalous. Apologise to those you invited to witness this”, said the president.

“This one car is to cater for the people of Longido, not Loliondo, who sent you here?’

The Executive Director of Ngorongoro District Council who introduced himself as Kayage, explained to the president that he had been sent by his Regional Commissioner, to come and receive the vehicle as a donation to carry sick people in Ngorongoro.

But the president explained that records show that one of the two cars was supposed to go to Engarinaibo Village in Longido District, following his promise to them when he toured Arusha last year.

“I personally promised the villagers I would give them an ambulance, when I receive a donation of vehicles after witnessing their difficulty in transporting their sick people to hospital. Now what is this? This is scandalous,” he repeated.

Efforts by the State House officials to explain to the president that he hands over the car to the Ngorongoro Director, as there was no other were in vain as he (president) walked back to his office.

After the drama that lasted for approximately 20 minutes, the Assistant Director of Communications at the State House, Premy Kibanga, told journalists that there was negligence on the part of some officials who had verified the documents, subsequently messing up issues.

“There has been a problem of communication here at State House, as all documents including the letter to presiding secretary in Arusha, show that those entitled to the donation is Engarinaiko village in Longido and not Loliondo,”said Kibanga.

Ms Kibanga attributed the anomaly to negligence on the part of the State House official, who was supposed to verify the documents of the director before the handing over, also blaming it on the late arrival of the two officials by ten minutes and that of Mbozi by 20 minutes.

She said the letter from State House to the presiding secretary in Arusha, dispatched at the end of last year, was clear that that the donation was for Engarinaiko village in Longido and had asked the official to release a municipal driver, to get a short course on how to use the facility at CMC.

However, it is not clear to this evening as to whether it was the driver of Longido or Ngorongoro who had received the short training prior to yesterday’s event.

The director of Ngorongoro told journalists that he had been sent by the Regional Commissioner to receive the donation, after a phone call came from the State House asking them to send a representative to receive it.

Efforts to reach the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Isidori Shirima, were futile as his phone went unanswered.

But information sent by the Communication Directorate of State House, said the president handed over one vehicle to the Director of Mbozi District, Levison Chilewa, to cater for citizens of Kamsamba as ambulance.

It was part of the president’s pledge to the area when he visited last year. Earlier, Mr Chilewa told journalists that it would support 26 wards in Mbozi with special target at Kamsamba, Ivuna, Chilulumo, Chitete and Msangano wards.

The two vehicles - Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top - worth 108,000 US dollars (about 130m/-), were donated by CMC in honour of the manager’s wife, who lived in the country for 30 years before passing away.


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