For Matinyi, development journalism remains driving force

DAR ES SALAAM: CHIEF Government’s Spokesperson, Mr Mobhare Matinyi has devised a novel strategy to streamline and expedite information sharing, especially focusing on implementation of development projects being undertaken by the government countrywide.

Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, Mr Matinyi, who also doubles as the Director of Information Services, MAELEZO pointed out that citizens’ engagement through information sharing was essential for open government and effective development.

He said it was imperative for the citizens to be well informed of implementation of all development projects being undertaken by the government in their localities, adding that this will significantly help to strengthen the quality of policymaking and the ‘science’ of service delivery with improved social accountability.

Mr Matinyi is well aware that this will demand a committed and responsive government too and to start with, he said, MAELEZO will effective from Wednesday be organising a special meeting programme, whereby Regional Commissioners (RCs), District Commissioner (DCs) and District Executive Directors (DEDs) in each region will speak out on the development and implementation strategies in their respective areas.

He made these remarks yesterday shortly after a meeting with editors from various media outlets in the country, to talk about a range of topics pertaining to the media industry and how to better improve it.

During the gathering at the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) office in Dar es Salaam, Matinyi announced that a special programme will be introduced in Dodoma on Wednesday that will allow RCs, DCs and DEDs to inform their citizens on the actions taken by the government in their respective regions.

“We are going to start this special programme on Wednesday in Dodoma and the following day, we will be in Morogoro, before heading to Coast Region on Friday and then Dar es Salaam on Saturday,” he said.

He added that the Manyara, Arusha, Tanga and Kilimanjaro regions will host the programmes in the second phase.

“The government is doing a lot, especially in-terms of executing development programmes, but in most cases majority of ‘wananchi’ remain unaware of what is happening within their localities,” he said.

He also used the platform to insist that the recent sealed deal between the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and DP World of Dubai was openly conducted and all stakeholders including the medial were well informed about the deal.

He said that substantial investment at the Dar es Salaam Port was crucial for it to effectively compete with neighbouring ports.

Elaborating, Mr Matinyi stated that the public needs to be made more aware of the deal and TPA operations in general as there is no secrecy in the contract, adding that this role must effectively be played by the media.

He said journalists must learn about the fundamental challenges facing Dar es Salaam Port as well as others in order to educate the public. This includes learning the types of investments required to make them effective as well as revenue collections that go to the government coffers.

“For instance, TPA currently contributes about 37–40 per cent of TRA’s annual revenue collection and the government wants that percentage to reach 60 per cent,” he said.

He said that his office is organising a special visit for journalists at the Dar es Salaam Port on November 6th this year, in an effort to raise greater awareness among them concerning TPA mega projects and functions.

On the list of his plans, Mr Matinyi has also made it clear on his plan to ensure that by December this year, the Journalists Accreditation Board in accordance with the Media Services Act, 2016 (and its amendments) will be established.

“We are finalising process of drafting the new regulations and this procedure should be completed by December this year and this will open a room for the establishment of an Independence Media Council,” he said.

He added that this will also assist in creating a training fund for journalists, with the aim of increasing efficiency and professionalism for journalists in the country.

“Journalists must be professional, knowledgeable and attentive in order to improve collaboration between the government and the media,” he explained.

According to him, this will end journalism, as some journalists in Western nations do in order to slant news to suit their own agendas.

Mr Matinyi also used the occasion to applaud Speaker Dr Tulia Ackson for becoming the first African woman to assume the role of President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Dr Tulia’s victory makes her the 31st president of the IPU and the first woman from the African continent to hold the position.

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