FORMER LEADERS’ BENCH WITH DAILY NEWS: Revered strategist, reformist

  • Lumbanga’s unrivalled history, thrilling leadership quality
    He took only two weeks to complete Standard One

MARTEN Lumbanga (76), a humble strategist and reformist is credited for being among technocrats who spearheaded various government transformations that the country is benefiting and enjoying today.

The industrial economist, who rose through the ranks to serve as Chief Secretary and later a diplomat, needed only two weeks to complete Standard One.

Mr Lumbanga as Chief Secretary was the brainchild behind the creation of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and several other agencies and authorities that the main purpose remains to help ease operations of the government and propel the country’s development vision programmes as well as reduce the taxpayers’ burden.

“After the first multiparty general election (1995), I summoned three Permanent Secretaries and we tasked ourselves to prepare a specific modality to advise the newly-elected president on how to streamline and maximise government revenue collections.

“The idea came, since, in the previous government administrations, taxes were collected through various ministries, departments, and institutions without a single board to administer the same,” recalled Mr Lumbanga, who served three presidents as Chief Secretary.

The four member-committee of PS, apart from looking for a way to create a single tax revenue body, also prepared a roadmap to jump-start the economy and other development issues. The three PSs were Prof Joshua Doriye, Peter Ngumbulu, and the third one he didn’t recall.

He said they had to act fast to find solutions on how to increase revenue collection and cut down government spending because they were worried that the state of affairs if left unabated would have impoverished the nation.

“I was worried about the bad state of the economy which threatened the smooth running of government activities and we had to act swiftly to reduce government expenditure and strengthen revenue collection systems. The team was to make sure the country sails through successfully financially and this is why TRA was established,” Mr Lumbanga said.

TRA was established by Act of Parliament No. 11 of 1995, and started its operations on 1st July 1996. In carrying out its statutory functions, TRA is regulated by law, and is responsible for administering impartially various taxes of the Central Government.

And, for Mzee Lumbanga, the rest about TRA and its operating systems is a history worth noting. Indeed, looking back, Mzee Lumbanga is pleased to see his genuine mind-set created a government system the country enjoys today.

The economist, who believes in the rule of the law and necessary bureaucracy, studied standard one and two in a single year. He studied for merely two weeks in standard one and emerged top in the class and the results warranted his direct elevation to standard two in 1955.

His parents did not enrol him for standard one because he was regarded too young to start schooling. Little his parents knew his potential and God’s gift bestowed to the young Marten. He cried and distressed them until they took him to school.

“Eventually, my mother took me to school. After two weeks, we were given an examination and I became number one,” recalled Mr Lumbanga, whose father passed away before he started school. His father’s demise never discouraged him to continue with studies.

“At that time, we used to write on a small blackboard (about 12cm by 12cm) with chalk. I led the class. The teachers transferred me to standard two and ever since, I led all the classes until I joined the University of Dar es Salaam,” said the soft-spoken retired technocrat.

Mr Lumbanga’s education journey started in 1955 at Mkangamalo Primary School in Mlimba, Morogoro, standard one to four, and later joined Igota Upper Primary School in Mahenge, Morogoro for standard five to eight before proceeding to Kwira Secondary School for ordinary level and Pugu Secondary School for advanced level studies.

He treasured economics since his tender school age and proceeded to university to accomplish his dream.

“I did not take school seriously until I entered university. From here I decided to combine economics and statistics while my mathematical background was not that good,” Mr Lumbanga recalled.

“Our professor (lecturer) told us those who didn’t take mathematics stand a good chance to fail.

“That was when I started to study hard and seriously, mainly mathematics. After the exams, I was number three.

“My passing baffled many in our class including the lecturer. All this was because I was from the arts branch not science,” said Mr Lumbanga, who did a master’s degree and PhD, while serving as an Ambassador in Switzerland and came out with distinctions.

He graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam with flying colours in March 1972 and went to National Service in the same year for six months.

His work life started immediately after graduating with a bachelor of economics and statistics which he passed with honours and was posted to Morogoro Region as Planning Officer Grade II.

“I reported at work in Morogoro but I was told since my origin (born and raised) from the same region, I am not required to work there. I was instead posted to Kigoma Region, where then, Athanas Kwilasa was the RC,” Dr Lumbanga said.

He said at that time, the government was implementing decentralisation policy and for him travelling all the way to Kigoma, was an experience worth taking as he also realised that Tanzania was a vast country.

“I really enjoyed my time in Kigoma and I really gained a lot of working experience. It also enabled me to gain an understanding of the culture, traditions and norms of the people there.

“One day, we went to Kasulu District and I was surprised to see for the first time people donning tree barks and animal skins,” he said.

After working for nine months in Kigoma, he was recalled to Dar es Salaam by Charles Nyirabu, an economist and later a Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Governor, to establish a planning department at the Prime Minister’s Office with other four economists. Mr Nyirabu was the first commissioner of the PMO’s planning department. By that time, the Prime Minister was Mzee Rashid Kawawa.

“We were told the government saw it fit to have a planning desk at the PM’s level. The department had five zones. I was assigned as the in-charge of the Northern Zone—Tanga Kilimanjaro and Arusha,” he said.

In 1976, I was supposed to go to Arusha as a regional planning officer but the transfer never materialised…it was annulled at the eleventh hour.

“It was unfortunate that my post was assigned to Odinga Ogara,” he said, adding that at that time, the Chief Secretary was Mr Timothy Apiyo.

“One day, a guy at the registry tipped me that I was being transferred to Arusha—to become a regional planning officer. This was a good promotion…but it was overturned by ‘wakubwa’ and I said to myself that I must remain an obedient servant. I knew my turn would come and at the right time…maybe that was not the right time for me,” Mr Lumbanga said.

Instead, he was posted to Mara Region in the same capacity and served in the position for four years. It was from here that his close relation with the family of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere began.

“I was called back to the Prime Minister’s office and promoted to Planning Commissioner…this time under Edward Moringe Sokoine for one and a half to two years,” Dr Lumbanga said.

Sokoine was a hardworking and good listener and attentive person but he didn’t like the economists’ advice against villagisation policy and the government went ahead to implement the policy.

“We had advised the government to reconsider the decision to conduct a villagisation programme. I asked him, for example, how the government would implement the programme in Maasai settlements as they are known for being nomadic.  Sokoine did not take it lightly and the programme started with four pilot regions,” recalls Mr Lumbanga.

Villagisation is the usually compulsory resettlement of people into designated villages by government or other authorities.

Exactly, after one year in 1976, the villagisation programme was suspended.

Regardless, Mr Lumbanga regards the late Sokoine as one of the best leaders this country was blessed with.

“I knew Sokoine as a very hard worker. He could see you out of the office and get back to work until 2am. He will make sure every file at his desk was worked on before the next morning, no matter how late you sent a file to him,” Mr Lumbanga said, “He used to work throughout the night.”

Dr Lumbanga’s stance was always to be open-minded and to tell the truth and he hated intimidations.

He recalled when he was transferred to the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism as Planning Director but surprisingly his salary was slashed from MS 12 to MS 10. Then, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry was Mr Julius Sepeku.

“I wrote a bitter letter to PS Utumishi (Public Service Management),” he said. The letter was channelled to PS Sepeku, who called him and asked him to write a diplomatic one.

“I told him that I have written what I think was right and a clear message.

“He (Sepeku) edited my letter of protest and after two days, he called me back. He didn’t change the content, only altered the language. He told me that we’ve a visitor. And, standing before us was Mr Bernard Mulokozi—PS President’s Office Public Service Management.

“Mr Mulokozi was a tough fellow with gleaming eyes and he openly said to me that I was being unfairly treated and underpaid, insisting that as a Director of Planning, I deserved to get MS 12 not MS 10.

Shortly afterward the PS Mr Mulokozi called him and said he liked his spirit. “He said that was the perfect way to present grievance when one’s right is not observed. My salary was restored.

For Mr Lumbanga, this is a lesson worth sharing to public servants, saying whenever one feels he/she has been unfairly treated; one must speak out and file a protest to the relevant authorities.

“I picked a valuable lesson from Mr Sepeku and Mulokozi. Public servants must not fear to speak out for their rights but it is important for them to use proper language. I lived with Mr Sepeku’s advice to date,” he said.

Mzee Lumbanga served as Director of Planning at the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism for eight years, then under Minister Gertrude Mongella.

“I remember one day I had an argument with Minister Mongella about clearance of files and sometimes in office such things are normal and this is why Mama Mongella always wanted me promoted. She even took her time to convince President Ali Hassan Mwinyi to promote me to the post of PS in the ministry.

“I was angry with Mongella because I was not looking for promotion…but she calmed me down and soon, I was promoted as PS of the ministry before being told that I will serve as deputy PS for land,” Mr Lumbanga said.

Mr Lumbanga and wife Ethel are blessed with five children – Mordgard, Emanuel, Clara, Catherine and Harriet.

He has served in many capacities in the course of his career, including as Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (1992 – 95), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Trade (1991 – 92), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (1990 – 91), as well as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism (1989 – 90).

Related Articles

Back to top button
hacklink panel hacklink al hacklink sollet hdxvipizle jojobet casibom bahiscom ikimisli 1xbet deneme bonusu veren siteler en güvenilir slot siteleri tarafbetmatadorbet
hack forum hack forum hacklink hacklink panel cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı cami halısı evden eve nakliyat ofis taşıma seo hizmeti Onwin Marmaris casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom casibom vds Bahis Siteleri onwin Diyarbet
ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino ByCasino
Tipobet Tipobet Tipobet Tipobet Tipobet Tipobet Tipobet Tipobet
Sahabet Sahabet Sahabet Sahabet Sahabet Sahabet Sahabet Sahabet
Onwin Onwin Onwin Onwin Onwin
Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet
Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet Starzbet