FAILURE to act on pertinent issues under their jurisdictions cost two ministers of their ‘adorable’ offices, President John Magufuli revealed yesterday.
Dr Magufuli, speaking at the State House in Dar es Salaam, said he was compelled to expel Agriculture Minister Charles Tizeba and his Industry, Trade and Investment counterpart Charles Mwijage due to underperformance.
President Magufuli, in his detailed explanations, seemed irritated by reluctance by the two ministers to respond to problems engulfing their portfolios.
At several incidences, he said, he had to send Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to the fields to handle people’s problems as the responsible ministers kept their hands off.
The Head of State was speaking shortly after swearing in two ministers, four deputies and the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania (LRCT) Chairman retired Judge January Msofe.
The newly sworn in ministers are Japhet Hasunga as Agriculture Minister and his deputy Innocent Bashungwa; and Joseph Kakunda for Industry, Trade and Investment.
Mr Constantine Kanyasu was sworn-in as Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism and Mwita Waitara as Deputy Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government. Citing some cases, Dr Magufuli accused Dr Tizeba of failure to handle the distribution of fertilisers to farmers in Southern Highlands regions during this year’s farming season.
“I gave seven-day ultimatum and even sent the Prime Minister. But, why should I send the Prime Minister,” queried the president, adding that the same experience happened to coffee farmers in Kagera.
Speaking over recent cashew marketing crisis, Dr Magufuli said he didn’t see any effort by Tizeba or Mwijage to resolve the matter. The cashew crisis pitted farmers against buyers over prices.
The farmers boycotted the ‘low’ cap price of 1,500/- set by the Cashewnuts Board of Tanzania, compelling President Magufuli to direct traders to buy the produce at a minimum price of 3,000/-.
But, despite his directive, buyers seemed to be in a goslow, leading to the four-day ultimatum by Premier Majaliwa. The deadline ended yesterday evening, with 13 buyers committing themselves to buy the cash crop.
“Since I gave the directive to traders, followed by the four-day ultimatum, I didn’t even hear the agriculture minister scolding the buyers over their defiance,” the President stated.
Hitting at Mwijage, the president cited the case of the Tea factory that remained idle for eight years as farmers looked for the market to sell their produce.
“I had to send the Prime Minister to resolve the matter and now the factory is running under wananchi,” he noted.
He remarked: “I pushed them and it reached time I said to myself that I may break their legs, so I better find other people who can cope with my speed.”
National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai said the cabinet reshuffle was meant to strengthen the leadership line-up.
“Those appointed should live up to expectations of the President,” he said, expressing his dissatisfaction over the performance of the agriculture sector despite the fact that the country spends a lot on its development.
He said since independence the government has been investing heavily, citing agricultural research and higher learning institutions and the sector has many academicians, but still performs poorly.
“Sometimes I ask myself whether the president can decide to eliminate this ministry for let say one year and assess the situation… I think we can’t find difference between its presence and absence,” charged Mr Ndugai