CCM Presidential candidate Dr John Magufuli has promised that, if re-elected in the coming October 28 polls, his government will continue throwing its weight into improving marine transport.
Speaking at Kemondo township in Kagera Region on Tuesday in the continuation of his campaign trail, Dr Magufuli underscored the importance of a maritime-focused economy.
He said one of his government plans to reinstate Kagera’s lost glory is to upgrade Kemondo and Bukoba ports to facilitate transport and trade between Kagera and neighbouring regions and countries.
Kemondo Bay, a port that covers an area of 47 hectares, has infrastructures that support the use of ferry wagons, meaning that cargo can be transported from Dar es Salaam by railway up to Mwanza where the wagons can be transferred into the ferries before being shipped to Bukoba, Musoma, Port Bell in Uganda and Kisumu in Kenya.
Bukoba Port, which like Kemondo, is connected to roads in the country and neighbouring countries, plays a vital economic role, handling both passenger, containerised and loose cargo ships plying on Lake Victoria.
President Maguli told Kemondo residents that the expansion of Kemondo and construction of a new vessel will enable wananchi to benefit from trading with neighbouring domestic and foreign markets, hence improving their lives.
He said over 20 years after the MV Bukoba accident, the people of Kemondo have suffered due to the absence of reliable marine transport in Lake Victoria.
He said the revival of MV Victoria means a lot to the Lake zone economy and that his government is working hard to ensure all water transport challenges are resolved. He said the government is currently constructing a new vessel that will ply in Lake Victoria, thus boosting more business and social activities.
Dr Magufuli said he was aware of the challenges facing wananchi in the area and that they will all be resolved in the coming five years.
“We want people from Kemondo to move to Mwanza, Jinja in Uganda, Kisumu in Kenya and Musoma in Mara region and back to their home smoothly after the coming of the new ship,” said Dr Magufuli.
Dr Magufuli also promised to work on a request by CCM candidate for Bukoba Rural constituency, Mr Jason Rweikiza to connect Bukoba rural District to the national grid.
Dr Magufuli expressed sadness that despite sitting just on the shores of Lake Victoria, Kemondo had no safe drinking water.
He promised that upon re-election he will address the water blues as he challenged his aides to work on challenges that affect the wananchi.
He said his government, upon re-election, will appoint people in the ministry of water who will quickly address water challenges in the region and other areas with similar problems.
Dr John Magufuli, on the other hand, promised to curb challenges facing coffee, a strategic cash crop for Kagera region so that the produce could benefit growers and the country at large.
Dr Magufuli said if re-elected in the October 28, polls, his government will continue improving agriculture and farmers welfare by finding markets and setting good prices for crops.
“I know there are challenges facing Coffee growers in this region; we are going to address them soon after the October election. I have called the Minister for Trade and Industry as well as his permanent secretaries for the purpose.”
Dr Magufuli said it is time to address all the challenges facing the crop which is the main source of income for the region adding that his government was committed to ensuring that farmers in the region were benefiting from it.