Ferry services for several other items including cars, Lorries, wagons and push-carts have also gone up significantly, a move which Dr Magufuli said was aimed at covering up operational and other related costs. The legislators charge that Dr Magufuli did not consult them or any other stakeholders before deciding to increase ferry charges, particularly passenger fares by 100 per cent, accusing him of dictatorship.
Much as the MPs appear to have a point, but still it is our conviction that the legislators have decided to blow the matter out of proportion for reasons than what meets the eye. It is true that by paying 200/- fare and higher charges for vehicles and other items, people crossing the Magogoni creek will be digging deeper in their pockets.
However, Dr Magufuli rightly said that running ferry services between the two points in Dar es Salaam and other parts of the country was costly and the government often subsidises operations. It is from this background that the ministry decided to increase the charges to cover for some of the operation costs, a factor that the Dar es Salaam MPs have opted not to address their minds.
It should also be noted that some of these MPs were involved in blocking relocation of people from flood-prone valleys and lowlands in Dar es Salaam to safer areas, despite repeated appeals by municipal councils and other authorities. The refusal to relocate to safer areas recently led to drowning of 40 people due to recent floods as over 5,000 others rendered homeless and lost property worth billions of shillings.
People should be careful with such leaders bent on cheap popularity as opposed to being genuine champions for good governance and democratic decision making. Dr Magufuli rightly said, the other day that the government needs to raise funds to maintain the vessels crossing the creek and pay workers’ salaries and other benefits.
Obviously the funds should come from users of ferry services and the government will come in when it is necessary. It is encouraging that people using ferry services between Kigamboni and Magogoni have understood and threats of staging demonstrations to protest the hike are no longer there.