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What happened to ATC, TRL, UDA resuscitations efforts?

What happened to ATC, TRL, UDA resuscitations efforts?

He has just lost his dream home and all precious memories with it. Facing possible financial ruin his hormones go into top gear.  His head starts pounding, his heartbeat feels like a drum beating in his throat.  He feels faint. Without warning, he collapses to the ground.

The next thing he remembers is waking up in hospital with tubes sticking out of him like a Dawasco mains distributing water to several clients in Mwananyamala. He was lucky.  Colleagues found him lying on the floor and quickly summoned an ambulance.  Paramedics managed to revive him en route to hospital.

Tanzania recently experienced two days of some rain that brought back memories of the nightmare flooding of last few years to urban dwellers. The mini-dams of no irrigation value that appeared out of nowhere and made Dar es Salaam and a few other wet cities temporarily resemble Karachi or Manila cities after a hurricane will be back to a street near you.

The long rains have not really started and we are being flooded? This was the tail end of a tropical storm off the coast of Madagascar that dumped a few inches of rain on parched soil.  And still our urban concrete jungles could hardly drain the run-off water properly thus the temporary flooding of some cities.

Did city authorities learn anything from the disastrous December 2011 rains?  By now they should have unclogged major drainage pathways in city centres.  Are we waiting for a donor-funded project to rehabilitate storm-water drainage in cities?  

Many city sewerage and sanitation systems are in dire need of resuscitation before the coming long rains dump heavenly tears on our land. Maybe it is too late.  We will just grin and bear the brunt of the expected flood damage that is surely coming.

Like Jackson the Whacko who sang he wanna be starting something but never lived long enough to finish it even after saying this is it, Tanzania is very good at starting something and not following through to a successful conclusion. Good things do not last long enough in Tanzania.  Even revival efforts end up like wild grass fire that burns high initially, then sputters and finally dies before cooking anything significant.

Tanzania desperately needed to revive the glory days of its railways so as to ease travel of passengers and transport of goods to Tabora, Kigoma, Mwanza and beyond. Tanzania railways married an Indian company and for a while some regularly irregular movement of people and goods occurred.  

That marriage of Tanzania railways and Rites did not last long.  After the divorce the Indian suitor took off with used wagons that were brought in to boost the fleet, and TRL was left with disgruntled workers and the old rickety wagons/engines.  If good intentions were basic ingredient of marriage success, TR limited would still be up and running.

These days TRL is back to its old ways of weekly trips to Kigoma that get cancelled more often per month than the times Liz Taylor got divorced. The company and its workers who promised to successfully run the railway services once the Indian partner was gone cannot even mount day trips from Kimara to Central station.  

How does a company like that pay its workers? Leaders of the workers union of TRL should take a bus trip to Nairobi to learn how Kenya railways is managing to ferry thousands of commuters from Athi River to the city centre every day and how they are earning good money from this venture.

That is business, Tanzania style.  You work the minimum, take your pay as usual at the end of the month and whenever possible, demand for salary raise because of escalating cost of living. Is this how China managed to make the great leap forward?  At this rate we are doomed to the great fall backwards.

Our Any Time Cancelled airline is like the mammoth Zeppelin flying hot air balloons that do not float long enough to make real money.  I love the blue and white colours of that airline.  I am proud of the flag and giraffe at the tail of planes as they fly to Kigoma.  Just Kigoma and Tabora.

Dar is still waiting for the Rapid Transit project take off. Wider roads, bus lanes, modern stops etc would shorten traffic queues.  Instead long queues are getting longer even though Tanzania has had project funding since three years ago. Delays in the implementation of the Dar rapid transit project is not from lack of will.  

Contractors have been identified and contracts awarded, so why are we stuck? Apparently some disgruntled individuals have taken the legal route to seek court injunctions against demolition of properties they own along the path of the transit routes.

If I were the chief "kitifutif" officer of this land of Serengeti, I would issue an executive order to execute the project without further ado. The economy of this country depends on Dar es Salaam.  When Dar stands still, the rest of Tanzania suffers.  A few individuals ought not hold the nation at ransom.  National good should prevail over personal interests.

UDA company used to be a household name.  At its heyday the company owned hundreds of buses including the famous Ikarus "kumbakumba."  When one Ikarus bus left Ubungo for Posta it swept clean all but stops along the way.

Those double buses could carry over 100 passengers without cramming them like sardines in a tin can.  Instead we are stuck with small private buses that no longer charge a dollar.  We need big buses and wide roads.  Sometimes size does matter in life. Some of our failures are huge.

tnaleo@hotmail.com; cell +255-755-246-136

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Author: TONY ZAKARIA

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