Warioba firm on citizen-centred Union

DAR ES SALAAM: AHEAD of Tanzania Union’s 60th anniversary, former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba has shared what he believes would make the Union stronger, saying the focus must be on what the citizens need rather than political powers.

“What I see is that we should continue strengthening the lives of Tanzanians, let’s not focus on challenges of the government,” Justice (rtd) Warioba stated on Friday in Dar es Salaam during an interview with journalists at his home.

The 83-year-old Mzee Warioba, who served the government in different capacities from the early postindependence era, argued that citizens have all the time enjoyed the fruits of the Union, therefore what is important is to strengthen it.

“We must strengthen services to citizens, and this would bring more unity and solidarity between the two sides and consequently protect peace,” he affirmed.

He stated that for an ordinary citizen, the Union matters are not really their concern, but what matters a retheir rights for them to get development.

“The citizens are calm, so to strengthen the Union in the next 60 years, we should strengthen the rights of Tanzanians,” Mzee Warioba stressed. Adding: “many times I hear about Union vexes, but I have not seen anyone who is directly concerned with the lives of citizens from both sides of the Union.” To him, there are key issues that affect citizens but are not part of the Union matters, pointing out social services.

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For instance, he said health services are not part of the Union matters, but Tanzanians want to get equal services when they go on any side of the Union.

“It’s inappropriate that one receives health services of certain quality in the mainland and when he goes to Zanzibar he gets a different quality of services,” he elaborated.

In line with this, he advised that since the plan is ongoing to introduce the Universal Health Insurance (UHI), it should cover the whole of Tanzania.

“It should not be that when you have insurance cover in the mainland it is not applicable in Zanzibar, or when you have insurance in Zanzibar when you come to the mainland it is not used. I think we must work on things like these,” he emphasised.

He recalled a period in 1980’s when Mwalimu Julius Nyerere sent Pius Msekwa and him abroad to borrow a leaf from other united countries.

“We made our first leg in the UK to see what their union looked like and what we could learn from it,” he explained.

The lesson they drew was that the people in each country of England, Wales, Scotland and Netherlands had different traditions but they were united on key matters.

“That was the same in Canada. For example, when a person has insurance, he can access health services in any province.” “The union is not for the governments, but the governments did on behalf of the citizens, so assessing the Union you must look from the citizens’ perspective,” he said.

Speaking over Tanzania’s Union economic issues, he said the governments should cooperate, for instance on the matter of the blue economy which depends on the sea.

This is because the citizens from both sides of the Union use the sea for economic activities, so the governments have to cooperate and formulate a common policy.

“The policies that we make, even if the particular sector is not part of the Union matters, we should look at people’s interests,” he stated.

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