President John Magufuli’s government has suspended Kigoma and Mpanda municipal council directors Boniface Nyambele and Suleiman Lukanga, for alleged abuse of office and causing the government to suffer losses totally amounting to more than Sh350 million.
The decision was made by the minister of State in president’s office (Regional Administration and local government authorities), Mr George Simbachawene.
Speaking to reporters, the head of the information department at the ministry, Ms Rebecca Kwandu, said Mr Nyambele had been suspended over allegedly selling government houses without following the Public Procurement regulations.
Mr Nyambele’s suspension is intended to pave the way for investigations over embezzlement of Sh92.75 million that was intended for buying a garbage collection truck.
He is also accused of embezzling Sh294 million meant for an irrigation project in Kakese ward.
Ms Kwandu said the minister had appointed the Kigoma regional water department boss, Mr Sultan Ndilowa, acting Mpanda municipal council director.
He has also appointed deputy Regional Administrative Secretary Lauteri Kaoni to replace Mr Lukanga in an acting capacity.
“The minister warned that the government would take disciplinary measures against officials who misused their authority,” she said.
Mawio newspaper locked down
In a separate incident, Tanzania media stakeholders are up in arms following government’s decision to ban a weekly newspaper Mawio.
Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) Secretary, Mr Neville Meena, is quoted by The Citizen Tanzania, saying the Newspaper Act which was invoked in banning Mawio remains one of the worst laws, since it deprives newspapers the right of defending themselves, and leaves the government act as complainant, prosecutor and judge rolled in one.
“This is a bad sign for President (John) Magufuli’s administration, two months in office and he is already banning a newspaper; how many will he ban in five years?” wondered Meena.
Opposition MP Tundu Lissu, said Mawio’s was sending a clear message that President Magufuli is not ready to take media criticism.
Yesterday, Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Nape Nnauye told reporters that the government had “regrettably” moved to permanently prohibit both print and online publication of Mawio since the editors of the paper refused to comply with the laws even after the registrar of Newspapers “tirelessly” warned them eight times between July 2013 and January this year.
“They have been running inflammatory articles, the last ones titled ‘Machafuko yaja Zanzibar’ (Violence coming in Zanzibar) and Maalim Seif Rais Zanzibar (Maalim Seif is the President of Zanzibar) shows how irresponsible are the editors of Mawio.”
The Minister also accused the editor of the newspaper of contempt, saying every time the office of the registrar demanded explanations for his articles the replies are “penned in a disrespectful language.”
Owner of Mawio Simon Mkinga said the government used force against his paper and freedom of speech.
The director for Hali Halisi Publishers, Saed Kubenea, who were the distributor of Mawio, said the only offence that the newspaper had committed was writing “investigative and analytical” stories especially on Zanzibar’s ongoing political crisis.
Dar es Salaam special zone police commander Simon Sirro has asked Mawio editors to present themselves to police; else they will be arrested.
Meanwhile, The East African newspaper was allowed back into circulation over the weekend after a year-long ban.
The Citizen Tanzania