Kikwete touts impressive record in final speech to parliament

BYE BYE: Outgoing Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete bids farewell to parliament

BYE BYE: Outgoing Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete bids farewell to parliament Thursday July 9

As his second and last tenure winds down, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete outlined the major achievements of his administration in a lengthy address to the National Assembly in Dodoma Thursday.

Kikwete, who has led the East African nation since 2005 told parliament his government, had met 88% of second-term pledges.

In the 120-min speech Kikwete enumerated accomplishments in telecommunications, healthcare, infrastructure, education, economy and finance and the judiciary.

“At the inaugural of this august house I said we will implement our plans by new vigour, new zeal and new speed,” the head of state told the parliament in the absence of opposition lawmakers from Chadema, The National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR) -Mageuzi and Civic Union Front (CUF).

President Kikwete said his government also overcame political, economic and religious setbacks.

“It’s good that we all came together as a nation and addressed such shortcomings,” he said as he officially dissolved the tenth parliament.

He hailed lawmakers for their “tireless” efforts to make the government work better, he recognized their support passing several important legislations including the recent gas and petroleum bill, 2015 that saw taxes and prices go up on petroleum products.

The president assured lawmakers and the general public the country’s military is well equipped with sophisticated weapons to enable them to defend the nation.

Kikwete said the national general budget had soared five times since 2005, but donor dependence has been drastically slashed to 8% (from 42%).

Under his leadership, the Tanzanian economy has been has been growing by 7 percent and the East African is among the 20 fast growing economies in the world.

Kikwete has also been a player on the regional political scene as evidenced by his current chairman of the East African Community and hosting the heads of state summits on Burundi, or the summits on the central corridor.

Kikwete’s administration has earmarked a whopping TZ sh 14 trillion for the under-construction modern East African Railway line.

On the regional scene however, Kikwete has in the past been at loggerheads with his Rwandan Counterpart Paul Kagame after he suggested the Rwandan authorities ought to talk Democratic Republic of Congo-based FDLR rebels.

The Kigali government took offense to Kikwete’s counsel given the role FDLR militias allegedly played in the 1994 Genocide. The two leaders have since mended their relationship.

Despite the stellar record, Kikwete has been dogged by rampant Albino torture and killings at the hands of witchcraft beliefs.

It was also under his watch that a number of top government officials including cabinet ministers connived with executives in the country’s utility agencies to swindle $180m from the central bank.

The Tegeta energy scandal saw major donors to Tanzania suspend their support amounting to nearly $500 million to the country.

Tanzanians will head to the polls October 25 to elect Kikwete’s successor, and more than 35 Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) members including former Premier Edward Lowassa, and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere son, Charles Makongoro Nyerere, are fighting for the dominant party’s nomination for president.