A newly – introduced platform for discussion, popularly known as ‘’Tujadiliane’’ Radio Programme, has started to hit Mwanza ‘s air waves on 9th August, 2017 following its official inauguration by Mwanza Regional Commissioner at Belmont Hotel’s conference hall.
The 45 – minute programme, aimed at sensitizing listeners in particular and the general public at large to the importance of actively taking part in development endeavours, had the Regional Commissioner, Mr. John Mongella himself as its ever first principal guest speaker.
In his inaugural speech delivered in front of a handful of local journalists, drawn from both 15 fm radios and print media based in Mwanza city, Mr. Mongella unveiled a string of quite ambitious short, intermediate and long – term plans for promoting irrigation schemes around Lake Victoria (a massive water body covering about 80% of Mwanza region) to increase an area of commercial horticulture, besides boosting cotton production.
Also prioritized projects include revival of a tannery, fishing – processing and textile industries, improving transport both on the Lake and on land and boosting tourism at large and in particular Serengeti National Park, whose gate way is Mwanza city itself.
Guided by Mr. Dotto Bulendu, a St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) department of Journalism and Mass Communication lecturer and reacting to probing questions raised by journalists later on, the Regional Commissioner spoke of Government’s determination to revive cotton crop production as well as improve its prices.
Mr. Mongella’s remarks come at a time when cotton, Lake Zone’s main cash crop, has shown signs of failure for nearly a decade in a row, partly due to use of wrong, non-germinating seeds, marketing constraints & challenges and gross financial mismanagement, on the part of primary societies, inevitably leading the disillusioned small cotton growers to abandon the crop almost completely in most areas.
Mindful of such a past sad, painful experience, the Regional Commissioner who himself hails from the Lake Zone, hinted that, to mitigate the pressing problem, a new cotton seed variety called ‘’UK 08’’, capable of resisting both drought and diseases, has already been produced and subsequently distributed to the cotton growers, in place of a traditional ‘’UK 91’’ variety.
According to him, the new variety not only germinates quite easily, but also yields a bumper crop harvests per hectare, resulting in the authorities to contemplate producing more of ’’UK 08’’ cotton seed variety, from 120 tons presently up to 350 – 400 tons in two years to come, besides seeing to it that the cotton growers get paid 1,200/= per kilo, effective 2016 season, to start with.
Other ambitious projects which the regional authorities have in mind, Mr. Mongella said, is to embark on a rehabilitation of Mv. Umoja and Mv. Clarias, ferries plying between Mwanza and Ukerewe and procurement of a new boat to ply between Mwanza and Bukoba.
Also, he said, there would be a major modernization of Mwanza city, in compliance with its master plan, to be undertaken by Subona Company in three phases, between 2018 and 2035, intended to beautify Mwanza city, which he said, would be a truly vibrant and efficient ‘’pulse of Nyanza’’, likened to Indonesian metropolis.
Others Mr. Mongela added, are to embark on construction of airport’s control tower and related cargo terminal, sports promotion, grid and solar electricity supply to rural – based social amenities including dispensaries, under REA III and expansion and improvement of health delivery schemes.
In addition, he declared that war on illegal fishing and over-fishing activities on Lake Victoria would be intensified this time around to enable all seven fish – processing plants to get adequate sizable fish supplies and so be able to operate at full capacity as they did in the 1980s.
Once again, reacting to yet an extremely hard question from Mr. Bulendu, on a rather serious assertion that Mwanza now ranks 5th from bottom of 2nd after Dar es Salaam, the Regional Commissioner dismissed it saying his region still remains the country’s reputable economic hub, contributing 10.4% to the GDP, next to Dar es Salaam whose contribution stands at 19.6%.
Proposing a vote of thanks in the end, UTPC Executive Director, Mr. Abubakar Karsan expressed deep gratitude to Mr. Mongella for not only officiating at an inaugural ceremony, but also giving a full, detailed account of what is happening in his region.
He disclosed that a guest speaker at an upcoming ‘’Tujadiliane’’ Radio Programme will possibly be an official from National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) who is to give an insight into a medical insurance policy.
The colourful, historical event was also attended by a Nyamagana district official, and a handful of activists and representatives of Non – Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil – Based Organizations (CBOS) and religious institutions