President Jakaya Kikwete must leave behind a legacy when he bows out of office in less than two years' time, said The Citizen, commenting on the Tanzanian leader's shuffle of his cabinet this week. Kikwete’s presidency is due for a mandatory termination under the Tanzanian constitution that limits the country’s head of state to hold two five-year terms, if elected for the second time.
Kikwete had to rejig his cabinet this week following the resignation of four ministers and the death of one.
“His legacy will be rooted on the performance of his senior lieutenants; that is why we aver that his decision to appoint or dismiss certain individuals was well thought and well advised,” said the daily.
“It is for this reason we don’t share the concern of those who are disappointed that some ministers who had been branded ‘mizigo’ (derogatory Kiswahili word for non-performers) have been retained.
“Our view is that the clamour to rid the cabinet of ‘mizigo’ ministers was mostly politics in play rather than sincere, critical analysis,” the paper argued.
Ministers who resigned in December 2013 were for Natural Resources and Tourism, Livestock and Fisheries, Defence and National Service, as well as Home Affairs while death took away the Finance and Economic Affairs Minister.
The cabinet reshuffle made headlines in several other Tanzanian newspapers this week, with mixed reactions from different sections of the local population. Some people rejoiced and others were simply disappointed.
Commenting on the same development, The Guardian said that the public expressed mixed views over what the president had done and that their reaction was understandable.
According to the daily,“this was especially so because events in recent weeks had pointed to the likelihood of some ministers and their deputies being shown the door on account of being what has come to be commonly referred to as ‘liabilities’.
“When the people’s hopes of seeing these ‘liabilities’ dumped were dashed come the reshuffle, it was no wonder that anxiety degenerated into anger, disillusionment and disappointment for some,” said The Guardian.
The paper recalled that it was not the first time that President Kikwete has shuffled his cabinet since his first term which started in 2005.
In May 2012, he dumped six ministers and two deputy ministers in a move that was partly prompted by appeals from legislators of both the ruling party and the opposition camp after reports of embezzlement and lack of accountability.
The Guardian pointed out that after the reshuffles, people wondered whether the performance of the ministries has improved thanks to the changes.
“Have the reshuffles set an example by jolting ministers into greater diligence and accountability?
“Reshuffle or no reshuffle, all public institutions ought to live up to public expectation if they are to escape scathing criticism from the citizenry,” the daily added.
On its part, the government-owned Daily News wished the new-look cabinet all the best and cautioned the ministers that they faced enormous challenges, “but we hope the ministers and deputy ministers have what it takes to be in a team that will steer the country from low to middle-income status by 2025.”
A Kiswahili language tabloid, Mtanzania, said the new cabinet was still bloated and it overburdened the taxpayer.
The paper expressed disappointment for having the Education and Vocational Training Ministry left intact while the education sector called for a vigorous push to turn out well qualified professionals.
Another daily tabloid, Majira, said the public still wondered why the president has failed to get rid of the deadwood in his cabinet.
The paper urged the ministers to prove that they can perform and show results of raised efficiency in all sectors of public service.