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Drama as infrastructure minister comes under fire

LAWMAKERS put the minister for infrastructure, communication and transport under sustained pressure over the grounded state-owned passenger vessel MV Mapinduzi II.

Led by Paje legislator Jaku Hashim Ayoub, the backbenchers demanded answers from Dr Sira Ubwa Mamboya over what they described as persistent breakdown of the ship, imported two years ago.

Mapinduzi II has been undergoing maintenance for the past six months after experiencing defects in one of its main engines and the riled Reps questioned the longevity of the maintenance.

They also complained over alleged inflated repair costs and Jaku in particular asked the minister whether she was ready to accompany a House team to inspect the vessel, a request that was dully turned down by Dr Mamboya.

“I suggest that a House team, and let me declare interest I will be one of them, should visit the site and inspect the vessel to find out what is really going on,” Mr Jaku claimed, apparently insisting there was something fishy.

“There is no way we’ll let a team of people to go the maintenance site and interfere with the ongoing work, let’s be patient as engineers work on fixing the problem,” the minister replied.

Despite calls from other legislators, including Suleiman Sarahan Said (Chakechake) and Ali Suleiman Ali (Kijitoupele), who chipped in with supplementary questions, thus, pressing for a House intervention on the matter, Dr Mamboya stood her ground.

She declined to state when exactly the maintenance would be finalised, insisting that the government will inform the public once the engineers are done with the job on hand.

Dr Mamboya insisted the state-owned ship assured the citizens in both Islands of Pemba and Unguja a reliable and affordable transport, revealing that between January 2016 and January 2018 MV Mapinduzi II served 385,909 passengers.

“MV Mapinduzi is a big vessel and it is affordable as it put into consideration the income of an ordinary citizen, the fare is cheaper compared to fares charged by private vessels,” she told the House.

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Author: ABDALLAH MSUYA in Zanzibar

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