THE government has explained that the demolition of 1,194 structures along the banks of Msimbazi River in Kinondoni Municipality in Dar es Salaam was a legal exercise.
Maulid Mtulia (Kinondoni—CCM) claims that the 2015 exercise demolished at least 690 houses in Magomeni Sunnah, 253 in Kawawa, 200 Hananasifu and 51 in Mkunguni A but none of the owners was compensated.
“When will the affected families receive their benefits after being rendered homeless?” he asked.
In a written response, Minister of State in the Office of the Vice-President (Union and Environment) Mussa Azan Zungu, explained that the exercise was conducted between December 17 and 22 and resumed in January 2016 before being suspended indefinitely following some court injunctions.
“We only suspended the exercise to allow court hearings that were lodged by some residents in various courts in the city,” the minister said.
He noted that the demolition involved seven government authorities.
These were the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Urban Planning Department, Office of the President Regional Administration and Local Governments—Dar es Salaam Municipalities, Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism (Forestry Unit), The Police Force, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service—TISS.
“The demolition of illegal structures was part of developing the Msimbazi river basin in Dar es Salaam,” he said, adding: “The exercise Dodomaaimed at protecting the lives of the people living in the vicinity of the flood-prone area from losing lives, properties and destruction of infrastructures.”
Mr Zungu stressed that the exercise followed all the legal procedures which include assessment of all the structures in risk areas, identifying all the illegal structures and putting ‘X’ marks on the targeted structures, and giving enough time for the tenants to vacate the premises ahead of the exercise.
The minister noted that in addition, State authorities installed beacons for the river basin and shut down all social services, including water, electricity and communication.
“I want to inform the lawmaker that the government, through the lands ministry, established a complaints desk specifically to serve people affected by the exercise,” he said.
The exercise was run legally, transparently and without prejudice or favouritism as all people with legitimate demands had been compensated.