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The Kigoma-Nyakanazi road in Kagera is a nightmare

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I once considered travelling between Ndundu and Somanga road stretch in Lindi region, hell. The 60kms piece of road is rough, occasionally potholed and dusty as United Arab Emirates based MA Kharaffi & Sons continues construction of the road to bitumen standard.

Most passenger buses from Dar es Salaam to Kilwa, Lindi and Mtwara are rugged, dusty and often driven badly by youthful drivers who enjoy over-speeding. I never thought that there is a major road connecting resource rich regions of Kigoma and Kagera, which is worse than Ndundu Somanga.

Most buses plying Kigoma Bukoba and Mwanza route are no better than those plying Dar es Salaam to Lindi and Mtwara although much of the latter’s road network is substandard bitumen. The buses are dusty, seats rugged and dismantled and often overloaded.

Travelling between Kigoma town to Nyakanazi in Bihalamulo district through Kasulu and Kibondo is a haunting experience. A distance of hardly 500kms, it took us more than six hours to cover the distance in bus with capacity of 65 people but actually carried more than 100.

It wasn’t only people that this shabby bus christened, Ally’s Sports Bus was carrying, but also goats, hens, sheep, charcoal bags, bananas, and all sorts of farm produce. Most of the passengers were either farmers or traders.

Covering areas of badly emaciated natural forests and grassland with occasional small village towns, the over-speeding bus which was chasing its peers also travelling to Kahama, Mwanza, Shinyanga and far, left behind a cloud of red soil dust which haunted passengers in the next bus.

As passengers in our bus started complaining of the choking dust and windows that couldn’t open because the substandard bodies of locally built or Mombasa built bodies, the driver was forced to increase the speed and over take the bus in front.

No traffic policeman on the dusty roads except armed Field Force Unit or plain clothes policemen manning road blocks to check against crime in an area where carjacking and highway banditry were once common.

As I dropped at Nyakanazi, the main junction to Ngara district yesterday and where the tarmac road to Mwanza starts, I looked at my fellow disembarking passengers and their luggage, we were all red soil from head to toe, our luggage inclusive. This is a Tanzania of the 21st century!

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Mziba

    27/09/2010 at 6:28 am

    Ma man! Simbaye, I like it when a reporter reports excatly the way it. You and your buddies keep me wainting the next stories from Home. Now here’s my take on the piece. I went through similar experiance in 08. you are correct 100%. You guys are heroes for putting it out there.
    There was a joke when i was growing up. that Kigomans tend to look Sharp and trendy but you can not believe how their mkoa is lagging behind in all sort of development. For example during awamu ya kwanza, there was only one Secondary school for all kids. guest what, when i complited prime school, only one student from my class got excepted to Kigoma Secondary School. My farther was trader, so is evebody fathers around me. they could only afford food and clothes. No one had capital invest in a Development projects. So what they did was to buy food and clothings thats it. as a kids we used we used all kind of legends, sometimes we thought we were far from the where nyerere lives. so we just gonna have to wait. So we waited First round, waited second round, and waiting third, and waiting fourth round, I think it’s time to do it ourselves, while we wait’n for an Awamu ya tono. Pweewwwww

    Based on our new system of govenment, Tell the communities along the road to form with a due diligent #1.a cooperative or whatever form of business that the profit will go to the business instead of going in members pokets. #2. raise funds to purchase a buses. #3. Raise funds ro build a reliable road,instead of those bitumens. The facts of the matter, about 99% of the villegers if you tell them to do the three steps, their first reaction will be, it is not possible. But impossible is nothing, because all kigomans are natural born entreprenurs. Even during nyerere there were no govenment Jobs. We have rolling by ourselves for years to the point of thinking may be we should not kick mkoloni’s butt. Now its their time to make a defferent, Just explain to them a form of govenment and the meaning of Free Entreprises. Thank you

  2. Finnigan wa Simbeye

    27/09/2010 at 10:26 am

    Yeah, I understands Yasser but roads are an expensive investment to make and sincerely it is the responsibility of the government, at least to make major roads passable. That doesn’t mean that communities have no obligation to improve roads in their areas by voluntary

  3. Finnigan wa Simbeye

    27/09/2010 at 10:27 am

    Yeah, I understands Yasser but roads are an expensive investment to make and sincerely it is the responsibility of the government, at least to make major roads passable. That doesn’t mean that communities have no obligation to improve roads in their areas by voluntary work or paying taxes.

  4. Yasser Mziba

    29/09/2010 at 10:53 am

    Yup, I totally agree 100%. But then, think about this one, Mr. Simbeye. The government has proved several times to be incompetent in areas of Developments and governance. For an instance, these peoples do pay taxes Simbaye, alot of tax. The thing is that the govenment does not have system to truck the money. In other words, when you an accountant no body is watching you. why they do not keep accounting records effectively. they do pay taxes, I now know that was Indirect taxation. I grew up there, traders used to pay some kinder fees. on each farmers, market every day someone collect some money, where do the money go? simbaye. OK, all ’em junk buses you been riding around, do pay insurance and variety of fees, mind you, the insurance company pays taxes,where do the money go, bro? It comes out of pocket of these villagers and goes to buy SUV for officials. The MDGs mandate is 2015, how long we have gotten 3 left. We have to educate people about banks, about growth and about retirements and property value which for these people, I will skip the chapter. They do have sense of ownership. I think the government needs help, don,t you think so. I will be there collecting tax, so they keep records because community member may wanna see those files.
    . And again I completely agree that they should be paying tax and/or some sort of a Corporation in which the faida profit goes back to create more jobs training for youths or amerture sports. in other words, A revenue earnings sustainable NGO, may be a few grants here and there from public or the government. to create economic value of their potential which will lead to earn more money to buy things school children etc,. we need either to educate our people or design a new class of business. that is my exactly point. Simbaye, Not that the government is happy with what is going on. No they do work hard. This is African Problem is not only Tanzania. I think Tanzania is a good start. We ve got to restored trust in Africa. They only wants to see the numbers and variation in improvement, yani tell me, how can we not being able to help other and we have already been educated to their high standard. So we the people, gonna bring the market solution the age old social problem. It will be a project and I hope you will help me to inform others especially. Simba, I ‘ve already done the feasibility study, a project plan and a business plan, I need two more reviews from mentors. just cross your fingers, bro.

  5. Yasser Mziba

    29/09/2010 at 11:13 am

    Hey Simbaye, in the future I’m gonna form not for profit ventures capital. Let me know if you wanna in. It’s recession kinder start ups :p Remember! its education baby and the ladies of cause.. Watch obama with mat.

  6. TITO MGANWA

    22/01/2011 at 9:32 pm

    Ndo ninachokupendea Simbeye, unaangalia upande mbaya ya shilingi. na hii ndo kazi ya waandishi. Napenda sana kazi yako. Heshima kwako mkuu

  7. big bura

    24/01/2011 at 12:55 pm

    my brotha. U have touched were i always crying for.i dont know when that path is going to be considered,taking that way to kigoma is a big hell.i have used that way like thrice you better move from dar to moro by foot rather than taking a bus via that route you’ll made to kigoma very tired and you’ll never want to take that way back.and the worse of it is when the damn bus broke down in the middle of those forest or get stuck some where during rain season.

  8. traveller

    13/05/2011 at 12:21 am

    I have got one idea. Tanzania is a very big country I suggest it should be divided into two: the Western with the capital Mwanza and Eastern with the capital Dodoma.Period!

  9. Imani Magugudi

    23/05/2011 at 2:33 pm

    I always use that road on my way to kigoma which is my hometown. I understand all the hardships passengers get when travelling through that road. we have cried for help many times though everyone pretended not to hear our crying voices because they, themseves use planes when travelling to Kigoma. The Government should consider what happens when people get tired, no one will stop us!!!!!!!

  10. DAVIS GEOFF

    25/05/2011 at 5:31 pm

    I a m confused as I a m told that the road from Nyakanzi to Kigoma is under construction since 2008,how comes you say it is of pot holes etc.
    I do plan to travel with my saloon car this October,how do I do;please advice me

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