Free education, better roads and healthcare for Tanzania – Lowassa
Tanzania’s opposition party Chadema has promised to shake the country’s education system by providing free education from Primary school level to University level should it ascend to power.
Chadema’s presidential candidate Edward Ngoyai Lowassa said that the country’s education system has been a great hindrance to youth empowerment and employment for the young generation and women.
In 2001, Tanzania implemented the Primary Education Development Program (PEDP) and eliminated public school fees in order to increase access to primary education.
Schooling is now mandatory for children ages 7 – 15, and although enrollment has dramatically increased, Tanzania has not yet achieved Universal Primary Education (UPE). According to different figures, 35 – 40% of children still do not attend school in Tanzania, figures that Lowassa say are disturbing.
During his presidential bid launch, the Chadema’s flag-bearer said his government will give priority to education as the main factor for development adding that it (education) will open up more doors and opportunities for more Tanzanians locally and globally.
“Quality education will ensure that our people – especially the young people – acquire basic skills that are necessary for them to secure good jobs, create jobs and become competitive globally,” said Lowassa.
“We must create an environment that is friendly to innovations and technological developments.”
Lowassa said that the government has for long ignored the middle-level colleges despite most of the leaders having gone through them adding that his government will ensure more of such colleges are developed and those in existence upgraded.
“To ensure quality education, we must ensure that the welfare of teachers must be taken care off just like that of any other civil servant or private sector employee.”
He added: “We must ensure teachers get a good pay, good housing, a good medical cover, quality transport services and friendly working conditions.”
Lowassa, who is a former Prime Minister under President Jakaya Kikwete’s tenure, said that his education policy goes a long way to ensuring that school-going children are fed by the government and technology introduced at the lowest level possible.
Modern hospitals for better healthcare
He further said that his government will cater for Technology Learning Centres in all middle-class learning across the country.
Far from education, Chadema also says; “Every Tanzanian is entitled to quality healthcare. This can only be achieved through a good insurance plan that caters for everybody despite their economic status.”
Lowassa said that his government will put in place measures to eradicate preventable diseases by improving basic sanitation and health needs for the people of Tanzania.
He further said that his government will build more hospitals, equip them with modern technology and employ more medics to attend to the high number of under-served Tanzanians.
“We will drastically cut on the medical costs by subsidizing the cost of medicine, medical services among others.”
Lowassa said that his government will address the contentious land issue by ensuring that collective land owners get their title deeds in order to resolve the long standing conflicts especially between farmers and pastoralists.
“Value addition is also an integral part of agriculture to Tanzanians. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and we must allocate all the necessary resources to it as well as employ technology to improve productivity,” said Lowassa.
He went ahead to say that his government will abolish all taxes that apply to farmers and pastoralists either directly or indirectly through farm inputs and other means.
Infrastructural network development
On infrastructure, the Presidential hopeful said that he understands what ails Tanzania as a country and promised to fix it.
“Infrastructure is the central core of our economy. Without good infrastructural networks, there is very little that can be achieved,” he said.
“My government will construct main and feeder roads across the country with an aim of opening up our regions to more investments and accessibility. We will build the most modern rail networks, expand our air and water transport through construction of ports and modernizing the already existing ones.”
The opposition has also said that it will improve Tanzania’s bilateral relations with other countries, improve tourism through expos and lowering the costs incurred by tourists, promote local talent by construction of talent centres across the country as well as promote sporting activities by developing sports academies, improving remuneration of sports men and women as well as taking care of their welfare.
Lowassa’s presidential bid launch followed a week after that of ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s John Pombe Magufuli.
The two – who are seen as the top contenders – are among eight contestants cleared by the National Election Commission (NEC) to contest for the presidency in the October 25th election that has been termed as the country’s historical poll.