By DAILY NEWS Reporters, 5th May 2010 @ 00:14, Total Comments: 3, Hits: 821 A FRANTIC final polish was being given to Dar es Salaam late last night as the hours and minutes ticked away until todays opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF). From the city centre to Mwenge, teams of workers and municipal supervisors were engaged like ants in a bid to spruce up the city for the visiting dignitaries no less than 12 African presidents and heads of state. As the VIPs in their official cars, flanked by the security teams make their way to the conference centre in Mlimani City in Mwenge at around noon today, they will notice as they near their destination that the route has been lined with palm trees. Fifty have been planted at a cost of around 700,000/-. And potholes have been filled in to ensure delegates get a smooth ride to the venue. According to Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr William Lukuvi, the value of each tree and other estimated costs of maintenance such as application of manure, watering the plants and care for each for the next six months is 700,000 /-. Zain Phone Company are decorating the entrance gate to the venue with more palms and Tigo, Akiba, BoT, TCRA and some other businesses are also involved. Each tree, he explained, is planted between 4 and 5 metres apart and the three kilometres stretch between Mwenge and Ubungo will eventually all be planted with trees. Instant trees were not the only surprise for city dwellers yesterday. People living in Ubungo and Mwenge areas around Sam Nujoma road noticed how quiet it was yesterday morning as they made their way to the bus station. There were no hawkers around, no-one to buy airtime vouchers for their mobiles, apples, cigarettes, papers, a bottle of water or a piece of fruit. Security had been beefed up. As I drive to Ubungo from Mwenge or Kariakoo it used to be convenient for me to grab a cigarette or fruits. Now I cant, said Adam Kubi, who is a Daladala driver on the Ubungo-Mwenge route. The hawkers who used to carry out their business by targeting slow moving cars have been evicted. The authorities at Kinondoni Municipal Council have deployed the militia to drive them away and said this was all part of the efforts to clean up the city. We have already launched a crackdown against all those who were engaging in business illegally, said Sebastian Muhowera, who is Public Relations Officer of the municipality. Our intention is to clean up the whole of the municipality and the exercise will be a regular operation,explained Mr Muhowera, adding: We have even deployed white-collar staff to join the clean-up operation. Indeed Kinondoni Municipal Council offices yesterday were practically empty. The staff, accountants, auditors and secretaries hadnt taken the day off. Instead of working at their desks, they had joined the clean-up campaign. On the way to the venue, officials were to be seen all along the route from the city centre to Mwenge and Ubungo. They were vastly outnumbered by the army of casual labourers whose work they were supervising. The labourers have been recruited to ensure that grass verges were cut back neatly and rubbish removed from them. The rubbish was being put into a number of yellow trucks. It all had the look of a major efficiency spree. Masked female road sweepers worked throughout the day. Their task was to remove sand that had been put on the road as a safety measure in the aftermath of last weeks rains. Even schoolchildren have been affected by the staging of the conference. Road closures to ensure quick access for the delegates between the city centre and the venue have meant that the Sun Rise Nursery and Primary School in Mikocheni would close from yesterday morning until Monday. The school administration said the reason for the temporary closure is the likelihood of traffic jams which would be caused by the closure of Sam Nujoma and Ali Hassan Mwinyi roads. The closures had been announced earlier in the week by Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, William Lukuvi. The main entrance to the venue on Sam Nujoma road was already closed down to traffic with armed policemen, smartly dressed national security officers cordoning off the area from yesterday morning. Above them a helicopter circled in the cloudy skies and by the afternoon, city residents were beginning to feel the rhythm of what the worst traffic jam can look or feel like. We will have to reschedule our timetables this week by leaving home at five in the morning instead of the usual 6.30, said Ibrahim Nassa, a resident of Mbezi beach on the outskirts of the commercial capital. Mr Nassa who normally uses Old Bagamoyo road and joins Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road at Morocco or Namanga junctions on his way to city centre is expecting mega traffic jams over the next three days. Many of the citys residents are, like Nassa, rescheduling their timetables to beat the office reporting time deadline. Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, called for tolerance among residents of Dar es Salaam. We will have a big delegation of distinguished guests who will inconvenience city residents.., I apologize for the disturbance but its an important milestone to our country, he said. High profile political, diplomatic and company executives including World Trade Organizations Director General, Pascal Lamy, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Habitat Executive Director, Prof Anna Tibaijuka and Deputy World Bank President for Africa Region, Obiageli Ezekwesili will attend the forum. Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Zambian President Rupia Banda arrived yesterday joining Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambala, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and South African President Jacob Zuma who arrived on Monday. We expect more leaders to arrive today including Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, said an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. Other heads of state expected to arrive today include President of Gabon, Ali Bongo-Ondimba, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, Beninese President Boni Yayi and Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.