Monday December 20, 2010 Columnist Lands Minister Tibaijuka lauded, cautioned, spurred By KARL LYIMO, 19th December 2010 @ 16:00, Total Comments: 2, Hits: 97 I HAD the occasion to read one of the better editorial pieces in a local ki-Swahili paper published in Dar es Salaam recently. The subject-matter was the newly-installed Minister for Lands, Housing & Human Settlements, Professor Anna Tibaijuka. [Mzalendo-Jumapili: December 12, 2010]. Prof. Tibaijuka was the chief executive officer of the United Nations HABITAT, and is the new Member of Parliament for the Muleba South Constituency on the ticket of the ruling Revolutionary Party CcM. Soon after she was sworn in as minister on November 27, 2010, Tibaijuka publicly articulated her plans to revamp the ministry and restore to it its glory of yore. There can but be no doubt that the Lands Ministry has joined the rapidly growing number of ministries and other public institutions which are riddled through and through with grand corruption, malfeasance and misfeasance. It is public knowledge that ordinary Tanzanians can hardly access land especially building plots in urban centres and related services without paying out a bribe here, there and over there to land officers of dubious probity as a matter of course. It is also public knowledge that folk with loads of cash can access, and have in the past obtained, plots of land for private use that are illegally carved out of open public spaces, areas reserved for special purposes, beachfronts and other similarly prime areas. All that it took and still takes is to pay the right price under the table that is enough to compromise the dignity and uprightness of apublic official otherwise entrusted with custody of the nations lands asset. Clearly, Professor Tibaijuka is fully knowledgeable regarding all the rot that the Ministry is wallowing in. She is also aware that it behooves upon her to fight tooth and nail in an effort toeffectively fulfill the obligations of which she is beholden to the nation and its people. Hence hersolemn pledge to tackle the problem head-on and with little or no tardiness or untidiness.The Mzalendo-Jumapili editorial under reference lauds the Tibaijuka stand as not only timely, but also most appropriate and hope-engendering. What is of crucial import now is for her to translate her proposed strategies to deal with the hydra-headed problem into actual action on the ground. In other words, the good Professor must now walk her talk and be seen to be doing so! I dont envy Mama Tibaijuka in this And still less would I want to be in her shoes at this point in time. Let all the glory be hers to bask in When all is said and done, the land problem is bigger than thought at first glance. Not only is the problem biggest and most sensitive in the nations de facto capital Dar It is also real among crop farmers and nomadic pastoralists and emerging countrywide in this day and age when trans-nationals are seeking prime farmland for bio-fuel crops But, taking the Dar es Salaam aspect of the problem alone, Professor Tibaijuka still has her work cut out for her! As the Editor noted, this is not the first time that equally upright, honest leaders set out to sort out the mess in the sprawling city. The immediate past Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, William Lukuvi, once did set up a Task force to probe into the land invasion issue in Dar Six months after the Taskforce filed its Report of Findings, no action has been taken on the matter! That was not the first or the only team set up for the same task... At least two other teams had been set up prior to the Lukuvi Commission. But, none of their Findings have been released for public consumption. In one of them, it is claimed that more than 350 cases of illegal land allocations which were made under dubious circumstances in Dar alone and about which enough evidence to support cases in the Courts was collected are still lying buried under a tattered official carpet somewhere in the Ministrys offices! The findings of inquiries into dubious land allocations in the Kinondoni District remain under wraps like so many skeletons in Government offices As is the mysterious land issue in the Kigamboni area of the City! The Editor rightly calls for cooperation and support for the new Lands Minister by other relevant institutions like the Prevention & Combating of Corruption Bureau. Fair enough But, before Tibaijuka came to the Ministry, there already were firmly in place other leaders and institutions all of which miserably failed to dent the problem, let alone eradicate it! The ball is now squarely in the Professors court for whom Tanzanians wish Godspeed. Cheers!