Chadema Presidential candidate Dr Willibrod Slaa last Thursday completed the first round of his campaign trail countrywide, which started on August 30, by addressing a rally at Hedaru in Kilimanjaro Region. Besides the massive support the candidate gained wherever he toured, this reporter witnessed a lot during the crusade as Dr Slaa toured Arusha Dodoma, Manyara, Mara, Morogoro, Singida, Shinyanga, Mwanza and Kilimanjaro regions. He is now scheduled to start the second round of the campaign in Singida region on Tuesday before proceeding on to Dodoma, Mwanza and Ruvuma regions. The weekend break has been prompted by Chademas Central Committee (CC) meeting held yesterday. This also appears to be a planned strategy targeted to win the rural population and thus lure many more votes for the October 31 general election. During rallies, Dr Slaa spoke a lot about pertinent issues that Chadema would deal with as a matter of priority if given the mandate to form government. His promise in campaign speeches to provide free education and health care services was highly applauded. If elected to power, Chadema will give free and compulsory education from the nursery to the advanced level, he added. Students who performed well at the advanced level of secondary education examination would be granted free university education, stressing that Tanzanias education system would be overhauled to emphasise technical and life skills. The opposition presidential candidates believes agriculture alone is not a solution in fighting poverty, rather, the process has to begin with the provision of education, health care services and guaranteeing decent human settlements Vehemently criticising the approach, CCM said Chadema should first learn enough about the countrys economy. But using simple and comprehensible language, Dr Slaa explained that Tanzania loses billions of shillings annually that could be used to finance the provision of social amenities, including education and health care services. For example, he said, there was no need for the government to buy expensive cars like Land Cruisers (VX) costing Sh200 million for its leaders. The same amount of money can be used to construct four dispensaries, he explained. Kenya and Rwanda have both stopped buying luxury cars that siphon billions of taxpayers money, Dr Slaa said, adding that he would do the same to cut down public expenditure if elected president. Tax holidays offered to the mining firms were another problem contributing to loss of government revenue, citing last years Judge Mark Bomani report that said Tanzania loses over Sh700 billion in tax holidays embodied in the mining contracts. Judge Bomani had in his report also proposed measures to increase government returns from the mining industry, including an increase in gold, copper and silver royalties from 3 percent to 5 percent, an increase in uncut diamond royalties from 5 per cent to 7 percent; and for uranium, an increase from 3 percent to 10 percent. Changing the taxation system to gross value from net-back value was another by recommendation that had been put forward by Judge Bomanis committee something that is already practiced in Ghana and Zambia. According to Dr Slaa, the current mining contracts need overhauling. Although there are fears that such a move had legal implications Dr Slaa said exploitative contracts are not protected, even by the international laws. He said taxes collected monthly by revenue authorities must trickle down to the ordinary citizens as opposed to the situation at present because the government revenue benefits a few people in the country. On human rights, Dr Slaa said under his government, all taxes on construction materials would be waived to enable individuals to construct decent houses. He said the CCM government lacks political will and creativity in dealing with development issues for public interest. Responding to criticism that Chademas election manifesto was silent on water projects and infrastructure development, Dr Slaa said such matters were simply the responsibility of any government. As for salaries of civil servants, he said the minimum would be Sh315,000 under Chadema. SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY Kwa ambaye anasema CHADEMA hawana sera tafadhali ona mipango endelevu hapo juu halafu linganisha na sera za ZIMAMOTO za CCM.