- Feb 11, 2007
Workers of TANESCO singing a solidarity song during yesterday`s rally in which the workers voiced their concern over the Richmond scandal. (Photo: Lukas Lukumbo)
TANESCO workers speak out
By Lucas Lukumbo
The Slogans on placards spoke louder than words. Some of them read for example, ``Njia ya kumtambua Richmond ni kusitisha malipo yake``, meaning ``The best way to know Richmond is to stop paying him.``
Others read ``Wafanyakazi TANESCO tunauliza kama Richmond hayupo fedha zake zinakwenda wapi ?`` ; We TANESCO workers are asking, if Richmond is not there, where does his payments go, and ``Muda wa kuwapunguzia mzigo wa gharama kubwa za umeme wateja wetu ni sasa kwa kupitia upya mikataba yote ya kufua umeme.`` The loose translation is ``Time for reducing hefty electricity expenses for our customers is now, by revisiting all electricity contracts already signed.``
Rain-drenched Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) workers yesterday braved the morning drizzle to cover almost five-kilometre distance by foot from their head office at Ubungo to Jangwani grounds to voice their concern over the controversial Richmond scandal which has of late rocked the nation.
Benjamin Matongo, Senior Technician with TANESCO head office stole the show as he led the walk with his hand made polyethylene overcoat on which he wrote several slogans about the Richmond scandal.
He spend over 20,000/- to make the coat and a honking alarm to signal the approach of the procession whenever it passed.
Matongo who was employed by the national power utility in 1981 as a Technician Grade III said he was very bitter on the way some government officers were taking TANESCO `` for a ride.``
``The government has entered into an agreement with TANESCO in a way that it cannot disentangle itself from it. It is still paying 150,000,000/- per day,`` he said.
The Chairman of the negotiating committee of TANESCO`s Tanzania Union of Industrial and Commercial Workers (TUICO) ,Abdul Mkama, told the rally that the Richmond scam has to a great extend eroded people`s confidence on TANESCO.
He said the secrecy maintained by the signatories of the contracts was the reason why such dubious contracts like Richmond were not uncovered for a long time now.
``It is strange that even Members of Parliament were not allowed to scrutinize the contracts. If you deny members of parliament to look into the contracts that means you are denying people their right for what they deserve to know from the government,`` he said.
Reading the Tanesco workers resolutions, the chairman asked the government to return all asserts of the company which it had distributed.
He named them as TANESCO training centres in Morogoro and Kidatu, Tanesco Tumaini Hospital, the head office of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals which was formerly the TANESCO head office. Others are a textile industry in Mbeya, Dodoma Rest House and some power plants now being used by Songas.
He also asked the government to make sure that those implicated in the scandal are brought to book.
``TANESCO workers would like the government to cancel a project on the Kiwira power because it would also be a burden to the nation,`` he said.
SOURCE: Sunday Observer
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