A regional conference for port managers in eastern and southern Africa scheduled for next month in Dar es salaam has been cancelled following a shake-up of the management of Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) by President John Magufuli.
The meeting was set for February 15-17 and was organised by the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) and TPA.
“The conference cancellation followed a move by the newly elected Tanzania President John Magufuli’s to relieve several TPA top managers including the director-general, of their duties and to dissolve the authority’s entire board of directors” George Sunguh, a communication officer at PMAESA said.
This will be the first time for the annual PMAESA conference will fail to take place since its inception in 2007 in Seychelles.
President Magufuli late last year sacked director-general of the TPA, Awadhi Massawe, and the permanent secretary in the Transport ministry, Shaaban Mwinjaka as part of a campaign to root out corruption and inefficiency in the East African nation.
They were shown the door following the disappearance of over 2,700 shipping containers at the port.
Mr Massawe, who was acting director of the port since February before being formally confirmed to the position in October by President Magufuli’s predecessor, President Jakaya Kikwete, becomes the third port chief to be sacked in as many years.
“President Magufuli has also disbanded the board of directors of the ports authority due to its failure to take action against the Dar es Salaam port’s long history of poor performance,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement in December.
President Magufuli has introduced a series of austerity measures since his inauguration and dismissed several officials as a sign of his determination to fight corruption.
Security experts say Dar es Salaam is one of the main entry points for Afghan heroin bound for Europe and poaching gangs also use it to export ivory for China and wider Asian markets.