Tanzania's President Magufuli reprimands close aide Makonda

Saturday September 1 2018

Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda. PHOTO | FILE

Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda. PHOTO | FILE 

FLORIAN KAIJAGE
By FLORIAN KAIJAGE
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Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda is viewed by most as a close aide of President John Magufuli.

Before his promotion in March 2016, Mr Makonda was the Kinondoni District Commissioner and portrayed himself as a powerful public official whom few wanted to go against.

The public see him as untouchable and more powerful than other regional commissioners.

Few have differed with him, whether politicians, government officials or citizens.

Lately, Mr Makonda has had problems with the revenue authority over cargo held at the Dar es Salaam port for over six months, for which he owes Tsh1.2 billion ($500,000).

The Tanzania Revenue Authority says the containers full of furniture have been at the port since January and they decided to auction the furniture to recover their dues.

However, the first action scheduled for August 25 failed as no buyer could raise the required amount. The second action was scheduled for September 1.

While addressing councillors in his home council of Chato, Geita region, President Magufuli on Thursday addressed the matter. “There is this issue of the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner who has imported containers and there is a contentious issue of taxes. Who is he that he can’t pay taxes?”

This is the first direct reprimand of Mr Makonda after months of praise from the head of state, who has been directing other regional commissioners to emulate him.

“I would have been surprised if the president affirmed the regional commissioner’s position,” said Benson Bana, a Political Science senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Mr Makonda is not new to controversy. He was once accused of having a fake secondary school certificate and faced the sack, but he survived.

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