Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday issued 10 directives to ministers and their deputies during a working meeting held in the national capital Dodoma, including respecting the Presidency, and protecting government secrets.
Other directives were on working in close coordination; following up on the execution of government projects and resolving citizens’ grievances; upholding unity among ministers and deputies as well as abiding by policies, laws, regulations, procedures and advice of experts.
Other instructions were on scaling-up innovation, and abandon the ‘business as usual’ attitude to work; avoiding nepotism; overseeing accountability of public workers, as well as living according to oaths of service taken.
President Hassan issued the directives in Dodoma when opening a working meeting that involved old and newly-appointed ministers and deputy ministers who were sworn into office on Monday.
Speaking during a live broadcast event, President Hassan said the Presidency was an institution and not an individual and that the constitution demands the presence of such a person to oversee and manage government activities.
The Head of State said the presidency was an institution coming with authorities, powers, directives etc, saying those working under it worked on the behalf of the institution.
“Therefore, if you don’t like the present President…love your country. Likewise, since authorities come from God as we all believe in our religions and beliefs in God, then respect your God if you don’t love the president in power” she said, adding that the President has been commissioned by God.”
She hinted that someone may not “like Samia…” However she insisted that respect should be made to the presidency as an institution.
President Hassan urged government leaders to maintain the secret of the government, cautioning that the tendency of documents going viral on social media was against the proper functioning of the government.
“We have the responsibility to control the government secrets, whether through classified or non-classified documents. All government matters are supposed to end in the government,” she instructed.
Furthermore, she stressed on the need for increased coordination to the ministries, departments and government institutions, leaving the matter in the hands of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Chief Secretary (CS).
In connection to that, President Hassan instructed ministers and deputies to have the culture of following up implementation of government activities are resolve grievances facing Tanzanians.
She said arbitrary collection of information could lead to preparation of reports with invalid reports from either invalid or outdated statistics that could have been cooked to serve the submission purpose.
“Everybody should be careful in this area to ensure citizen’s grievances are efficiently addressed. Similarly, some reports are submitted to other institutions like the Parliament without cross-checking, ending at putting the government into huge shame.
She instructed the ministers and deputies to work under corporation and unity instead of entering into unnecessary disputes related to trips and other benefits sometimes in huge sectors.
“There was no reason for the disputes because everybody was there according to the terms he/she possessed. Everybody has been trusted to meet the appointing authority due to his/her capabilities of executing the jobs,” she said.
However, she said ministers, deputies and permanent secretaries engage in disputes because of benefits.
“In the sector full of benefits, the minister, permanent secretary and the deputy scramble for distribution of these benefits. Sometimes, you are fighting for the things that are not your rights, rather they have been grabbed from citizens ending up with differences during the distribution,” she said.
She gave an example of the tourism sector where the fight could have been caused by distribution of blocks after the minister, deputy and the permanent secretary have received their shares.
“This is just an example, I have no such case at my table at present, but the same happened in the past and was resolved. I think Mkenda (Prof Adolf, the new Education Minister) knows better about this,” she said.
According to her, there were worse incidents in the ship construction where agent was paid up to $2 million per ship which was typically incorrect.
She said in the implementation of roads projects, funds are distributed to different individuals such that at the end the quality of the project is compromised. “This same is extended to implementation of projects in the other sectors where projects’ quality are compromised,” she said.
Regarding the need to abide by policies, laws, regulations, procedures and experts’ advice, the Head of State said most policies, laws, regulations and government directives are now outdated instructing them to update in order to develop because development required dynamism.
She instructed the ministers and deputies to be innovative and avoid the business as usual working style.
“You are supposed to own the sector like your own organization in order to record high efficiency. This is especially to the minister and deputies who are owning the whole team in the sector,” she said.
Furthermore, she asked them to improve each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings in coordinating and overseeing institutions inside the sectors in a civilized and wise way.
“Don’t use masculine and bravery in correcting each which has been the cause of problems in the institutions and sectors,” she said.
The Head of State spoke tough on nepotism saying it was a good thing working with relatives and friends in case the intended goal is realized.
“But arbitrary recruitment of friends and relatives may come up with a different result. Nepotism kills the organization, therefore, this should highly be considered,” she said.
Regarding accountability, President Hassan instructed the Public Service and Good Government to closely supervise the introduced Open Performance Review and Appraisal System (OPRAS) in order to increase accountability of public servants in the country.
She challenged ministers and deputies to assess themselves whether they lived oaths of office made during the swearing in ceremonies.
“If someone lives against his/her oath, then he/she should make self-assessment. Nobody can break through someone’s heart to see and weigh the content,” she observed.
According to her, ministers, deputies and permanent secretaries should, however, bear in mind that they have carried the Unite Republic of Tanzania, tough responsibilities and citizens dreams.
She revealed that the ministers, deputies and Permanent Secretaries assessment report shows that they were not completely following the contents of the oaths they have made.
President Hassan said however that they differed among them slightly, warning that complete failure cannot be tolerated in the public service.