January 5, 2006

New faces and more women in Kikwete's cabinet

Newly elected President Jakaya Kikwete has announced his cabinet which will comprise of 29 ministers and 30 deputies. The cabinet has many new faces and the highest number of women the country has had since independence. The women in the new cabinet are seven ministers and 10 deputy ministers, the previous cabinet had four female ministers. Among the women holding key positions in the new cabinet are Zakia Meghji, former minister for natural resources and tourism, who becomes the minister for finance, and Asha-Rose Migiro, the new minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation. Migiro was formerly minister for community development, gender and children. Kikwete also appointed women to head the ministries of education, justice, livestock and community development. He has restructured several ministries, splitting some, saying it was necessary to give special focus to crucial issues such as water supply, health, education, planning, economy, people's empowerment, agriculture and livestock development.

"Wherever I went during the campaign, water was one of the major concerns in both urban centres and rural areas. It is an issue that my government pledged to tackle more aggressively despite the fact that heavy investment is required," he said, justifying creation of a ministry to exclusively deal with water. Explaining the creation of a separate ministry for livestock development, Kikwete said Tanzania had 17 million heads of cattle yet the livestock industry remained underdeveloped. "We are producing little milk, export very little beef and our livestock keepers roam throughout the country with their animals in search for grazing grounds," he said. "We have to do away with archaic ways of livestock farming. I, therefore, create a separate ministry for livestock development."
Kikwete has also pledged to invest heavily in scientific training, research and development to overcome years of neglect for the field. Therefore he intended to invest heavily in agriculture and fisheries and promised to create one million new jobs overall in the two sectors. "I will make sure research and development is a top priority in agricultural development," he added. The new president also admitted that he thought this would be a challenge and that he might initially struggle to obtain results, "but I see agriculture as the right place to start," he said. Kikwete added that his country had an urgent need for affordable technology to process its plentiful raw materials, ranging from cashew nuts to iron ore, instead of exporting them for processing elsewhere. (The East African, Nairobi/Rts/SciDev.Net, London)

The list of the new cabinet:

President: Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
Vice-President: Ali Mohamed Shein
Prime Minister: Edward Lowassa
Zanzibar President: Amani Abeid Karume

Foreign Affairs: Asha-Rose Migiro
East African Affairs: Andrew Chenge
Education and Vocational Training: Margareth Sitta
Finance: Zakia Meghji
Planning, economy: Juma Ngasongwa
Industry, Trade and Marketing: Nazir Karamagi
Agriculture and Co-operatives: Joseph Mungai
Natural Resources and Tourism: Anthony Diallo
Water: Stephen Wassira
Energy and Minerals: Ibrahim Msabaha
Infrastructure Development: Basil Mramba
Health and Social Welfare: David Mwakyusa
Higher Education, Science and Technology: Peter Msolla
Labour, Employment and Youth Development: Jumanne Maghembe
Lands, Human Settlement: John Magufuli
Information, Sports and Culture: Mohamed Seif Khatibu
Home Affairs: John Chiligati
Public Safety and Security: Bakari Mwapachu
Justice and Constitutional Affairs: Mary Nagu
Community Development, Gender and Children: Sophia Simba
Livestock Development: Shukuru Kawambwa
Defence and National Service: Juma Kapuya


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