Tanzania’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) presidential candidate John Magufuli on Friday pledged to end transportation problems in Lake Tanganyika if he is re-elected to serve another five-year and final term.
Addressing a campaign rally at Lake Tanganyika stadium in Kigoma region ahead of the Oct. 28 general election, Magufuli said his administration will buy two brand new ships and renovate another two ships plying in the lake in the next five years.
“I am tired of being informed about frequent boat accidents in the lake,” he told the rally.
In his address televised live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, Magufuli who is on a marathon presidential campaign, said one of the two brand new ships will have capacity to ferry 600 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo, adding that the other ship will be specifically for cargo with a capacity of ferrying 4,000 tonnes of freight.
Magufuli said the purchase of the new ships and the renovation of two other ships will go in tandem with the construction of a main port in the Kigoma municipality.
Of late there has been a wave of boat accidents in Lake Tanganyika, the second-oldest freshwater lake in the world.
On July 30, 10 people were killed and 87 others rescued after a boat capsized in the lake, and on June 25, nine people were killed and 51 others injured after another boat capsized in the lake.
Magufuli is among 15 presidential candidates from 15 political parties contesting for the country’s highest office.
According to the National Electoral Commission, about 29.2 million voters have registered to elect the president, members of parliament and councilors. Tanzania has a population of about 57 million.