Transitioning to Dodoma: The Challenging Shift from Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania selected the city of Dodoma as its new capital in place of the coastal city of Dar es Salaam following a public referendum in 1973. Then-President Julius Nyerere announced the plan.
A state agency and ministry were established to oversee the implementation of the plan. It was decided that Dar es Salaam would continue to serve as the nation’s principal port and commercial capital.
At that time Dodoma was non-desired and was called by others a white elephant project.
Since then, the country has made small steps towards this goal – including the relocation of Parliament in 2017 – but Dodoma remained the national capital only by name.
The reason to relocate the capital came from various compounded factors.
One was the pressure on infrastructure and the congestion in the port city of Dar es Salaam. Shifting the capital aimed at reorganizing some of the population and ease pressure on resources and public services in Dar es Salaam.
The second factor was the issue of irregular development and infrastructure. Tanzania’s development was laboriously concentrated in Dar es Salaam and other coastal regions. The move aimed to stimulate economic activity in previously neglected areas.
The third factor was the coherence of government operations. The plan was to lessen the cost and time linked with travel between Dar es Salaam and other parts of the country for government officials.
Last but not least was the factor of accessibility and national unity. By relocating the capital to a more central location, the government aimed to make it more accessible to all and foster national unity and inclusiveness.
But the question lingering on many Tanzanian’s minds is, is Dodoma ready to be the new capital of Bongo?
The new capital city must develop the required infrastructure, including transport systems, water supply, and housing, to accommodate government workers and residents.
Dodoma is well planned, over the last seven years it has seen a rise in construction projects for both residential and office premises as well as a new train station for the country’s new railway line, the SGR.
In a bid to improve the road network the country’s road agency Tanzania National Road Agency awarded contracts to two Chinese firms to build the 112 Km Ring Road so as to handle the influx of visitors to Dodoma.
The government is also working on a new International airport at Msalato in Dodoma with a capacity of 1.5 million people per annum. Healthcare facilities have also improved from 429 in the year starting June 2020 to 467 in the year ending June 2023.
However, analysts suggest that access to water will still be a challenge cause of the semi arid nature of Dodoma. The town only meets 60% of its daily water needs. The government is drilling wells in residential areas in a bid to fix the challenge.
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But is Dodoma ready for the massive influx of visitors from other regions? Time will tell. Subsequently, to promote long-term growth and development, the government is attracting investors and businesses from other regions to make it more sustainable.