Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vehicles fee charging at Coco Beach in Dar es Salaam continues unabated

AN official with the Kinondoni Municipal Council in Dar es Salaam has cautioned people who visit the famous Coco Beach recreational area in Oyster Bay not to accept any fees which is said to be charged from them for car parking when going for recreational purposes. The Municipal Council’s Public Relations Officer, Sebastian Mhowera said in a telephone interview last week in Dar es Salaam that, the Kinondoni Municipal Council has not yet authorized the area to be a business centre. However, he has dismissed claims that, the Municipal council has allowed the presence of petty traders to engage in petty business activities as some of them have erected temporary structures in the area and clarified that, this is an illegal act according to the rules and regulations that governs the administration of the Kinondoni Municipal Council. He further clarified that, a directive was earlier issued by the Municipal authorities requesting the ward executive officer for Masaki ward whom he mentioned his name Peter Mushi to stop charging fees which he had illegally introduced in the area without the consent of the municipal council for every vehicle parked in the area as it was a public space which has nothing to do with business activities. However,  an abrupt visit at the area last week found the presence of petty traders conducting their businesses as usual as well as and one person busy charging vehicle fees for parking from their owners although this is contrary to what the municipal council insists. Swaleha Iddi, a petty trader in the area said that, they have been sometimes harassed by municipal askaris who chase them and wonders that, they have been given a permit to trade in the area. He however noted that, they have organized with fellow traders how to keep the surrounding clean by collecting refuse and pay to ward executive officer in-charge of the area. He says that, during the weekends, they used to hire a company supplying a mobile toilet for their customers in the area and pay a certain sum of money which he didn’t mention when requested. 

Unidentified vehicle fee collector as captured at Coco-beach in Dar es Salaam. (Photo by the courtesy of Issa Michuzi Blog spot)

Contacted for comments, the ward executive officer of the area Mr. Peter Mushi admitted the fact that, he was collecting fees for the dev elopement of his area as per the regulations set for every area must look for their means in order to develop. However, he said adding that, he did not defy the municipal order as this is the right for every area and their government should look for the means of income in order to let their development programs or projects move forward. An investigation piece of information can establish that, the collection of fees charged in the area for car parking directly enters into some people’s pockets as there is no official accounting systems which is maintained for such a collection that is kept into the books of accounts managed by the Municipal council for the area. It’s estimated that, more than 1,000 vehicles each charged with the fees amounting to Sh. 1,000 per vehicle parked at Coco Beach during the weekends, and it’s amazing to see that nobody knows where the money is taken. One vehicle fee collector who was found collecting money at the scene spoke on condition of strict anonymity that, the collected fees is used to pay people who engage in community policing in the area while keeping an eye of such vehicles and curb with the increased crimes committed by few unknown people who pretends to be visiting the area. However, he declined to say anything further when asked to clarify into details the legality of the guards in the area and who organized them. However, a worker at the ward executive office who declined to mention his name when contacted said that, the fees collected at Coco beach helps to run their office matters which he couldn’t specify. Coco Beach has however, has been re-possessed by the government as an open space for public use in the form of recreational activities.

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