By Nangayi Guyson – Dar Es Salaam – President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania appointed a new cabinet on Wednesday, with most senior ministers retaining their positions from the previous government after winning an October 31 general election overshadowed by a record low turnout and allegations of rigging.
In his speech to reporters, Kikwete ,said “We reviewed the structure of the government and were generally pleased with the performance of the previous cabinet appointed in 2008, hence there are no major changes in the new cabinet set up.”
According to Reuters, the ministers who retained their posts include Mustafa Mkulo at finance and economic affairs and Bernard Membe, at foreign affairs and international co-operation.
Energy and minerals minister William Ngeleja also kept his job, as did the minster for defence and national service, Hussein Mwinyi.
Kikwete created a new cabinet portfolio to boost foreign direct investment inflows to east Africa’s second largest economy.
The 50-member cabinet, including deputy ministers, has 24 new faces. The previous cabinet had 47 members.
Among new faces in the government is Anna Tibaijuka, former executive director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), as the country’s minister for lands, housing and human settlements.
Tibaijuka, seen as a potentially influential minister, had been expected to join the cabinet after she was elected unopposed to parliament two months after retiring from the UN.
However, Tanzania has been spared the internal strife that has blighted many African states.
Though it remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with many of its people living below the World Bank poverty line, it has had some success in wooing donors and investors.
Tanzania assumed its present form in 1964 after a merger between the mainland Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar, which had become independent the previous year.