To give further credence to the President’s announcement, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa added that he would move his office to Dodoma beginning in September of this year.
Other important government officials, including the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Charles Tizeba, also announced that they would move with the prime minister.
The news of the planned relocation of the capital has held the interest of city planners around the world and sparked a public debate among Tanzanians.
In the ’70s, Tanzania’s founding father and foremost nationalist Julius Nyerere shared President Magufuli’s vision of relocating the capital from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam 397 km inward to Dodoma.
Dodoma is located in the center of Tanzania, and Nyerere considered it the perfect location for a new seat of government for both administrative and logistical reasons that would make the capital more accessible to citizens from all parts of the country and move government closer to the grassroots.
In 1973, the National Executive Committee of the Tanzania African National Union, the ruling party, formally adopted a resolution to move the seat of government and the party from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.
However, no concrete legislation was passed for the relocation of the capital and Dar es Salaam continued to serve as the seat of government.
Located on the coast of the Indian Ocean with many important seaports, Dar es Salaam easily became the commercial capital of Tanzania. Still, residents often complain that their city is overpopulated and polluted.
And indeed over time, the burden of having to serve both as a commercial and administrative capital has taken its toll on the city: traffic congestion is now a constant feature around the city center, especially in the areas around the administrative district that houses several government offices.
Consequently, many Tanzanians have welcomed the move of the capital.
City developers and urban planners, though, fear that the government may make the mistake of moving the capital to Dodoma without due consideration of the financial, administrative, and even psychological implications of uprooting civil servants and their families and resettling them in unfamiliar environments.
It remains to be seen whether their concerns will be considered.