By Abraham Ntambara

Unreliable transport is currently a big problem that faces primary and secondary students in Dar es Salaam during the morning and evening where they are encountering various issues from Dala dala (bus) operators and as a result, reach their schools late.

According to the IPP Media Report of 2012, more than 400 students per day face the problem of transport in different cities and towns in Tanzania including Dar es Salaam city.

The issue has been one of the most chronic problems which hinder their academic progress. It also causes other social problems like poor academic performance, teen pregnancies and other delinquencies like students fighting with the Daladala operators. Students take many risks by taking public transport, including the punishment of arriving late for class, as well personal safety as they have to wake up very early and come home very late. This results in students reaching school while they are already stressed out. They study with divided attention as they are uncertain how and when they are going to reach home after school.

Haki Elimu is an NGO which was established in 2001 in Tanzania. It’s vision is to see an openly just and democratic Tanzania, where all people enjoy the right to education, one that promotes quality, creativity, and critical thinking. The organization employs human rights based approaches to education, emphasizing on equality of learning equity, governance and active citizen engagement.

Elisante Kitulo is a program officer of Haki Elimu NGO, and when speaking about this publication said, “we are very sad to see how the students suffer during the morning and evening due to transport problems, it’s true that the students get trouble from the dala dala operators at the dala dala stand where most of the time the daladala operators are pushing them away from entering into their busses and sometimes result in injuries.”

As an NGO they have committed themselves to fight against the problem by designing and creating different programs which illustrate how the students receive trouble from the bus operators. The programs are presented through different media like Radio and Tv stations. The aim of these programs is to wake up the community as well as the authority like Government and SUMATRA to take action to these operators who harass the students.

One of the dala dala Operators at Makongo Juu, when was speaking with this publication, said that most of the conductors and drivers are shunning away from students who they do not want to board their busses, owing to the fact that they pay a smaller amount of the fare which is 200 Tshillings compared to others who pay 400 Tshillings in fare. Both are Tanzanian shillings, and yet to make it worse there are many on the bus stop. Due to the reduced amount that students pay, this in turn causes bus operators to reject them from their busses so as to leave the space for higher paying customers.

One student of White Lake High School said that they are highly unimpressed by the way current dala dala operators are treating them. The dala dala operators do not care about them. The student calls for the Government to help them by giving a heavy punishment to all these operators who are pushing and rejecting them to use their busses. He believe that through punishment to the operators the problem can be minimized.

Boazi Ayubu the resident of Mwenge said, “I get some difficulties while boarding the dala dala due to the growing hostilities between the students and the daladala operators”, the habit which has become a rare problem in the city of Dar es Salaam.

Dala dala operators are violating the principle of Equality Before The Law. This principle is from the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights( UDHR), 1948 and ICCPR. At the National Level, Article 3 of The National Constitution provides that all people are equal before the law and should be free from any discrimination. Also according to the Surface and Marine Transport agencies (SUMATRA) laws which guide the customer(the travellers) and the bus operators. One of these laws is the law No.218/2007, which explains that a customer has a right not to be harassed by a bad language or any action which is against human rights. The law also protects students from harassment.

There is the law but the issue still remains. The Government together with SUMATRA are responsible to make sure that the laws which have made to guide the dala dala operators and the customers are followed, and when the law are broken there should be a heavy punishment to the law breaker. In order for this to work, the community must also join together to fight against this harsh treatments facing the students, and represent a united front.

Abraham is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at St. Augustine University of Tanzania. He believes in helping the voiceless people in society.

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