Eng. Bruno Tandeo Ching’andu has taken up his appointment as the new Managing Director of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and immediately declared that his main objective was to turn around TAZARA.

“I have been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of this company, to turn it around, not to try. We must turn it around. We, together, will turn this organization around,” he declared, upon being introduced to the Executive Management Committee of TAZARA in Dar es Salaam, on Friday 15 April 2016.

The Managing Director also immediately addressed one of the burning issues at TAZARA, concerning the payment of salaries for its employees, declaring that it was criminal to keep workers unpaid for months and prodded TAZARA’s managers to ensure that enough revenue was generated to pay the workers because it was the managers’ responsibility.

“As TAZARA management, it is our responsibility to ensure that we earn enough money to pay ourselves and pay the workers. Infact, my most important asset in this organization are the workers. We have to find a way of motivating our workers,” he said.

Eng. Ching’andu warned the managers that they would be kicked out of the company unless they performed satisfactorily.

“I refuse to pay people, to keep people on account of attendance. You will not remain at TAZARA by attending TAZARA. You will remain at TAZARA by performing,” he cautioned the managers.

Earlier, when introducing the Managing Director, Mr. Nicholaus Chikwenya, who is the Director of Transport in the Ministry of Transport and Communication in Zambia, announced that for the first time in TAZARA, the CEO had been appointed with specific targets to meet and that the Board of Directors would assess his performance on the basis of those targets every six months.

Mr. Chikwenya said that TAZARA had significant potential and, with prudent management, it was possible to easily transform the company into a viable business entity that everyone aspired for.

The Director of Transport said that the Government of Tanzania and Zambia were very confident that given the wealth of experience that Mr. Ching’andu possessed and with the co-operation and support of every employee, TAZARA would be transformed into a viable entity.

Background information

Eng. Ching’andu has replaced Engineer Ronald Phiri who was appointed in April 2013 to act as Managing Director for an interim period of three months, although he stayed at the helm for three years, as the shareholders sought a suitable candidate to replace him.

In February 2013, the TAZARA Board of Directors had announced their decision not to renew the contracts for both the then Managing Director, Mr. Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and Deputy Managing Director, Dr. Damas Ndumbaro, to pave way for the engagement of “new leadership and new thinking” in the management of TAZARA.

When the two Heads of State for Tanzania and Zambia, Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, respectively, met in February 2015, they directed the Board to appoint competent and qualified persons for the top executive positions.

Following that development, positions for Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director and the two Regional General Managers, were advertised and those of Deputy Managing Director and Regional General Manager for Tanzania had since been filled.

The Authority has been going through turbulent times for many years now, but hit the lowest ebb in the last financial year 2014/2015, when only about 88,000 metric tons of freight were transported, the lowest figure recorded since 1976 when TAZARA operations officially begun.

About Eng. Ching’andu

A holder of a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, a Post-graduate Diploma in Industrial Management and Masters degree in Business Administration, Eng. Ching’andu has a wealth of experience in the railway sector, having worked for Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) for over 18 years, where he rose through the ranks from Senior Engineer to the position of Director Technical Services. Eng. Ching’andu then worked for 16 years with General Electric (GE) Transportation of the USA, the manufacturers of TAZARA’s mainline Diesel Electric locomotives. He served GE as Regional Manager for East Africa and later as Regional Manager for Southern Africa. Eng. Ching’andu retired from GE to join Bombardier as Business Development Manager for Southern Africa, a position he held for one year before being appointed to head TAZARA.

Conrad K Simuchile, Head Public Relations,
Dar es Salaam