Friday, May 16, 2008

Intelligence officer implicated in media attack in Tanzania

An officer with the Tanzania Intelligence Service (TIS) in Dar es Salaam is being held by the police in connection with the assault on editors of a weekly tabloid Mwanahalisi on 5th January this year, but the police would not reveal his real identity. Reliable sources have confirmed that Ferdinand Mwenda (alias Ferdinand Msepa or Fredy), was recently joined to a list of six alleged conspirators and attackers on editors at Mwanahalisi weekly tabloid offices, is a TIS employee
The police, in a case whose investigations are underway have identified him as a “businessman in Dar es Salaam.” But authoritative sources within the police force have it that the young man in his thirties is a middle cadre officer with TIS. On 5th January this year, at around 08.30 East African time, three young men stormed the offices of Mwanahalisi newspaper and at work were the editor of the newspaper, Mr. Saidi Kubenea and a prominent journalist and a media consultant Mr. Ndimara Tegambwage who has been providing consulting services to a two-year-old newspaper for at least seven months now.
The TIS officer, first arrested on second day after the incident and released almost immediately, only to be re-arrested weeks later, is an alleged architect of the assault in which Mr. Tegambwage sustained a deep cut by a machete on the nape well close to his right ear while Mr. Kubenea had his eyes spilled with unidentified chemical stuff which inflamed them and immediately impaired his sight.
The arrest of a TIS-officer has been a real issue within the police force. While authority at TIS would not wish to have the man’s identity revealed, other suspects are said to have been complaining about their mentor remaining free as they stayed behind bars at a Dar es Salaam remand prison.

Saidi Kubenea, the editor of a weekly Swahili tabloid Mwanahalisi, a leading investigate newspaper in the country.

Fear to reveal the identity of the alleged architect of the assault stems from Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete’s visit to victims at the Muhimbili National Hospital in the port city within hours of the attack. The biggest question intelligence officers have been asking themselves is, “How will the president feel if he knows the men he visited at the hospital were victims of the dirty work of one of his men?” TIS is a coercive institution enjoying big budgets for secretive operations under the president. It has often been accused of misinformation, deliberate distortion, torture and excessive unaccounted for expenditures. And, it is yet to be known, who sent the TIS officer to attack a media outlet and journalists and how much was promised and, or received in advance for the execution of the task.
Unconfirmed reports have it that the planner of the attack was given cash money Tanzania shillings four (4) million (About US$ 3,800) as advance for seducing and recruiting would-be perpetrators to whom he introduced himself merely as Fredy – a businessman. Most observers in Dar es Salaam find the attack to be politically motivated. Mwanahalisi newspaper has, in the past 10 months, been known for its fraternity with truth and openness. It has been exposing corruption malpractices going in the country, mismanagement and bad governance in general. It has openly named those caught in the web and has doggedly refused to back down. While it has not been the initiator of many down-to-earth expose, it has dug such stories beyond the ordinary, to the surprise of almost everyone and drugged them to the dead end.
That has earned the paper cumulative unfriendliness and bitter resentment, mostly from politicians whose positions and fame have been subjected to exposure and public scrutiny; and thereby eroded them irreparably. Sources suggest that, that group could be central to enmity and consequent mentoring of attacks on media and its personnel. Mr. Tegambwage was probably not the target as he does not own the paper but goes there on an on-and-off-basis as consultant as he does with other media outlets. His style of writing is indeed compelling; his brilliant arguments send out messages that percolates both the bones and brains. Some people may not wish to see him plant ‘seeds of defiance’ as he has contacts with many media houses.

Veteran journalist Ndimara Tegambwage delivers a statement entitled “Freedom of Expression, Access of Information and Empowerment” in a ceremony to mark the World Press Freedom Day in Dar es Salaam (3/5/2008). He is one of the two journalists who were assaulted in a Dar es Salaam newsroom raid on January 4, this year. A court case against the suspects is still in court.

Mr. Tegambwage of Centre for Democratic and Strategic Management (IDEA) is also media consultant at a number of media outlets in the country and member of International Press Institute (IPI), a global forum of executive editors.
Distant sources suggest that the attack on Mwanahalisi was planned in a “kind of a network” that went beyond the city of Dar es Salaam. Intimidatory statements made public by Mr. Kubenea at a press conference in Dar es Salaam, according to press reports, have been made by persons from all over the country, possibly orchestrated to make life difficult for the publisher of Mwanahalisi and his staff.
A good number of “big” politicians have so far been linked to the attack. Journalists in the port city say it is too early to make public names of those mentioned behind the curtain until the hearing of the case starts and lawyers dig deep into statements made by Fredy and other suspects.
The recruitment of a TIS officer into a scum of this nature has a lot to tell on how the secret services of the organ under the President can be misused. And lives of the two victims of attack, and any other vocal journalists, remain in peril.
However, it requires pressure both internal and external to expose the role of TIS in the attack of a media outlet. However, the embarrassment of the president remains unavoidable. Proceedings in court can now provide the best forum at which exposure could be done without stint. Will the police be bold enough to identify the TIS official? What about the political big gun that recruited him: Will he let his agent be exposed, and at his detriment?

A report uncovers media flawed legal systems across Africa

A South African based media practitioner Professor Guy Berger recently gave an inside look at the recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) publication he spearheaded on ”Media Legislation in Africa”’. Professor Berger who heads the department of Journalism and Media studies at Rhodes University, located in Grahamstown, South Africa, discussed how the report’s findings on inadequate legal systems could be used and disseminated to push Africa into the vanguard of media law reform. The report has revealed that out of 12 African countries, approximately one third of these are not fulfilling their commitment to international protocols. For example, Tanzania and Kenya do not specifically mention freedom of the media in their constitutions.

Professor Guy Berger of Rhodes University

The report examined the status of journalism in ten constitutional democracies across Africa including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. The countries were selected on the basis that they “have a comparative benchmarking for stakeholders in them to promote media law reform in the interests of democracy and development,” says Berger.
However, even constitutions with reference to a free media can be insufficient inasmuch as who can and cannot be a journalist can be determined at the whim of authorities utilising ambiguous constitutional provisions. Though as the study points out, the current legislation in numerous African countries is at the more local level often does not meet the benchmark set by international standards of press freedom and freedom of expression and can even conflict with it. For example, in Senegal, the constitution defines what comprises a journalistic career (similar to Mozambique) and requires registration. Similar draft laws are present in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. In Mali, only individuals with certain qualifications can be editors. Journalists in Nigeria are also subject to registration. In South Africa and Ghana, and to a lesser extent Mozambique, any citizen can exercise their right to freedom of speech through journalism.
The report shows that media laws are also often rooted in unclear provisions. For example, licensing and registration requirements are commonly misused because of arbitrary application—they can be easily denied or taken away. The legacy of criminal defamation and insult laws are also continuously used in all countries surveyed except for South Africa and Ghana.

African editors’ forum launches third chapter on world press freedom day

The breadth of activities on a recent World Press Freedom Day (3 May) 2008 gave birth to a particularly positive development in the fight for press freedom in Africa. The African Editors’ Forum (TAEF) launched its third chapter in Eastern Africa. Sixty editors from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the regional laws and regulations affecting the media in the region as well as the pivotal role they can play in securing press freedom.
TAEF was inaugurated in South Africa in 2003 and continues to grow, Mathatha Tsedu, Chairperson of TAEF, said that this newest incorporation shows “African media practitioners, many of whom work in the coal-face of media repression, have not been cowed into submission.”

TAEF Chairperson Mr. Mathatha Tsedu
The launch was especially opportune as journalists in Eastern Africa work under some of the worst conditions and the independent media is more than often at a low ebb. Specifically, Somalia continues to be the second most deadly country for journalists and scores have fled to find refuge elsewhere.
The meeting’s agenda identified areas in which editors can work to expose corruption and bad governance and to promote the right of access to information. Tsedu said that the fight could begin to be won when it is realized that all African countries have already committed to media freedom through a series of passed protocols. “The problem is that many of these member states pay lip service to the protocols on human rights as well as the right to freedom of expression,” he said.
TAEF recognizes that standing on the bylines will not render full compliance to existing press freedom protocols nor the creation of stronger ones. Thus, under the umbrella of TAEF, editors can work in tandem as intermediary figures between journalists and government authorities to secure press freedom, professional supervisors in the field, and as advocates for open discussion.
Specific to the Nairobi meeting, “TAEF also resolved to create a regional code of ethics which can be a benchmark for journalism conduct in the region,” said Tsedu “The code, once drafted, will be based on the universal ethics that govern journalism, with specific consideration for cultural nuances that apply to the different regions,” he said.
Among the most pressing challenges the new regional body will have to address is, “the repeal of archaic colonial legislation entrenched in the countries within the region that have for decades after independence continued to adversely affect media operations.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is Ballali free of the alleged charges leveled against him?

Everybody including myself in the country is over perplexed with the recently made statement by State House to the general public, the statement revealed that “Tanzania government has nothing to do with the prime suspect of the loss of billions of Tanzanian shillings, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania (BOT), Mr. Daudi Ballali”.It’s actually too shameful as well as painful to hear of that. Mr. Ballali who was suspended from his duty by President Jakaya Kikwete in early January this year, has never been seen in public since he was implicated in a huge loss of government funds whose investigations is being carried out by a probing committee.
It seems as if Mr. Ballali escaped out of the country immediately the President relieved him of his duties. In other ways, I can say that his escape is a planned mission properly organized by the government judging from the statement. Days after, his position was taken over by Prof Benno Ndulu, it was officially reported that Ballali was undergoing special treatment in a Boston hospital in the United States of America. From then, it has been a confusion upon confusion with no one giving any definitive clues on his whereabouts.

Former Governor of Central Bank of Tanzania Mr. Daudi Ballali
Since it was earlier alleged that he misused his power of the office and entered into a corruptive malpractices that he managed to squander large sum of money in External Payment Accounts (EPA), this man is still at large despite of the public outcry to have him prosecuted before the court of law. This is a sensitive issue which seems to have been deliberately blocked by higher government authorities. Members of Parliament have increased pressure on the government to explain the alleged personal involvement of the governor of the matter and the opposition legislators in the Parliament have also strove with much efforts to highlight the issue in parliamentary debating chambers, but their efforts have ever since proved futile. Following Ballali’s sacking, President Kikwete formed a team comprising Attorney General Hon. Johnson Mwanyika, Inspector General of Police, IGP Said Mwema and Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau Director General, Mr. Edward Hoseah to investigate the saga involving the payment of 133bn/- in EPA funds to dubious companies. Neither the government nor the probing committee has made the matter open to the eyes of Tanzanians who are eager to know of its development, and yet still crying with pains as none of either party is there to give out the development of their stolen money.

State House Communication Director, Mr. Salva Rweyemamu.
According to the statement that was made to the general public few days ago by a State House Communication Director, Mr. Salva Rweyemamu with the main subject matter, “The government has no business with immediate former Bank of Tanzania governor Daudi Ballali for now”. However, it emphasized that it would easily find him if it found need to get him back into the country.” I am really upset by this statement as it implies the denial of human rights. With this statement, it clearly shows that the government is not in a position to defend its people.

In his briefing to reporters in Dar es Salaam, Mr. Rweyemamu said “the government will have interest in the whereabouts of the former governor only if he is implicated in the scandal”. But Mr. Rweyemamu must understand the fact that, when President Kikwete relieved Ballali of his duties, already he was satisfied of his direct involvement with the matter, could it not been that, then the President would not have decided to suspend him. Otherwise, what then was the reason behind his suspension?. The government’s statement should be described as “Danganya toto” which literally means “a statement aimed to lure people’s mind”. Without hiding up the truth, it directly shows that scores of top most government officials in the country are involved directly with the matter and that is why the government is looking for the means of escaping. I am suspicious with our government the way it handles the issue, officials who are implicated directly seems to be struggling to get out of a chocking grip which has got hold on their neck, it seems as if they are diverting the evidences already in place and tend to look for other means of escaping in order to free themselves from this biggest financial scandal which has spotted a black mark in the country’s history since independence in 1961.

I could hear people who are crying over the matter, it has now become the talk of the day everywhere including inside daladalas when people are traveling back to their homes. Just imagine with the persistent poverty stricken situation in the country, yet the big murderers continues to shine in the country living the little ones who put them in power suffering. It’s very amusing to see also that other suspects in the already exposed dubious contractual deals such as that one of a Richmond saga, Buzwagi mining contract, Kiwira Coal Mine, and many others the government entered and which of course have caused great losses to the government, and to the great dismay people are surprised to see the suspects are left roaming freely and no any action is taken against them. Who would stand for Tanzanians’ rights in future? When shall we expect another Mwalimu Nyerere in this country?

This is how Africa is terrorizing itself

During his recent visit to Uganda, a Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi did not only urge President Museveni to rule for life but also inaugurated a committee to ensure his counterpart wins his fourth time in the next election. In view of this, Col. Gadaffi launched the Revolutionary Committee Movement (RCM) in the VIP lounge of the Serena Hotel on March 19, 2008 sources at the function that lasted 45 minutes. His focus if implemented, would plug Ugandan nation into a bloody state. The sprit of democracy allows people to choose their own leaders.
''RCM should make sure that good leaders like Brother Museveni do not leave power simply because of elections,'' Col. Gadaffi reportedly told the group. He also reportedly praised the group for its high level of organisation, saying it had members who could use to change political tides in the country. The Opposition has criticised Col. Gadaffi’s action calling it abominable although not surprising.

President Gadaffi of Libya

While addressing Afro-Arab youth delegates from 30 countries meeting in Entebbe two months ago, Col. Gadaffi said western-style democracy was incompatible with the African system. Why should a leader relinquish power when he is doing good things for his people? he said. There are people who talk about term limits. What are they? A Constitution is simply a document drafted by people. He added ''A leader should only leave power by the will of the people. President Museveni came into power through revolutionary means not by election. How can he simply go?''
This was the second time Col. Gadaffi, who assumed power in a coup in 1969, was urging Mr Museveni to stay on. The first was during a visit in 2001.

President Museveni of Uganda

President Museveni, who came to power in 1986 as the head of a guerrilla army, went on to remove the term-limits clause in the Constitution and run for a third elective term in 2006. What I can say in this is that, Africa is totally terrorizing itself. Most African governments are the major source of violence in their land, because the incumbent rulers becomes reluctant to release power to the majority after general election, even if they seem to have failed. Mr. Gadaffi is a military soldier, the same as Museveni. They both snatched the control of their government by force. None of them used democratic means to achieve the power, and have consistently refused to step down on allegations that, they liberated their people. Ugandans should not be lured by their views, make use of your intelligence and do not be bothered by these two.

Impunity index reveals more journalist killings in two African Countries

CPJ Executive Director Mr. Joel Simon

THE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in the world reports that over the last 15years, at least 500 journalists in the world were killed in direct relation to their journalistic work. CPJ also reports that in less than 15 percent of cases the perpetrators have been brought to justice. Sierra Leone and Somalia hold the second and third worst records after Iraq, where 9 and 5 cases, respectively, remain unsolved.
CPJ is striving to raise awareness about the governments, most of which are even democratic, around the world that allow murders with impunity as a tactic to silence the press. CPJ compiled an impunity index and timely released it before World Press Freedom Day (3rd May 2008, an annual occasion celebrated by journalists in the world), to further its campaign to bring justice to journalists who have been killed. The index was devised by calculating the number of unsolved journalist murders, from 1998 through 2007, as a percentage of the country’s population for every nation in the world.
"Every time a journalist is murdered and the killer is allowed to walk free it sends a terrible signal to the press and to others who would harm journalists," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. In Sierra Leone and Somalia, where a morass of conflict has claimed scores of lives, the number of unsolved cases of journalist murders is indicative of larger trends threatening the independence of the press and safety of media practitioners. In Sierra Leone a protracted 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002, nearly collapsed the country and took a large toll on the independent media. Recently, some have suggested that the media in the country has grown. However, what this growth entails is subject to debate. In Somalia, CPJ reports that the press has been sacrificed in large part due to the competing warlords that have run the country since 1991 and the central government that was installed in late 2006 by Ethiopian troops. CPJ is in part filling that role in its fight to push governments all around the world, from Iraq to Sri Lanka to Mexico, to embrace liability in place of impunity in the face of crimes committed against journalists.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Faulty media ethics undermines journalism profession

MEDIA industry in East Africa is now at a Crossroad. This is because of the ill practiced media ethics coupled with lack of professionalism. The situation expounds amid an exponential increase in media outlets within East Africa region, hence caused faulty of media legislation. The habit has become a great shame to media practitioners within the region.
Media stakeholders in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi have warned that a myriad of archaic colonial legislation and an explosion of media outlets following partial liberalization of the sector has really endangered professional news media. The proliferation of FM radio stations in these countries following the liberalization of the air waves in the mid to late 1990s by intransigent governments, following intense pressure from the international donor community, has made it nearly impossible to enforce professional ethics among the practitioners.
Media professionals from these countries told a recent regional conference on media law and ethics in Nairobi that in some countries the phenomenon of mushrooming media outlets had completely overwhelmed the available number of trained journalists, while crippling archaic legislation hindered media operations.
The result has been hundreds of newsrooms, especially in Tanzania being flooded by either half-baked or completely un-trained journalists to supply editorial content. The situation is no better in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi or even Kenya, which boasts of a more developed media industry in terms of outlets, quality, editorial personnel and legislation.

Careful observers have noted that, the situation is growing at an alarming rate and is primarily due to extremely poor payments to journalists, photojournalists as well as editors working in these regions, the conference was told. The situation is making it virtually impossible for the media houses in the region to enforce professional ethics developed by the media councils of the respective countries with assistance from international media organisations.
Dissimilar to other East African Community (EAC) member countries, Uganda has two media councils: statutory and self-regulatory. Meanwhile, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi have statutory media councils whereas Tanzania has a self-regulatory one. “A veritable army of barefoot reporters equipped with pens and notebooks with little journalistic skills exists in Tanzania. The demand for media workers has sharply increased since the mid-1990s forcing media owners to employ people with questionable credentials,” says Dr. Bernadin Mfumbusa of Tanzania St. Augustine University.

According to him, at the time of independence in 1961 Tanzania had only two trained indigenous journalists, by the early 1990s about 600 were employed by the government but this has since soared to more than 5000 mostly untrained journalists by the end of last year (2007). The situation is so bad that Ms. Pili Mtambalike, the Director of the Media Council of Tanzania and professional journalist of more than 20 years says. “These days I am completely ashamed of identifying myself as a journalist or a media professional. I cannot even introduce myself in public forums as a media practitioner because of the way things have deteriorated.”

The reasons why she cannot dare to do that are because journalists have earned un-savoury reputations such as machinga, meaning people without education, kanjanja, meaning people without a professional training and mwandishi, Swahili for journalist/writer labeled as a liar.
The Tanzanian case study, though the most severe, seems to be representative of the EAC member countries’ media industries situation. Media practitioners from the growing number of FM radio stations in Uganda and Kenya are in a different kind of troublesome situation, though they have trained media personnel, poor remuneration has emerged as a compromising factor in enforcing professional ethics. The worst scenario is the hoarding of the FM radio frequency licenses by politicians to serve their political interests. The stations are reputed to employ un-trained personnel, not only as presenters but also as reporters. They do not have any knowledge of media laws and ethics, or heard of the codes of ethics developed by the media councils of these countries. What matters is a good voice on the mike.
Ironically presenters at the conference from all the East African countries concurred that despite being un-trained, presenters on the FM stations in the region were the most highly paid compared to the journalists or photojournalists - the worst scenario being that of non-staff writers attached to media houses - known as correspondents. The explosion of media houses, particularly in FM radio broadcasting in the region and the resulting army of untrained journalists has also given rise to the mushrooming of roof top commercial journalism training institutions as businessmen rush to cash in on the situation.

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) says that even before the proliferation of these institutions, a lot of gaps existed in the teaching of media law and ethics in journalism training institutions. “It is certainly time that we examine the preparation ground of journalists. There has been a mushrooming of (commercial) colleges purporting to teach journalism. Some of them award degrees after only six months of study. Others teach practical courses without facilities. They churn out journalists who can’t even write,” says the MCK chairman, Waruru Wachira.

Mr. Wachira continues, “We have heard of editors who encounter interns and graduates who apparently have diplomas in photography but have never touched a camera in their lives.” He says that these institutions have contributed enormously to the deterioration of quality journalism since most of them are merely business enterprises without interest in quality. At the same time they do not have facilities, or qualified teaching staff.
According to a United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) report, by the end of last year the institutions offering journalism and mass communication programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa in the last two decades had increased by 422 percent.
The report indicates that they had risen from 36 in 1988 to 188 in 2007. A recent study within the East African region identified 40 schools of journalism, the majority being in Kenya and Tanzania. However, only two met the general criteria of being centres of excellence: Mass Communication Department at University of Makere in Uganda and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication University of Nairobi in Kenya. The schools differ vastly in terms of quality education. Only two universities met the criteria as centres of excellence based on curriculum/institutional capacity, professional and public service, external links and recognition, development plan, strategy and potential.
In this unfolding situation, a morass of archaic media legislation and intransigent governments who are bent on controlling the media, mostly to cover their inadequacies, is not making the situation any better.

None of the five EAC member countries is free from crippling legislation. These situations combined have forced the media stakeholders in the countries to go back on the drawing board to find ways and means through which they can uphold the core values of the media and the journalistic profession. At stake now because of increasing threats from within and outside the industry itself are media freedom, independence, objectivity, fairness, balance and truth and professionalism in practice. Despite some of the countries like Kenya having a Media Act, which was enacted last year, there still exists a myriad of legislation, some dating back to colonial regimes, muzzling or impacting negatively the criteria of a free and independent media in these countries.

A senior editor of one of Kenya’s leading media organization, Mutegi Njau says: “From the outset it must be said that Kenya’s constitution has no provision for freedom of the press. Even the constitutional provision for freedom of expression and movement has many provisions that restrict and impose many conditions on the freedoms.” Some of the restrictive legislations identified include the penal code treason and allied offences, sedition, alarming publications, subversive activities, incitement to violence, offences related to judicial proceedings, libel and other defamation laws, regulatory laws and official secrets acts. Others include licensing and censorship, parliamentary standing orders, advertising embargoes, government and owner interferences. Other countries have as many as 27 or more different clauses hidden in national judicial acts that impact negatively free and independent media operations. The most recent came from the Anti-Terrorism acts, which countries like Uganda have enacted. Kenya did not enact the law, however neither was the Freedom of Information Bill, which was being spearheaded by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

“Uganda has a multiplicity of laws governing the media. Until recently, it was extremely difficult for media practitioners in Uganda to keep track of the numerous laws relating to the press, some dating from the colonial days,” says John Kakande, the news editor of Uganda’s leading daily newspaper, The New Vision. However two years ago, The East African Media Institute compiled a book, The Legal Framework for the Media in Uganda, which covered all legislation relating to the media. “The most controversial legal provisions relating to the media laws are in the penal code, the 1995 Press and Journalists Statute, the 1996 Electronic Media Statute and the 2002 Anti-Terrorism Act,” says Mr. Kakande. According to him, over the last two years Uganda’s government has used some of these acts to shut down media houses and to stop the broadcasting of some programmes that rubbed the authorities the wrong way among other repressive actions.

Rwanda, which has been in the international media focus since the 1994 genocide, is steadily developing its media industry, albeit still faced with a number of obstacles. Margaret Jjuuko of The School of Journalism and Communication, National University of Rwanda says that before the conflict the media was segmented into two: the government owned media and privately-owned newspapers. “Even so they were all heavily partisan either for or against the government—either for or against Tutsi or Hutu. Today while the media sector remains key to the post-genocide reconstruction of the country, it is still lacking in terms of the cardinal duty of serving the public interest,” says Jjuuko. According to her, this particularly accelerated by the fact that the sector still lacks professional knowledgeable and skilled media practitioners. The challenge for journalism, particularly in the Great Lakes region, is for the media as well as individual journalists to act more professional, ethical and responsible. What is clear is that despite the huge challenges including those of rapid technological changes, doing away with the archaic repressive legislation from these countries statute books is not going to be an easy task for a long time to come.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Do you know who was the mastermind of the Zanzibar Revolution of January 1964?

MOST Tanzanians especially of the present generation do not know exactly the history of the revolution of Zanzibar which took place over four decades ago. They don’t even know how it started and how the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar was formed. This is because after the revolution, the government has not been speaking the truth of the matter and instead it has been hiding the truth to the eyes of many Tanzanians. Most of them can tell the First President of Zanzibar the late Sheikh Aman Karume who is regularly mentioned to have taken an active part of the liberation of the people of Zanzibar. But the history tells us that, “President Karume was called to assume the position of presidency after the revolution which was organized and planned by a self-styled Field Marshal John Okello, a Ugandan born national who dedicated his life to save Zanzibaris in those days. He worked effectively by other freedom fighters who were members of Afro-Shirazi party. By then Karume was living in Tanganyika mainland for fear of his life after he quarreled with the Sultanate government and the ruling party of the Zanzibar government, the ZNP which was led by Prime Minister, Mohammed Shamte.

Despite of this important historic event which brought freedom to the majority of the African population residing in both Pemba and Unguja islands, heroes who took active part in this revolution seems to have been forgotten in one way or another and are never mentioned at all whenever the nation celebrates the occasion in commemoration to mark this day in the country.

On April 7th each year, the government of Tanzania marks the anniversary of the death of the first President of Zanzibar and first Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania Sheikh Abeid Aman Karume with nostalgic feelings of the man who devoted and sacrificed his life for the liberation of the people of Zanzibar. Just who is this man claimed to have helped change Zanzibar’s course of history and contributed to the birth of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania? The persistent narration of the history of Zanzibar and the revolutionary movement seems to have been driven in a wrong way from its inception, let the government stick to the truth. Zanzibar is an autonomous state which before its union with the then Tanganyika on 26th April 1964 three months after the revolution, attained its legal independence from British rule in October 1963. Within few months later, a nine hour revolution took place that led to the expulsion of the Sultanate government. Field Marshal John Okello is taken as an instrumental figure behind the move who by all means should always be remembered during national celebrations for his courageousness and the effort he showed as a leader of the revolution. It’s also disturbing to note that, the government seems to have turned a blind eye in support of his movements and campaigns which he made and eventually led to the overthrow of the Omani-Sultanate government on the Island on January 12th 1964. This significant occasion ended centuries of the oppressive Arab sultanate oligarchy in Zanzibar. As concerns his background history ‘Okello’ was a Ugandan national from Lira district occupied by Lango ethnic group. He first entered the island of Pemba from Kenya on 21st June 1959 in search of a job just like other people seeking for life in a foreign country. Soon after his short stay he joined the Afro-Shiraz Party, the only party which by then had its majority members composed of black Africans. Because of his patriotic outlook, he was elected the secretary of the youth wing for Vitongozi area and later came to be a youth wing leader of the whole Pemba island.

Field Marshal John Okello (seated at the centre) with his commanders in a group photo immediately after the revolution.

He began his campaigns by fighting for the rights of Africans and during his speeches which were loved by everyone, he had established a vision that revolution was a solution to freedom though he realized the difficulties but was confident they could be overcome by intelligence and properly organized local military application. He gave much thought to the political problems of the black Africans residing in Zanzibar and felt strongly for the liberation of the blacks who were subjected with every kind of humiliation under the yoke of minority Arab rule.

In early 1963, Okello began to organize the local troops to fight against the colonialists in a bid to bring human dignity which was lost among the majority of the African group residing in both islands. To make his planned mission work, he organized with mainland African policemen in both Pemba and Unguja islands and persuaded them one by one of the correctness of his views. Like many other African Diasporas in Zanzibar, Okello also navigated with the ASP aspirants that appeared to be under Sheik Abeid Karume. The real history about the revolution itself tells us that Mr. Karume wasn’t even aware of the coup despite of the government which keeps on applauding him to have taken active part in overthrowing the Sultanate government. When he became President of Zanzibar, few months after the revolution, he expelled Mr. Okello from the island for unknown reasons. This matter has been remained concealed to the eyes of many Tanzanians and none of them actually knows nothing the basic reasons which led to his deportation from Zanzibar.

Sheikh Karume was born in Mwera village, a short distance from Zanzibar town in 1905. His death occurred mysteriously. On April 7, 1972, when a gang of counter-revolutionaries sneaked into the headquarters of the then Zanzibar ruling Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) at Kisiwandui in Unguja Urban District. One of them immediately opened fire on a group of top party leaders who were enjoying a game of 'Bao'. Moments later, the body of the ASP President, who was also the President of Zanzibar and Union First Vice-President, laid in a pool of blood, dead. The shooter was immediately shot by President’s security men around.

Heroes’ movements during uprising:

In January 1964 the Sultanate government was overthrown by an internal revolution. Although the revolution was carried out by only about 600 armed men under the leadership of the communist-trained “Field Marshal” John Okello, it won a considerable support from the African population. Thousands of Arabs were massacred in riots, and thousands more fled the island. According to the book entitled “Revolution in Zanzibar” that the commander and self-styled Field Marshall John Okello wrote, the people killed during the invasion were about 13,000.

With the popular support from the island's oppressed native African majority, Okello and his men fought their way to the capital of Zanzibar, Stone Town, where the sultan Sayyid Jamshid Ibn Abdullah lived. Even though they were poorly armed, Okello and his men whom he appointed as Brigadier commandars in-charge during the mutiny surprised the majority of the people in the world and took power of the government.

During a speech when he was introducing himself on the radio monitored in a Kenyan Swahili accent, Okello dubbed himself the "Field Marshal of Zanzibar and Pemba". He gave the sultan an order to kill his family and to kill himself afterwards, otherwise, he (Okello) would do so himself. However, the sultan had already brought himself to safety later to be harboured in Britain. The prime minister Mr. Mohammed Shamte and other ministers also managed to escape.

Having taken control of both islands which by then had a population of 300,000 people, Okello created a Revolutionary Council and invited Sheik Abeid Karume back to the island to assume the title of Presidency. Other Zanzibaris in foreign territorry were also invited back, most notably the marxist politician the late Abdulrahman Babu to assume the position of a Prime Minister. Both Karume and Babu had not been informed of the coup as they were residing in Tanganyika for fear of their safety following the quarell they had with the Sultanante government, but returned to Zanzibar, where they were welcomed by Okello. However, neither Karume nor Babu wanted anything to do with him. John Okello reserved for himself the title of "Field Marshal", a position with undefined power. What followed was a three month long internal struggle for power.

On his arrival in Zanzibar on a Tanganyikan government plane, Karume was taken to the broadcasting station and Okello introduced him as President of the people’s Republic of Zanzibar. After a brief introduction to the general public, Mr Karume addressed the nation by saying,

“I am pleased and delighted to have this opportunity of speaking to you publicly in our newly freed island. As President of the Republic, I promise to serve you faithfully and to the full extent of your needs. The government we are going to construct will be the opposite of that which we have suffered under before. I am glad to say that under the wise leadership of Field Marshal John Okello we have reached a goal which we alone could not achieve. I appeal to you all to serve the new regime faithfully and honestly. I must express my thanks” Karume went on, “to the freedom fighters through whose efforts I have become President, and to Field Marshal Okello, whose fruitful leadership was accepted by you. My being President now, is due entirely to your strength and energy, you have struggled and suffered and died, but you have achieved a remarkable victory. I want all of us to work in unity and to obey Field Marshal Okello as any other person born on this Island without any form of discrimnation. Without his wisdom and courage, none of us would be where we are at the present. Fiel Marshal Okello’s activities clearly shows that he is a man born with African liberation in his heart, and we of this Island are actually to have had him achieve our freedom so quickly”. THAT WAS END OF HIS SPEECH.

Within a month of his rule after being announced as President of Zanzibar, Karume used his political skills to align the leaders of neighboring African countries against Okello, and invited Tanganyikan police officers into Zanzibar to maintain order.

As soon as Okello took a trip out of the country, Karume declared him an enemy of the state and did not allow him to return back in Zanzibar, he was also deported from Tanganyika. Given the presence of Tanganyikan police and the absence of their leader, Okello's gangs of followers did not offer any resistance. Okello then stayed in Kenya, in Congo-Kinshasa and in Uganda. He was incarcerated multiple times and was last seen with the former Ugandan President, dictator Iddi Amin in 1971 and vanished afterwards. It is more or less assumed that Idi Amin saw him as a threat (after Amin promoted himself, Okello reportedly joked that "now Uganda has two field marshals") and had arranged his assassination. This remains speculative, however.

Karume's second stroke of political genius came when he agreed to form a union with Tanganyikan president Julius Nyerere in April 1964. The union which was agreed by these two leaders ensured that the new country, to be called Tanzania would not align itself with the Soviet Union and communist bloc, as Abdulrahman Babu had advocated. Karume's government marginalized Babu to the point of irrelevance. The Marxist leader was eventually forced to flee Tanzania after being charged with masterminding the assassination of Karume on 7th April 1972. During his reign as a President before his death, Karume was often criticized for the atrocities that were carried out against Zanzibari Arabs and Asians after the revolution, and later against anyone he suspected of endangering his position. It is hard to ascertain the role Karume played personally, but the numbers are bleak. The American diplomat to Zanzibar, Mr. Donald Petterson, estimated that “by the end of summer of 1965, Zanzibar's pre-revolution Arab population of 50,000 had been halved".

Why Tanzania is hiding the truth about Zanzibar Revolution, and deported a foreign hero who participated in this revolt?

Tracing back from the reality why Tanzania is hiding the truth about the Zanzibar Revolution, one might say it’s because of political reasons which were planned in favour of the few indigenous groups of people who wanted to disrupt a chain of power whose prospects had been foreseen would become intolerable in the eyes of the majority. But Field marshal John Okello had revealed this in his book entitled Revolution in Zanzibar which he wrote few months after the revolution. The publication and sale of the book was banned by the government few months later after its release. According to him, he had realized there was a close relationship between Karume and President Nyerere. They had some kind of plan, but there was nothing he could do about it. With the same anticipation that had allowed him to know in advance many things that would happen to him. He also knew that he would suffer from the hands of Africans although he had done good to them. But it was not his intention to harm anyone without a good cause and he preferred to leave his new opponents to carry out their wishes as it might please them

In the book Okello is quoted as saying that, “ I understand African thinking and I understand that what I did in Zanzibar, had it been done in any other country for the sake of Africans, I would still have been judged wrong and borne blame. But I acted alone during the revolution and had to remain alone afterwards. If anyone can claim he was with me during the planning and thinking through of the Revolution, let him come forward and explain it” Okello then went on by saying that “ Only God almighty knows what went on in Zanzibar. If anyone claims to have trained me or taught me to act as I did, let him come forward and describe it. I had been an ordinary worker in Zanzibar and went originally to work. A man of class and limited education certainly could not have gone abroad easily and why should I have known by or been acceptable to, and nothing proves this more than the wild claims made about me after the revolution and yet no one knew anything about me at all. I was reported to be a Luo man from Kenya and a former member of Zanzibar police, yet a check of records in Zanzibar would not reveal my name on any police employment rolls, other people claimed they had seen me in Cuba and in Cairo and in some socialist countries. But there has been any evidence to refute any claims that I have never been outside East Africa to assert that I was an agent of some power, is foolish. How would anyone known I could manage revolution? And why did no one know me after the revolution?

God alone knows and still knows what is happening with me. He is my teacher and whatever he taught me about revolutionary activities is within me and no one on earth can discern it. My power in regard to the revolution was as a messenger of God, and God alone helped to master and eradicate the imperialists on the Island.

On 24th January 1964, Okello received an unsigned written letter in Swahili as quoted in his book as follows:- “Field Marshal John Okello, your behaviors is inconsistent with the requirement of the indigenous people. You are the only person boasting of having the power in the revolutionary government. You must realize that, you do not belong to the Muslim religion and you are leading Muslims even though you are a Christian. Also your activities led to the death of many people in the Island most of whom are Muslims. So start counting your days for a time will come when Muslims will unite to expel you from the Island” The letter did not upset him as he suspected to have come from ZNP Arabs. On 8th February 1964, he received another letter stating “Field Marshal John Okello we are telling you that, you will not last for ever on this Island. You will soon find yourself outside and unable to return. Remember Karume himself is a Muslim and you may be certain he loved the Arabs killed during the Revolution more than he loves you”.

Okello and Karume brought on the table of discussion:

Within two months’ time after the revolution, Field Marshal Okello and President Karume flew in a three seater airplane to Dar es Salaam from Zanzibar whereby they were oddly met by President Nyerere. The two held a strong meeting chaired by Nyerere, others who were present was the Prime Minister Rashid Mfaume Kawawa and TANU secretary General and Minister for External Affairs, Mr. Oscar Kambona. According to quotes in Okello’s book, the meeting was opened by President Nyerere who began by saying that John Okello “I understand there have been misunderstanding between you and President Karume in the Island and we are here to make some arrangement with you. I would like to know whether the present government belongs to you or Karume? I replied “The government of Zanzibar is neither mine nor Karume’s but it is the government of the people of Zanzibar. When we fought we promised the people they would get their own government. We actually fought for freedom and that is what the people now have. We are the provisional leaders but there will be leaders tomorrow. We work for the people and they control us. Even here you are called President and head of the government of Tanganyika, but you know that the government is not yours, but rather it’s the government of the people including yourself.

President Nyerere went on to ask me what I thought of Karume and why I used the broadcasting station to make fierce and boastful speeches more than was necessary. “I respect President Karume highly” I said, “First as an elder, second as my President, thirdly as a personal friend, and fourthly as a brother”. I went on, “you know very well that our government was snatched by force and not by election as such, the radio is the easiest available means to communicate with the people and indeed to inform the world at large of the decisions of the revolutionary government. The quickest way to inform the people of what their new government is doing is to use radio”. President Nyerere then turned to Karume and asked, “Do you understand what Okello has been saying? Karume replied, Yes I understand it clearly, I too, like Okello and I can trust him, but I do not understand why he dislikes my association with Abdrahaman Babu. And yet when Babu was expelled, it’s I who introduced him to other East African leaders, and after the revolution it was Mr. Okello himself who called him back and gave him a ministerial portfolio” President Nyerere said he was satisfied with what I had said at the meeting, but he was concerned with some of my radio speeches.

“I realized after this meeting, that a serious fight for power was going on and someone wanted to emerge on top. It looked to me as if President Nyerere felt that as long as I was on the Island, he could not join it with Tanganyika, he feared I would want to join with Kenya. Indeed I was very much in agreement with a Kenyan President Kenyatta’s plans and ideas. Kenyatta was straightforward and spoke openly. If I joined Zanzibar with any single East African nation, I would have preferred Kenya to Tanganyika” Okello remarked in his book.

Dispossessed but not defeated:

Other quotes from Okello’s book can be read as follows:- I have had several lessons, then in African psychology and I believe that a good thing done by an African for his brothers in need may in future be turned against him. Yet there are few people on earth who will help others at their own risk. It is wrong that when you have cultivated a farm for your brothers and the fruits are ready, they deny you a share. God himself must have cursed such behaviors It is also unwise to say a pot which helped you to cook should be broken to pieces when you have eaten from it and are satisfied, for you do not know what may happen the next day, and if you are hungry a pot broken in contentment will not serve you in the need. The old fishermen with whom I spoke when crossing from Pemba to Unguja in 1963 and many of my soldiers and officers, will recall my predictions about their behavious towards me. I did as I said I would lead them to freedom and they did as I said they would expel me from their land like tailless dog. As a child, I was dispossessed of everything, yet this did not defeat me, as a leader of the Zanzibar Revolution.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

ITU marks the 39th WTISD day, Secretary General sends message

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with its headquarters based in Geneva-Switzerland, will this year celebrate the 39th anniversary of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). This year, ITU has adopted the theme: “Connecting Persons with Disabilities: ICT Opportunities for All” whose climax will be on May 17th 2008.

The occasion which has been celebrated annually since 1969, marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union which came into being in 1865.
This year’s theme encourages the adoption of universal design and assertive technologies to ensure that the benefits are evenly distributed within societies as well as to bridge the digital divide by creating digital opportunities so as to harness the full potential for development offered by state-of-the-art ICT.

According to ITU’s Secretary General, Dr. Hamadoun I. TourĂ©, During this year’s celebrations, ITU calls upon all stakeholders (policy makers and regulators as well as operators and industry) to raise awareness on the need to adopt policies and strategies that would meet the ICT needs of persons with disabilities by ensuring that both equipment and services are accessible. This would not only ensure an inclusive information society, but would also enable Member States to meet their obligations under Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006.
“Our focus this year on meeting the ICT needs of persons with disabilities is aimed at empowering every citizen with information and knowledge, improving the lines of communication to the remotest and most vulnerable groups, and building an inclusive information society geared towards the advancement of a better, more peaceful and productive world. It is clearly our duty today to provide the opportunities of ICT to all, especially to those of us with disabilities” he said and continued.

“As we celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, we invite all stakeholders, manufacturers, service providers, international organizations, public and non-governmental organizations as well as policy makers to join us in our endeavors to connect everyone especially the 650 million or so people around the world who live with disabilities offered by ICT” Dr. Toure said in a message statement he issued early this week. The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May.

In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The updated Resolution 68 invites Member States and Sector Members to celebrate the day annually by organizing appropriate national programmes with a view to, firstly stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council, secondly debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society and thirdly formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership

The World Summit on the Information Society urged Member States to address the special requirements of persons with disabilities along with other marginalized and vulnerable groups in their national e-strategies. A further call was made to encourage design and production of ICT equipment and services adhering to the Universal Design Principle and the use of assertive technologies for research and development to facilitate accessibility to ICT for all, including persons with disabilities.

Is it right for TANESCO to treat its new customers in this way?

DESPITE of the recent percentage increase charges of the power tariffs to electricity users in the country by the National Power Utility Company (TANESCO), prospective customers at various TANESCO’s main electricity supplying offices in Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke districts in Dar es Salaam region who are to be installed with new electric meters in their homes are astonished by the way the company is treating them. These customers are told to look for their own means of transport in order to take them to their residential houses for the installation of their electric meters. The habit tarnishes the image of the company, and is a great shame to the big company like TANESCO which has been in operation since independence time in 1961.

This service which ironically has to be offered freely by the TANESCO themselves has puzzled most customers, and without any objection whatsoever have to comply by the condition imposed so as to get such a service. Investigations carried out reveals that, officials concerned from the meter deposit section demands transport facilities from their customers, who in return are not refunded with the money they pay for the service.

Between eight and ten customers are told to hire a mini-bus of their own choice whose owners demands between Tshs. 70,000/- and Tshs. 80,000/- (Approximately US$ 67 & US$ 77) for the journey to round them each one from their residences accompanied by two TANESCO workers including a meter clerk to accomplish their mission.

Most customers are astonished by this wonderful attitude as the money they pay is never refunded to them, and sometimes when tried to ask for clarification over the issue, no proper explanations are given to them by the company’s officials. “If you do not want to contribute for the trip, go back home and keep on waiting until when we have vehicles, we shall call you” thus this is how the officials tells them. But since they are in need of acquiring quick services and to avoid further inconveniences, most of them decides to pay. Actually this habit encourages corruptive malpractices.
TANESCO's Head office along Morogoro road at Ubungo suburb in Dar es Salaam.

When contacted for comment, an official from the meter deposit section at Ilala based regional supplying office along Samora Avenue in Dar es Salaam who couldn’t want to identify himself, agreed with the existing situation and said that, “they were ought to inform their customers to arrange for their own transport as the TANESCO currently does not have enough vehicles to help cater for the need of the company’s internal daily operational work schedules. The few available ones are mostly engaged to serve on other most important company’s activities.

However, without giving specific examples over the impending situation and how TANESCO is striving to solve the problem, he said that the move by the customer care aims at easing congestion, but he added that in the meantime their customers have to bear the brunt of this situation up to when more vehicles are bought to help internal operational duties.

He said TANESCO’s vehicles which are available are few and always are engaged with other important activities which needs urgent attention and, in view of this fact, he added that the situation becomes so critical in solving other matters. The situation which has been persisting for over four years now without a solution has left many customers with lots of question marks as nobody actually knows if such an accounting transactions of the money they pay are remitted secretly purporting the vehicles were hired by the company and entered into the hands of few illegally.

The company’s operations manager from the headquarters at Ubungo, who preferred anonymity when contacted by telephone for comment could not clarify on the issue but her secretary said that he was so busy with other assignments that it was not possible to trace him easily. However, the Public Relations Manager, Mr. Daniel Mshana declined to comment anything when contacted in his office. In another development, TANESCO’s customers have of late been complaining of the poor services rendered by the company including the inflated bills which is being recorded without following proper readings on their electric meters.


Recently Tanzania experienced a dramatic shock when the President reshuffled down his cabinet ministers following the resignation of the Prime Minister and MP for Monduli constituency, Hon Edward Lowassa who is implicated in an ongoing controversial deal of a Richmond saga the company which was contracted in a dubious deal to produce electricity to a sole National Power Utility firm in the country (TANESCO).

The Prime Minister was alleged to have been involved in an illegal power contract deal by the Parliamentary select committee formed by the Speaker of the National Assembly to probe on the matter when rumours spread from within the company that it was an illegal deal which has caused huge losses of money to the company (TANESCO)

With the pain still inflicting within people’s mind, most Tanzanians have now become untrustworthy with their leaders ever since a controversial deal of a Richmond saga was uncovered. This is the biggest ever financial scandal in the country together with others which are in pipeline like EPA, Bank of Tanzania (BOT) and many others l;ike mining contract deals.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The essence of two-way radio calls in the Information Society

AN information society is a society in which people interact with technology as an important part of life and social organization to exchange information on a global scale by using various types of new media facilities. The use of radio call devices in this case, have proved to be successful in addressing the global information society issues pertaining to various aspects of human economic developments. The scientific make up of the device is unique, and therefore never interact with any communication channel when set in use.

In this regard, radio calls plays an important role to minimize the workload of the people who are engaged in the communication sector, and for security purposes, they ease communication link in regardless of a determined particular range of frequency in use.
The devices are commonly used by the police force, fire brigade firms, local and international security firms, transport agents as well as in marine operational related companies. In all these sectors, people use radio calls as means of communication to facilitate their workings while in action serving the people.

In order to achieve and provide the reliable security services, the working groups have considerably intensified their resources to the communication network through Radio Calls (the so-called walkie-talkie) to the premises and mostly during patrolling. These tools are vital to security as it used for emergency assistance and also to control the guards and receptionists while at work. Radio communication is coordinated from the main base or mobile base radio for continuous checking.

Of late, most Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) devices have become an important source of information for development in developing countries though up to now statistics shows that a great portion of the ICT’s infrastructure in Africa region, is still poor. The insufficient electric power supply in most parts in Africa is attributed to be the most contributing factor which hampers the development of the ICTs, and thus this is a great impediment to the growth of the ICTs and the communication sector in general.

Lack of electricity in general, has caused a detrimental effects to the development of the information technology in the area, and consequently the impending situation retards the quick use of the devices in the information society. The revolutionary changes that have been taking place in radio communications are rapidly shrinking the global village into an even tinier sphere with new technologies heralding a new era of a connected society.

With the onset of privatization drive, most African nations are freeing their airwaves to privately run enterprises in the communication sector though corporation in which governments have greater stakes, these are still the predominant players in this field of the information society. Evolving radio communication technology just like any other microwave communication technology, has produced unrivalled innovation both in theoretical concepts and practical implementation.

There is only one type of a radio communication media, namely the wireless technology. Unlike fixed cabling that is used for a telecommunication link, the technology used for radio calls, is different and too complicated, says a renowned radio technician Fadhili Omary. Some years ago, no one would have thought of a tiny thread of glass capable of carrying thousands of speech messages simultaneously. Either no one would have thought of system of satellite orbiting the earth and providing worldwide communications.

Microwaves are extensively used as carriers of information in both terrestrial and satellite systems. Such a rapid advancements in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have resulted into convergence of technology and services.

Although the history of microwaves can be traced way back before 1940s, this technology was extensively required for the radio detection of aircraft and shipping during the World war II that provided a real need for development of special techniques and devices. The invention of magnetron which provided a reliable high power source of microwaves was one of the most important contributions. Microwaves communications systems embrace microwave terrestrial radio links, tropospheric scatter communications, radar and navigation aids.

In most networks today, especially in developed countries, the demand for radio communication, Information Technology and multimedia services continues to grow at a rapid pace. Satellite communications also continues to play a key role in international services. Line of site radio systems for telephony and television relay data and personal communications are a landmark in most of the world today. Line of sight radio relay network are a subject of space wave which are limited in their propagation by the curvature of the earth.

Fibre optic spans and microwave radio links are synergistically deployed as network elements in many parts of the world. Each has its own unique and strong attributes, and both are interconnected seamlessly while supporting common trucking.

In Tanzania for instance, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of the history of development of the ICT since liberalization of the communication sector in the early 1990s. Since then, the exercise has had a positive impact on the sector resulting into the mushrooming of the communication companies which strives very hard to stay at the helm of a connected society by investing in and providing the necessary new media facilities.

Up to 1993, the telecommunication services in the country were being offered exclusively by the former Tanzania Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (TPTC), the state owned entity that also provided regulatory functions. These services that were provided included radio calls of which customers had very little choice, postal services, telephone, telex, and telegraph. Services such as mobile cellular phones, data, internet, courier service, card phone and messaging were not in existence.

Tanzania’s government, after having realized the importance of ICT sector has done a commendable job indeed, this is in line with the recently formed Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in the country whose jurisdiction is to mandate the ICT related activities in the country.

The Ministry which was formed in a recent cabinet reshuffle is expected to bring more changes in the development of the sector in general. The achievements in the ten years of regulating ICT sector in the country is evidenced by increased level of communications services such as mobile, data, and internet services.