Thursday, December 23, 2010

Clerics sentisize on MKUKUTA II, Government policy

The Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), in collaboration with various stakeholders, has organised a three-day seminar for its members on how best they could compliment the government’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) Phase II, commonly known as 'Mkukuta II.' CCT programme and capacity building officer Angelus Mapunda said on Tuesday here that it was the church’s practice to sensitize its leaders on topical government policy issues, such as Mkukuta II. Such seminars, he said, aim at stimulating further debate among stakeholders on strategic issues, including prioritising and sequencing of intervention as well as resource mobilisation and utilisation. The workshop, said the CCT official, would help a great deal in creating awareness of the general public on the church’s diverse network in rural areas.Mapunda also informed that the church had been implementing various programmes within its parameters that compliment government strategies.
“If the church intervenes in the education sector by building schools or in the health sector by putting up dispensaries, or when it sensitises church members that it’s their right to hold their leaders accountable on the implementation of projects, the church is implementing Mkukuta II,” he explained. Mapunda added that the seminar generated information that would facilitate the church interventions and facilitate the setting up of priorities in different sectors into a consistent and sustainable implementation strategy.According to him, the forum provided church leaders with an opportunity to assess progress in the implementation of ‘Mkukuta’.
Over the past five years, Tanzania has been implementing the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) as overall policy framework to rally government efforts in improving, sustaining growth and fighting poverty.
Numerous successes have been achieved in social services delivery, education, health, water and sanitation, good governance and accountability and areas of economic growth despite daunting challenges.The past five years, according to Mapunda, have provided lessons for improving the implementation process in order to make ‘Mkukuta II’ more successful.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Arusha-Namanga highway contractor put on notice

Works minister Dr John Magufuli has cautioned the constructor undertaking construction of the Arusha-Namanga road to ensure that its construction is accomplished within the contract period, which is July 14, 2011. Wrapping up his impromptu inspection tour of the 104km-road here on Monday, the minister said the government wasn’t ready for any delays in road projects across the country. Magufuli was not happy with the pace at which the contractor was taking to accomplish the East African regional road, saying: “You need to accomplish constructing this road within seven months from now.” The 81bn/- road is being constructed by China Geo-Engineering Corporation, which is set to complete the construction work on July 14, next year. The minister also asked the consultant engineer to be serious with the work, warning that failure to abide by the agreement would lead to denying the company any construction projects in the future. He said consultant engineers should represent their clients rather than colluding with the contractors, a move which delayed a number of projects in the country. “And if we get to realise that some consultants are colluding with the contractors, the government will not hesitate to penalize them,” he said, adding: “Road projects are very expensive. As of now one kilometre of the Arusha-Namanga road costs about 772m/-, so there is no room for lame excuses.”

Newly appointed Minister for Works Honourable John Pombe Maghufuli

The minister called on Arusha regional Tanroads’ manager Deusdedit Kakoko to closely administer the work and see to it that it was completed on time. Earlier, China Geo-Engineering Corporation general manager Tian Jin assured the minister that the road would be completed as scheduled and with superb workmanship. “So far, we have accomplished about 60 per cent of the construction work, but we’re very confident that the work would be completed on time,” he said.
For his part, Kakoko pledged that, in collaboration with the regional authorities, his office would continue supervising the construction work so that the road was completed in time and meet the required standards. Kakoko asked managers working with the contractor to collaborate with his office so that things went on smoothly to accomplish the multibillion-shilling project on time. Arusha regional commissioner Isidore Shirima called for collective efforts to ensure that the road was completed on time as projected. The 105-kilometre Arusha-Namanga road is funded from a loan granted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and a Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) grant. At least 240 Tanzanians have been employed alongside 40 technical staff from China. To speed up the project, three construction teams have been formed. The Arusha-Namanga road is being rehabilitated within the framework of the East African Road Project (EARP) under the East African Community (EAC).


DCI: Tanzanian behind blasts in Kenya capital

The police said yesterday that a man alleged to have engineered Monday’s bomb blast that killed three people and injured 39 others in Nairobi, Kenya, is believed to be a Tanzanian. “It’s true the man is a Tanzanian national, but investigations into this matter are still going on,” said Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Robert Manumba at a news conference in Dar es Salaam. He said documents found on his body, including a passport and a visa, showed that he originated from Tanzania. According to the information, he said, he had entered Kenya via the Tarakea border. “We are going on with the investigations, which involve foreign institutions and foreigners who are likely to have organised the bombings,” Manumba said. Head of Operations and Training in the police force Paul Chagonja cautioned against terrorists activities and attacks. He, however, said the police were in control of the situation. At least three people were killed and 39 injured by a bomb explosion at a bus station in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, on December 21, this year. The blast happened, as passengers passed through a security checkpoint before boarding a coach, which was bound for Kampala in neighbouring Uganda and one of those who died was carrying a bag which contained the bomb.


Isle authorities slack to curb tree-felling: Expert

The uncontrolled felling of forests have attracted the attention of players in such a way that they have appealed to the government authorities in Lindi region and Zanzibar to take stern measures against people who are engaged in illegal wanton cutting down of trees and export of timber and charcoal. This was revealed in Morogoro recently during a workshop which was reviewing the first report of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Project which is being carried in some regions. The two day workshop was organized by the Tanzanian Community Forest Conservation Network (MJUMITA). Speaking at the forum, a participant identified as Omar Kijiwile, said the illegal cutting down of trees in Kilwa area has been fuelled by the demand in Zanzibar since there are less restrictions there. He said Kilwa District has a lot of forests but the acts of wanton felling of trees have been on an increase due to the high demand from Zanzibar. "As you know, Zanzibar does not have many reserved forests like us, but unfortunately authorities in the Isles do not take enough measures to curb culprits as a result the acts of tree-felling has been increasing," he said. Kijiwile said if the situation is left unsolved it might turn Kilwa District into a dry land area. "Time has come now for the relevant authorities in Zanzibar and Kilwa District to sit down and discuss the matter which in the long run might affect the lives of Kilwa residents," he cautioned. He said the government authorities in Kilwa District must implement the forest protection legislation which prevents illegal movements of wood and take stern measures against culprits. “The laws are there but I have never heard any people taken to task for illegal cutting down of trees in Kilwa or Zanzibar,” he said. Speaking earlier, an official from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Ali Salum said joint efforts are needed to make sure that people living around forest areas benefit from the resources. "This is the only way which might ensure the conservation of the forests since people would benefit from the resources in different ways," he said. He said the REDD trial programme which has kicked off in various places under the funding of Norway Government, if properly used would help to minimize or reduce the illegal cutting down of trees. "What we need here is full participation of communities (including MJUMITA) and those living around the forest to conserve trees for their benefit and the nation as a whole," he stated. In his comments Charles Meshack from Tanzania Forests Conservation Group (TFCG) emphasised on joint forests management between the local government authorities and societies. "We have to educate the society about this collaboration which at end of the day benefits both parties", he said. He said societies must also be educated on the best way of cutting down of trees and collecting at one point. “Normally people have been cutting down trees without knowing that they kill other small trees or collecting trees in bulk hence destroying the environment and other species,” he stressed.


Ministry to launch German language learning initiative

The Government of Tanzania through the Directorate of Secondary School in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training will officially launch an initiative of teaching and learning the German language in Tanzanian secondary schools.
The event will be officiated by Charles Philemon the Director of Secondary Education that will be held at Zanaki Secondary School as a partner school known “Schools: Partner for the Future” (PASCH) Initiative, also known as the PASCH-Initiative.
Ulrike Schwerdtfeger, Director of the Goethe Institut in Dar es Salaam said this program is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office and aims at setting up a network of 1500 partner schools worldwide, two of these in Tanzania. “The initiative engrosses two schools which are Chang’ombe Secondary School where it was inaugurated in January this year, and Zanaki Secondary School which will be inaugurated today,’ added the director. The launching ceremony which will start at in the morning and end at around noon, and will also be attended by the German Deputy Ambassador Hans Koeppel and will be held at Zanaki Secondary School, on Alykhan Road.
The main purpose of the PASCH-Initiative is to awaken young people’s interest in modern day Germany and promote intercultural dialogue between main actors of the future generation. This will be achieved through the anchoring of German as a foreign language subject in the national education system, which will help develop long lasting ties with Germany and promote the exchange of views and engagement in cooperation between the two countries. The Goethe-Institut is a worldwide network of cultural centres of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is responsible for promoting the German language abroad and cultural exchanges with other countries. It fosters knowledge of modern day Germany by providing information on its culture, society and politics. With over 147 Goethe-Instituts operating outside and 13 within Germany, this institution is present in 83 countries abroad, with 11 of them being in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, over 200,000 people attended German language courses at the various Goethe-Instituts around the world. Last year on December 11, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the launching of the PASCH-Initiative in Tanzania was signed between the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT), the Prime Minister’s Office- Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG) and the Goethe-Institut Tanzania. The Goethe-Institut (German Cultural Centre) has a long history of cooperation with the Government and people of Tanzania. It has been active in the country since 1962, with an interruption of ten years from 1998. The Goethe-Institut re-launched its activities in Tanzania in September 2008 and has quickly gained popularity with Tanzanians from all walks of life. The former Foreign Minister of Germany, Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, who is the initiator of the PASCH-program, stresses the aim of the initiative as follows: “Education provides prospects being multilingual opens up new horizons. At our partner schools abroad, we not only want to provide people with access to our language and education system; we also want to foster an interest in and understanding of one another. The sooner we regard ourselves as an international learning community, the better able we will be to solve the problems of the future that are common to all of us. Our partner schools abroad want to pave the way in helping to achieve this.” Guido Westerwelle, the successor of Steinmeier, also supports the idea of the partner schools program. “It is a project that affects prospective generations,” Westerwelle said when he visited Tanzania in April this year. Commenting on her role as a teacher of German at Chang’ombe Secondary School, where German classes have already started, Ms Gloria Simbaulanga who has attended training courses at the Goethe-Institut Campus in Upanga, in Nairobi and Germany.
“I am very happy at the possibility of enabling young Tanzanians to learn a foreign language, because I believe that it will prepare them for a better future in the highly competitive job market,” Says Simbaulanga. German classes at Zanaki will start in January next year and currently, a Zanaki teacher, Lilian Lazaro Ringo is completing her training in Germany and returns next week, ready to start teaching German at the school early next year. In July this year, two pupils from Chang’ombe Secondary School and one from Zanaki Secondary School attended a Summer Youth Camp in Germany, where they met students from other PASCH Partner Schools worldwide.
“It was a wonderful experience… we learnt German and made many friends with youths from other parts of the world,” says Fatma Mussa, a Zanaki Form 1 student who participated in the Youth Camp.


CCK supports Chadema MP’s walkout

Chama cha Kijamii (CCK) has called on the Government to act on a call for a new Constitution made recently by the main opposition party Chadema when its members of parliament walked out during the inauguration of the Parliament by the president.
CCK chairman, Constantine Akitanda says the Government and general public should not disregard Chadema’s decision because all issues raised by the party were genuine.
“I was following every step done by the Chadema MPs, and after going through their claims, it shows that they had a point therefore we should not ignore them,” said Akitanda when speaking to The Express.

Speaker of Tanzania's Parliament house

He said the pertinent issues raised by Chadema were not answered by the Government through its electoral body (NEC) due to its flaws during the just ended General Election.“Here, we are fighting for a new Constitution and Chadema has shown it by staging a walkout,” he said. On Thursday last week when addressing the 10th Parliament, President Kikwete put emphasis on building the middle class economy and empowering small and medium entrepreneurs, farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and outlined 13 priority areas.But no sooner had he started his speech after being welcomed by the Speaker, Anne Makinda, Chadema MPs walked out while CCM MPs booed. They were making their exit apparently to show their stand that they don’t recognise the Head of State.

Marando's views on the results of general elections

ONE of the prominent lawyers and advocate in this country, Mabere Nyaucho Marando has given his views over the results of the recent General Elections as evidence of growth of multiparty-ism within the nation in general. Marando said the incumbent candidate of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, has drastically declined by just attaining 61.17 per cent out of ballots casted as compared with his landslide victory in the General Elections for2005.
“In 2005 Kikwete was declared a winner with 82 per cent of the presidential votes, but in this year he won by merely attaining 61 per cent of the votes, thereby showing a drastic decline of 20 per cent,” observed the lawyer. He said Kikwete’s decline is a sign for his ruling party for the General Elections set for 2015. It should be noted that in 2005 he obtained over 9 million votes or with above 80 per cent of all presidential votes as compared with the current results of the elections while this year he got only 5,276,827 votes or over 61 per cent of all presidential votes.

Mr. Mabere Marando

Marando also said that the results were indication of how his popularity has deteriorated due to poor performance of his administration in the past five years. He further said that it was obvious for his decline since the government under the control of CCM never met the expectations of Tanzanians in general. The race for leadership vacancies in our country ended with 20,137,303 registered voters expected to elect their leaders during the polling day but slightly over 8 million of them lined up at the polling stations. It was from those who turned out during the polling day that the elections results were declared by the Chairman of NEC, Justice Lewis Makame, for presidency of the United Republic of Tanzania. Regarding the presidential results, Justice Makame said that the registered electorates were about 20 million but merely 8,626,283 turned out to vote in 53,000 polling stations in the country. Kikwete emerged the overall winner with 5,276,827, which was 61.17 per cent of all who voted at the said polling stations. In the final analysis, the destiny of Tanzanians has been made by less than half of over 20 million legitimate electorates.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dr Salim: Handle peace, stability with care

Tanzania has for a long time enjoyed political stability and peace but “we should not think our nation is better than others” in the troubled region, said Dr Salim Ahmed Salim during an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Algiers mid this week. He was commenting on the significance of the Panel of the Wise’s relevance to Tanzania and Africa in general. On Tuesday this week, the Panel of the Wise, to which Dr Salim is a member, concluded its 9th meeting held here for three days. It was established under Article 11 of the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) to support the efforts of the PSC and those of the AU Commission in conflict prevention, management and resolution, which is more relevant to today’s African realities than any other times.

Dr. Salim Ahamed Salim, former OAU (Now AU) Secretary general, currently is the chairman of Mwalimu Nyerere foundation.

Dr Salim said Tanzania’s political stability and peace was a result of the solid foundation built by the two founding fathers of the nations, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Abeid Amani Karume, and called on Tanzanians to cherish it. He said the aim of the Panel was to help shun political conflicts and violence by engaging prominent and independent personalities in mediation and reconciliation processes before the situation get worse. On Tanzania’s politics and the post general election, he said what was needed was for Tanzanians to engage in constructive debate and eventually deliberate on what the people wanted to happen, as far as constitutional reforms and prospects were concerned. “The English have a beautiful saying, which goes as; ‘when you take gin out of the bottle it’s difficult to put it back’ and so we should take care,” he said. He noted that although it was difficult to create an equal society in all aspects, it was nevertheless necessary to reduce socio-economic inequality – the gap between the rich and poor - by sharing equitably national resources and addressing pressing issues. “If we do not do this, we will find ourselves in trouble. So, we have to build on and cherish the good foundation we have. We can also learn from our friends - Algerians - to see how they have utilised and managed their natural resources like oil and gas to build their nation for the good of all citizens,” he explained. On religious sentiments, he said Tanzania was a good example, where neither religious nor ethnic discrimination was an issue. He noted that political leaders were to blame for they were the ones, who used religion or ethnicity, thinking doing so would earn them political popularity and victory. On Tuesday, the Panel of the Wise issued a communiqué in which it highlighted some deliberations to address current crises and consolidation of peace, where it had been restored. With particular concern, the Panel fully supported the decisions taken by the PSC, “urging Laurent Koudou Gbagbo of Ivory Coast to respect the will of the people and allow president-elect Alassane Dramane Ouattara to assume his duties in the best interests of the country, the region and Africa.” Besides Algerian Ahmed Ben Bella, the chairperson of the Panel, members include Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Dr Mary Chinery-Hesse, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and advocate Marie-Madeleine Kala Ngoy.


100 jobless as Dutch firm suspends jatropha production

A Dutch company, Bioshape Tanzania, which cultivates jatropha for biofuel here, has suspended production, rendering more than 100 people jobless. Speaking to reporters in separate interviews recently, some workers claimed that things had started going wrong last year when some officials of the company left the country without notice. “This company started its operations about two and half years ago. Initially, we received our monthly salaries on time, but as the days went on, the management started paying us late or sometimes defaulting,” said a worker, who identified himself, as Moses Mwambe. He said they planted more than 100 acres of jatropha plants at the Mavuji village farm located some 60 kilometres from Kilwa Masoko Township last year mainly for bio-diesel. “This farm has been left unattended since the workers have not been paid their salaries for a long time now,” informed Mwambe. According to him, the company managers, most of them foreigners, had been vanishing from the company one after the other, leaving behind the workers without even a caretaker. “We have seized the properties they left behind, including tractors, until we get our salaries, which have been accumulated for the past twelve months,” he stated. Mwambe accused Kilwa District officials of helping the dodging company officials hide the truth. “Some district officials have been collaborating with the company officials in taking back some of the seized properties, it seems they do not want us to get our rights,” he stated. Another worker, identified as Pili Likwate called for a thorough scrutiny by the government of any investor showing interest to invest in jatropha farming in the country. “It seems some of them are coming here for different reasons, when their mission is accomplished, they just vanish, leaving behind losses and tears to the people and government,” she said. Responding to some of the complaints, Kilwa district executive director Anu Lyimo said she was aware of the problem, but said workers and people in the affected areas should remain calm, as her office was working on the matter. “Our officials have been contacting with this investor and they have been telling us that they will come back, if things go well,” she said.


Plot owner demands apology from minister

The owner of plot number 1006 near Palm Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam has demanded an apology from the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka for defamation. Taher Muccadam has issued an ultimatum for an apology within seven days and a payment of 2bn/- in damages follows the minister’s order to demolish the structures constructed on the plot which had been declared an open space. Muccadam said Prof Tubaijuka (Former UN-Habitant representative for Africa) had ruined his reputation before the society by claiming that the plot was obtained through corruption. "The accusations are not justifiable. As an advocate, I have been tarnished by the allegations. I always believe in legal procedure since it delivers justice to all people,” Muccadam said. Muccadam explained that he was always systematic in whatever he did contrary to what Prof Tibaijuka thought and informed the minister that the plot was not an open space. Advocate Muccadam said that he obtained the plot after a High court ruling whereby both parties were involved. "Is there any necessity to bribe the judge while both parties reached the agreement and the court ruled in my favour?” he queried. He said the plot was issued by the councillors who are also the representatives of the people.

Tanzanian Minister for Landa and Human Settlement Professor Anna Tibaijuka

Muccadam however said that Prof Tibaijuka must start cleaning up her ministry because it has been causing many problems to the people for a long time. He said unless Tibaijuka apologises, he would charge her before the court, insisting that the country was administered by laws and the constitution. On Tuesday this week, Prof Tibaijuka visited open spaces in Dar es Salaam which had been invaded by illegal developers and ordered demolition of structures in two open spaces. The structures which she ordered to be demolished were at plot No.59 flur 1 Ocean Road and Palm Beach plot No 1006 which are demarcated as open spaces. The minister recently served notice that all people who illegally occupied open spaces to surrender them before the start of what she termed as ‘land ranger operation’. Prof Tibaijuka also ordered the fence built at plot No.59 flur 1 Ocean Road near Aga Khan Hospital to be demolished because the owner, Shree Hindu Mandal did not have legal ownership of the plot.