Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CHADEMA responds to Tendwa’s remarks

THE main opposition party, CHADEMA has backfired remarks by the registrar of political parties in the country John Tendwa which he uttered on Friday this week in retaliation to let the party boycott the government’s subsidy issued through his office. Tendwa’s remarks have come amid failure by the Chadema party which for unknown reason did not attend the meeting which he organized in Dar es Salaam despite of an invitation sent to them. The Friday’s forum brought together all political parities, police force, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and other stakeholders to deliberate on the national political situation with a view to explore the role of political parties and other players in building national peace ahead of the 2015 general elections. Speaking in an exclusive interview over the phone last week in Dar es Salaam, Chadema’s Director of Finance and Administration Anthony Calista said that, his party would never boycott the government’s subsidies as this is the taxpayers’ money aimed at facilitating party’s operations according to the law. Chadema’s response comes amid anger expressed by the registrar when he addressed his audience on his Friday’s meeting which he had organized and after having noticed the attendance of the party, remarked that if he would decide to cut off subsidies they receive from the government what will they say? When asked to clarify on this, he noted that, those are mere threats that the registrar is perpetrating. Basing in accordance with the laws, he had no the audacity to cut off such a subsidy as this was introduced by Act of Parliament.  “Could it be that, there was any kind of misappropriation of such fund within the party, and then he could have claimed to see financial reports on its expenditure.

The registrar of the political parties in Tanzania, Mr. John Tendwa insisting a point in one of the press meetings in Dar es Salaam.

But since he is like a clerk in the office, he is therefore obliged to disburse as the law requires him to do so” he said. However, he continued as saying that, Chadema would not be ready to react on any threats as recently reported by the media that, the office of the political parties was planning to deregister the party in claims that it was a cause of all fatal political clashes in the country. In response to the earlier claims raised by the registrar of political parties, he noted that, the registrar was not rightful as he stands on the government’s side to favour  the ruling CCM party whenever an investigation is being carried out to establish the cause of fatal accidents which have occurred in recent political rallies organized by Chadema party. Describing reasons for the boycott of his party on Friday’s meeting, he said that, Chadema party had realized there was no need to attend the meeting as they are fed up with the registrar’s notorious attitude, whom they have also accused of being untrustworthy as he supports law breakers and bears false witnesses against Chadema party. “The registrar Tendwa is not friendly with Chadema as he supports the refusal by the police to issue legal permit to enable us conduct legal public rallies in the country, he is violating the law of which he is supposed to be a custodian in between” he said adding that because of his bad attitude towards the party’s dev elopement they had reasons to boycott his meetings. His voice echoed through a telephone link. The boycott by Chadema comes in less than a month since the party top officials declared that they would not be cowed by any government machineries in pursuing their political agendas. The party was reacting to the registrar’s statement in which he threatened to deregister it if it continued to hold meetings or demonstrations that culminated in deaths. Apparently upset by the boycott, the registrar Tendwa noted that the act only showed how the party’s disrespect the lawful authorities and that it was of arrogance to the electorates who need to be represented in such forums. He added that, this is a clear indication of a party that has failed to live up to democratic standards.

Friday, September 21, 2012

EU Calls for transparency over the killing of a journalist

The European Delegation in Tanzania has called upon Tanzania government authorities to deal transparently with the killing of David Mwangosi a journalist with the Channel ten TV station based in Dar es Salaam who was killed by the police over two weeks ago with a view to establish the circumstances surrounding his death. The European Head of Delegation in Tanzania, Ambassador Filiberto .C. Sebregondi made the call yesterday in Dar es Salaam in an interview when he and his delegation team toured the IPP Media group to see how the company is engaged in the production of newspapers, television and radio news. After a joint interview with both print and electronic media of the IPP Media he issued a statement that extended a heartfelt condolence to the deceased and fellow media professionals who was killed in a cold blood on 2nd September 2012 while covering an opposition event in Iringa town. He said that, the EU Delegation noted that while it is the right and duty of every government to take appropriate measures in order to preserve law and order, it is also the responsibility of the same organ to do so in a balanced and measured manner in order to avoid the use of excessive force and to safeguard the integrity of fundamental rights. However, he noted that, the EU Delegation has praised the government for the initial steps it has taken so far to serve justice over the killing including the arrest of a police officer. In view of this he has also called on the government to make every effort to promote the freedom of press to preserve freedom of expression. Meanwhile, there are three probing commissions already formed to investigate the real course of the death of the deceased journalist. There is a government probing commission of the Ministry of Home Affairs led by the Minister Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi, an investigating team from Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and the police force which is being spearheaded by the Director f Criminal Investigation (DCI) Robert Manumba. Earlier, Ambassador Filiberto and his delegation team composed of over 20 people toured the Guardian Limited newsroom and met with long serving editors of the daily as well as weekly publications such as the Guardian on Sunday and Nipashe Jumapili. He was briefed on how the newspaper production is made from the procuring stage to production level when the newspaper is out.

This is how the police were doing at the time of the killing of the innocent journalist, Daudi Mwangosi who was bruised prostrate down when the police knew he is a journalist and was on duty reporting the anti-police riot who at that time were confronting members of an opposition party. It's very sad to look at

 Apart from the production trend, the delegation team was also briefed of various challenges faced by the media on the course of their operation when they asked in order to get to know various challenges met by the media industry. In reply, the editor of the daily English Guardian newspaper, Wallace Maugo, briefed the delegation that the main challenges the media in the country has been experiencing is the how it’s bound with the Newspaper Act of 1976 saying that, it really haunts the editorial development when it comes to information dissemination. However, he couldn’t elaborate it into details but stressed in brief that, the media in the country has been seeking for the review of the Act but their efforts has ended up in vain. He also talked about the ethical practices and how they handle matters of arbitrations when solving issues related with the defamation or sedition through Media Council of Tanzania (MCT). “We are very much careful with unethical reporting in this profession, unlike others, we are sort of accountable and responsible media organization which cares for professionalism for the society’ he said. Later the delegation moved to the printing section and circulation department whereby the saw the modern machines installed for the printing of newspapers. A bundle of newsprints coiled in rolls of various sizes were seen ready close to the machines though the printing particulars were not yet in place.  The delegation team  also visited the electronic media of the company which deals with the news productions of the radio and television respectively. At the main ITV newsroom, the delegation team was received by the Managing Director in charge of both radio and television Ms. Joyce Mhavile and touring the entire house, were impressed by the way how TV programs are prepared.  They were shown various programs some of which are related with the many activities that the European Union fund for the national development in the country. Such programs are like those discussing about women and children as well as issues that talks about infrastructures such as roads. ‘We are very impressive to see how the programs especially those of women and children are prepared, and others like artists’ programs” said one delegate from Djibouti. After a long tour of the entire industrial production from print and media of the IPP media group, the delegation cooled down for brief discussion with their hosts and exchanged different ideas with the visiting team. The information officer of the EU Delegation office in Tanzania, Emmanuel Kihaule said that, the visiting teams are information and communication officers working in various 25 Southern African countries for which the European Delegation is attached. The came to Tanzania to attend a one week seminar on issues related to the scrutiny of their African social and economic development programs. Tanzania receives Euro 100 million (Equivalent to over 200 billion) per year in its budget report in the country as a contribution from European Union to help facilitate various projects in rehabilitating infrastructure, water, agriculture and protection of natural resources. According to EU Delegation Ambassador Filiberto .C. Sebregondi , the money is used correctly.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Call for mining investors to keep clean local surroundings in the country

THE Chairman of the Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy (TCME) has assured Tanzanians of their continuous firm engagement with the mining investors in the country in order to ensure that they maintain good environment condition to the people living around the mining sites in the country. Speaking in an exclusive interview TCME boss Joseph kahama said that, the move is to ensure members of the TCME to abide by the new mining laws and policies which requires them to keep the local surroundings clean and free from any harmful hazards that might be caused as a result of the continued mining activities. He made the call on Wednesday this week after he had launched the documentary which shows the organization’s development initiatives for its members which took place at Geothe Institute in Dar es Salaam. The documentary is divided in four part series that highlights most significance areas such as how mining works, the environmental and mining’s effects, Mining and the local community and lastly the expanding the transfer of knowledge and skills. In the first episode which  showed how mining works is the story behind how large scale mining works from exploration to final product and where money goes. The second episode follows Tanzanian mining employees as they discussed the innovation and technology employed in environmental management, while in the third episode Tanzanians discussed how the industry delivers every day benefits. In the fourth episode, the job creating effect of mining in Tanzania showed how this is investigated and employees at Tanzanian mines discusses their jobs and how mining has improved their lives. According to TCME Chairman, the series is part of a wider communications initiative by the TCME to build the actual understanding of the mining sector, its impacts on communities, environment and its economy in the country since the activities took place over a decade ago “This is the beginning, over the next year we will roll out several initiatives aimed at driving deeper understanding of the mining sector tom inform the national debate on how best to enhance its benefits” he said. “We are committed to ensuring that, the environmental impact of our activities is minimized whilst the environmental benefits are maximized”, he said adding that his organization is directly committed to the sustainability of the mining operations and the strict adherence to all relevant environmental laws and regulations.

Tanzanite mineral gemstones are mined in Arusha, Tanzania only. There are no any places in te world whereby such gemstones are found.

Mining as an industry in Tanzania has brought the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Tanzania to effectively extract resources in a manner that benefits investors, the national economy and the host communities. He noted that, a comprehensive Environmental Management Plans are developed for each mining site to cover all stages of the mining process, and include measures such as bore hole monitoring and topsoil replacement. A number of TCME members also run corporate social investment (CSI) programmes with an environmental focus. Other CSI programs include ensuring water safety from the scoping stage to mine closure, development of an environmental management plan for each individual site and constant monitoring, including annual audits. Others are monitoring bore holes conducted throughout the lifecycle of each mine, replacing topsoil after mine closure to ensure that run-off is limited as well as ensuring TCME members are well informed of environmental sensitivities through consistent engagement and dialogue with environmental groups, and take action to mitigate any negative impacts at the earliest stage. Tanzania is the 4th largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. Gold production currently stands at roughly 40 tonnes a year, copper at 2980 tonnes, silver at 10 tonnes and diamond at 112670 carats. Minerals that have been identified in Tanzania include gold, iron ore, nickel, copper, cobalt, silver, diamond, tanzanite, ruby, garnet, limestone, soda ash, gypsum, salt, phosphate, coal, uranium, gravel, sand and dimension stones.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bus owners now plans to meet IGP to solve their woes

UP-COUNTRY Bus owners through their association are underway to plan for a meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Said Mwema with a view to get a lasting solution to the long standing problem which exists between them and the traffic police officers in the country. Sources have said that, they have decided to meet the top boss of the police force in the country on a day yet to be identified following failure by the Chief Traffic Officer, Mohamed Mpinga who for long has been repudiating their grievances. Sources further maintains that, bus owners have long been complaining about the bad attitudes  and malpractice being shown to them now and then by some few untrustworthy police traffic officers who are fond of harassing their drivers at various police check points. Speaking in a telephone interview early this week, the Secretary General of the Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA), Ernea Mrutu said that, one of the serious claims is about the continued habit of some of them who tend to ask for bribes from drivers and sometimes charging them with money for unknown reasons for each bus which passes along. He says, bus owners are quite disappointed by the habit which has turned to be rule and wonders as to why the traffic police headquarter has failed to apply an effective mechanism in order to ward off the phenomenon despite of several warning letters they have been sending. He says, police traffic officers in these control points have in a greater extent tried to legalize their malpractice and have gone to the extent of threatening to take to court those drivers who resists to obey their orders by way of planting a mistake onto their buses as a pretext for the exhibit in order to let them accept their mischief.

Officials of the Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) in a meetinmg with police force at Traffic police in Dar es Salaam. Standing left is the forner TABOA's Secretary General Mr. Abdullah.

Due to unavoidable circumstances which compels the victims to honor the police crown under the prevailing situation, most drivers do accept to give them money  so as to avoid further harassments, but this is  not at their will but rather as an enforcement for fear of getting a penalty which might be imposed upon their denial. Speaking with anger, one unanonymous bus owner who was met by this writer early this week at Ubungo upcountry bus terminal in Dar es Salaam said that, they are really tired of the police malpractice which he said has been psychologically affecting drivers who sometimes have no money to give them. “We are planning to meet IGP Saidi Mwema and if things would not change then we shall organize for our own to seek for any possible solution to end up the vice” he said without clarifying what decision would they take. According to him, they are fed up by such malpractice, as the police do not realize the fact that,  they are responsible for paying taxes and meet various operational costs such as paying salaries to their workers, while others are trying harder in order to repay back their bank loans. He further says that, the most annoying thing is that there is a wide syndicated network formed by some traffic police bosses in regions through which they pass who supports their traffic officers and deliberately do not take any action. However, the bus owners are surprised to see are numerous control points despite of several promises by the police whom after looking at the issue they had promised to remove the number and remain with few check points but to no avail. According to Mrutu, one of the most troubled route is that one of Tanga from Dar es Salaam whose traffic officers he noted to be so notorious and impervious to reasons an aspect which he said causes detrimental effects in their members’ daily operations. Efforts to contact the Chief Traffic Police Officer, Mohammed Mpinga for more clarification about the matter proved futile as his mobile phone kept on ringing several times without response. However, his aid said he was in upcountry on a special mission when contacted in a landline phone.

Transporters react on Dr. Mwakyembe’s decision

THERE is a mixed reaction over the recent decision by the government it had issued in early August this year during Parliamentary budget discussion for the Ministry of transport against upcountry buses stopping en-route to enable passengers take a call of nature by the roadside. The ban was announced by the Minister for Transport Dr. Harisson Mwakyembe who cautioned drivers to immediately call off this habit with effect from this month onwards, or else stern measures would be taken against them. The reason for the ban, the minister reportedly said, is to honour and preserve an African tradition whereby anyone of the two genders, male and female must not see, hear and or otherwise be cognizant of what someone of the other gender is up to. Reacting over the issue, a cross section of the interviewed drivers have expressed their disappointment over the matter saying that, it wouldn’t be possible to drive all along the way without stopping for a brief to allow passengers and even themselves to run for a call of nature. However, they said that unless the government looks for other alternatives on how to help their passengers bearing in mind that, they usually travel long distances which covers thousands of miles spending between 12 to 15 hours counting for a day’s journey to reach their final destinations. In view of this, however, they have asked the minister to revert his order and look at the whole issue on the humanitarian grounds and judge for himself and see if it’s possible for a human being regardless of age to travel along the way for 12 to 15 hours without attending any call of nature. Hamidu Mkoka (45) a driver with Mwanza bound Zuberi bus service commented on the idea and suggested that, the government should build for them rest houses as it had promised earlier otherwise there is no alternative other than defying the call by the transport minister which he says is impractically impossible. Recalling the idea, one driver Musa Hussein from Singida noted that, the government had once promised to build rest houses along main roads passing along various regions in the country for the sake of helping passengers and drivers who were fond of dodging and hide in bushes for helping themselves. But wonders as to what had caused the project not to start.

Passengers rush to the toilets to attend a call of nature at Singida town when their bus stopped, this follows the government's order that required passengers to attend such calls instead of going to bushesas it was used before, the habit commonly known as 'kuchimba dawa'

However, investigations can establish that, none has yet been constructed despite of the existence of the idea which was planned after having seen the escalating problem was becoming a nuisance causing environmental degradation. Investigation over the matter reveals that, in early 2011, the government had promised that it could build rest houses for upcountry passengers and that a budget for the construction of these houses could have been set aside during the budget for 2011/12 fiscal year, but unfortunately nothing has been done so far. The government through the Ministry of Transport planned the idea of rest houses to be constructed along the main roads countrywide in order to provide lavatory services and other social amenities to cater for the need of passengers traveling along to upcountry regions. The government had seen the move as a permanent solution to a long standing problem which is facing passengers who takes long hours while on their safari, and once in need of going for a call of nature resort to enter in nearby bushes for help, a situation described as “Kuchimba dawa”.  However, the call was made by the then Deputy Minister for Transport Dr. Athuman Mfutakamba when being interviewed in a special report program aired by the Dar es Salaam based Independent Television station (ITV). Dr. Mfutakamba who now has been dropped from the ministerial position in the previous reshuffles made by the President Jakaya Kikwete was required to clarify what steps his ministry takes following a research carried by TV crews through the Dar-Iringa-Mbeya-Tunduma road. Research revealed that passengers on board in a long hour travel receives some difficulties when it comes to the need of helping themselves, and instead resort to go to the bush a situation which has been described to be environmentally unfriendly. Dr. Mfutakamba noted that, his ministry would corporate with the Ministry of Works who undertakes the construction of upcountry roads and deliberate on the possible measures together with setting a special budget a situation which has not been done up to now.

Media told to observe ethics while reporting people’s views on constitutional review process

AS the constitutional review process is taking its stage in the country, an association which stands for advocating social justice and educating the public how to maintain professionalism in the country has urged media industry to observe its ethical roles while reporting people’s views on constitutional change. Tanzania International Fellowship Program Alumni Association (TIFPA) made its concern recently in Dar es Salaam during a one day seminar which it had organized for the media personnel with specific views targeting the importance of the constitutional review process to the people. Two presentations were issued with a view to educate journalists on that aspect in this important and sensitive process which is expected to foresee the future of Tanzanians at large. One of the presentations was issued by a Dar es Salaam based veteran journalist Fili Karashani. Karashani said in his paper presentation entitled, “Towards a new constitution-The role of the media in the constitutional review process” that, there are some journalists in the country who do not observe ethics as required and instead ends up in purporting information to the general public. He said up to this era of science and technology there is a specified number of journalists who are still working without specialisation in the field of journalism a situation he said they end up reporting negative ideas that might bring detrimental effects such as chaos in the country. Speaking on the grounds of media professionalism when it comes to the issue of national constitution, he has however cautioned journalists to be sensitive and observe the most sensitive areas of their reporting such as sourcing, balancing, and stick on clarity. He said the three elements are the key areas to be observed when reporting which brings a well balanced news reporting and if observed properly would enable the ideas and opinions given by the people during the process of collecting views over the matter to be fair and well balanced. Karashani has also warned journalists not to misuse technical words without seeking for clarification from the concerned professionals for their correct meaning when constructing sentences. However, he insisted journalists to be careful on punctuations and spellings in constructing a sentence to highlight their facts about the story.

A vateran Tanzanian journalist Mr. Fili Karashani.

On his part, the Chairman of the TIFPA Charles Mkude has stressed the need of the media in covering people’s views in this process of national constitution review without interactions from any political party. However, he said this would be less provocative and will not lie on one side view. He said that there has not been any constitution amendment made with the involvement of people’s participation since independence. In view of this, he is therefore suggesting there should be a special form of mechanism that would outline advocacy skills concerning with the implementation of action plan. He said that, technical skills must be used so that all the details given should be scanned, monitored and reviewed prior to be made workable to the people to ensure that, what is laid down is correct. Mkude is on the view of the fact that, there are some important human aspects which he termed as dilemma for which are not given the priority it deserves, and if left unattended would cause the negative impact of the people’s life in the country. In that sense, he stressed the idea of patriotism for every citizen is the most leading factor that must be put forward. Commenting on behalf of practicing journalists in the country, a member of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) Ansbert Ngurumo said that, most journalists in Tanzania needs to be kept abreast with in-depth knowledge on media professional training especially in the areas of information dissemination. Ansbert who has a long experience in the field with about 16 years of work experience ushered his concern before fellow journalists some of whom he accused are lured by little tokens the so-called ‘Mshiko’ which according to him, has paralyzed the good conduct of journalism profession. In view of this fact, he has also blamed some media owners whom he said do not pave a good working environment for their journalists in some media houses in the country. “This is a factor which drives some of them into committing unprofessionalism”, he affirmed. TIFPA is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which was established in the country in 2006 and its members compose an alumni group who were sponsored by an International Fellowship Foundation known as Ford Foundation. The organization plays the role of realizing social justice, advocating and educating the public while upholding professionalism and integrity.

DC warns police force in Tarime district

FEW days after the death of a Channel Ten reporter in Iringa town, Daudi Mwangosi who was killed by the police in a cold blood during their excessive operational move, Rorya district Commissioner in Mara region Elias Goloi has warned against bad attitudes being practiced by few police officers in their move to minimize chaos within his district. DC Goloi issued a warming last week in Tarime town in a ceremonial occasion for which he was the guest of honor during which some police officers and few traditional elders of the Kurya tribe were honored for their contribution that helped restore peace and harmony in the district. In his speech, the DC said that, there are some few police officers who are fond of asking bribes while carrying out their duties an aspect that tarnishes the good image of the police force in the country. However, he has warned them to desist from such malpractice. The occasion which was organized by Rorya/Tarime special police zone is an annual event aimed at taking measures to curb with the escalating chaos which have occasionally been emerging in Tarime and Rorya districts respectively.  A total of 19 police officers including traditional elders were awarded with cash prizes and certificates by the police force as their contribution has greatly helped the police to minimize chaos.

Rorya District Commissioner in Mara region Mr. Elias Goloi presenting cash prize and a certificate to one of the police officers for his contribution in the fight against crime in the district.

In the occasion also there were some organizations which were also honored alongside for their contributions in one way or another as they had volunteered in financing operational activities when required. They were awarded by certificates only. The organizations were Anglican diocese of Tarime town, Tarime Teachers Training College, African Gold Mine of Nyamongo, CMC Motors and Mantrac (T) Ltd. These organizations were honored for their corporate responsibility work and their effective participation. Various officials of the district levels attended the occasion who included Tarime District Commissioner, John Henjewele, Director of Tarime district council Fidelis Lumato. Others were the two Regional Police Commanders for special zone and for the region, RPC for Mara region SACP Absalome Mwaylasone and RPC for special police zone ACP Justus Kamugisha. Together with other things, the DC noted various challenges faced by the police force in the district as insufficient budget allocation to enable run the operational activities, lack of working facilities and many others. In view of this, he has thanked the organizations for their moral support and asked them to continue giving help as they are serving Tanzanian people and nobody else.  Reports shows that in the past there were tribal clashes among members of the Kurya tribe which have been occurring now and then and the sources of these clashes was related with the different ethnic clans who were fighting over cattle rustling. Either the history tells that, there have been sporadic fights and clashes which occur after ten years’ time that involves between bigger communities against those small ones. In view of this, in 2009, the government decided to transform Tarime/Rorya districts into special police zone in efforts to stop the clashes and rampant cross border cattle rustling in the area a move that has proved successful.

A proposed bill for rescue operations in pipeline

THE Government through the Ministry of Infrastructure is underway to propose a bill which will work as a guideline policy for rescue operational activities for marine accidents. The bill will ensure together with other things marine accidents are attended promptly. The Guardian has been informed. The Minister for Infrastructure Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe said in an exclusive interview recently in Dar es Salaam that, the bill to be tabled at the parliamentary sessions scheduled in February next year, will enable marine transport stakeholders to know the importance of the rescue operations and what actions should they take whenever such accidents occurs. Dr. Mwakyembe who is a professional lawyer has come up with the idea after having realized  there are existing discrepancies of the general understanding of the importance of marine rescue operations among stakeholders whenever accidents occurs in the country. He is a brain behind the move over the matter after having studied what had transpired in the recent two worst marine disasters along the Indian Ocean of MV Spice Islander which occurred in September 2011 and MV Skagit which occurred three weeks ago respectively. Following the two recent marine disasters, Dr. Mwakyembe has discovered that, little knowledge is being applied of the general idea of rescue operations due to lack of proper understanding on the whole issue. This is coupled by lack of modern rescue operational facilities that Tanzania is still faced with as a great challenge. However  he noted that his office is currently working with a team of local experts on important elements from both inland and marine transport sector in the country to ensure that, a comprehensive policy on rescue operations is drafted and a law is passed to make if more effective. “I want to ward off all these obstacles which exist in transport sector because of the improper guidelines, if there could be proper policies to be followed, many people would have been rescued on time from the scenes of accidents” he said. In another development, Dr. Mwakyembe has pledged to revive the operations of the ailing national air transport sector in the country which for years has been staggering for lack of effective control.

The Minister for Transport, Dr. Harison Mwakyembe

He has however called on Tanzanians to give him three months maximum to ensure that he puts into an effective control line the Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) which he said has not been performing as required due to improper managerial skills. He said in an interview with this paper when met during the inauguration ceremony of the official opening of the hangar house, an aircraft engineering workshop for Precision Air which took place last week at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam. ATCL is a sole national airline which has been in operation for about 35 years now since its establishment and has been dependent to a large extent in recent years by many Tanzanians as sole means of air transportation in the country. “I have seen the need to work tirelessly to make sure that, ATCL comes back into normal operations as people would not be happy to see it collapsing for no any cause”, he said adding that, he is closely working on the matter and asked people to draw their patience to let him accomplish his task within three months’ time. However, he noted that, the state of air transport in the country needs to be revamped so that the industry should fair in competition with other international airlines operating in the country with a view to promote air transport and the national economy in the country.  Detailing on dubious contractual agreements which have been signed and thus hampering the entire operations, he noted that, currently his office is scrutinizing and reviewing them to see if they have any irregularities and if seen would immediately be flushed out. He noted that, the existing dubious contracts is a cause of bad work performance, and in view of this, he has vowed to ensure that his ministry does not engage in any further contractual agreement that is likely to endanger the entire operation.

Lowasa stresses on patriotism over national ID registration

AS the process of the registration for national identification cards which is being undertaken by the National Identification Authority (NIDA) is going on, former prime minister has called on Tanzanians to show patriotism over the exercise in order to smoothen its operations. Edward Lowasa made the concern in a recent interview which was conducted by the Milimani TV owned by the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) during a special program prepared by the TV presenter Rose Mdhami. Lowasa stressed out his views and noted that, a joint concerted effort was urgently needed so as to defend national integrity as people who are non-citizens might take the opportunity and register themselves and pretends to be Tanzanians. Lowasa gave an example during the liberation struggle of Southern African states for which Tanzania was in frontline and decided to give its passports to freedom fighters and later misused them in some countries they visited like Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. However, he insisted that the issue of patriotism important among Tanzanians and should be put forward and reinforced as it is a sensitive idea that would defend the national integrity in the whole process. In view of this, he has therefore cautioned leaders starting from the village levels to work with care to ensure that the whole process of registration is being undertaken accordingly and in a proper way “Patriotism needs to be observed to defend the rights of Tanzanians in this exercise as this will help to get rid of perpetrators who would snatch Tanzanian citizenship without legal procedures” he said adding that, this is a fight of every Tanzanian regardless of their party’s affiliations Lowasa who is also a Member of Parliament for Monduli constituency has cautioned village leaders especially those bordering our country’s frontiers to be careful with people whom they suspect to be newcomers and tend to tamper with the registration process as their presence would deny the rights of Tanzanians. Earlier, the TV program was prepared to collect views from former Prime Ministers in the country over the newly introduced task of citizens’ registration as Dar es Salaam region being a pilot project.

Edward Ngoyai Lowasa, former Tanzania Prime Minister.

The ex-Prime ministers spoke on the matter in sporadic interviews early this week in Dar es Salaam. NIDA has started the registration of people for national identity cards over one month ago in the city of Dar es Salaam whose extended date to complete the exercise which comes to an end on Monday next week, before the authority embarks on other upcountry regions. According to the NIDA’s laid down procedures for registration and identification of persons Act of 1986 article 9 (2) which states that “where the applicant is illiterate or otherwise unable to write, he/she shall dictate the relevant particulars to a registration officer or any other person authorized by the registrar for the purpose. Upon completion the applicant shall acknowledge the correctness of the particulars by affixing signature or mark in the presence of registration officer or the other finger print or mark. The government of United Republic of Tanzania established the National Identification Authority (NIDA) on 1st July, 2008 in order to let Tanzanians known among the five East African countries and even to overseas countries.  NIDA’s core functions include identification and registration of people’s issuance and management of identification cards, management and maintenance of permanent registration book. NIDA’s Executive Director, Dickson Maimu was recently quoted in Dar es Salaam as saying that, the process of engaging the company that would produce the IDs was in the final stages. The $176 million (about Sh200 billion) project has been delayed for decades now with documents, meetings and tendering moving from one office to the other.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Marando uncovers illegal SMS spoofing by CCM syndicate

THE advisor for the intelligence department of the Tanzania’s leading opposition ‘Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo’ (CHADEMA) Mabera Marando has declared that, through his intelligence work, he has discovered that the recent claims by the ruling party over the short messages sent to an MP Mwigulu Mchemba (CCM) that was alleged to have been sent by CHADEMA members, is an act of provocation. Marando who is also an advisor of the party’s legal affairs told a press conference in Dar es Salaam recently that, he is sure with proof that, the messages were sent by CCM criminals members whom he said used the machine known as SMS Scooping to practice their illegal action  However, he disclosed that the perpetrators are from the CCM syndicated team led by the son of the famous leader in the current government (refused to name him) who bought the machine from an Israel based manufacturing firm known as Nice Systems Ltd. He said by using the machine, the perpetrators can easily temper with someone’s mobile phone network connection and do whatever they want and at the end, the owner of the phone would be caught to have miraculously have communicated through, but this id done in vice versa without their knowledge.  “My dear journalists, I can assure you that, the machine was bought by the son of the famous top national leader in our government”, he said but refused to mention his name when required to do so in order to justify his point. However, he further said that, he is confident with what he is saying as he has full evidence even if he is taken before the court of law to testify the truth about the matter, he is ready to tender the evidences. He also disclosed that, the country’s Attorney General Judger Fredrick Werema is secretly preparing a prosecution charge sheet in collaboration with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) against the alleged CHADEMA members with intent to demoralize the party’s strength.

Mabere Marando being interviewed by traditional media at CHADEMA's party headquarter in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam city.

He said, as legal advisor of the leading opposition party in the country, her would make sure that, no anything bad on the side of the party is illegally done to harm the party, and instead he would stand firm to defend the party wherever possible. Describing SMS spoofing malpractice, Marando noted that, this is a criminal offense that has enshrined in a relatively new technological network systems which uses the short message service (SMS) available on most mobile phones and personal digital assistants, to set who the message appears to come from by replacing the original mobile number with alphanumeric text. He further said that, spoofing occurs when a sender manipulates address information and it is often done ion order to impersonate a user that has roamed onto a foreign network and is submitting messages outside the home network. In another development, Marando has criticized the habit shown by the National parliamentary speakers of preventing the opposition camp from discussing issues which are mentioned by the courts. He says that, any case which is being mentioned by the court pending for preliminary hearing, has the legality of discussion in parliament. However, he said that, a case which has been set for hearing and the proceedings noted by evidences tendered in courts by prosecution, such kind of a case is bound for discussion and if it happens to be discussed or reported is only that part which shall have been tendered as an exhibit before the court. But he is surprised to see that, the parliament puts an injunction over the listening of a case presented for clarification that is against the parliamentary standing orders, however, he questioned saying that, the practice done by the ruling party as they have realized their mischief would be discovered. Marando was making a clarification on the recent report by the opposition camp which was bound in parliament to talk about the fate of the Chairman of Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) who was thoroughly beaten by unknown people over the allegation of staging a doctor’s strict at Muhimbili National Hospital recently.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

City commuters calls for police intervention

AS the notorious habit practiced by commuter bus operators in the city of Dar es Salaam of shortening their routes is growing at an alarming rate, some city commuters have called on the regional traffic police to intervene in the current situation. The call of commuters comes about despite of a regular crackdown amounted by SUMATRA’s secret agents who have been tasked to net the notorious operators along various designated routes, but seemingly the task force team have been overwhelmed by the exercise due to a great number of defaulting commuter buses plying along the mostly affected routes. The most affected passengers and their routes are those who head to far flung areas such as Gongo La Mbotto, Mbagala, Mwenge Tegeta and Mbezi whereby they are experiencing problems of boarding commuter buses destined to their respective areas of domicile during evening and night picking hours. Investigations by this paper has discovered that in order for them to reach their destinations, they have to make a number of connections an aspect which forces them to pay their fares either thrice or more for a single journey. It has discovered during a sting operation secretly carried over the week that, sometimes a passenger is forced to pay twice as much as the normal fare indicated by the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority for a single trip during night hours. Interviewed passengers at Buguruni commuter bus stand complained recently that, “they have to connect their journey by boarding more than three buses in order to arrive to their respective homes before mid-nights”. Investigations by this paper has overlooked into the magnitude of the matter and found out that, the persisting problem is due to few commuter buses serving the area on time which is exacerbated by the habit of some bus operators of not going the whole distance of their designated routes as required and instead divert them to other routes. In view of this, commuters are being subjected to the harassment of scrambling to board the few available ones and sometimes forced to accept hiked fare which is announced randomly by operators and for no alternative cause, have to accept to board in order to reach to their destinations. The scrambling for buses at some bus stops has paved the way for thieves who takes the advantage once mingled and pretends to be passengers with a view to make their mischief. A spot check at Buguruni commuter bus stop last week found scores of passengers who had been stranded at around 22:30 at night, most of whom were women and children who had traveled from other places like Mwenge, Tegeta and Ubungo waiting to connect their journeys after having been abandoned by notorious drivers who do not reach to their final destinations in places like Gongo La Mboto, Temeke and Mbagala. Speaking to this paper, some passengers expressed concern over the situation and noted that, have been spending a lot of money everyday as fare to and from their work places.

However, some of them have blamed the traffic police manned on the road for their failure to curb the situation. Those unable to afford such connections for a double trip journeys and pay more fares spend more hours at the stage waiting for a single plying service and consequently find themselves reporting late to their homes. Due to impeding situation, they have asked the police force to intervene in order to ensure their safety.  Some interviewed drivers have commented on the issue and said that, the habit enables them to make a good profit margin at the end of a day’s work. However, they have cited the increased traffic jam slows their operations and hence collects little at the end. In order to supplement for any loss incurred, they have to shorten their routes and divert themselves to another one, thus by doing this are certain to make a good profit says Rashid Mwamkambo a driver of the bus plying between Mwenge and Gong La Mboto. According to him, his employer demands Sh.100,000 cash a day for the whole day’s work, but it sometimes gets him not to have fulfilled a half of the money by 15.00 hours in the evening. “All this is due to traffic jam on the road’ he said. He also cited the increased costs on fuel consumption to run their vehicles which he said is consumed during traffic jam. Contacted for comment, Public Affairs Manager of Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA) David Mziray who admitted being aware of such violations, said his institution plans to revoke the driver’s licenses if found notorious of such malpractice. According to him about 257 daladala operators have been apprehended in the recent crackdown amounted by his organization and noted that measures to be taken against those found defaulting such rules would face severe punishment alongside the revocation of their driving licenses. The penalty for a driver who diverts his route is fined between Tsh. 10,000 and Tsh. 25,000 or withdrawal of his driving license for three weeks to six months or both. But critics have commented that, the punishment given to them was not enough to streamline the defaulters.

JK highlights challenges to agricultural development

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has said that, lack of money is still a major hindrance to the development of agriculture in most African countries south of Sahara region. The President gave the challenge in his speech he delivered recently when addressing delegates and representatives from African countries who gathered in Dar es Salaam to deliberate issues affecting the agricultural development in Africa region. The forum dubbed “China-Africa poverty reduction and development forum on agricultural modernization for poverty reduction” is organized jointly by the President’s Office Planning Commission (POPC) and the International Poverty Reduction Centre of China (IPRCC). The third forum of its kind appreciate the enduring efforts and unprecedented success by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in reducing poverty, for which Africa has a lot to learn. As such, the forums focus on deepening the understanding of development approaches and strategies that have been effective in reducing poverty. The forum was attended by senior government officials from nine African countries who gathered to deliberate on various ways they could take in order to learn from the Chinese agricultural technology experts so as to end the impending food insecurity in the region.

A one day forum took time to exchange ideas among the participants from Africa region and that one from China on various ways of success that Africa could emulate in order to alleviate poverty and malnutrition, the two elements affecting Africa region. In his speech President Kikwete told 120 delegates that if money could be made available in Africa for agricultural investments, the region could be in a position to curb food insecurity in Africa region. He said that about 70 percent of the people in rural Africa depends entirely on agricultural activities, but it was amazing to see that, its people lags behinds and keeps on begging for food outside due to low productions of their agricultural food products. However, he noted that, the main reasons for this is that, “Africa still use an outdated means of agriculture and therefore do not practice modern agriculture of the mechanized scientific means, the practice which he said results into an extreme low production of agricultural produce that does not suffice the need of the populace in respective countries. In his suggestion, he noted that malnutrition and poverty would be reduced among African rural communities is if Africa would invest heavily in its agricultural food crops. He said inadequacy on modern mechanism to help water supply, weak rural infrastructure and many others such as poor technology, these are the factors that still hinder the development of agriculture in poor African countries’ he added. “Unless we have enough money to drive such development initiatives, otherwise Africa would continue remaining stagnant in terms of agricultural development “ he said. He noted that donor funding to spearhead on most Africa’ agricultural development goals was reduced, and yet this is another aspect which has constrained the major development initiatives within the region. He pinpointed the figures on donor contribution which has declined from $18 billion to $ 3 billion for the last 20 years culminating to a gradual and low agricultural development in Africa region. However, he has strongly urged the African countries to effectively drive their motives and involves their matters with private sector stakeholders which he said has the greatest opportunity in the contribution to the national economy. Giving an example in Tanzania, the president described the participation of the private sector in the country’s Kilimo Kwanza initiative, meaning priority has to be given in agricultural initiatives, saying that the slow pace of the program in Tanzania is constrained due to lack of money. On his part, the Chinese Minister of State council leading group of poverty alleviation and development of China, highlighted the successes of his country towards poverty alleviation was attained as a result of prioritizing agricultural activities to private sector. However, he said the Chinese government has been giving more assistances to its small scale agriculturalists and give training to its people for the use of modern agricultural machineries and provide enough technological use.