Monday, October 29, 2012

The fate of MwanaHalisi newspaper at a cross roads

It is not yet clear whether or not the Dar es Salaam based Hali Halisi Publishers would appeal in connection with the ban almost three months ago of its popular weekly investigative tabloid MwanaHalisi newspaper. In view of this situation, readers of the newspaper will continue to wait for unknown time frame unless the government lifts a ban a situation described by critics as the denial of their rights to be informed. The company’s management is still in dilemma whether or not to appeal although the circumstances show they were not accused of any malicious allegations of seditious before a court of law for any damages caused by their publication. MwanaHalisi newspaper Chief Editor Saed Kubenea early this week said that as long as they hadn’t been accused of any malpractice he is unable to act in regard to preparing an appeal. Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, reacting to the public criticism over government’s action to ban for the newspaper, announced that the publishers could appeal if they were not satisfied by the decision. He made his concern during the Parliamentary debate sessions in Dodoma recently. Meanwhile, a Dar es Salaam-based private lawyer Charles Mkude said the Hali Halisi Company can open a claim file for a judicial review or a constitutional petition for the matter of appeal as this is accepted by the court for appeal. Mkude, chairman of an association which stands to defend the rights of the people and professionalism in the country known as Tanzania International Fellowship Programme Association (TIFPA), noted that the appeal over the issue was possible though the process could be long and time wasteful. He was contacted for comments by this paper with a view over various judicial procedures that if followed would enable the Hali Halisi company to process an appeal over the matter and get a final solution. About a month ago, human rights activists threatened to launch countrywide demonstration to blacklist officials who banned the MwanaHalisi newspaper, if the ban was not revised within seven days it had issued and which has already elapsed.  

The editor of MwanaHalisi newspaper Mr. Saed Kubenea holding his two Swahili published tabloid newspapers with the latest issue that carried the headline "Aliyemteka Ulimboka Huyu hapa" meaning that, a person who abducted Ulimboka is here. The issue sparked a hot debade in parliament after its publication whose contents had angered the government which later decided to suspend the newpaper on 30th July 2012 untill furrher notice. The details in the story vividly showed how the government is directly involved in the abduction of the Chairman of Medical Association of Tanzania Dr. Steven Ulimboka.
The activists who gathered at MISA-Tan under the umbrella of the Tanzania Human Right Defenders Coalition (THRDC) issued the warning amid reports that the government had planned to make sure the newspaper is not published again. The chairman of THRDC steering committee Marcossy Albanie faulted the Premier’s justification of the government action saying that if the owners of MwanaHalisi newspaper were not satisfied by the government’s move, they have a right to appeal.  Another Dar es Salaam lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the government was not honest as it knows well it was impossible to appeal on the fact that, the newspaper Act that the Minister used to ban the newspaper has empowered him to do so. Otherwise according to him, the Act should be removed to pave the way for contravention for any further appeal in court. “Unless the law is reviewed  it’s impossible to take the matter to court, moreover this is like a detention Act which should only be left for the minister to decide again either to revert the decision,” he said adding that, to make an appeal under this circumstances would be impossible unless the law governing newspaper Act of 1976 is reviewed. Cornered by this reporter, the Minister for Information, Youths culture and sports, Dr Fenella Ephraim Mukangara declined to say anything on MwanaHalisi newspaper. “As for this issue, I am sorry, call me again as I am in a meeting,” she said and switched off her mobile phone. Efforts to reach her have become impossible as her mobile phone was unreachable throughout the day. The government banned MwanaHalisi newspaper on July 30h this year, accusing it for publishing seditious materials. The decision came after it had acted in line with the clause 25 (1) of the newspaper Act of 1976 that empowers the Minister for Information to suspend any publication. This is the second time the government bans the newspaper. In mid 2007 the Minister for Information by then Ramadhan Omar Mapuri ordered the suspension of the same newspaper which lasted for three months.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Zitto’s committee asks CHC to evaluate government’s shares

THE Parliament’s Public Organization Account’s Committee (POAC) has instructed the Consolidated Holdings Corporation (CHC) board of directors to evaluate shares of the privatized companies in which the government owns below 30 percent stake in order to know their financial status from the economic point of view. This is among the four basic recommendations the POAC issued to the CHC after their meeting to deliberate the development of privatized companies and their financial reports which was held at Bunge offices on Thursday this week in Dar es Salaam. Speaking after going through the CHC quarterly financial report, the POAC Chairman who is also an MP for Kigoma North constituency (Chadema), Zitto Kabwe, told the CHC board directors to ensure that, they prepare a comprehensive audit report for both privatized and non-privatized companies in order to enable them know what to do with it. Zitto is on the view of the fact that, once the financial report of all companies is well prepared, the government would be in a position to decide either to announce their shares in Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange for public offer.

Parliament’s Public Organization Account’s Committee (POAC)Chairman who is also an MP for Kigoma North constituency (Chadema), Zitto Kabwe stressing a point during a Parliamentary debate sessions in Dodoma.

Elaborating, Mr Kabwe said, the government should retain most of the shares. “You should list at least 25 per cent of the companies’ shares at the Dar es Salaam Stock exchange for public offer, but make sure that the government remains the majority shareholder”. According to him, statistics shows that, out of over 400 companies the government has privatized since 1995, it owns over 50 percent share in only 62 companies including the most recently established Airtel mobile company which is incorporated by the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd. Other instructions are that the CHC should stop its plans of putting on sale an historical building of Georges Grill which is located at the heart of the Dar es Salaam city centre, and instead it should do more renovations on it as it still has some importance to the government. In addition to that, the POAC has also ordered the CHC to abide by the instructions which prohibit their members to be associated with any activities within the Ministry of Finance or be part of their membership, for reasons that might cause direct interference with their affairs which are closely related. On the other hand, the CHC’s Chairperson Dr. Marcellina Chijoriga confirmed in an exclusive interview that, her Board will abide by all instructions given and take appropriate cautious approach when implementing the committee’s directives. The CHC came into being in 2007 to replace the then Public Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) which was established in mid 1996 with a view to conduct the privatization process on government companies as well as public parastatal organizations, a move that has helped increase the national economy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dar Commuter train takes off on Monday

THE Government has announced the soft opening of the much awaited first ever Dar es Salaam commuter train transport schedules to take off on Monday next week, while giving precautions to residents living closer to the railway line to vacate for their security before the law takes its course. The Deputy Minister for Transport Dr. Charles Tizeba told a press conference yesterday in Dar es Salaam that the soft opening will be done in two occasions, one at the main running station of Ubungo-Maziwa for Tanzania Railways Ltd (TRL) and at Mwakanga station for Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) as a pilot project respectively. At both stations he said, the Minister for Transport Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe who is expected to grace the occasion, will flag off two locomotive engines at different times at around 06.00 am and 0630 am respectively. The soft opening takes place in fulfillment of the government’s promise as earlier announced by the Ministry of Transport in its move to decongest Dar es Salaam city a situation which occurs during pick hours in the morning and in the evening. In view of this, the Deputy minister has warned people living closer to the railway track to make sure that are vacating as soon as possible so that they pave way for the smooth operations instead of waiting for the government to use excessive force to remove them in these areas which according to surveys has been invaded by many petty traders.  He clarified that, for the safety of the people they must dwell their business activities far away from the 15 meters off the railway for security reasons. However, he added that, the ministry is therefore requesting those who have breached the law to abide by what the ministry has laid down as in accordance with the law and regulations set. Dr. Tizeba elaborated the procedures on how the commuters would be boarding the train and noted that, they will be lined up in single file at every station while entering in systematically by following first come first served system. He said that, every passenger will be required to board a train with a ticket which will be sold from 2000 selling centers, he elaborated that, the tickets will be sold like vouchers indicating different fare quotations which has been approved by Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA). He said a ticket will be used for a single journey regardless of where a passenger disembark, these will be examined just like the normal daladala ticket used by bus commuters. However, he noted that, at the moment they will not be using a multiple ticket.

A train at Dar es Salaam railways station whereby city commuter train is expected to start its operatins on Monday next week.

Elaborating on the fare ticket to be issued in these journeys, he said that, the government through SUMATRA has proposed the fare for children and adults only. For children he said this group will include primary and secondary school students who will pay Sh. 100 through for a single trip. While for adults, this will differ for Tazara railways will pay Sh. 500/- while for TRL they will pay Sh.400/- for single trip. These fare quotations will not determine where a passenger disembarks, but it will combine a single journey through. Dr. Tizeba also clarified the time of departure for both trains and noted that, they will start to operate at 05.00 am in the morning up to 11.00 just before afternoon. There will be a short break of about four hours and resume at 15.00 pm in the evening until 20.00 at night. According to Tizeba, the time chosen for operation is exactly at the picking hours whereby the majority of city dwellers rush to their various working places, hence because of the existing problem of transport at this time, the commuter train would help shuttle them. The introduction of railway commuter services in Dar es Salaam would have the double advantage of providing Dar es Salaam residents with an additional transport system and earning struggling Tanzania Railways Limited much-needed cash.  A train commuter service could also persuade many Dar es Salaam residents to leave their cars at home and take public transport instead. Meanwhile, a pilot project for Dar es Salaam rapid transport (DART) is expected to start by end of this year and will start with seven newly introduced State-of-the-art busses designed to carry between 60 to 140 passengers whose full swing operation will start in 2014. DART is a newly introduced mode of rapid city transport in the country which was established with a view to ease transport problems currently basseting residents of the city of Dar es Salaam. Speaking in Dar es Salaam early this week, the Director of transport and development of DART Asteria Mlambo noted that, the vision is to have a cost effecti9ve public transport operation which gives profits to operators. The project is anticipated to reduce to great extent congestion and saveSh.4 billion which according to research carried in 2010 by Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) has established that the increased traffic jam causes loses amounting to 20 percent to city workers and business people to delay to their respective business areas.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The government bans public religious crusades

THE Government yesterday banned all public religious crusades in the country for 30 days, the Minister for Home Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi made an announcement when he confirmed the official apprehension of the Zanzibar based Islamic religious revival group leader Sheik Farid Ahamed known as ‘Uamusho’ who was reported to have disappeared in Zanzibar four days ago. Dr. Nchimbi told a press conference yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, the government has decided to ban religious crusades at this time around when it currently investigating the dubious religious skirmishes which have of recently emerged tarnishing the good image Tanzania had in the eyes of foreigners. The clashes resulted into setting fire to some churches in Dar es Salaam and in Zanzibar respectively. Earlier, Minister Nchimbi describing the circumstances which led to the apprehension of Sheikh Farid, and noted that, the police had mounted a secret man hurt since the time when he was announced to have disappeared in the Isles. However, he noted that, the police managed to spot him in his private hideout place at Old town in Zanzibar, and that the police is holding him for interrogation to establish the reasons of his disappearance which ultimately caused religious clashes in the Isles. Dr. Nchimbi who was briefing the state of the country’s emergency, confirmed the apprehension of the Islamic leader who was proclaimed to have got lost in a mysterious circumstances an aspect that caused tension among the Muslims believers in Zanzibar who speculated that, the government was behind his abduction.  He also noted that, the police will give the report after its investigations and people will be informed to be aware of the facts that led to his disappearance and why he had disappeared and for what reasons. Dr. Nchimbi was talking in the wake of what had happened in Dar es Salaam on Friday whereby the police force in the region successfully managed to suppress Muslim fundamentalists who staged an illegal demonstration in the city of Dar es Salaam protesting against the detention of Muslim cleric Sheikh Issa Ponda who is currently in remand prison pending a case of conspiracy charged against him by Kisutu’s Resident Magistrate court in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.

Tanzania's Home Affairs Minister Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi stressing a point to journalists (not seen in the picture) during a press conference in Dar es Salaam.

Following the religious clashes which have of recently emerged in Dar es Salaam for the last four days, Dr. Nchimbi said that, the government has reiterated its need to continue fighting against the crusaders at any cost, and added that there would not be further tolerance of any religious groups who want to take the law in their hands without let it take its own course. “The government will never tolerate the habit of some few individuals with a common religious belief with intent to conspire a threat to other people, or use the opportunity to disrupt peace and harmony which have been dominating in the country since independence time 50 years down the lane” he said adding that, its our obligation to defend this golden bless, a foundation of which was laid down by past leaders. In view of this however, he has cautioned such religious groups to desist their habits immediately otherwise they would be continuing to confront the law enforcers at any cost and even if it could mean to meet tragic deaths rather than leaving the matter to spread nationwide and become inevitable. He had also assured that, the government will deal with the suspects who got into the hands of police during the fracas and promised that further investigations will be done in order to find out if there were any other some outside organizations which are behind the issue or not.  Either he has thanked the media for the positive news reporting over the matter saying that, the role being played by some is good and urged them to keep it up, but has on the other way round blamed few media organs who puts on its front pages a splashing headlines that put many readers into confusion and noted that these signifies incitement of the matter which have no clarification. Following the ban by the government on public gathering while hearing of the religious prayers, Dr. Nchimbi has also cautioned people to be careful and urged Tanzanians not to engage themselves in any related religious discussions in public areas as these are likely to be a cause of misunderstandings among themselves. Giving an example of what has happened in other African countries such as Nigeria and or elsewhere, he said that Tanzanians will be making a fool of themselves if at this time around will allow such skirmishes to occur and see their brothers and sisters killing themselves without any help. Stressing a point as an example of what also happened in Europe over 800 years ago, there were some religious clashes which emerged and that had resulted into the indiscriminate killings of about 4 million people. But when Europeans saw the futility over the matter among themselves, resolved to stop the habit and are now doing their things without associating religious conflicts. He said and added. Giving an example in Sudan country which of recent has been faced with the same problem, about 2 million people have been killed without reasons just because of the religious clashes which have brought a great enmity among the people in their ethnic groups. “Now for Tanzanians, do we have a reason to wait until numerous deaths occur first so that we get time to solve the problem”? He queried in disgust while insisting that, the government would continue its fight up to the end to save the innocent lives of its citizens. Quoting some clauses in National Constitutions that talks about the freedom of beliefs for every citizens in the country, Dr. Nchimbi narrated that, “everyone in the country has the right to know their basic rights, and added that, one has no right to interfere with another person’s belief. Quoting various sections such as No. 19 clause (1), 13 clause (1) and 16 clause (1) respectively have given freedom of every individual in the country to believe spiritually in whatever is the right according to their belief, and that no one has the right to interfere and cause problems on one’s belief.

Muslims surrendered to police in Dar

The situation was very tense at Kariakoo central business district at the heart of Dar es Salaam city as it is unsual to see the presence of TPDF soldiers in religious skimishes, and actually their presence caused a great tension to the people ariound as this photo above depict.

THE Dar es Salaam police force yesterday managed to suppress an illegal demonstration planned by Islamic followers which was intended to take place just immediately after the afternoon prayers in the city of Dar es Salaam. The aim of the demonstration was to pressurize the government for the release of the Secretary General of the council of Muslim’s organizations Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda together with other 49 Muslims who were arraigned on Thursday this week pending a case in court at Kisutu Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam. Sheikh Ponda, appeared in court after he was arrested on Tuesday on allegations of having led his followers to invade private property belonging to Agritanza Company Limited, situated at Chang’ombe Marcus in Dar es Salaam. Ponda and his followers alleged that the Muslim Council of Tanzania, Bakwata, sold the property to the company illegally. Before the court presided over by resident magistrate Stuwart Sanga, the accused were charged with different five counts including committing conspiracy, trespass, stealing property worth Sh. 59million and criminal possession of property owned by Agritanza Ltd at Chang’ombe in Temeke municipality. Among the accused was Zaidah Yusuph, an old woman aged 100 years. All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges but before the Magistrate could set the bail conditions, the principal state attorney informed the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions under Section 148 (4), the accused conspired to commit an offence contrary to section 386 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). He had placed a certificate of urgency before the court to bar bail for the first accused (Ponda). During the fracas with the rowdy Muslims who defied the police orders that required them to stop the rampage, the anti-riot police used tear gas in a bid to disperse them at Kariakoo main central business district whereby their confrontation with the police resulted into several people who were left injured and scores of others most of whom youths were taken to police central station for interrogation. A spot check at the scene can reveal that, the Kariakoo area turned like a warzone as the Municipal militia men joined forces with the riot police in help to get rid of the culprits and were taken into a police car then drove off to central police station. The intention of Muslims to demonstrate was not only planned to take place at Kariakoo area alone, but also in some other parts of the city as noticed by this reporter. Things were not normal at along Kawawa main road that joins the three biggest suburbs of Kinondoni, Magomeni, Kigogo, and Msimbazi centre suburbs on the outskirts of the city. Muslim followers at Kinondoni and Magomeni who also experienced the same mishaps as police managed to put down plans by rowdy Muslims from Mtambani mosque at Kinondoni and that one at Magomeni when confronted by riot-police officers and were dispersed after the police used tear gas to curb a mob justice in protest. At Kariakoo area later in the evening at around 16.00 hours and found the area was calm and cool, only few businessmen commonly known as the ‘Machinga’ could be seen around with their merchandise, but the majority shops remained closed up to the time this reporter departed from the place. Witnesses told this writer in an exclusive interview that, most shoppers reacted quickly in response to early warnings when the rowdy Muslims started to sing the Islamic slogan ‘Taqbir’ and upon hearing that, they all closed their shops for fear of what could be seen to be an impending danger or damage for any loss which could have overcome them.

A convoy of TPDF soldiers in a military truck patrolling the main areas to ensure peace at Kariakoo business district in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Reliable sources from the scene said that, they saw a convoy of soldiers belonging to Tanzania people’s Defense Forces (TPDF) on move as though patrolling the area, however their presence reflected a move of seriousness of the matter, a factor that caused high tension as it’s unusual to see TPDF soldiers in rowdy movements as such. Jacob Urio, a shoe shiner at Kariakoo area confirmed that, the presence of TPDF soldiers caused fear and tension to many people around as almost every one of them was armed with a machine gun, but could not trace where they had vanished. However, rumours around speculated that, they were taken from Kawe based military camp for help and placed somewhere on standby incase the police could fail to suppress the movements of the rowdy Muslims fundamentalists, then they could take cover to minimize the chaos probably by using live bullets with the guns they had carried. The yesterday’s situation had brought tension to most Dar es Salaam residents from various corners in the city of Dar es Salaam as the situation was very tense and everybody especially those who were not aware of the matter came up in abrupt uneasy mood when they saw a police helicopter hovering the skies of the main Das res Salaam city centre. However, it was immediately made clear by one of the police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity that, the presence of the police helicopter was syndicated to ensure easy safety, a means that could make an easy apprehension of the suspected culprits on movements. However, up to the time we go to press, efforts to reach the Special Police Zone Commander for Dar es Salaam region, SCP, Sulleman Kova for comments about the franca proved futile. But her secretary who was contacted said that since her boss left the office at 0830 in the morning was not yet back in the office, probably had much to content with in the field.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Money lenders to submit their customers’ credit information to BOT databank system

AS from now onwards all financial institutions operating in the country including credit bureaus will now have their customers’ credit  information database kept into a single databank system which will be monitored by the Bank of Tanzania (BOT).  This is after the BOT which is the main financial regulator in the country launched a Credit Reference System (CRS) in an historic colorful ceremony which was attended by representatives of almost all financial institutions and credit bureau recently in Dar es Salaam.  The CRS system is designed to collect and provide information on the payment record of all clients of the lending banks and other financial institutions as well as those of Savings and Credit schemes in the United Republic of Tanzania and other entities engaged regularly in the extension of credit. The BOT’s Director of Banking Supervision, Agapiti Kobelo said during the launching that, “the establishment of CRS is a continuation of government’s efforts to reform the financial sector with the enactment of the banking and financial institution’s Act which started way back in 1991”.  According to one aspect within the Act, the credit reference system shall consist of a databank administered by the BOT and private credit bureau operating under the conditions prescribed by the Central Bank in the country.  The Act has further opened doors for private banks in the country to enter into the market and fair in trade competition. The reforms were initiated in order to create an effective and efficient financial system. However, he noted that, this is coupled with the restructuring and privatization of some state owned banks which has since started in credit expansion in the national economy.  Describing how the CSR will work, he said that basically there will be two different ways on how to coordinate the system, this is either by mandatory sharing of information or voluntary sharing of information. Under the mandatory scheme, the Central Bank will collect all relevant information from licensed banks and financial institutions and makes it available to private licensed credit bureaus. This is done in countries where awareness of the benefits of credit bureaus is not very high, where lenders may be reluctant to share information, a model which Tanzania has adopted.

Bank of Tanzania twin towers in Dar es Salaam city.

In other countries where consumer credit is very developed and knowledge is well spread, a credit report is a good tool to get more customers at lower price, thus the sharing of information is generally voluntary and a lender gives the information on reciprocity basis. He also noted that, apart from borrowers’ information, the CSR will also source data from other entities such as utility providers, phone companies, debt collection agencies, public institutions such as Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA) and the courts. Detailing how this would be transacted, he said the bureaus will prepare credit reports that will then be sold on request to users. A typical user will be a lender who will be approached by a potential borrower for a loan and before the loan is granted, the lender will request for a credit report on the applicant from a private credit bureau to assist in analyzing and evaluating the loan request. It is worth noting that credit information might be of useful interest to other users, including bank supervisors, other units with the bank, government agencies, employers, insurers and real estate agents. Borrowers will be allowed to have free access to their credit reports once per year upon request and shall have a right to challenge information contained in a report. “The benefits of giving borrowers access is to build trust and ensure transparency and assessment of the accuracy of the information maintained in the system”, he said. Describing the disadvantages of the absence of the CRS before its introduction, the Deputy Governor of the BOT, Juma Reli noted that the system in Tanzania has been one of the major factors limiting access to credit. Small firms and individuals borrow at high rates because of the high risks involved as lenders do not have information on their credit behaviors. However, he noted that, in view of this there is usually disparity of knowledge (information asymmetry) between the lender and the borrowers about the past payment behavior and the current level of debt a result of which makes banks fail to make informed decisions on their lending operations. Experience has shown that, problems related to data accuracy are the subjects of numerous complaints and litigation around the world and, as a result, have had significant impact on the development of credit reference systems. In view of the need to have a State-of-the-Art credit reference system in Tanzania, the BOT has engaged M/s Credit info International to assist in setting up a credit reference databank, the vendor started work in October 2011. Pilot testing of the system began in June 2012 and so far about 26 banks have already joined the testing environment out of which 9 banks have successfully uploaded data into the system.

Educational stakeholders’ comments on OMR system outlined

SOME educational stakeholders have faulted the introduction of multiple answer questions under Optical Mark Reader (OMR) system format for standard VII pupils in the country, on grounds that such system will not be a proper test of pupils’ intelligence. Investigation by The Guardian can establish. Speaking in different interviews early this week in Dar es Salaam, stakeholders have said that, out of all subjects mathematics is likely to pose doubt to ascertain pupils’ knowledge and their ability whether they are good or not for the subject. Commenting on the subject, they have noted that, it involves formula which a pupil has to apply in order to get answers and therefore, it is a good assessment to know pupils’ ability and the capacity of understanding of the subject. Contrary to the new system, the OMR Computer system has not been programmed to correct a pupil’s working formula, the Dean of the School of Education of the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr. Hillary Dachi has said According to him, the Computer system has been worked out only to detect the shaded answers in appropriate boxes on OMR answer sheet provided on which pupils would be indicating as their chosen answers. Detailing on the disadvantages of the whole system, Dr. Dachi is on the view of the fact that, “it might lead into confusion in the sense that it doesn’t measure working skills and furthermore there is a likelihood of getting unqualified students as most of them would be relying on guessing their answers” .“The danger part of it doesn’t assess students’ ability academically, a result of which a nation might get students who do not know how to read and write”.

The Executive Director of Hakielimu, Elizabeth Missokia.

He said. Dr. Dachi as a professional educational expert says that, “good students are assessed by the way they explain themselves on a particular topic educational wise in order to know their critical thinking”. Commenting for the same system, the Executive Director of Hakielimu an educational organization in the country Elizabeth Missokia congratulated the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training for introducing such system in the country as it is not a new thing in the world. She said by using OMR system for marking examination would rid off favoritism which has been complained to have been used by examiners. She has however, noted that the introduction of this new system is not an issue but what matters is how pupils have been prepared with the basic educational syllabus. “I want to be very positive as the system would lessen all possible queries which have been in the past about students’ failure after doing their national examination”. She said. Elizabeth is on the view of the fact that, challenges like a criticism and other forms of favoritism will no longer be their, and she is optimistic that there will be a fair marking of the examination papers by this system. However, she has urged Tanzanian especially students’ parents not top worry about as student preparation is something of the great importance, and in view of this teachers have to prepare their students from the beginning and their failure should nit be a reason that the machine has a problem. On Wednesday and Thursday this week a total of 894,881 candidates sat for their Standard VII National Examination. The exam featured multiple answer questions from which candidates shaded on the OMR answer sheets the correct inputs using HB pencil in a bid to curb cheating and other malpractices. This is for the first time in the history of the country whereby Standard VII National Examinations will be marked by a new technology system known as Optical Mark Reader (OMR).The five subjects that will be marked using the new technology system are English, Mathematics, Maarifa ya Jamii, Kiswahili and Science. The Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training Philipo Mulugo was recently quoted as saying that, “the new questions type will help students increase their confidence since they will be able to compare their solved results and those provided in the papers”. Giving an example of the application of the system in East Africa region, Minister Mulugo noted that OMR system was also applicable in Kenya and Uganda where it had proved to be very efficient. He is optimistic that the adoption of this system in Tanzania is long overdue. The use of the new technology comes at a time when there have been alarming cases of examination cheating in primary schools.Last year, Necta cancelled examination results for over 9,000 pupils due to cheating and ordered them to re-sit the papers in September this year.

E-bus ticketing is a solution to end passenger troubles in bus terminals

THERE has been some harassment which some passengers encounters whenever they approach a bus terminal with a view to arrange for the bookings of their journey. This is a perennial problem which critics say is as a result of the liberalization of the transport industry. The continued habit has been inconveniencing passenger movements making them psychologically confused an aspect which sometimes cause them to loose some of valuable properties including their luggage. To some extent some are robbed of their money. Thomas Kabuyi is a business man from Mwanza who for the first time was confronted by touts recently at Ubungo Bus terminal in Dar es Salaam on his way back to Mwanza. He experienced an amazing phenomenon which he had never come into contact with.  Narrating the story, on the fateful day upon reaching a place at 05:15 that morning when it was still dark, he disembarked from a daladala bus and was immediately was surrounded by more than four people who pretended to be booking clerks of a traveling agent, and more surprisingly each one touting for the destination they could imagine he was going.  At first, he seemed unconcerned with their sympathizing offer as he was hurriedly walking towards the terminal to book for a bus ticket whichever he could get going to Mwanza. Since he didn’t have a ticket, he had to bargain by one of them who promised to give him a discount. After accepting the offer, he came to realize that, he was deceived when he had boarded the bus and paid a higher fare rate of about Sh45, 000 instead of Sh32, 000 for a two by three seater bus, the fare that’s normally charged by a famous Zuberi bus which plies its route to Mwanza.  Such tricks are commonly practiced by quite a substantial number of touts at the bus terminal, and without the awareness of passengers, most of them fall into their traps with ease and sometimes robbed of their money. Investigations carried out by this paper has discovered that most passengers do not bother to report at the booking offices directly to face the transport agents to enquire legal information for their safety, and instead are easily lured by touts who are after money. As most passengers are not familiarized with the situation around, are easily lured and become more convinced by touts to accept any bus they could be told was ready and which is not specifically of their own choice. Investigations by this paper has found out that, touts are normally promised by transport agents for the payment of Sh2,000 per each passenger they manage to convince their mind into accepting to board their buses.  So in order for touts to ensure their successful secret planned mission, they have to use quire tricks to tell passengers that the bus they need was already full, and some of them could even go as far as showing the wrong passenger sheet papers which they walk along with them into making their treachery possible. Mwajuma Omary is a resident of Tanga who also has suffered the same fate when she was traveling to Mbeya one day. Narrating the story, she said that, “she has ever lost his luggage when touts surrounded and snatched her bag as though pretending to help her.  Accompanied by her two young daughters and the little one she carried on her back, the touts who approached her tended to escort her at the booking office. To her dismay one of them who had carried her luggage lost out of her sight and suddenly vanished to unknown destination with her bag. She cried in agony after a long search for the man, and without help as everybody he saw was busy and nobody cared to help her trace the whereabouts of the man when she pleaded for help from passersby and eventually her luggage got lost for ever. When she reported the matter to the police post station located within the terminal compound, to a great dismay the search amounted by the policeman bore no fruits. She lamented for her luggage which has never been recovered up to now.  

Jumanne Hamisi (26) a third year student of Tumaini University of Iringa campus studying law suffered a severe fate three years ago before he joined the University when he called at the terminal, the sad story he recalls and that he hasn’t yet found the mouth with which to narrate.  He says that, on the fateful day he was issued with a ticket by touts whom he believed to be working as booking clerks when he met them on his way towards the main gate as he approached the terminal, and only to find that it was a faked ticket on the following day when he reported at the terminal to board a bus. Hamisi who by then was a secondary school boy, had to board Skyline bus according to the ticket he had, and after ascertaining that the ticket was not for the bus company, he demanded for the original and a real copy issued by the transport agent. He became furious and fiercely disappointed when asked by bus conductors to substantiate from where he got the ticket and who had issued it to him among the clerks who that morning were paraded at the booking office for identification. He however, couldn’t see the man among the present clerks shown at the office. Puzzled by this matter, he was also shown a legal sheet of all passengers who had booked for the bus the previous day. When he realized his name was not there he was shocked and became surprised as panic reigned within himself wondering how. He immediately knew he had been conned. He then remained silent pondering over the next move and without any help whatsoever as there was no evidence that could further support his argument.  There are so many annoying things like theft being practiced by touts at the bus terminal that cause detrimental effects to passengers especially on booking. Such malpractices to a great dismay when brought before the law-enforcers are not given special attention as they deserves. However, an association of the bus transporting agents at the terminal has been frequently warning passengers to be careful with the ticket hawkers and middlemen whom they accuse of intermingling with their business operations and thus tarnishing the good name of their association. The Secretary General of the Association, Khamisi Maneno said in an interview that, there has been unscrupulous people who tend to be ticket agents and illegally charging passengers with inflated fare rates contrary to what has been commissioned by SUMATRA. In view of this escalating problem, he has however asked passengers to be careful with the people who does their job outside the main agents’ offices which are numbered to avoid confusion by people when approaching the bus terminal at Ubungo. Stakeholders through Tanzania Bus Owners Association have ever asked for the government’s intervention as the owners of the yard in order to curb with the escalating habits under which passengers suffers, but their efforts have since ended up in vain. Commenting on the issue, TABOA’s Secretary General Enea Mrutu has critically blamed the government for maintaining silence on the issue of touts who have now and then become a threat to the passengers at the Ubungo Bus terminal. “We are strongly objecting the presence of touts at the bus terminal, and in view of this, we are therefore requesting the government to take legal stern measures which would help evict them out of the yard”, he said last week in an exclusive interview. He insisted that, “since the yard belongs to the government, and they as TABOA have hired the area, therefore, the responsibility of removing the troublesome touts in the area is entirely upon the government”. On the other side, he has blamed some passengers who embraces touts for help, and consequently are easily tempted and absorbed by their words when approaching the terminal. In view of this, he has therefore appealed to the passengers to make sure that, they report at the respective booking offices directly to enquire for information and get legal tickets whenever they arrange for the journey. In a bid to curb with the escalating phenomena, TABOA is working on the e-bus ticketing system whose launching is about to take place. Under the system travelers will be able to make booking reservations for their travel arrangements more quickly and with ease. According to Ernea, the service will help prospective travelers to get their tickets from anywhere they shall be located, and added that the service will be launched and the Dar es Salaam bound Ubungo upcountry bus terminal has been selected to be the pilot project. He said once the preparations are over, passengers will use their mobile phones to ask for the reservation in one of the transporting agents and be informed of the available quotations detailing price list and fare rates in terms of kilometers which is designed for the respective routes. He further noted that, a passenger in need of traveling will use mobile phone to make a call by using code numbers which will be made available at every regional bus terminal in the country and once the quotations given are certified, and then a passenger will settle payments through M-PESA onto a specified account. Describing the importance of the service, Mrutu noted that, passengers will easily be moving freely and avoid inconveniences normally they encounter when confronted by touts whenever they go to acquire tickets for traveling at a bus terminal. The service will reduce the rate at which theft has grown in most bus terminals in the country as some people have turned conmen who pretends to be traveling agents at the terminal to lure the minds of travelers and eventually rob them of their properties. The Ubungo Bus Terminal which became operational since 2001 has a vastness of over 100,000 square meters and is capable of accommodating about 600 buses at a time. The terminal has a total of 53 booking offices and over 100 transport companies in the yard. Other facilities which are found in the yard include petrol stations, hotels, bars, shops, lavatories and bathing rooms. All these are projects hired to individual groups by the government through the Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC). Statistics made available by the TABOA shows that, about 8 to 10 million people travels by buses countrywide. This is about 20-25 percent of the country’s total population.

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.

Charles Mkude, a lawyer and Chairman of an NGO known as TIFPA  

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. 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.

Noble Motors Ltd gears to promote ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ initiatives

IN a bid to support the government’s move on Kilimo Kwanza policy, a Dar es Salaam based vehicles dealers, the Noble Motors Limited, has introduced a range of tractors in a move to promote the facilitation of the program in the country. Speaking in an exclusive interview recently in Dar es Salaam, the Noble Motors’ assistant Manager Sales and Marketing, Emmanuel Sanare said that, his company has engaged in selling tractors so as to let the needy farmers buy such machines for large scale agricultural farming in the country.  He said, the company has ordered modern tractors from three countries namely Italy, India and China of different horsepower that range with different cubic capacities that range between 40 to 300 respectively. These he said are sold at an affordable price of between $9,000 and $260,000 respectively depending on the category and type of the tractor according to each one’s range of horsepower. In addition to tractors his company offers spare parts and has on display a range of agricultural implements such as Disc Plough, Lugged wheels, Gladiator, Rotary Tiller, Disc Harrow and Tipping trailer. The latter one is used not for tilling as it has been designed to carry agricultural farms and has the capacity of carrying 40 tones. According to him, all these have been put on display at the company’s main showroom and workshop facilities which is located along Nyerere Road in Dar es Salaam, and added that, all these are sold at a low cost price which is affordable to everybody. The company’s workshop offers a comprehensive range of automotive related services. When asked to describing the suitability of the tractors, he said that, they have between 2 and 4 cylinder engine with advanced direct injection, clutch single and dual clutch with live hydraulics including the automatic depth and draft control.

Imported tractors by Noble Motors (T) Limited used to facilitate the Kilimo Kwanza initiative in Tanzania.
Apart from tractors, the company is a dealer of the two tone capacity construction trucks from China and India, these are new brand vehicles of different types such as Mahindra (from India),DFM, GAC and CAMC(from China). These could be sold at a minimum price of $ 16,900 inclusive VAT and duty. One advantage the company does to its customers who buys their construction trucks is that, the company replaces the highly quality suspensions on these vehicles so that, they might be able to sustain and withstand to a certain extent the roughened road conditions in the country. They also do after sales services to would be customers who buy their vehicles by sending their technicians wherever they are throughout the country. The company also deals with the sale of BMW cars from German, according to him, these are the most expensive and luxurious cars which are made up of different categories that could be fetched at between $ 58,351 and $100,759 respectively. Once sold, the company offers service package for 3 to 5 years that is a timeframe servicing of the vehicles. Noble Motors Limited (NML) came into limelight in 1994 being the authorized dealers for BMW in Tanzania. Since its inception the company's focus area has been to build an organization that can provide quality services at the highest standard to automobile users in Tanzania. The company has only one main office in the name of Noble Motors and is based in Dar es Salaam city which is divided in three departments namely Automotive, Agriculture and Workshop which also deals with the repair of other vehicles from outside the company.  In upcountry regions, the company has dealership network including sister companies Noble auto-spares which has over 120 outlets countrywide.

Lowasa stresses the need of having national gas policy

AS the exploration of the natural gas is currently taking its stage in southern regions of Mtwara and Lindi in the country respectively, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals is yet to prepare a national policy that would guide its production when drilling takes off, it has been disclosed. In view of this, the former Prime Minister and a retired army Captain, Edward Ngoyai Lowasa has called on the government to prepare a comprehensive national policy which would guide the excavation work before it enters into contract with the prospective drilling firms. He made the call recently in Dar es Salaam when analyzing the economy of the natural gas currently under exploration and its benefits to the nation with a view to alleviate poverty in an interview with Independent Television (ITV) station. This was during the 45 minutes talk show program which is being prepared by a TV presenter Selemeni Semunyu and aired on every Monday.  During the interview, Lowasa stressed the need of having such a national policy which he said will make Tanzania to benefit with the gas exploration whose activities would provide employment for loitering youths, but has wondered as to why the government is slow and has yet  prepared any. However, he has suggested that, the government should currently concentrate with the exploration of a single segment among several ones already discovered to be rich with the natural gas and therefore should not rush to other segments. Lowasa is on the view of the fact that, unless the government has prepared its policy plan and make use of the locally trained engineers on gas issues such as University graduates to work effectively for the benefit of the nation. “Let us not make our underground natural wealth to be a curse, but rather a blessing” he said adding that, as long as we have already discovered it within our territorial borders, it’s now the obligation of the government to work on a national policy for guidance as this would make huge benefit from which a nation will get out of poverty to a certain extent. 

Former Tanzania's Prime Minister Edward Lowasa

Lowasa used the words curse and blessings in response of the fact that, the government should put a guideline as a policy and enact a law if possible in order to ensure strict supervision on the work during the drilling process that would ensure profits, but it would get a curse if there would be poor supervision that would result into losses. In view of this, he has kindly asked the government to effectively supervise such a blessing by way of preparing a national policy which according to him, will undertake all risks involved during extraction , and apart from that people would be in a position to know the losses and profit gains. In addition to that, the policies should be made to work in favour of future Tanzanians. He stressed his point and gave an example by quoting the father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere who forbade the extraction processes of the already discovered mineral deposits such as gold in the country in early 1960s with a common excuse that Tanzanians were not ready to supervise themselves for lack of poor technology. To be safer, he has also urged the government to institute a special Act that would ensure the management of its underground natural resources in the country just like the same way Ugandan government has done which he said have their own law that defend and stand for the management resources especially those of the natural gas. Among other things, the former premier also discussed matters related to education policy at ward levels, and how the policy should help to modernize agriculture in the country. His views were focused mainly on the developmental aspects so as to save the nation from its extreme abject poverty. One reason for this state of affairs is that, small scale farmers in the country are still using hand hoe and have no time for fertilizer or the use of insecticides and the result of which has been invariably poor yields resulting into low productivity. He said that, in future the policy might end up into poor implementation as most small scale farmers who cover the majority of rural population in the country are not well educated or trained on various modern use of agricultural inputs, use of pesticides and other applications. Such discrepancies results into lower agricultural yields. To ensure good agricultural yields under the government policy of ‘Kilimo Kwanza’, meaning agriculture first, the government has to educate small scale farmers on the basic use of agro-products and how to drive technological mechanism in order to achieve its success. Otherwise, he said that, the policy will remain dormant. Contrary to this, Lowasa noted that, the government lays its initiatives on modern farming that involves using big tractors which requires heavy investment capital and high technological move which does not match with the little knowledge most farmers in the country have. In order to bring success the government should inject an aspect of education into Kilimo Kwanza policy, he said giving an example of Malaysia and Indonesia countries which he visited during his tenure in his capacity as a Prime Minster, he gained experience and learned that, the two countries had developed agriculturally because they had some forms of education introduced to their small scale farmers.

JK stresses on the realignment and naming of streets in Dar

PRESIDENT Dr. Jakaya Kikwete has directed Dar es Salaam city mayors and their executives to properly realign and name the streets within their suburbs so as to pave an easy way for the postcode project which is to start soon in Dar es Salaam region. The President issued the order one month ago in Dar es Salaam during the inauguration ceremony of the newly introduced individual addresses and postcode numbers, the new project to be carried out and coordinated by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).  “I want you to implement this exercise as part of your obligation by naming streets which are within the city and your municipalities without any costs as these would help to facilitate the project” he said amid applaud. The President is surprised after having learned that, most suburbs within Dar es Salaam city and even on the outskirts of it do not have names. He remarked at a point that, he ever bought a plot at Tegeta in 1988 and up to now, to his dismay, he is perplexed to have not known the name of a street on which his plot is located. However, in view of this, he has insisted the allocations of such names so as to identify easily which types of a street is this one so that, the postcode project would also get a way through without resistance once it starts operating. He has also insisted that, since it’s a new project in the eyes of many Tanzanians, he has also asked the coordinators to give education on its importance to the general public as it is a sustainable and expect  to move countrywide.  Detailing the importance of the project, he noted that, it  would help to know exactly the location of the people as well as their residences in their suburbs, and that their details would be included among those while applying for the National Identification Cards.

President Jakaya Kikwete receives the first postcode issued by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for the State House in Dar es Salaam with number one as indicated along Ocean Road, Dar es Salaam city whose postcode No. is 11400 as shown. Above the Minister for Lands and Human Settlements Professor Anna Tibaijuka handing over the postcode to him.

He said postcode is being implemented by his government in a quest to meet international standards of identifying places using advanced technologies.  However, he noted that, this is as per the electronic and postal communication Act No. 3 of 2010 and its regulations which are formulated in 2011 which tasks TCRA in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology to implement the project. He necessitated that, the naming of the street is one way to facilitate the project’s activities to the fullest as the project is vital in boosting the city as a tourist destination centre as well as business activities. Meanwhile, the President has congratulated the Minister for Lands and Human Settlements Professor Anna Tibaijuka for her appointment for being a special envoy for the postcode in Africa by World Postal Union. Responding President’s directive order, the Dar es Salaam city Mayor Dr. Didas Masaburi has assured him to supervise the work to be implemented by his juniors who are the three municipal mayors, and that the work will be collaborated by the stakeholders. He said that, about 70 percent of all city dwellers are located in unplanned settlements, the areas which he presumed would encounter the big challenges in order to ensure the success of the project. But nevertheless, he has however promised to work tirelessly to ward off any possible remedies. “We will have to use various methods and means in order to ensure the success of the project to both planned and unplanned areas, but I believe all houses will be accessible through postcodes” he said in an exclusive interview when contacted by this paper for clarification on how he is going to work on President’s directives. However, he said he will form various committees and assign them special duties to deal with the issue in various respective areas for development, and these will be executed in close supervision with the stakeholders. In addition to that, he has promised to provide security in all streets within the intended suburbs. According to the TCRA’s Director General Prpfessor John Nkoma, his authority has changed Tanzanian localities which have been mapped out in readiness for the postcode project that will soon begin with assigning proper addresses to Dar es Salaam City residents. Upon the completion of the project, the regulatory body has assured, every Tanzanian will be in a position to have his or her letters, parcels and all manner of communication that comes by post delivered at his/her doorstep. That would be a big step forward, given that presently, Tanzania, with close to 45 million people, has only 173,000 post office boxes! Even if one box were to serve a hundred individuals, millions would still remain without an “address” – that is, if a postal box qualifies to be so-called. He says that, the postcodes in Dar es Salaam will help many tourists to visit tourist attractions, but for long time it was too difficulty for the Ministry of Tourism to market bits potentials for lack of postcodes. But now the business will be much easier.