Friday, September 27, 2013

France bestows a decoration award medal to a Tanzanian

THE government of France has bestowed its highest decoration award medal to a Tanzanian of Asian origin Amin Kurji for his outstanding achievements and eminent services which he contributed for the promotion of French culture, education and arts between France and Tanzania. Kurji who is a resident representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in the country (AKDN) since 2000, dedicated much of his efforts through the network for the benefit of the two countries. The award medal was given to him on behalf of the President of the French Republic Francois Hollande by French Ambassador accredited in the country His Excellency Marcel Escure. A colorful ceremony took place on Tuesday night at the Ambassador’s residence at Ada Estate in Konondoni district, Dar es Salaam and was attended by Tanzania’s Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa who represented the government. Other attendees at the occasion were some invited diplomatic corps of various countries, a cross section of some members of the Ismailia community in the country, members of the civil society and close relatives. The award medal is the top French National order of the ‘Legion of Honor’ which was established way back in 1801 by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Ambassador Escure described the award and said is meant to recognize the contribution of the AKDN in the country which to a greater extent has helped promote French language in local schools in the country. He said his Embassy office has been working closely with the network in accomplishments of various projects such as the rehabilitation of the Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam city. He also noted that, French National Order is to pay tribute to the Aga Khan Development network (AKDN) which has been working as a team among its many branches, achieved already a great deal in Tanzania as well as in many countries in the world. However, he stated that, it was his privilege to be in contact with nine branches of the AKDN in the country which he said Murji plays a unique role to foster their work and to interact on their behalf with the authorities of Tanzania government and the donor community. “All of you know that France is a key partner for the development of Africa, the first source of bilateral official development of AKDN and all its branches” he said and added that is one of their best partners in developing countries. 

Tanzania’s Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa (standing extreme left) pose a photograph with  a Tanzanian of Asian origin Amin Kurji (standing in the middle) and French Ambassador in Tanzania, His Excellency Marcel Escure after the latter had conferred Mr. Murji with a medal on Tuesday this week.

He said in 2012, His Highness the Aga Khan and the government of France signed an agreement to formalize the good relations of cooperation and dialogue, adding that Tanzania is a place of choice for implementing this agreement which will be focused in three major areas namely heritage, health, culture and science. In heritage, Ambassador Escure noted that, with the most valuable support tasked by AKDN, will look at Swahili coast and the historical sites like Kilwa or museums of Dar es Salaam and the mainland. In Health, he referred to a large project for a new hospital which will replicate and improve the achievements of the Aga Khan Hospital and in culture and Science through the participation of France to the project of Aga Khan University in Arusha. “We appreciate the helpful support of your network to the new French-Zanzibarite Association in Zanzibar” he said. On his part, Murji said in an exclusive interview that, the AKDN has disbursed $ 75 million for the expansion of the Aga Khan hospital in the city which starts next year. He further noted that, the construction of the Aga Khan University in Arusha would start soon and which is expected to be among the top in Africa. He said the AKDN has been in the country even before independence time whereby it had built about 60 schools in different parts I the country, these were later taken by the government following the Arusha declaration policy of 1967 during the nationalization process. Despite of this, he continued the AKDN continued serving the people of Tanzania in other development aspects that contributed to trhe national economy. The network has been in the forefront to spearhead the Alliance Francaise, the organization which boosts French language in the country.  Speaking on behalf of the government, Education minister Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa thanked the government of France to have honored Murji a representative of the Ismailia community through the AKDN in the country. In his remark, Dr. Kawambwa noted that, he deserved such a prestigious achievement as he is toiling around with Tanzanians to achieve then desired goals, therefore the government appreciate efforts contributed so far in order to attain such goals.

Ilala Municipal council outsources its property supervision activities

ILALA Municipal Council in Dar es Salaam region has entered into a one year contract deal with an agency a locally registered architectural firm, the Design plus Architect which will help carry out the supervision activities on the newly constructed buildings which are coming up within the Municipality.   The Municipal engineer, Joseph Salu Ogare spoke about the decision reached by the management during an exclusive interview on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam. He said that, under the contract the firm will inspect individual buildings under construction within the municipality with a view to ensure that contractors abide by the legal instructions and the laid down construction laws as per the city’s planning systems. The firm had won the tender earlier announced by the Municipal council which had followed all the tendering procedures and finally the firm was selected to have met all the criteria required, he said adding that, the firm started the work in July this yea. Plan by Ilala municipal council comes amid recent call by the Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlement Professor Anna Tibaijuka which she issued in Parliament during budget session requesting the government through its regulated Boards of Engineers, Contractors, Architect and Quantity surveyors to undergo regular check up on newly constructed high rise structures within the city and its environs. The call by Professor Tibaijuka sidelined the recent collapse of a 14 storey building which claimed the lives of 36 people along Indira Ghandhi Street at the heart of the city centre and the issue is currently in court.  Engineer Ogare said that, the Municipal management has decided to outsource its activities to an agency in order to facilitate the work of inspecting the newly constructed buildings to see if contractors follow the rules laid down while executing their duties. 

Tanzania's Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Professor Anna Tibaijuka.

He further noted that currently the municipal council does not have enough qualified personnel to do the job and the few available are overwhelmed to carry out the job effectively due to tight scheduled activities as they are engaged in other important matters. Engineer Ogare outlined some of the activities the agency will be engaged with and noted few important ones as to ensure that, any constructing company is registered by National regulated Boards such as Contractors and Engineers Registration Boards as well as Architect and Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board. Others are to ensure that, all drawings detailed for construction as well as building permits are valid documentations which have been approved by Ilala Municipal Council authorities concerned, and that have their expiry dates indicated therein respectively.  Other things is to ensure proper structural design plan at the project for the sewerage systems of both the underground and rain water systems that are properly constructed without polluting the environment.  The agency also has to ensure the installation of lifts and other elevators if are strategically placed as per how they have been indicated in the drawings. The installation of other important things such as fire extinguishing systems is properly designed. The agency will also ensure that project sites are surrounded by using fence like iron sheet materials to see that all the activities taking place within are hygienically observed as per the rule of the occupational safety services, and that there are no signs of polluting the environment while work is in progress.  At the site, Eng. Ogare noted that the agency will ensure there is a sign board on which all names of the firms participating in the construction have been written as per the rule of the Contractors’ Registration Board (CRB) and their sticker is strategically placed on top.  He said the agency will incorporate its activities under various Acts that governs sustainable cities developments programs which includes Acts of city planning, heath status, land ownership, local government authority, safety at work and environmental Acts. Under these Acts the agency will be in a position to perform their duties more effectively and in efficient manner

The inaugural International route for Fast Jet temporarily postponed

Ninety passengers who were scheduled to travel from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday aboard the low cost airline- Fastjet had their dreams shattered after the airline suspended the flight at the eleventh hour. The cancelation of this international inaugural flight for the airline was due to unexpected administrative delays prompted by failure of the South African government through its department of Transport, an official of the airline has said. Speaking in an exclusive interview, the airline’s Chief Commercial officer Richard Bodin said when visited in his office in Dar es Salaam yesterday that, South Africa government failed to work on time the already sent administrative documents. He said, the documents necessitated the process of issuance for the permission to use the Dar-J’burg route. However, he noted that Tanzanian government through Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) had issued their permit since June this year. He said although Tanzania delivered their document without delay, the South African Department of Transport has said that, “it will take several days to process them, thus delaying the start of fast jet flights on this international route”.  He said this postponement is very disappointing and contrary to their expectations bearing the fact that, they had already passengers booked for the journey adding that, unfortunately however, the administrative delays of this nature are not unusual in the markets in which airlines operate. However, he said that, despite of this abrupt cancellation and delay of documents, they do not expect to have any material effect on the financial performance of their company in Tanzania. In view of this, he said Fast jet would like to apologise to its customers for the inconveniences caused noting that all passengers affected by this delay will receive a full refund and assistance with re-booking a complimentary seat to fly within the next month. The Guardian yesterday witnessed some of the passengers being refunded with their money they had booked with some of them complained that, ‘they had no alternative except to make their booking reservations with other airplanes.  

Fast Jet Chief Commercial officer Richard Bodin explaining a point to journalists (not in the picture) when visited in his office yesterday in Dar es Salaam, seated on his right is the company's PR and Marketing Executive Lucy Mbogoro. 

He stated that, having complied with all the requests made of them and secured all the necessary licenses and permits in an extremely diligent and timely fashion, Fast jet was led to believe that it was fully on-track to launch this route yesterday as planned earlier. “Launching flights on this route remains a key priority for Fast jet, and we are confident we will be operating on this service by mid-October, starting a new era of choice for passengers who continue to suffer inflated prices on flights between two of Africa’s largest and fastest growing cities” he said. Flights between the two cities will initially be operated by Fast jet three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, increasing in frequency as soon as consumer demand dictates. Meanwhile, Bodin explained of the current development which the company has taken so far in line of business expansion for the domestic routes in the country. He said that, Fast Jet will soon open another domestic route for Mbeya and Songwe respectively in November this year. He said the route will cost cheaper as currently in Mwanza and Kilimanjaro airports respectively. However, he said and added that, since they started operation, about 97 percent of their customers have appreciated their operation as most of them used the flight for the first time. In another development he said that, his company has spent about $240,000 for the last six months to train six Tanzanian pilots in UK since they entered in business in the country. He said however, that the move is to develop local pilots whom they have recruited. Fast jet has been on an incredible journey since we started flying domestically in Tanzania with a single A319 plane nearly 12 months ago between Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Kilimanjaro at a cheapest low price of $ 20 (Sh. 32,000).

JK: I will command TPDF to help in the fight over poaching

FOLLOWING the increased rate of illegal poaching on elephants and Rhinoceros in most national parks in the country, the Commander In-Chief of the armed forces, President Jakaya Kikwete has announced that, he will command the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces (TPDF) to help fight the vice. A Statement issued by the Directorate of the Communications at State House yesterday in Dar es Salaam said that, President Kikwete announced the government’s intention after having noticed that, there is a rampant killing of these two animal species alongside with the wanton felling of trees for business use which has reached to an alarming rate. The President made the announcement at UN headquarter in New York City on Thursday this week when he met with other fellow world leaders in a meeting convened to discuss illegal business related with animals and wood planks across the world. President Kikwete noted that, tourism sector in the country is threatened with indiscriminate killings of such valuable animal species for the need of their tusks whose lucrative business has expanded across the globe. He has decided to take further step to curb the increased phenomenon bearing the fact that, the tourism sector contributes 17 percent of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has so far recruited over 300,000 people in the country. According to the statement, President Kikwete told the meeting which had been organized by Gabon President Ali Omar Bongo in collaboration with the German government, that in 1960 Tanzania had about 350,000 elephants and that the number has reduced to 110,000 up to 2009. He further told his fellow leaders that, for the Rhinoceros species, the President noted that in 1974 the records shows that, there were about 700 species of such animals, and added that it’s amazing to see that in Tanzania their numbers has reduced to 100 mostly due to illegal poaching activities. However, the Kikwete said that, in early 1980s and late 1990s the government was forced to apply extra force by deploying its army soldiers in areas that were seen to become so rampant in order to minimize the situation that proved successful with good results. 

Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete at United Nations General Assembly meeting of head of states.

But in the last four years, the government has witnessed the increased acts of poaching growing at a higher rate with much faster enthusiasm and eagerness an aspect that has caused dishonesty among the stakeholders. For example between 2010 and July 2013 more than 1,386 elephants were killed in Tanzania for illegal business. He further noted that, “my government has taken serious steps to curb with illegal poaching in line with the national policy that ordains the regulations and rules set for the sake of fighting poaching activities in the country”. Either he said that, “Tanzania government has signed various international contracts to help fight the phenomenon at all cost in the country” the President said and added. He also noted that, the government has taken steps to arrest poachers and impound their weapons which they use while carrying out poaching activities. The President noted that between 2010 and mid 2013 a total of 5,189 illegal poachers have been arrested and taken to court, either he further noted that, a total of 1,952 weapons have been impounded. Moreover, he said that, a total of 3,788 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 10,756 kilograms have been impounded in the country. In light of eradicating the phenomenon, the President noted that, he has commanded the TPDF soldiers to help in the fight and that his government is optimistic enough to get encouraging results. However, the President noted that still there are many challenges faced by the law enforcers during the exercises, this is together with the shortage of staff, about 4,800 people are needed to beef up the security. For this year alone,  the President added that the government has recruited only 500 people, the number which the President said are not enough. “As my government is faced with such challenges, the government is also faced with financial resources. The current budget of $ 6.9 million set for the ministry department of wildlife alone is not enough to run the operational costs. In view of this, we need $19.4 for the sake of conducting such an operation and another additional $ 30 million for the sake of buying construction equipment for workers houses