Monday, January 27, 2014

Tanzania women activists express hope on new constitution

MEMBERS of a network for Women and Constitution Coalition in Tanzania (WCCT) have expressed their optimism after having gained a substantial number of crucial issues for women’s rights which it had proposed for inclusion in the second draft of the National Constitution which came out over three weeks ago. It has been learnt. Speaking in an exclusive interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam, the Chairperson of the Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) Professor Ruth Meena said that, most issues for women’s rights which the WCCT proposed had been included in the constitution, giving hope for women’s brighter future. Professor Ruth said during a one day meeting organized by the representatives of the WCCT with some editors and reporters whom they had called to discuss some issues that concern women in the second draft of the constitution. She said that although the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) team has worked positively to defend women’s rights as per their wish, still there are some gaps as some of the issues were left and which need collaborative efforts to amend them. She outlined some basic important issues that the CRC has agreed to change all gender discriminatory laws including traditional, cultural and customary practices which are common to the patriarchal system in the society which discriminate and demean women and girls. However, she stated that, basic women rights should continue to be reflected in the will of rights so that women will continue getting equal rights as citizens  as some of these restricted women from inheriting or have an access to properties such as land. She also noted that, the new constitution has continued to maintain principles that protect dignity of women including protecting them from all, forms of gender based violence that includes marital and non marital rape, psychological abuse, female genital mutilation, child marriage and other forms. She has also thanked the whole preparation of electing members of the Constituent Assembly from the civil society group scheduled to start in early next month saying that the WCCT is happy to have 50 by 50 representation of the gender balance.   She outlined some of the shortcomings which the CRC could not consider just to mention a few that includes the implementation of International Convention on the rights of Women. To verify the issue, Prof Ruth has appealed that the new constitution should hold the government accountable for the implementation of all international conventions, and let them be translated into national to avoid delays and conflicting interpretations with their principles. 

Professor Ruth Meena stressing a point while contributing a debate in a Constitutional Forum

Others which she has appealed are on gender equality on decision making position whereby the new constitution should identify principles to prevent domination of any one gender group in decision making positions at all levels in and in all leadership positions in the country. On her part, the Coordinator of the Tanzania Women Cross-Party Platform (TWCP) Dr. Ave Senakafu said that, they wanted a constitution which recognizes marriage age for both women and men in the country and proper relations which exists. She is against the current law which says that a women is married at the age of 18 whereas in some tribal customary laws women are engaged even at the age of between 15 and 16 years and the government does not take any action. The Secretary General of the Women’s voice party that speaks for the people with disability Stella Jailos said that, she is happy to have seen the government this around has included people with disability in the process of the constitutional change for the first time in the country since independence time over 50 years ago. She said that, all should be put in place for the righteousness of the people with disability, but has insisted that, their rights should remain to defend them as they did not like to be in a situation as they are now. The coalition which prepares to attend the constituent assembly has also noted that, they are going to camp in Dodoma to ensure that some of these proposed women’s rights which were not included are included in the new constitution. During the meeting, some members of the press advised them to be careful with some politicians whom they said will take the advantage to drive a motion of the debate for their interests and their party. Deodatus Balile a senor member of the Tanzania Editors Forum and Chief Editor of the weekly Swahili tabloid known as ‘Jamhuri’ said that, women participation in this constitution review process is a salvation of women who have been oppressed and denied rights. However, he noted that, there are some women politicians in the National Assembly who in one way or another have failed to defend women’s rights while in parliament, and in view of this he has insisted unity among the elected members to join a combine force as this is the only way to succeed.

Lugola challenges Kikwete’s cabinet reshuffles

THE Outspoken Member of Parliament for Mwibara Constituency (CCM) Kangi Logola has said that, the continued habit of embracing ministers who have been alleged to have flouted the laid down rules and abuse of office powers at their work places, is likely to disrupt the national  integrity in future. Lugola made a remark in exclusive talks on Friday last week during the morning talk show program popularly being aired everyday by a local Star TV station in the country. He said that, he is not satisfactorily pleased by the recent ministerial appointments by President Jakaya Kikwete of the new faces in cabinet line up which he announced on last Sunday, wondering why the President could not leave behind in new cabinet list, the already declared burdened ministers. As a staunched member of the ruling CCM party, he said that, the President could have considered reshuffling ministers who in recent days were publicly pronounced by higher authorities of the ruling CCM leaders during their countrywide campaigns of strengthening the party that aimed at bringing confidence to its members. He said that there was no logic to leave the ministers and their portfolios and yet they had been greatly condemned by the people of their poor performances, an aspect that were regarded as burdened ministers. He said the president could have used the opportunity as such claims of the bad performances of his own ministers had already reached his office two months ago even before the resignation of the four ministers linked to the embezzlements of taking effective action against ‘Tokomeza’ operation as outlined in the reports of the standing Parliamentary Committee on Land, Environment and Tourism led by James Lembeli the elected Member of Parliament for (CCM) kahama. He personally had agreed with the recent declaration of the Party Secretary General Abdalhaman Kinana and that of the Secretary of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for party’s ideology and publicity Nape Mnauye which they had jointly issued accusing the said ministers to have no ability to run the ministries, thus regarding them for being a burden. He said the two cadres spent their time campaigning for the CCM’s inspiration and mobilization to the members in up-country regions, in a bid to develop and ensure the implementation of the party’s manifestoes. However, he said adding that, their declaration is the party’s decision that the president should have respected and give it a priority is deserve. But despising their notion would rather demoralize their further campaigns efforts intended for the development of the party in general.  

Honourable Kangi Lugola insisting a point while contributing a debate in Parliament recently.

 The alleged burdened Ministers and their ministries in brackets which the two CCM cadres accused of embezzlements and carelessness are Christopher Chiza (Agriculture), Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa (Education and Vocational Training) and Hawa Ghasia (Local Government and Regional Administration). He said there are some ministers and other high ranking CCM government officials whom he said are inclined in the so-called bush hamatan meaning that are concealing facts and not performing well for the public interest. However, he called such leaders being a burden, but he refused the ruling CCM party does not embrace such types of attitude, specifying that it is a mere personal selfishness. Outlining each ministers’ failure of accountability, he noted that, the minister of Agriculture was alleged to have failed to supply enough seeds to farmers in the country. Some parts received bad seeds and this shows how the minister is not directly responsible to the masses the majority of whom are farmers in the country. He gave an example of his own constituency as a case study and noted that farmers in his constituency have been complaining of the poor seed supplies, but their such cries has ended up in vain. On the part of the Minister for education, he said that, education has been deteriorating as the government is still embracing the former curriculum and has never improved despite claims in parliament several times, but unfortunately no action has been taken so far. To the Minister for Local Government and Regional Administration, he cited the annual reports of the poor performances by district executives in various district councils in the country. He said that, the minister has been keeping quite without taking drastic measures to penalize the offenders and many other mischief which he said her ministry has never taken action against the offenders. Meanwhile, Lugola has hailed the former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa for his diligence and quick actions while he was in office saying that, such are type of leaders fit for Tanzania. However, he said that, there are some bills which Members of Parliament have been insisting to be brought for amendment but in vain. These are the procurement bill and that one of the media which he said have been detained by the government which seems to be reluctant to make it open to acquire some changes. Meanwhile, on his part, Nape Mnauye  on Thursday this week  told a press conference in Dar es Salaam that, they did not want the ministers they declared to be a burden that, should be dismissed, but had advised the President on how some of his cabinet ministers were performing and that it was upon his decision either to leave them in his reshuffled cabinet list or remove them. But he warned that, the CCM party would net hesitate to take serious actions to any its leaders who they have found to be not delivering the required services to the people in every sector of development in the country.

Government pushes ICT sector to focus rural areas in the country

Tanzanians living in rural areas will now have a wider coverage of the mobile phone communication technologies in their areas after the government has at last disbursed the tax payers’ money the sum total of Sh. 17.5 billion as subsidy for the development of communication infrastructures in the country. Speaking to journalists last week in Dar es Salaam, the Minister for Communication, Science and Technology Professor Makame Mbarawa said that, already the government has contracted five mobile phone companies to expand the services in rural areas.  He named the companies as Vodacom, Zantel. Airltel, Tigo and TTCL and noted that, had been given the tender to facilitate the move after having undergone the tendering processing procedures as laid down by the rule. Prof. Mbarawa noted that, the money had been issued by the World Bank as a loan and part of it has been contributed by the government as tax payers’ money from its coffers, but he couldn’t specify how much has been contributed by the government among the lump sum and vice versa. However, he added that these have been invested to facilitate the construction of the communication towers and other related devising tools in 152 wards in 869 villages which are in 29 districts in the country. Professor Mbarawa further noted that, the government through his ministry has seen the need to expand phone communication technologies in rural areas as part of the ministry’s role to ensure the big results now for future economic development. He also noted that, such areas have been abandoned by phone companies owing to the fact that they have no business attractions and poor goodwill, as this is one major reason for such areas were deliberately left from being developed by phone companies operating in the country. In order to curb with the increased challenges, the government had established ‘the communication fund for all’ with a view to effectively implement the existing irregularities affecting the communication sector in such rural areas. 

“The main objective of the establishment of the fund is to ensure that all Tanzanians are reliably reached with the mobile phone communication technologies  wherever they are in the country, and with ease especially in those areas already abandoned by businessmen that pose danger for their development” he said. Efforts by the government to send mobile phone communication technologies to rural areas which are not attracted incorporates five major mobile companies in the country which according to Prof. Mbarawa should have their work finished at least in half of all 152 wards by March 2014. Either, Prof. Mbarawa noted that, three mobile phone companies have volunteered to build own communication towers in abandoned areas in additional 48 wards by using their own expenses without using the government subsidies. He said in an exclusive interview that each tower cost $ 200,000 (about Sh. 320 million) He mentioned the companies and the number of wards in brackets as Tigo (4), Airtel (4) and Vodacom (40). He has thanked the company for their merited support as they have shown their readiness to work in collaboration with the government towards facilitating the economic development of the country. According to Professor Mbarawa the government has targeted to accomplish the construction of the needed communication towers in rural areas to 220 wards with a view to boost business incentives in the country by end of this year. Apart from the efforts shown, the government is in line to look for other means in order to look for the external sources and incorporates stakeholders so as to save the Information and Communication Technology (ICT)  sector which has deteriorated in rural areas in the country with a view to speed up economic development  of the people and the nation. The growth of the ICT sector in the country has been so successful and a great help in facilitating and making reforms so as to ensure a smooth delivery of the social and economic services to the people. The sector has also played an important role for the development of the country. For example, many people uses the technology to settle down their bills such as water, electricity, paying of school fees and paying debts owned to TRA through internet communication, other services includes SIM Banking and many others.

How Tarime council prepares to avoid the looming land crisis in the district

As the issue of land crisis is becoming a hardcore problem in some parts in the country, the newly established Tarime Town Council (TTC) is set to prepare a master plan with a view to identify main administrative boundaries in mostly troubled areas of clans of the traditional Kurya tribes in the district, a senior district official has said. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Tarime District Executive Director (DED) Venance Mwamengo said when visited in his office recently that, the indented plans will wipe off or minimize the existing disparities of the land crisis in the district. The call by DED has come amid reports that, there is a looming land crisis in the district in some of the Kurya clans, the majority ethnic group covering 98 percent of the population in the district as most members do not know exactly their administrative boundaries and landmarks. “The move is to end up frequent land crisis in various parts within the district which in previous years were ravaged and became war torn tribal conflict zones as the indigenous were fighting for the arable land for settlements which have irregularities on their boundaries”, he said. According to him, the exercise to be done by help of a highly technologically made tool of the Global Positioning Systems (GPS), will take place in five wards which of recent had been declared to be within the jurisdiction of the newly formed management of the town council.  These are Turwa, Nyandoto Nyamisangura, Sabasaba and Bomani wards. In these wards he noted that, two of them namely Nyandoto and Turwa will be a pilot project on which the exercise will first take place in earnest and later on others will follow. He noted that, the two wards are occupied mostly by Wasweta and Wahumyaga furious clans who used to fight over the land as residents living in villages within these wards do not either recognize their boundaries or are aware but tend to ignore for personal interests. He clarified that, already his office has held a meeting with all district councilors and leaders of the two wards and have jointly agreed to put demarcation marks on mostly troubled areas which have problems on boundaries to clear worries of land users. Meanwhile, the Chairman of Nyasebe hamlet in Gamasara village of Nyandoto ward, Deus Ngera told this paper that, already there are some people who have invaded and annexed a portion of land in his area from the neighboring Turugeti village which belongs to another clan. According to him, invaders have extended the administrative boundary in approximately 100 meters away ignoring the demarcation marks in it and instead have declared for themselves a community boundary which they say is what they recognize. However, in view of this situation he said and warned that, if the district government will not take an appropriate action to stop them by now, the move is likely to escalate cause troubles in near future.   

 Reports shows that, tribal conflicts among clans in Ta\rime district, Mara region are occasionally happening with the main cause of all these problems being misunderstanding of the available administrative land marks on various boundaries between one clan with the other. Other causes leads to rampant cattle theft and rustling which is growing at an alarming rate as it is being perpetrated by few individuals living in different traditional Kurya clans in the district. One traditional elder of Turwa ward who happened to meet the writer of this news, Samwel Magaigwa has appealed to the government to amend the current land Act in the country and if possible endorse it in the constitution whose second draft is out for discussion next month. According to him, he has suggested that there should be an aspect of land ownership within the Act that would enable owners to possess national land title deeds as these documents certifies a planned area that guaranties immediate compensation whenever land is given to investors for development.  Unlike at the moment whereby the majority uses village land permits which are unsurveyed.“Village land titles do not give full mandate in terms of ownership”, a situation which he has described as easily paves the way for land grabbers like investors who takes an advantage to acquire plots easily, thus resulting into endless land chaos in the country. Elaborating on the existing problem taking Tarime district as a case study, a traditional leader has noted that, there has been certain minor problems which arises on land issues occasionally caused by district land officers.  He claims that, most traditional leaders in the district do not know clear demarcations of their land boundaries which was issued by the colonialists to their Chiefs way back in 1947 when Tarime was first declared to be a district known by then as ‘North Mara district’.  The name continued during post independence time up to 1972 when it was renamed Tarime district, and which half of its land has been partitioned by the government to form another district known as Rorya in 2009.  Clarifying the matter, a senior district land officer Ruzama Misango said in an interview that, despite of being given a status of a town council, they are waiting for a certificate of approval from the government to start land surveying in appropriate areas to be designated later in a master plan to be issued soon. Tarime district was recently promoted into a status of being a town council following the partitioning of its division with Rorya district immediately when the fourth phase government of Jakaya Kikwete came into being in 2005. The partitioning of the district was done so as to quicken the provision of both social and economic services for the development of the entire people. 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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mbatia flouts party members with mindset on religion and tribalism

THE National Chairman for NCCR-Mageuzi party James Mbatia has strongly criticized religion and tribalism attitudes which he said has started to emerge among his fellow party members when casting their votes to prospective candidates vying for leadership positions within his party. Mbatia threw a challenge last week in Dar es Salaam in his introductory remarks while addressing members of his party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) who had gathered moments before their election started. The party held general elections to choose its new members for NEC and top most positions of the party’s chairmanship for Tanzania mainland as well as Zanzibar respectively. A total of 234 out of 289 NEC members attended. Blasting over the issue, Mbatia noted that there are some members who have formed a tendency of asking to know the religion or tribes of the contestants while knowing that, the habit is quite against their party’s manifestos, he queried wondering where the party is heading. The meeting which was preceded by holy prayers of both Islamic and Christian denominations was attended by other political party leaders including the registrar of the political parties in the country Judge Francis Mutungi who was the Chief Guest. Other political leaders with their parties in brackets included CCM Vice-Chairman Phillip Mang’ula (CCM), Professor Ibrahim Lipumba (CUF), Freeman Mbowe (Chadema), Wilbroad Slaa (Chadema) Seif Khatibu (CCM) and a prominent businessman in the city Mustapha Sabodo.  In his speech, Mbatia cautioned his fellow members to get away with such habit noting that, the two attitudes are the main cause of divisions which leads to political mishaps in a country which is determined and committed into the building of proper democratic rule. He has cautioned his fellow party members not to elect their leaders by looking at somebody’s religious or tribe but rather they should look at somebody’s ability to rule regardless of either of the two affiliations.  In his long speech, Mbatia reiterated the need of quality education in the country which he said if this is not taken into account the nation would be producing narrow minded citizens with low level of the capacity thinkin. However, under this aspect he had hailed education for self-reliance which the Father of the Nation the Late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere pursued for Tanzanians in 1960s, 70s up to mid 80s. However, he said it actually built the capacity of most Tanzanians who were prepared to be self reliant and dependent during the socialist era than as the case today when Tanzania does not have a proper education curriculum which would drive candidates have more power of thinking. He also reminded members of his party about the history of the multi politics that NCCR-Mageuzi is the renaissance of the political movement for change in the country when it was first known as the National Committee for Constitutional Reform formed in 12th June 1991. 

NCCR-Mageuzi Chairman James Mbatia addressing fellow members (not in the picture)

But this name was later on changed when the focus on movements for constitution changed and became a political party when the nation allowed the formation of the multi-partism democracy on 10th February 1993 and came to be known as National Convention for Construction and Reform-Mageuzi (NCCR-Mageuzi). Mbatia also used the opportunity to clear the worries of most his members who thought his party had chased away a Member of Parliament for Kigoma South David Kafulila and said that he is an active member of the party may be he decides himself to quit. On his part the Chief guest, Judge Mutungi has reinforced unity among the party and asked members to choose leaders who would stand for the national unity and not otherwise.On his part, the leader of the opposition camp in Parliament Freeman Mbowe noted that, without active participation the move towards democratic change would be impossible in Tanzania. Mbowe is on the view of the fact that, political parties need to unite in order to have an equal number of Parliamentarians in the House, and in this way he  said is one way to maintain a true democracy for all. However, he has wondered at this time when the nation is in constitutional review process, and blasted the CCM party’s ideas which says in its policies they know Tanzania has two governments and that are not accepting a three tier government structure. Elaborating on this, Mbowe noted that, CCM members should understand that, the national constitution does not entertain the interests of any party in the country, instead it looks at the national interests regardless of the party’s affiliations as the constitution is a property of Tanzanians and not parties. On his part, the CCM Vice-Chairman Phillip Mang’ula thanked James Mbatia for his leadership code which he said has taken the NCCR-Mageuzi party up to where it is now. He said that, the party had been the founder of the democratic change in the country in early 1990s and got into troubles in early 2000 and set apart. But because of his inspiration, he has however managed to lead the party into a high level standard that and in peace up to where it is now. Speaking on behalf of other invited guests, a prominent businessman in the city of the Asian origin Mustapha Sabodo noted that, unity is the strong weapon to bring democratic change in any society. Sabodo contributed Sh. 20 million to facilitate the party’s election process and has also promised to offer water wells in areas which have party’s representation in parliament.