Monday, March 31, 2014
Expert caution Tanzania to defend its underground wealth
Minerals producing countries in Africa including Tanzania are loosing between $50 million and $80 million per year of its wealth in extractive industry which is being taken away by foreign investors. It has been learnt. The senior Regional Adviser of the Revenue Watch Institute, Silas Olan’g disclosed this yesterday in Dar es Salaam with a call insisting journalists to continue exposing the mischief which continues to hamper the industry in the country. Olan’g issued the call when addressing senior journalists and editors at a function whereby 9 senior journalists were handed over certificates of participation after successfully completed a 3 month intensive fellowship programme on specialized reporting on extractive industries. The programme was organized by tne Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) aimed at empowering senior journalists in the country with knowledge and professional skills for investigative journalism. Those awarded with the certificates of participation with their media organizations in brackets includes John Bwire (Raia Mwema), Felix Mwakyembe (Raia Mwema), Esther Mvungi (Uhuru Publications). Others are Jaston Binala (Freelance), Sidi Mgumia (The African), Shermarx Ngehemera (The African), Namsembaeli Mduma (Habari Leo), Deo Mushi (The Daily News), and Saidi Mmanga (Changamoto) Elaborating the losses incurred by these countries, Olan’g who was the guest of honour made it clear that, poor policies and bad contracts entered are the main source of problems caused by many African governments, an aspect which paves the way for the investors to continue exploiting local resources. He said African governments have poor leadership code and this is the reason why the management policies targeted for developments are not in good order. However, he wonders why Tanzania has a plenty of wealth and yet is regarded as a poor country, he queried and called upon journalists to be the watchdog in order to help solve the problem. On his part, TMF’s Director Erest Sungura said that, his organization has pledged to continue helping media professionals in the country by providing more fellowship programs.
He noted that, TMF plans to organize a programme on illegal trafficking of Illicit drugs. He said the trainings would give an highlight of investigative skills to journalists pursuing issues related with illegal trade of illicit drugs and other factors which would enable them understand the concept into details. In another development, a veteran media professional and a programme mentor, Atilio Tagalile blamed the editors for not taking appropriate decision of favoring their journalists’ report writings of the investigative news. Tagalile is on the view of the fact that, some editors were not cooperative enough with the reports submitted by senior journalists who underwent the programme. He said that, the attitudes mostly shown by some editors in some newsrooms are not so paramount and encouraging, but rather discouraging their reporters who does TMF’s programmes. However, he also outlined the challenges faced during the programme and noted that, there is a problem of language barrier as mot Tanzanian journalists lacks proper understanding of the English language while pursuing their stories of extractive industry. Another mentor of the programme, Joseph Mwamunyange also gave his concern and insisted cooperation between newsmen and newsroom editors into bringing efficiency. He also called on the proficiency in English language while running the programme. Mwamunyange observed that, most journalists rely on getting translation which to some extent looses the whole meaning of the subject matter.