Monday, April 28, 2014

Thousands turned up at Uhuru stadium for Union celebrations

President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday led thousands of ordinary Tanzanians who thronged at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam to mark the 50th birth of the United Republic of Tanzania which came into being in April, 26th 1964 as a result of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The union of the two countries was formed following an agreement between the then President of Tanganyika, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, and his Zanzibar counterpart, Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume. The celebration was also attended by six foreign heads of state together with other countries’ representatives including of international organizations, had also attended by local and foreign dignitaries represented by other countries who President Kikwete had introduced at the end of the occasion. The Presidents and their countries in brackets are, His Majesty Letsie III, King of Lesotho and His Majesty Mswati III of Swaziland, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Pierre Nkurunzinza (Burundi) Joyce Banda (Malawi), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya).  Also in attendance were former heads of States who included Sam Nujoma (Namibia) Rupia Banda (Zanbia) and Mwai Kibaki (Kenya). President Kikwete arrived at the stadium at around 10:20 am in a resplendent dark suit on board an open special State House car standing on the rear wearing his characteristic broad smile waving to people who responded with deafening cheers, clapping and ululation while being flanked by the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Davis Mwamunyange.  His motorcade was being escorted by a dozen of police motorcycle riders. He later proceeded to the saluting dais and was greeted by a 21 gun salute while at the same time the national anthem was being played. He later on inspected a guard of parade mounted by ten units composed of gallant defense and security forces armed forces including TPDF, Police, Prisons and National Service soldiers which was being led by Lt. Colonel Makanya Errasy.  The occasion which was marked more in a military fashion gave President Kikwete and other spectators an opportunity to witness a paramilitary exercise prepared by military soldiers who included those from infantry, Marine and Air force army divisions. These among them included the long procession of military vans showing various types of sophisticated modern military armaments and five troop commander led by Lieutenant Joseph Kabipe. The soldiers successfully came down from higher 4,500 ft above sea level. After that, five special fast running military planes for training and jet fighters performed a military show in respect of the guest of honour.  These were controlled in systematic styles as they moved from South to North waving a fearing look to spectators in the stadium. Later, the President witnessed an exercise performed by a group of army commandoes led by Lieutenant Utawangu. The soldiers showed their fatigued military styles of various tactics on how they can fight with their enemies without fire arms. 

President Jakaya Kikwete waves to spectators as he enters Uhuru stadium, right is one of five paramilitary soldier descending during military show at Uhuru stadium on 26th April 2014.

While they were performing, people who attended were impressed by their performances whose practices brought positive distortions which made people understood the importance of their work in the army. This year’s union celebrations under the theme “Our Tanzania is our union style, Let’s defend and protect it” as usual was graced by government leaders, diplomats, business executives, political leaders and ordinary people.  Earlier in the morning security people had a hard time to control the influx of people into Uhuru stadium controlling thousands of people who started to flock in at around 07.00 in the morning.  The situation which later compelled the officers to open the ultra-modern national stadium and allowed some people in to watch the event after having realized they could not find a space at Uhuru stadium.  The arrival of the President Kikwete had been preceded by government leaders including former national President of the third phase government Benjamin Mkapa, and was followed by former Zanzibar President Aman Abeid Karume. Other national leaders who attended the occasion included, Zanzibar President Dr. Mohammed Shein, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, First Vice-President Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal, Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda. Others were former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, CCM Secretary General Abdalhaman  Kinana, Speaker of the House of Representatives Pandu Amir Kificho Among in attendance were representatives of foreign countries which includes Oman , Angola, Kuwait, Mauritius, Botswana, Ghana, Jamaica, France, South Korea, Brazil, Netherlands, Finland England, Qatar, Eritrea, Egypt and Algeria. Although there were a series of national leaders both retired and current, an anonymous person was heard asking for the where about of the other former national dignitaries who ever served as Presidents of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.  These he mentioned are Aboud Jumbe who ruled the Island since 1972 when the first President and the architect of union Sheik Abeid Aman Karume died up to 1984, and Salmir Amour who ruled as from 1990 and 2000. Since their retirements the two have never been seen attending such public functions.  The celebrations were colored by acts of activities and fan fare and other school children treated thousands of spectators with their grand performances conducted by 3,475 students from Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. Among them were 35 children who performed acrobatic games. The children performed various styles that showed various shapes that reflected the current standing situation of the security, health and economy in the country.

Critics elaborates the importance of having one tier government system

As the 50th Anniversary celebrations for the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar is climaxed today, some critics in the country have outlined the importance of having one tier government structure as opposed to other people’s perception that drives the motion into two or three government systems. Interviewed critics have also suggested methods to be used in order to successfully run the union under one tier government system. The plea by critics has come at an opportune time when there is a hot debate currently going on at the Constituent Assembly in Dodoma  on what type of the government structure should be adopted to run the union matters.   Speaking in an exclusive interview on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam, some have suggested that by adopting a one tier government structure although it was not proposed in the second draft of the national constitution is the real meaning of the union that brought about the government of the United Republic of Tanzania. Elaborating in this, the Managing Director of the Guardian Limited, Kiondo Mshana said, “this is the system which was left by union founders the late Julius Nyerere (Tanganyika) and Sheik Abeid Aman Karume (Zanzibar). 

Managing Director of the Guardian Limited, Kiondo Mshana  

 Narrating the historical background of the union between the two countries, he said that, this was illustrated by mixing up samples of soils scooped from both countries as a signal that these are one country regardless of their territorial integrity. Elaborating further about the government system administratively, he said that in order to satisfy the demand of both sides of the government there should be a system of rule whereby if the President comes from one side, Vice-President from the other side and vice versa. He suggested that, there should be one national anthem as well as one national flag, one National Parliament and its elected Speakers should ordain powers alternately. However, he also noted that, even in the ministerial positions, they should be appointed alternately by giving equal chances to both sides. However, Mshana clarified by giving an example to the late Karume who after the union was made, had agreed to take over the position of the Vice-Presidency of the already formed union government. He disregarded even those who are touting for two tier governments as well as to those who supports three tier government structures that are moving at a wrong track, urging them to maintain the status of one government structure. Citing on other social and economic challenges affecting the current union government, he noted that, in most cases, Zanzibar has been mostly been favoured in terms of various social services such as the establishments of higher learning institutions. He says, there are as many higher institutions established in Unguja Island compared to Pemba which has none, this is not fair he queried basing on the reality of equality and distribution of such educational services. However, he noted that, both islands should be treated as one with fair distribution of all basic human services.

TRA in negotiation with agencies over EFDs

The government through Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has embarked on the second phase training programme on education to business people in the country on the basic use of the Electronic Tax Register (ETR). The device that is principally used by retail business that issue receipts manually is among the three electronic fiscal devices (EFDs) which the government had introduced in recent years to targeted individual enterprises and companies doing businesses in the country. The machines have been designed for use in business for efficient management controls in areas of sales analysis and stock control system to facilitate revenue collection and which conforms to the requirements specified by the laws. TRA’S Director for Taxpayer Services and Education Richard Kayombo said in Dar es Salaam that, the move is to create awareness the importance of the EFDs to the general public especially among business groups from village level to regional level through district councils. He said during an exclusive interview on Wednesday this week that, the government does the work through seminars which currently is being conducted in various parts in the country, adding that, it is a continuous program through block management system which is being targeted mostly to various community groups. In another development, Kayombo noted that, the government is currently negotiating with 11 companies which it had offered a legal tender to distribute s the devices countrywide with a view to reduce their price costs. He said that, a team of technical experts from TRA is currently in negotiations with the distributing agencies to discuss the cost of components so as to review the current price cost of Sh. 900,000 and make them saleable at least between Sh. 600,000 and Sh. 690,000 respectively. He said once the price rates are attained, still buyers of these machines would buy them by installments on agreed terms of payments therein, or they might acquire loan facilities from the financial institutions to settle down their payments. The government has decided to make affordable price rates for such devices to quench the thirst of those individual traders who staged a demonstration to boycott the use of such devices in some parts of the country after having complained of their high costs. In early November this year, business came to a standstill at Dar es Salaam’s Kariakoo main shopping market for both retrial and whole sale commodities as traders closed their stores protesting the use of Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs). The government’s call has come hardly after four days when President Jakaya Kikwete issued a directive to individual traders in the country and insisted that, there is no way the government would avoid the use of such EFDs in the country. He called on stakeholders and TRA officials in the country to make sure that are settling the matter and if possible negotiate on prices to reach a consensus. Kikwete made a plea on Monday this week in his tour visit in Babati district. In his speech, Kikwete underscored the importance of the EFDs and noted that have started to be used in various parts in the world and that Tanzania would never resist from using them and yet has already introduced them. He said the government would not revert manual handling of receipts issuing as this system denies government correct amount of taxes to be collected from expected business people who shun away the use of EFDs which would determine the correct taxes induced for them. The electronic use of EFDs which involves Electronic Tax Register (ETR) Electronic Signature Device (ESD) and Electronic Fiscal Printer (EFP). The three EFD machines have been designed for use in business for efficient management controls in areas of sales analysis. They started effectively in 2010 to business people in the country with the first phase introduced to those business people registered with Value Added Tax (VAT). The second phase currently in move has targeted business people who are not registered with VAT. According to TRA, the Machingas are exempted as they do not have permanent places to conduct their businesses. However, the targeted groups are those with whole sale shops, supermarkets, shops selling motor spare parts and mobile phone shops. Others are bigger business entities such as Textile shops, Hotels, bars, photo studios, take away food stores, motorcycle sellers, and motor vehicles sellers and many others of such types. Statistics made available by TRA, only 200,000 business people and their entities out of estimated 1.5 million entities, have been registered for VAT.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Motorists: Police are a cause of traffic jam in Dar city

SOME Dar es Salaam city drivers have faulted the role of police of directing vehicles at a junction saying that it sometimes contributes to a certain extent the long tiresome traffic jam on the road. Most interviewed drivers have preferred to be directed by traffic lights alone instead of policemen manned at a junction whom they complain of favouring one side of traffic flow an aspect which they have noted to be causing long queue. Johnson Thomas, a taxi driver in the city said that, traffic police officers who are normally manned at a junction of the road, have become a nuisance as they have been favouring one side of the traffic flow for long and ignore the other sides. He is on the view of the fact that, to ease the congestion traffic police manned at the junction should be removed and leaves the area to be directed by traffic lights alone. However, he said adding that, police officers should be manned at a respective places incase of emergencies and not otherwise. According to him, traffic police officers should play the role of monitoring the movements of drivers whose vehicles tend to flout road signs and drive along service roads and through the pedestrians’ walkways. Unlike at the moment, investigations by this paper has discovered that, traffic police manned at the junction of a road do not follow the rule governing timeframe on the flow of vehicles in all sides equally. Instead, investigations by this paper has discovered that, most traffic policemen directing vehicles look at the side where there are so many vehicles and permit them without noticing that, other sides remains stranded for long waiting for their turn. Commenting over the issue, a city based road engineer Joel Mndembo said that, police do not follow the rule set for traffic lights according to how they have been designed to operate.

This is how the situation looks like in most Dar es Salaam city roads.

He says that, these have been designed to allow one side of the traffic flow for one minute keeping the same movement alternately in all sides of traffic flow, the system however lessens unnecessary timeframe for longer queue on the road. Drivers’ call has come amid problems currently emanating in most of the city’s main roads whereby there is a long queue of vehicles especially during morning and evening rushing hours which are caused primarily due to poor infrastructures which do not accommodate the number of vehicles.    Contacted for comment over the issue, the head of traffic unit at police traffic headquarter in Dar es Salaam, ACP Mohammed Mpinga said yesterday in a telephone interview that, the current system used by the police of favouring one side traffic flow is quite unavoidable bearing the fact that, there are some urgent issues which have to be taken into account for priority. Admitting that the situation in the city is at times daunting, he said the police have no alternative except to favour one side of the traffic in order to ease congestion that is likely to occur along the road, which he said is the busiest. “Due to ineffective infrastructural upgrades along the road, traffic police officers have to be deployed to control vehicles at the scene for there are no special sensitive traffic lights to control vehicles in terms of the weight of traffic on either side”, he said The move he said is to ease congestion of the vehicles flowing from one side basing on the economic factors and the urgency of the matter. For example, he indicated that, during the rushing hours there are many vehicles going to the city centre which have to be favoured at all costs. Likewise, in the evening the same should be applied and this is in addition to other emergencies whereby motorists in fire brigades, ambulances, military vans, prisons have to be flagged off with a green light upon reaching at a junction where congestion of vehicles occurs. He cited another factor basing on security reasons whenever there is a car procession of a high ranking government official or a visiting foreign head of state in the country, or a Presidential motorcade. These he said have no any means to avoid them in the city’s main roads.

Government to curb shortage of qualified health practitioners

The government through the ministry of Health and Social Welfare has laid down strategies that would help curb with the increased shortage of graduate health practitioners in public hospitals in the country. Currently, most public hospitals lacks qualified health personnel resulting into poor performance that renders the required targets for the ministry’s Big Results Now (BRN). Outlining the ministry’s strategic work plans, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Seleman Rashid said that, among the most urgent step is set to increase the number of students’ intake in various health training colleges registered by National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) . He said, ‘the government is set to increase student’s intake from currently 7,000 to 10,000 effective from 2014/15 financial year. To accomplish the need, however he noted that a University college of Muganzila being a constituent part of the Muhimbili University College of Health Science (MUCHS) will be opened this year with a view to increase more student’s intake as part of development initiative.  He said in a telephone interview on Friday last week that, other work plans to be undertaken by his ministry are to create a conducive environment which would enable private sectors to increase their investments. 

Tanzania's Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Seleman Rashid.

In this way the minister noted that, the role of private sector would ensure an effective participation in the promotion of health services activities in the country.  He further noted that, his ministry has taken a keen interest to curb with the persisting problem which he said is important to the lives of many Tanzanians especially those living in rural areas. The minister was contacted for clarification amid reports the ministry issued early this week attributing the decreasing number of qualified health practitioners in public hospitals. According to the report issued by the ministry’s Deputy Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Dr Deo Mtasiwa, the ministry is currently faced with 4,000 shortages of qualified health staff during the 2013/14 financial year. Dr Mtasiwa said despite the challenges, the shortage of health workers has slightly decreased from 68 percent in 2007 to 42 percent this year. According to 2010 statistics the doctor-patient ratio in Tanzania stands at one doctor to 72,000 patients. For assistant medical doctors it is one to 27,000 patients while for nurses it is one to 4,000 patients. According to WHO, the recommended ratio is one medical doctor to 30,000 patients.