Monday, April 27, 2015

Tanzania to intensive security at Dar port

Tanzania government has ensured security and smooth facilitation of imports and exports to fellow East African member states. It has been learnt. Acting Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Director General Awadh Masawe  said last week in Dar es Salaam that, his authority has instituted an integrated electronic security systems to be controlled at its newly 35 storey building which is currently in final touches. He said during the occasion of demolishing old sheds at the port as a symbolic program to kick start the multi billion worth of a project aimed to modernize the infrastructural upgrades targeting the expansion of the Dar es Salaam Port that would handle 22 million metric tones by 2020. The project dubbed Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Modernization (DMGM) project, is backed by World Bank and Department for International Development’s 596 million US dollars (over 1.1bn/-) as soft loan and grant, will see the country’s prime port improve infrastructure and manpower. 

The aerial view of the Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania.

He said the cost for installation of security systems is $ 600 million which his authority has spent for the purpose that he is optimistic it would reduce to a greater extent the rate at which theft had been taking place within the yard in the past years. However, he noted that, currently there is in use a scanning programme of the integrated machines which is used for containers which are being off loaded and packed for exportation. Describing about the DMGM project which is part of Big Results Now initiative will include modernising and upgrading of Berth 1 to 7 from 9 to 13 meters in order to accommodate more ships. He said many ships do not anchor to Tanzania because of its shallow depth and that there ids a need to made a reform in order to attract customers from landlocked countries from using other ports. He said efficiency at the country’s major sea gateway has continued to improve under BRN, adding that the cargo handled last year peaked over 14 million metric tons against the target of 31.5 million tons. “Our target is to handle 18 million metric tons by 2016/17 season,” Mr Masawe said while pointing out that under phase one of the project, with funding from Trade mark East Africa and TPA, the work will involve construction of access roads to Gates 5 and 8 to dual carriageways.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Govt imposes stringent new measures to curb illicit drug trafficking

Despite having a series of changes on laws to curb the illegal use of drug barons in the country, the government has continued to review some of the penal codes so as to impose harsh punishments with a view to deter drug users and dealers who facilitate cross border illegal business deals.  The Attorney General (AG) George Masaju clarified the matter on Friday last week in Dar es Salaam and noted that, changes of the new penal codes have been analysed in the Drugs Control and Enforcement Act 2015 recently passed by National Parliament. He said at a function of presenting certificates of attendance to 18 journalists who underwent a seven month short training course on reporting on illicit drug trafficking as well as on reporting on areas of Millennium Development Goals. The short training courses which were sponsored by Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) in collaboration with the United Nations office in Dar es Salaam started in May 2014 and ended in January 2014, aimed at giving capacity building to journalists. The essence of doing this, he further noted is due to negligence and non compliance by some individuals who do not want to show cooperation in support of the government’s move towards eradicating the illicit drug use in the country and tracking across the border. However, the AG noted that, despite having a law that prohibits the escalation of the phenomena, still the situation is growing at an alarming rate an aspect that it has tarnished a good image of the nation to the outside world. He said that the first efforts by the government was seen in mid 1990s when the Parliament enacted a law aimed to suppress an illegal business on illicit drug which is under clause 95 of the Anti-Drug Act of 1995. Through this law the government established Anti-Drug Commission which is under the Prime Minister’s Office and officially started to charge its duties in 1997. In order to facilitate the move the government established special branches in its institutions and departments to curb illicit drug use and illegal trafficking. 

Tanzania's newly appointed Attorney General George Masaju responding to journalists questions at a press conference kin Dar es Salaam recently.

The institutions are the Police force, National security Agency and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA). “Despite of all these efforts, still people are obstinate and do not want to comply by the rules and regulations set that could deter them to stop with immediate effect the malpractice”, he said. Some of the new penal codes that the government has seen the need to introduce as severe punishments in this new Act which is workable in both Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. He further added that, the current law in use has shown some discrepancies in it as it does not give a deserved punishment according to the magnitude of a mistake committed an aspect that lacks a weigh of righteousness, but the new law has imposed minimum punishment should be a fine or imprisonment. He gave an example saying that according to section 12 of the current law, the punishment imposed to an individual found to have engaged in illegal cultivation of a farm product that produces ‘Bhang’ is fined Sh. 1 million or a length of imprisonment which does not exceed 20 years. The new law he said has imposed a punishment of fine between Sh. 50 and 500 million and a maximum length of imprisonment which should does not exceed 30 years for the same offence committed. He further noted that, the punishment given to those who finance the illegal drug business according to the current law is fine that amounts to Sh. 10 million. But according to the new law it has imposed the punishment of Sh. 1 million or an imprisonment which does not exceed 30 years and have the culprit’s properties confiscated. Elaborating on the mistakes committed for transporting illicit drugs, the current laws has waived out fines and imprisonment punishments, and in the new laws the punishment imposed is only life imprisonment only. “The aim of doing this is to minimize the possibility of the offenders to be fined at all counts related to the offenses committed by them  which in turn the government has seen that they find them easier to pay and quitted in courts of law once arraigned to answer charges”, he said.

Govt assures security to investigative journalists

THE Government is preparing a bill that would protect investigative journalists and those citizens who dedicates their lives over the fight of illicit drug trafficking by exposing people who engage in the illegal business which has become so rampant in the country. The Attorney General George Masaju made the declaration yesterday in Dar es Salaam when he officiated the graduation ceremony that culminated the handing over of the certificates of attendance to 18 journalists in the country who had undergone a seven month short training on combating drugs and illegal trafficking in Tanzania and on Millennium development goals. The trainings were sponsored by the Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) in collaboration with United Nations Information office in Dar es Salaam, benefited eight senior journalists and ten female journalists of various media outlets mostly of the electronic media and.  The eight female journalists are those who won the 2013 Media Awards provided by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and who the TMF had promised to train on various areas that cover Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the country. In his speech, the AG Masaju noted that, the rationale behind the idea of preparing a bill which later would be enacted in Parliament as a protective Act is to strengthen the intensive task that would enable people to expose more mischief on drug baron deal which has now become a global issue. “The government is preparing the bill and once it would be passed into a law would protect journalists and other good citizens who would expose such mischief in their publications as a way to facilitate the fight and their identities would be concealed according to the laws to make them safer”, he said. Some of the eight senior journalists who were awarded with the certificates said that, had encountered lots of difficulties in practicing their experiences attained after the training for the last two months and some noted that were nearly stoned to death when chasing investigative stories. Others maintained that were threatened to death together with their relatives while were on the move to find out the truth about the situation in various places they visited to carry an investigation. The Managing Editor of the Swahili investigative tabloid called ‘Jamhuri’ Deudastus Balile said that, journalists should not rely on the old style of writing news as the world has changed and therefore journalists needs to cope with new styles that tells their own stories. However, he noted that journalists have to risk out their lives and take precautionary measures when chasing such stories as it is resentful to the businessmen dealing with such illegal deal. He said that, care is greatly needed otherwise the nation would continue suffer under the yoke of the few greedy business people who would bring bad image to the nation if are not tackled to stop the this illegal trade. Ndimara Tegamwage who was a mentor in these trainings noted that fear should not overcome journalists when writing such investigative stories, and called on editors of various publications to publish such types of stories in their publications as a way to help the nation solve the problem. However, he queried why no any journalists in the country who has ever gone and asked the President about the issue who earlier on had confessed himself to have known all illegal drug dealers in the country. Fili Karashani who was also a mentor in these trainings noted that, there is high time for Tanzania media industry need to be changed and focus more on the people’s life as a way to promote the unprivileged groups. Karashani among the veteran journalists in the country has a long history of journalism and cautioned journalists to observe objectivity while reporting news.

Maize flour prices up in Dar markets

The whole sale price of maize flour usually packed in a bag weighing 25 kilogramm and sold to shop keepers in most Dar es Salaam city markets has risen up by 42 percent, the survey carried out by this blog can establish. A random survey carried out in various municipal markets in city’s suburbs of Buguruni, Temeke, Mwananyamala, Ilala and Gongo la Mboto markets shows that, the price of each bag whose price remained stable for a number of months has shot up from Sh. 17,000/- to currently Sh. 23,000/-. Traders engaged in milling maize grains in various posh mills and sell the flour to shop-keepers in packed small bags, attributed the sudden rise is due to price hike of maize grains in upcountry regions. Zablon Mlumbwa, the owner of a famous Super Sembe Dar posh mill located at Gongo la Mboto on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city said that, they are ought to increase the whole sale price of a maize flour due to price rise of maize grains in up-country supplying regions. He said hat, a kilogramme of maize has suddenly increased from Sh. 450/- to Sh. 650/- in maize producing regions of Iringa, Morogoro and Mbeya and Ruvuma regions respectively. The survey further has discovered that, a retail price for a kilogramme of a maize flour could be fetched at between Sh. 1,000/- and Sh. 1,300/- from Sh. 700/- and Sh. 850/- per kilo as it was for the last two weeks. 

A market place at Mwananyamala in Dar es Salaam

Contacted for comments the Director of Food security in the ministry of Agriculture Kasrim Mbambo could not be in a position to talks about rthe matter as he is currently on annual leave, the Guardian contacted him with view to know reasons why has there been a high price rate of maize within a shortest time. However the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Richard Kaswaga said that, during the month of April every year, reserve of the previous harvests gets out of stock, an aspect that, causes shortage of maize grains in most markets in the country. He further attributed the sudden high prices might have been caused due to the supply of such maize grains by farmers outside the country after the government had allowed the farmers and other traders to do so following the abundance of over 2 million tomes of maize grains which were accounted to be in excess in the country. He noted that, the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) had enough food stock an aspect that the government allowed the excess to be exported by traders in the country. Another reasons he attributed that might have been a source of shortage caused is due to the freedom that the government t left for farmers to do away with the maize products as they could not want to intervene with producers in a move to opromote the Kilimo Kwamza initiative that could give freedom to farmers to decide on what to do aboluit their crops.

Tokomeza report in President’s hands

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has received a report of  ‘Tokomeza’ and has hailed the contents on the reports saying that the operation has come to an end, a statement issued by the Directorate of the Communications at State House has said. According to the statement, the report was handed to the President last week in Dar es Salaam by the Chairman of the inquiry commission Ambassador retired Hamisi Amiri Msumi, which he has appointed on May 1st 2014. The President gave the task to a commission to investigate various allegations that led to the violation of laws and procedures during the implementation of the Tokomeza operation which was conducted throughout the country that aimed at looking for poachers and other crimninals at national parks. After receiving the report, President Kikwete has assured the nation that it will be made officially known to the general public in two weeks time from now and how it will be dealt with. Either President Kikwete had given the task to a commission of proposing what could be the legal steps to be taken against those who would be implicated directly in the incidences that led to the violation of the legal rights during the past operation. The President also had directed members of the inquiry commission to advice on what should be the best way to be done in the implementation of the operation like this one in future. The President also issued six major areas to be concentrated on by the commission as it were highlighted in a government statement No: 131 of the year 2014. These were as follows. To investigate how the operation was conducted, how officers tasked to carry out the exercise followed the right procedures stipulated in the law, principles and regulations. Others were to see if the officers given the task followed the directives issued to them and see if there were any people who violated the rules and directives. Judge said to the President that, when performing his duties his commission toured 20 regions and 38 districts and deceived numerous complaints  Then formation of t5he commission followed the report which was issued in parliament last year by a Parliamentary select Committee Chairman James Lembeli and which led to the resignation of three ministers. The Ministers who were forced by the Members of Parliaments to resign included the Minister for Home Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi, the Minister for Defense, Vuai Shamshi Nahodha nd the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Hamisi Kagasheki.