Monday, November 20, 2017

Importation of animals to seek for pastures is now out of bound

Tanzania has laid down main strategies and stringent measures among others that will help control arbitrary importation of animals from the neighbouring countries for illegal grazing in the country's territory. Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Ministry said in a statement in Dar es Salaam over the weekend. In the statement, the government has ruled out the possibility of having its genuine enforcement of the laws resulting into diplomatic squabbles. The ministry said the operations target nobody, citing confiscation of animals at different border posts with Burundi, Uganda and Kenyan citizens affected. "The operations aim at enforcing the laws and international guidelines," the government charged, maintaining: “Any attempt to turn the issue into diplomatic wrangle is wrong... the operations should never lead to diplomatic row with any country unless someone with ill intent decides to fuel the conflict.” The ministry argued that law enforcement could never spoil the relationship with other countries because all countries in the world enforce their laws to control illegal entries of animals and birds for health and environmental reasons. Among others, Tanzania applies the Animal Disease Act of 2003 and its regulations, Grazing-land and Animal Feed Resources Act of 2010 and quarantine. In the East African Community (EAC), livestock products cross borders under special procedures, with veterinarians in both countries required to strictly enforce the control measures. The statement came as clarification to recent concern that Kenya raised over the recent seizure of animals and burning of chickens reportedly imported from the neighbouring country. The government said it would write to the Kenyan government to clarify upon receipt of official letter over the matter. 

The government argued that it was established that a big number of cattle from neighbouring countries were entering Tanzania without following the laid procedures. And, an ample time was given for the herders to remove their livestock. Apart from the directive, the government also issued a diplomatic circular to Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, informing the governments to instruct their citizens to remove their illegally grazed livestock. But, some pastoralists defied the directive, leading to confiscation of 1,113 cattle in Kilimanjaro region's Mwanga district and 324 cattle in Kigoma region. Legal measures were taken against the seized animals, with 728 others released after payment of fines. In Kagera region, 1,536 cows whose owners remain unknown, are still under state control. Kenya has vehemently condemned Tanzania's seizure and burning of illegally imported 6,400 chickens. The chickens importer claimed to have sourced them from Kenya but lacked any document to prove the consignment origin, export permit or approval by any disease control authority in Tanzania. “Tanzania phoned Kenya's Director of Veterinary Services to establish whether the chickens were indeed from Kenya and if Kenya was ready to receive them,” the government said in the statement. The director reportedly denied knowledge of the consignment, saying the country was not ready to allow the chickens back without proper documents as per international guidelines. The government said it had been enforcing the control measures since 2006 and the confiscated chickens during the entire period never originated from one country.

Tanzania introduces first care surgery

Tanzania has introduced the first-ever day care laparoscopy surgery, which offers great potentials of relieving patients of pains and significantly reducing congestions in hospital. The minimal invasive surgery, first introduced in the country at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Moshi, is now widely used at the super specialised referral hospital, with patients calling, getting operated and discharged on the same day. The Head of General Surgery at KCMC, Dr Kondo Chilonga, who is also the pioneer of the key hole surgery in the country after getting expertise under the auspices of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust of the United Kingdom, told the media here yesterday that the cost-effective procedure offers huge relief to patients and the hospital. Dr Chilonga said gone are the days when patients and families had to spend long time in recovery and support at the hospital, saying the burden has been purged, benefiting the nation as well because patients undergoing the surgery can return to economic activities earlier. Laparoscopy is a type of surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to access the inside of the abdomen and pelvis without making large incisions in the skin. Large incisions can be avoided during laparoscopy because the surgeon uses an instrument, laparoscope, a small tube with a light source and camera that relays images of the abdomen and pelvis inside to a television monitor. Having introduced the procedure, Northumbria medical experts stayed at KCMC hospital for a while before they returned to UK, but kept monitoring the procedures through a telemetry link and telemedicine technology that started in 2003 between Northumbria and KCMC. Dr Chilonga said by 2009/2010 KCMC were doing the surgery on their own, unless there were complications that necessitated communicating with Northumbria via audio video, with internet engineers facilitating the communications. As of now, thousands of procedures have been performed at the hospital, attracting patients from across Tanzania and neighbouring countries. Before patients had to be admitted before surgeries and stay for some days at the hospital but now dates are set and patients call, get operated and leave on the same day. Faster recovery, less pain and bleeding after the operation and reduced scarring are among the advantages of the new technology. Dr Chilonga said following the achievement, the hospital contemplates establishment of the fully-fledged unit for Laparoscopic Surgery. Having facilitated that at KCMC, Dr Chilonga and other staff have been offering training to medical practitioners from Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza and Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital to spread the procedure.

Dar motorists annoyed by towing services method

Towing services in Dar es Salaam have turned into a nuisance to most motorists who have been gnawed by the way the service givers applies to their vehicles. In case a vehicle cannot be safely driven or breaks down following a road accident, individuals and private companies that offer the towing services charge exorbitant fee, sometimes without any proper mechanism of paying tax. “For a tow of up to 600 metres, for instance, you may pay between 200,000/- and 250,000/-, depending on how good you are in price negotiations,’’ says Alphonce Babu, a resident of Ubungo, whose vehicle Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) towed over wrong parking on the road reserve. He says there was no specific cost of towing motor vehicles as the charges depend on one’s price negotiation skills just as buying a cloth from a hawker. Another motorist, Shaban Ahmed whose vehicle was engaged on road carnage at Mabibo in Dar es Salaam and later towed to Urafiki Police Station from the point of breakdown complained over huge towing charges that end up in the hands of people who hardly pay taxes. Investigations have established that many of businesspeople providing towing services were police officers and TANROADS employees. What can be confirmed at least for now is that authorities are unaware of the lucrative business. In separate interviews, several officials were caught napping when asked about the breakdown business. 

Tanzania Revenue Authority's (TRA) Director of Taxpayer Services and Education Richard Kayombo, when asked if he was aware of the unscrupulous towing services, said more clarification be sought from the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) which is mandated to, among others, issue, renew, cancel and amend Road Service Licence. However, SUMATRA Director General Gilliard Ngewe said his authority was less concerned with the towing services, advising that the Head of Police Traffic, Mr Fortunatus Musilimu is the best placed to elaborate on the issue. “That matter falls under the Road Traffic Act and SUMATRA is less concerned, you better contact the head of police traffic,’’ said Mr Ngewe. And, when contacted, Mr Musilimu charged, “That issue is basically regional, not a national matter, you can as well contact the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander for clarification." Whether owners of vehicles providing towing services are licensed or not, the survey revealed that there were no official contracts between them and the police, TANROADS or Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC) who call them for services in the course of discharging their duties. Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, Lazaro Mambosasa said since he took over as new police commander, he had never known the owners of motor vehicles providing towing services. “What I know is that when a driver is injured or the vehicle is engaged in road accident, we call the breakdown to tow the vehicle from the point of accident to the police station, and the charges ought to be paid by owner of the motor vehicle,’’ he said. The prices, according to him, depend on the distance from the breakdown point to the preferred destination. On the huge prices charged, Mr Mambosasa said he would consult the Zonal Crime Officer and Zonal Traffic Officer to see the best way to resolved the matter.

Rural-Urban immigration urge causing inconveniences

Tanzania will have to plan for and manage unprecedented levels of urban population growth to ensure productivity, efficiency and inclusivity of its cities and urban spaces. This was said recently by the Acting Executive Secretary for the Planning Commission in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Maduka Kessy, during the Tanzania Urbanisation Laboratory meeting at the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) offices in Dar es Salaam. The meeting aimed at discussing national urbanisation roadmap by reviewing three pieces of research that was commissioned by the Laboratory in September, this year. The first research was based on understanding the scope for Urban infrastructure and services finance in Tanzania cities while the second described the relationship between national and local government in Tanzania and the third piece provided missing urban data required to enhance investment in Tanzania. Mr Kessy said that while the government is currently implementing ambitious goals in the second five-year development plan (FYDP) ll, themed ‘nurturing industrialisation for economic transformation and human development’, the Laboratory as a think tank should focus on facilitating evidence-based decisions with regard to urbanisation and those papers are entirely timely. 

“The national planning frameworks in Tanzania are guided by the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 aimed at ensuring that the country achieves middle income status by 2025… so, it is clear that the need for national urbanisation roadmap is both timely and of national significance,” said Mr Kessy. He insisted that if the country wants to achieve tranquility in its mission and vision, it needs evidence-based decisions and the Lab is the only reliable place to get it with regard to urbanisation. Giving insight of the meeting, ESRF Executive Director, Dr Tausi Kida said the meeting, which is the first after the launch of Tanzania Urbanisation Laboratory in August, this year, intends to look on how best the programme can help manage the future. She said the Laboratory chaired by the Planning Commission and coordinated by ESRF include stakeholders from public, private, civil society and academic organisations.

Uncertainties reigns in Zimbabwe as Mugaba lock horns

Zimbabwe's embattled leader Robert Mugabe has vowed to stay in power for several weeks, despite of his ruling Zanu'PF giving him an ultimatum to resign. In a live TV address, according to BBC, Mr Mugabe said he would preside over the ruling party's congress in December. The Zanu-PF earlier sacked him as party leader, and gave him less than 24 hours to resign as president or be impeached. AP quoted him saying "I thank you and good night," without announcing resignation.