1. Government VS Doctors – When Will This Tug Of War Come To An End?
Religious leaders intervened requesting the president to meet with the doctors as requested by the doctors and cancel the court case filed against the doctors. The government’s response was that there was nothing to discuss and there will not be any visits by the doctors to the state house. In addition, the chairman of the Medical Association of Doctors (MAT), Dr. Namala Mkopi, was dragged to court in Dar es Salaam on the 10/07/2012 in contempt of court. The hearing has been postponed to 6/08/2012. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare stripped off the provisional medical certificates of 380 interns for their participation in the recent doctors’ strike. Furthermore, MAT announced on the 12/07/2012 that they will organise a demonstration next week to protest being bullied by the government.
2. Zanzibar Refugees Back Home
Zanzibaris who had sought refuge in Somalia since the political crisis in Zanzibar in 2000 returned back home with the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Some returned married to Somali nationals. The UNHCR has explained that the individuals would be supported for four months financially and would be provided food to help them settle back in Unguja and Pemba. There are other refugees in Somalia from Zanzibar who are still sceptical to return. Hopefully, the remaining Zanzibari refugees in Somalia would get the confidence and courage to return to their country and join their families they have long been separated from.
3. “Usalama Wa Taifa” – Can We Get Along?
The CHADEMA top leader, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa and Member of Parliament John Mnyika alleged on media that the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Services were plotting to eliminate them and that they have evidence to their allegations. Mr. John Mnyika was recently thrown out of the parliament for making and refusing to take back a comment on the president that was termed to be offensive, according to the parliament regulations, by the speaker. The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered an investigation to the matter, but the opposition party leader, Dr. Slaa has refused to cooperate with the police saying he lacks confidence in them.
4. The Summer Olympics: Team Tanzania Ready For A Medal?
The Tanzanian Olympic team of six sports persons, three trainers, one doctor and one leading official left for UK on the 8/07/2012. The six athletes include; Faustin Mussa (marathon), Zakia Mrisho (marathon), Selemani Kidunda (boxing 69kg welter), Samson Ramadhani (marathon), Magdalena Moshi (swimming) and Msenduki Mohammed (marathon). The Olympics are due at the end of July to mid-August. There have been concerns regarding the few participants in a country of 45 million people. In addition, there was a concern from a member of parliament that it is negative publicity for Tanzania to be involved in such international games and continuously lose. The participants have each been promised a reward of 3 million by the retired army general Mirisho Sarakikya if they win a medal. There are, however, concerns that they are not well prepared to perform well.
5. Investors Crisis In Tanzania
The opposition camp in parliament during the budget session of the Ministry for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements on the 11/07/2012 to 12/07/2012 queried how two uranium companies; Uranium Resources PLC and Western Metals made a fraudulent contract, prepared by a Tanzanian law firm Rex Attorneys, with a hunting firm known as Game Frontiers of Tanzania Limited to carry out mining exploration at Mbarang’andu village while the original use of the blocks were for hunting. The hunting firm was to benefit $6m to be paid in two phases and an additional $250,000 once actual mining started. The shadow minister also asked the government to repossess some fully or partially abandoned 27 farms, mostly sisal farms, and allocate them to those in need.
6. Tanzania Praised By The World Investment Report 2012
The report released in Dar es Salaam praised Tanzania to be attracting more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) than its East African neighbours. The report revealed that Tanzania attracts investment mainly in, tourism, natural resources, gas and mining. Meanwhile, there have been various complaints by citizens and civil societies on foreign investors using investment as an excuse to grab land from locals who end up becoming landless or displaced from their land. The concern is that if the latter goes on there will be increasing social unrest. Other problems with investment by foreigners include evasion of and exemption from tax payment, losing the government precious revenue that could help in development projects for her people and less dependency on donors to fund her budget. There has also been calls for more critical scrutiny of the contracts the government signs with investors rather than repeatedly falling victims to shrewd investors. Consequently, the praise should be about more than just attracting investors, but also at how investment benefits ordinary Tanzanians and the country at large.
7. The Ongoing Budget Session
Budget proposals are getting approved by Members of Parliament. The parliament approved the Ministry for Infrastructure budget on the 6/07/2012 in what was a very exciting session with the flamboyant Minister for Infrastructure, Dr. Magufuli. The Ministry for Water, headed by Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, faced a heated debate as clean water supply to most Tanzanians 50 years after independence is still an unfulfilled dream. The major problem was noted to be its dependence on donor money, which is highly unreliable. The MPs rightly pointed out that this dependency on donors will never provide water to 65% of Tanzanians who do not have access to clean water. The budget was, however, eventually approved by our MPs. Meanwhile, the Kigamboni MP, Dr. Faustine Ndungulile objected to the Kigamboni New City Project citing corruption allegations against the Ministry for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements, headed by Prof. Tibaijuka. The ministry has allocated 59% of its 2012/13 budget to the Kigamboni Project. The MPs also warned of a coming social unrest with increasing number in land grabbing.
8. Beware Of Human Traffickers
The government has warned residents in Buhemba village, Butiama district not to be tricked by human traffickers who promise them jobs in neighbouring countries and end getting enslaved on reaching the destinations. This warning was given after some victims of traffickers managed to escape back to the country and revealed shocking information of other Tanzanians kept in inhuman conditions by their traffickers in the neighbouring country of Ethiopia. It is high time for the government to go beyond warning against such evils and create real employment opportunities for the growing unemployed youth both in the rural and towns.
9. The Political Parties Conference
A five-day conference on the legal framework governing political parties; the case studies of party financing, organised by the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy Programme (NIMDC) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Democracy (IIDED) was held in Dar es Salaam from the 10/07/2012 and attended by various political parties representatives from Tanzania and 11 other countries from Africa. Dr. Gharib Bilal talked about how some political parties spread lies to gain fame rather than concentrating on improving the welfare of the citizens. He added that there is already an election expenses act that guides funding of political parties in the country. Meanwhile, MP James Mbatia opposed dehumanisation in political process, saying this is completely wrong. Prof. Lipumba insisted that transparency in funding of political parties is necessary so that the public knows clearly the source of funds of various political parties.
10. Population Census And National Identity Cards
The population and housing census will take place on the 26th August 2012. People will answer a questionnaire of 60 questions to get a detailed information of the population. Tanzanians living in the diaspora will for the first time also be counted. The exercise will cost Tshs 141.5 billion, 77% of which is footed by taxpayers and 23% is financed by development partners. Population census is conducted every 10 years. Meanwhile, the exercise of making National Identity Cards for citizens above 18 years old, foreign residents in the country and refugees has begun in Dar es Salaam. The National ID Project is expected to establish the exact number of taxpayers, hence increase government revenue and remove ghost workers from its payroll. The five-year project is expected to cost the country Tshs 355 billion. Some people have complained that the exercise is conducted during the day when most people are away at work and do not know what they are expected to do in that case.
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