1. EU Offering Tanzania Aid Of Tshs. 250 Billion
The EU signed six agreements with the government of Tanzania for six projects to benefit Sumbawanga, Kigoma and Lindi regions in three areas; water, rural roads, democracy and good governance. It’s just on the 13th July 2012 the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a part of the US government created by the former president of the US George W. Bush, signed a sh. 1 trillion agreement with Tanzania to increase investment in energy, water sector and rural roads.
2. CCM vs CHADEMA – SMS Battle
It seems there is one drama after another amongst the two political parties; CHADEMA and CCM. This time it is about a machine that can create short messages and send them showing they are from any number chosen. CHADEMA made the allegations about the machine stating that CCM bought it from Israel for that misleading purpose. CCM denied the allegations and their Iramba West MP, Mr. Mwigulu Nchemba, claimed that he had received threatening text messages from some CHADEMA MPs after he raised nepotism charges against the CHADEMA party in a parliament session. These are the messages CHADEMA deny sending claiming CCM sent them from the machine and portrayed them to be sent from CHADEMA MPs. The CCM MP also stated that he had received verbal threats from one of the top CHADEMA leaders after a parliament session following his comments in the parliament.
3. The Ongoing Budget Session At The Parliament
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, headed by Christopher Chiza, 2012/13 failed to be approved on the 21st July 2012 due to high absenteeism of members of parliament. There have been public complaints on this increasing problem, MPs absenteeism. There were outcries on corruption in the cashewnut and cotton boards during the Ministry of Agriculture budget session. The cashewnut board members were accused of swindling billions of money paid as allowances. The Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children headed by Sophia Simba presented its proposed 2012/13 budget to the parliament on the 23rd of July 2012. Their budget has decreased this year making some MPs worry that the objectives of advancing the targeted people in this ministry will not materialise. The Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports headed by Dr. Fenella Mukangara presented its budget of 2012/13 to the parliament on 24th July 2012. A question of retired people getting employed while young educated people are left unemployed was raised by an MP, arguing the excuse of lack of experience is inadequate to continue denying youth employment. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology presented its 2012/13 to the parliament on the 25/07/2012. The major concern raised by some MPs is the change from analogue to digital on the 31st of December 2012. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing presented its budget proposal on the 26th July 2012. The Ministry of Energy and Minerals, headed by Prof. Sospeter Muhongo presented its budget on the 27th July 2012 and there is a serious scandal against the ministry raised by some parliamentarians.
4. Underage Girl Married Off To Pay For Brothers’ Education
In a shocking revelation a 25 year old businessman man in Arusha, Joseph Ngisha, is said to have married an 8 year old (now 11) since 2010 who has been found three months pregnant, breaching the child’s rights. The suspect is to appear in court for charges of rape. The father of the girl sadly said they married off the girl to get funds to educate her brothers and saw nothing wrong in that. He has also been arrested.
5. Gas Pipe From Mtwara To Dar Es Salaam – An End To Power Cuts?
There has been a launch of laying down a pipe of 512 km to transfer gas from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam by the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, on the 21st July 2012. The project will cost Tshs. 1.86 trillion borrowed from Exim Bank. The government has stated that the discovery will ease the dependency on the expensive oil produced electricity and the unreliable water produced electricity. The gas is said to be able to produce 3,920 megawatts of electricity per day. The gas is said to be a blessing to Tanzanians, 86% of whom do not have electricity in their homes 50 years after independence. The nearby villages where the pipe will run through are also promised to benefit from the gas. The project has been given 18 months (till January 2013) to be completed by the three Chinese companies that will be doing the job. Hopefully, this will also mean cheaper, more reliable and more widely available electricity. The government also promised, and hopefully will keep the promise, that it will extend electricity supply from the current 14% to 35% of the population by the end of 2012. There have been concerns on the gas law which is said to be giving extreme powers to the minister to sign a contract without consulting anyone, hence leaving a loophole of corruption to take place.
6. Do The Members Of Parliament Really Care?
While the members of parliament are supposed to be guardians of the people that voted for them, they have proved to be increasingly missing parliament sessions raising questions on their commitment to the people of Tanzania. On the 21st July the parliament failed to pass a proposed Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives 2012/13 budget due to lack of a quorum. The members were not more than 110 out of a minimum of 172 MPs needed for a house of 350 MPs. There have been questions raised that such a gross misconduct and inadequate accountability of the MPs should be included in the new constitution so that people do not have to put up with such unbecoming behaviour for five years. The parliament speaker has set new rules to try and control this problem. She has required MPs to sign the attendance twice; in the morning and the afternoon. However, there has not been any punishment mentioned if they continue to miss the parliament sessions. There have been suggestions that an MP should lose their seat if they miss seven days in a row without informing the parliament. Poor attendance is one sign of alarming bells about the MPs commitment to the people. Other complains have been the generous allowances they have allocated themselves and passing of laws not in favour of peoples’ welfare like the social security law they approved on April 13th, 2012. There has also been revelations that some of them and their families have been allocated land at Gezaulole, Dar es Salaam at the expense of ordinary citizens.
7. Report Shows Breaches Of Human Rights In Tanzania
The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) launched its bi-annual report on the 25th July 2012. The report showed various breaches of human rights in the country. The violations include; violence against women and children, mob violence mainly due to political differences like those that took place in Igunga, Arumeru and Singida and human trafficking. The LHRC has also pointed out that it will sue the government for introducing the new Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) that bans members from accessing their benefits till the age of 55.
8. The New Social Security Law
The new legislation shockingly passed by legislators on the 13th April 2012 has been highly opposed by the public. The law asserts that members cannot access their funds till retirement. People do not understand why such conditions are set when life expectancy of Tanzanians is not certain to reach the retirement age of 55. People insist that they should be able to withdraw their funds when they lose their jobs to start self-employment projects and for any other reasons they think necessary. In addition, the members question why such a serious law was passed without their consultation. The government is said to be the main beneficiary of this anti-social security fund law as it would make the funds available for the government’s borrowing rather than for the members. Strangely, the MPs are now expressing anger at the amendment they made. One wonders what the MPs were thinking of when they passed this law.
9. The National Identity Registration Exercise
The national identity registration in Dar es Salaam is about to end on the 30th July 2012 then proceed to other regions of Tanzania. The exercise has been faced with various challenges. There has been shortage of offficials at the stations resulting in making the exercise tedious with long queues. In addition, people in Dar es Salaam have turned out last minute when the exercise is about to move to other regions, hence putting more pressure on the National Identity Authority (NIDA) team. There has also been lack of education on the exercise like how to fill in the forms, the documents required to be able to register like birth certificates, certificate of primary education, introduction letters from street leaders if someone has no documents to verify their nationality and differentiating it from the population census that is to take place on 26th August 2012. The hours the exercise is undertaken is not friendly to workers and women who have tight schedules during the day for almost the whole week. Some Dar es Salaam residents have requested for extension of the registration exercise. There has also been incidents of foreigners using voting cards, forged school leaving certificates and other forged documents to register as citizens.
10. Too Little Too Late
The government of Zanzibar has banned three ferries; MV Kalama, MV Seagul and MV Sepideh from operating for safety reasons. It has been revealed that the MV Skagit that sunk at the Chumbe Zanzibar Island on the 18/07/2012 was supposed to travel only short distances of not more than seven kilometres, carry few passengers and not loaded with heavy cargo, but shockingly its owners did the complete opposite without any authority intervention to stop them. MV Skagit was registered in Zanzibar on October 2011. The Minister of Infrastructure and Communication of Zanzibar, Mr. Hamad Masoud Hamad, resigned following the sinking of this second boat in ten months interval. This is an unusual, but impressive step from the government official to step down for accountability reasons. Three people including; the captain, Mussa Makame Mussa, the owner, Said AbdulRahman, and the Seagull Company Dar es Salaam Branch Manager, Omar Hassan Mkonje, have been taken to court facing 60 murder charges.
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