1. The Plight Of Dr. Steven Ulimboka
Dr. Steven Ulimboka, chairman of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) Steering Committee, almost lost his life after getting attacked by unknown people. The government has denied any involvement in this act in response to suspicions raised by some opposition members of parliament who were pointing a finger at the government. Dr. Ulimboka has been flown to South Africa for further treatment and his condition is reported to be improving.
2. Doctors’ Strike; Will It Make Our Hospitals Any Better?
The doctors’ strike that has been going on and off for months came to an end on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 after President Jakaya Kikwete intervened declaring those who would not report back to work would have self-dismissed. The government stated they had agreed to some of the doctors’ demands and not all. The doctors were demanding better pay and improved working environment amongst others. There was a divided public opinion on the strike. Some thought it is justified while others thought it is not since the losers in this fight were the poor patients that depend on public hospitals.
3. The Switzerland Secret Bank Accounts Scandal
There has been reports from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) of huge amounts of money, Tshs 315.5 billion, stashed away by oil and mining companies operating in the country in Swiss Banks owned by six influential politicians. The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit (PCCB), Dr. Edward Hosea has said that there is an investigation on the matter to find out if the money has been illegally or legally deposited abroad, even though it is known the individuals did not deposit a penny themselves, and will take necessary action after getting the findings. Other countries that have been mentioned in a similar scandal are South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia etc .
4. Tanzanian Constitutional Review Commission (TCRC) In Action
The Tanzanian Constitutional Review Commission has begun its work on the 2/07/2012 of collecting views of Tanzanians on the type of Tanzania they want in the future. The commission is composed of 30 members, with half of the members from Tanzania mainland and the other half from Zanzibar. The commission will cost taxpayers Tshs 40 billion in 2012/13. The commission has started its work in eight regions in Tanzania mainland and in Zanzibar. The regions are; Pemba South, Zanzibar South, Tanga, Dodoma, Coast, Shinyanga Kagera and Manyara. Public views can be aired in special meetings the commission holds with the public, as well as on TCRC’s website and through letters. This first phase of collection of views is to last till the 30th July 2012. The exercise is going smoothly.
5. Saba Saba – Local Traders Asked To Expand Their Business Horizon
The 36th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (Saba Saba) began on the 28/06/2012 and will end on the 8/07/2012. This year’s show has a slogan, ‘Expand Your Business Horizon’, which encourages local investors/business people to look beyond Tanzania for market opportunities. Hopefully, the implementation of this brilliant vision will be given ground facilitation. Apart from the 1,564 local exhibitors, the show has also attracted 435 foreign exhibitors from Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Sudan, China, Syria, Pakistan, India amongst others.
6. Parliament’s Budget Session
Various ministries are presenting their budgets proposals in the house of parliament. The MPs have been participating in questioning the government about the budgets within the 10 minutes allocated to them, though their participation has been highly complained of by the public as it is largely confrontational and highly based on their party loyalty rather than concentrating on debating the budgets that will sort out the peoples’ various social and economic needs like; water, inflation, electricity, roads, bridges, employment of youth, health and education. There has also been public complaints on the poor attendance of MPs in the parliament. Others have questioned the whole arrangement of the government proposing the budget, top-bottom approach, rather than the members of parliament presenting the budget to the government for discussion and implementation.
7. Will Radar Money Save Tanzania’s Education?
Radar money of Tshs 75 billion returned from UKs BAE has raised critical debates amongst members of parliament demanding the funds be used for building teachers’ houses and purchase of desks rather than using 75% of the funds in buying books, teachers’ guides, syllabi and syllabi guides for all 16,000 primary schools in Tanzania. The government insisted the money will not be sufficient to build teachers’ houses. The money, however, was returned by the UK Government on conditions of buying the books and the desks, hence probably the lack of flexibility by the government on how to best spend it.
8. Corruption Allegations Against Former Seven Army Officials
Former seven army officials have been dragged to court for misuse of office during their terms in office. The allegation is that they unlawfully procured used motor vehicles and heavy duty construction equipment in 2009. The accused denied the charges and were released on bail till their preliminary hearing set on the 1st of August 2012.
9. The Union Debate In The Parliament
The sensitive matter of the union was hotly debated during the presentation of the ministry of union and environment budgets at the house of parliament on the 4/07/2012. The members, unfortunately, concentrated on discussing on improving the shortcomings of the union like who heads what union government office rather than what needs to be spent on what as presented in the budget. The government stated that 9 out of 15 complaints of the union have been resolved. Some members of the parliament pointed out that such information of what union problems have been resolved is necessary to be disseminated to the public to reduce their complaints on the union. The government insisted they already informed the public on the union through leaflets, television and others.
10. Tanzania Investigates Re-flagging Allegations
There has been an allegation by the USA that Tanzania has re-registered 10 Iranian oil ships as Tanzanian and allowing them to fly Tanzania’s flag against the US demand on African countries to cut ties with the Iranian state following the US unilateral trade sanctions on Iran earlier this year. The pressure on African States to cut ties with Iran has succeeded with South Africa, Angola and Kenya. Re-registration is a normal activity, but in this case the US is against this action because of the sanctions. The Tanzanian government has launched an investigation and has promised to take appropriate action once the the findings are established.
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