1. Population and Housing Census 2012
The fifth census since independence is about to take place on the 26th August 2012. The previous census were done in 1967, 1978, 1988 and 2002. Tanzania conducts its population and housing census every ten years. This year’s census will involve answering a questionnaire of 60 questions. It is claimed the questions are for collecting comprehensive information rather than just the number of people so that the government can have adequate statistics to make better development planning and understand which areas need more effort to develop than which ones. The government has removed the religion question arguing it is not an essential factor in development planning. Youth in Tarime have cautioned the government to ensure the census is used to deliver social and other development services to the people as intended and not just be an expensive and useless activity. They also suggested a cheaper alternative to conducting the census by using local government officials rather than employing a whole new team and paying them extravagantly.
2. Dr. Steven Ulimboka’s Return From South Africa
Dr. Ulimboka returned from South Africa where he had gone for treatment after being attacked and almost killed on the 26th June 2012. He left for South Africa on the 30th June 2012. He was welcomed home by fellow doctors, activists and other people. He stated his health is in good condition and will continue his fight for improving the health sector. Dr. Ulimboka has been both hiding for security reasons and resting for health reasons since his return and has promised he will soon reveal to the public about his abduction and torture.
3. Simba – Yanga Dispute Over A Player
The two soccer giants of the country showed an ugly fight over a Rwandan defender, Mbuyu Twite. Simba claimed they had already recruited the player who later Yanga recruited. Yanga claims Simba had not followed a proper procedure because Simba only negotitated with the player and not the club which Twite played for in Rwanda, APR. There has been a concern that disputes between the two teams are part of the factors that contribute to the decline of soccer in the country.
4. The Parliament Budget Session
The two budgets and the Finance Bill 2012 tabled to the parliament this week by the government went through. The Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism headed by Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki pointed out it plans to transform Dar es Salaam by creating city tours. MPs made various suggestions on improving this highly important sector like; setting up a college to train qualified human resources for the sector, encouraging local tourism, better employment of locals in skilled positions, inviting celebrities from abroad to attract people from where the celebrities originate from and making more use of the opportunities available to generate more income from this sector. The MPs also raised concern over the conduct of some tour operators who collect all payment from tourists abroad making the country lose huge income. There were also questions on export of live wild animals abroad. The government said it was wrong for the Game Frontiers of Tanzania Limited, a hunting firm, to lease its hunting plots for mining exploration and that its hunting licence will be revoked. The budget for the Ministry for Education and Vocational Training headed by Dr. Shukuru Jumanne Kawamba was tabled on the 13-14/08/2012. The budget received a lively discussion, showing concern by the MPs over this sensitive sector. MPs suggested that the government should continue talks with teachers and address their troubles. Other issues mentioned by MPs was congratulating the ministry for allowing re-sitting of form four examination by last year’s students that cheated in examinations this year rather than after three years, focus on improving quality of the existing schools rather building more schools, loan board to be more efficient in their service provision and the government to decide what should be the medium of instruction in primary schools rather than have the well off taught in English in private schools while government schools continue to teach in Kiswahili. One MP showed scepticism over the usefulness of decentralisation in improving education while others showed concern over lack of schoool infrastructures like toilets in most schools. MPs also called the government to improve disability schools and adult education. There were also concerns of whether the education system is still suitable in the current national and global context. The Ministry for Finance and Economic Affairs headed by Dr. William Mgimwa tabled the Finance Bill 2012 on the 15-16 August 2012. The dominant issue raised by the opposition was the billions of Tanzanian Shillings stashed away in Swiss Banks. The opposition camp insisted the ministry should mention the fellows or else they would do it. The MPs also insited the ministry should avoid unecessary tax exemptions to multinational corporations arguing it loses the government huge revenue. The opposition also suggested the government to look into expanding its sources of revenue to include fisheries, the port, oil and gas production companies rather than relying on taxing cigarrettes, alcohol and other products. They also urged the government to be vigilant of tax evasion by various companies. The legislators also wanted the government to reduce dependence on foreign aid. Other concerns included ensuring telephone companies pay their taxes rather than raising tax on phone users. The government agreed to lower the period of an imported car from 8 to 10 years as most Tanzanians cannot afford a car of less than 8 years old.
5. Re-flagging Of 36 Iranian Ships By Zanzibar Marine Authority
It has been confirmed that Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) through its agent in Dubai, Philtex, re-flagged 36 Iranian oil and cargo ships with the Tanzanian flag without Tanzania’s knowledge. Tanzania was accused by the US in July 2012 of re-flagging Iranian ships in violation of the sanctions it has imposed on Iran. Tanzania has deflagged the 36 ships in fear of US sanctions. ZMA has also terminated its business with Philtex.
6. Updates On The Integrity Of Our Members Of Parliament
The MP for Same East, Anna Kilango was interrogated on corruption allegations on the 10th August 2012 by the small commission appointed by the speaker, Anna Makinda, to investigate corruption allegations against suspected MPs.
7. Disastrous Results For The Olympic Team Of Tanzania
The seven sports people that represented Tanzania in the London Olympics 2012; Faustin Mussa (marathon), Zakia Mrisho (marathon), Selemani Kidunda (boxing 69kg welter), Samson Ramadhani (marathon), Magdalena Moshi and Ammaar Ghadyali (swimming) did not do Tanzania proud. They returned home empty handed. Msenduki Mohammed (marathon) failed to participate due to illness, raising questions of how an unfit athlete was nominated to participate in these highly competitive games. What went wrong is now being asked is it either; the selection, preparation, the sports associations, Tanzania Olympic Committee, the government or all of the above? Will Tanzania ever return to its past glory of world class athletes like Filbert Bayi and Suleiman Nyambui?
8. Local Artists Demand Tougher Anti-Piracy Laws
Singers and actors have called for tougher anti-piracy laws to deter people from stealing their work after several illegal copies of their works were found in shops, denying them much needed income. The government through the Ministry for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports are aware of the problem and hopefully will act fast to protect Tanzanian artists from piracy and eventually help them improve their livelihoods.
9. Ministry Of Natural Resources And Tourism Sacks Three Officials
The minister, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, sacked three senior government officials; Mr. Obeid Mbangwa, Mr. Frank Mremi and Mr. Simon Gwera over smuggling 100 live wild animals and birds in 2010. Questions over the sacking include if these individuals are scapegoats and the main culprits behind this smuggling network have been left out by the government? The public have been complaining a lot over resources of the country benefitting a few through such corrupt acts leaving them high and dry. In addition, the growing culture in the society of adoring ‘getting rich quickly’ also contributes to corruption.
10. The Second Phase Of Collecting Views For The New Constitution
The Tanzania Constitution Review Commission (TCRC) chaired by Justice Joseph Warioba and a total team of 30 people, fifteen from either side of the union, will start its second phase of collecting views from the people from 27th August to 28th September 2012. The second phase will cover seven regions including; Mbeya, Morogoro, Lindi, Ruvuma, Kigoma, Katavi and Mwanza. The chairman pointed out that time is not in their favour as they are also supposed to review the views they collect and draft them into the new constitution to be presented to the Constitutional Assembly and then presented to the people for opinion polls before the next General Elections in October 2015. The chairman also warned political parties from imposing their views on people and let people raise their own views independently. He said political parties, civil societies, religious organisations, special needs groups like associations of the deaf and blind will be given their time to express their views. People have been encouraged to write letters to the TCRC to make sure their views reach the TCRC. There is also the TCRC website http://www.katiba.go.tz where one can put down their views.
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