1. Teacher’s Strike
The Tanzania Teachers’ Union (TTU) announced to hold a countrywide industrial action from the 30th July demanding a raise of their pay till when their demands were met. They stated that 84% of the teachers voted for industrial action. The government stated the industrial action was illegal since the matter was already at the High Court in the Labour Division. The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) supported the strike. A number of teachers in Mbeya, Musoma and Tarime were arrested for taking part in the strike. However, not all teachers supported the strike. On the fourth day of the strike the ruling by the High Court, Labour Division on the 2/08/2012 was that the strike was illegal and teachers were ordered to end the strike immediately and compensate the students either through teaching them the classes they missed or monetarily.
2. Do The Members Of Parliament Really Care?
Last week we read about complaints against MPs absenteeism, passing of laws that are not in favour of the welfare of people and acquisition of land at the expense of ordinary people. This time the MPs faced a very serious allegation of corruption. It has been alleged that some MPs from both the opposition and the ruling party received money from companies to be awarded tender to supply heavy fuel to produce electricity for emergency purposes. This led to the speaker, Hon. Anna Makinda, to dissolve the Parliamentary Parastatal Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) so that there can be an investigation by the parliamentary standing committee on Privileges, Ethics and Powers headed by Hassan Ngwilizi. However, the Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee is also composed of some MPs implicated in the corruption scandal; hence, its integrity to carry out the investigation was highly doubted. The names of the accused MPs were mentioned to the public by the MP-politician Tundu Lissu. Meanwhile, the head of POAC accused of corruption, MP Zitto Kabwe, pointed out that he is clean and promised to resign as the committee chairman, but remain an MP, if proved beyond any reasonable doubt to be guilty. The anti-corruption unit of Tanzania, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has also began its independent investigation on the matter. The legislators have also called on the speaker to dissolve the parliament Local Authorities Accounts Committee (LAAC) on accounts of corruption allegations. The speaker formed a committee of 5 people chaired by retired Brigadier General Hassan Ngwilizi to probe the MPs implicated in the corruption scandal. The inquiry is to be completed in two weeks and advise the speaker on the way forward based on the findings.
3. Members of Parliament Salaries And Allowances Raised
MPs salaries and allowances increased from Tshs. 7.4mill per month to Tshs. 11mill per month with effect from July 2012, making a career in the parliament one of the most lucrative one in the country and questioning the MPs commitment to a fairer society. The increase was made silently showing the guilt that haunts them. The raise has been complained about by some people that it will silence the MPs as they have a huge income to lose if they lose their seat. The rise in income for the MPs has been stated by some to be a betrayal of the masses, majority of whom, are living in extremely difficult circumstance. Kenya has its MPs very highly paid at international standards; possibly Tanzania is trying to either catch up or even surpass them.
4. Updates On The New Social Security Law
The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) promised to take legal action if the new Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) that bans members from accessing their benefits till the age of 55 is not repealed soon. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) promised last week to sue the government over the matter. This legislation was strangely passed by MPs on the 13th April, 2012.
5. Tanzania-Malawi Oil and Gas Exploration Dispute
There is a dispute over the oil and gas exploration on Lake Nyasa stated the government through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. According to the Malawian government, the entire Lake Nyasa belongs to Malawi. Meanwhile, Tanzania has called for a halt to all gas and oil exploration in the eastern part of Lake Nyasa until a solution to the dispute is reached to avoid the matter turning into a security threat. The government has said that it will issue an official statement to the parliament through the minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Monday the 6/08/2012.
6. The 19th Nane Nane Exhibition Launched in Dodoma
The exhibition is a national annual event organised to recognise and celebrate farmers contribution to the national economy. There are about 262 participants involved in agriculture and finance in this 2012 Nane Nane show. The exhibition is to run from the 1-8 August 2012. This year’s Nane Nane slogan is ‘Agriculture First, Produce Scientifically And Technologically To Feed The Ever Growing Population.’ That slogan sounds like a heavy responsibility on farmers. Some people have questioned if farmers have anything to celebrate considering that they are the majority yet the most neglected section of population without adequate social services like health, education, housing, water, electricity amongst others. The farmers deserve much better treatment than they are getting so far.
7. The Parliament Budget Session
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare headed by Dr. Hussein Mwinyi presented its budget on the 30th to the 31st July 2012. The parliament passed the Tshs. 580billion budget for the year 2012/13. The Ministry of Transport headed by Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe presented its 2012/13 budget to the parliament on the 1st and 2nd August 2012. The government through the Ministry of Transport promised to improve air and rail transport. Some of the issues raised by MPs include improving rail transport to attract other countries to use our port since that will mean cheaper means of transport of goods from the port to the point of destinations. The MPs were also shocked that Tanzania with a large production of gold in the world has less planes than Rwanda which has seven national planes, while Tanzania has only one. Dr. Mwakyembe promised the government would buy two more planes. There was also a concern that ferries and railways are so ancient dating back to the colonial period. The Ministry of East African Cooperation headed by Samuel Sitta presented its budget on the 3/08/2012.
8. Government Bans Weekly Swahili Newspaper ‘MwanaHalisi’
The weekly newspaper has been banned for seditious reasons. The government stated the newspaper has been warned over its fear mongering news. The newspaper managing editor thought this was unjustified as it is interfering with freedom of expression.
9. Primary School Students Protest Too
The students protested in various parts of the country against their teachers’ strike stating it breached their right to education. Students went to the streets demanding their right to education and the end to teachers’ strike that started on the 30/07/2012.
10. Tanzania Alerted To Ebola
Following the outbreak of this deadly disease in Uganda, the government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare warned its citizens to take precautions, particularly in the five regions neighbouring Uganda including; Mara, Mwanza, Kagera, Kigoma and Rukwa. The government stated they are well prepared and have taken measures of screening people entering Tanzania from Uganda. The symptoms of the disease include; sudden high fever, vomiting, skin rushes, low blood level and failure of the kidney and liver to function properly. The disease has spread in remote areas of mid-Western Uganda; claimed the lives of 18 and infected 35 people by 2nd of August 2012. The disease spreads through contact.
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