Is it true democracy or is it fragmentation?
By Elias Mhegera
ONE could say it is a bad omen for the newly established party; the Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC), for it’s failing to attract support for many who were reached for comments.
But on Monday this week a 19th party came to existence in the Tanzania’s political scene, the ADC is more of the break away from the Civic United Front (CUF), one time second to the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). This event comes about few months after another party the CCK had received a registration as 18th party in series.
Sad news however is the fact that the new party appears to lack the necessary requisites for a serious party due to the fact many commentators do not expect anything new and substantial because in recent times, parties are becoming more of sources of income to individuals.
A media consultant, former political editor with The Citizen, and current head for a human rights journalist’s organization, Christopher Kidanka says some politicians in Tanzania have failed to make a demarcation between political parties and interest groups; this then is the main cause of the mushrooming of political parties in this country.
“It is strange to find that people are still thinking of establishing new parties since we are seeing nothing new in terms of policies and parties’ agenda except for new names which even though are very similar to those of the existing ones,” he said when reached for comments.
But without underestimating this weakness, he was quick to add that this ‘bloc’ movement of former members of the CUF has severe repercussions to its existence not only as an opposition party, but as
a political party as well.
He reminds that there are many tenets that identify a party as an opposition party; these have been lost since after the CUF had decided to form the Government of National Unity (GNU), with its archrival the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). “The lack of transparency in the formation of this Government had left many questions unanswered,” added Kidanka.
Rev. Fr Dr Joseph Matumaini a lecturer in policy communication at St Augustine University of Tanzania says the turn of events in opposition parties signifies lack of political morality in some of the leaders, he justifies that with the current number of 19 parties, 18 in the opposition might make serious people to ask questions on the seriousness of leaders of these parties if they are not just vehicles to facilitate incomes of their leaders.
“I am dumbfounded when I read a newspaper to note that we have 19 parties I was flabbergasted that even sponsors might worry if at all these politicians are serious, or else they have turned their parties into sources of income,” said Matumaini.
Her reminds that even Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was successful in galvanizing financial support for the then Tanganyika African National Union because there was a clear focus that Tanzanians (Tanganyikans) were striving for having their own independence and this did not count whether these people supported Nyerere personally or not but his political course was not questionable anyhow.
The don was critical that if at all politicians have reached a stage whereby parties are used for financial gains rather than service to the people then that is a big blow to this country. But he defended the decision that some people had chosen to move from the CUF because there might be genuine reasons that led them to call it quit from their former part party, and this has to send a message to the leadership that something has gone astray.
A prominent political scientist and lecturer Prof Mwesigwa Baregu says it is a democratic right for some CUF members who have chosen to quit from their former party or even to establish a new party but the issue at hand is to look at several repercussions due to this decision as discussed here below:
“The move to shift has been taken as a bloc decision which means there was a bloc discontent, these people want to foster their agenda, they want to show their solidarity, and it is most likely that this will have a severe impact to the CUF regardless of whether they will survive as a political party or not,” says Baregu.
Another commentator who preferred anonymity is a preacher and God’s servant who simply said, “Give God what belongs to God and Caesar what belongs to Caesar” but a few minutes later he decided to give a few comments and said that the main problems with Tanzanian politicians is the fact that people are compelled top join political parties because of the physical demands of the human body like food, water and shelter.
“I am sure that it is wrong to reduce politics to the human body demands because this is unethical and could make smart people to manipulate politics and divert it to fulfill their desires by forming movements which appears as political parties but lacking coherent political agenda,” he commented.
A lecturer in media and politics at the Institute of Journalism and Mass Communications of the University of Dar es Salaam, Ernest Mrutu said that people must be wary of the ‘Mobutu Syndrome’ he was referring to the late Mobutu Sese Seko, former president of Zaire now Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who registered more than 360 parties through his relatives and close allies with the aim of weakening the opposition.
However, he reminded that for quite sometime now there were claims from the CUF of dictatorial tendencies by its leadership and this sadden move could have been a calculated to send a strong message of dissatisfaction to the disfranchised members whose voice went unheard for so long.
He further warned Tanzanians to take precautions once they discover there is a ‘dirty game’ to further political interests of some people who detests tangible development of this country. “I was surprised to hear that there is propaganda that Dr Willibrod Slaa is an agent of the CCM such campaigns are bad as they can cause harm and intra-conflicts if members are not careful,” he concluded.
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‘Tuberculosis is not drug-resistant in Tanzania’
By Damas Makangale
Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Haji Mponda, has assured Tanzanians that no known cases of Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis have been reported in this country.
Dr Mponda was responding to a question by this reporter on findings made by doctors at the PD Hinduja National Hospital and Research Centre, in India’s largest city, Mumbai, who reported that they had confirmed four cases of Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (TDR-TB) at their facility.
Tanzania ranks 18th on the list of 22 high-burden tuberculosis countries in the world, as per statistics released in a medical journal on clinical infectious disease, released last year in December.
According to the World Health Organization, every year 9 million people are infected by the disease, while 2 million of them die every year.
Dr Mponda said the Government is working closely with researchers on TB drug-resistant cases in other countries, such as India and China.
“I can assure my fellow citizens that, in Tanzania we have never found cases of drug-resistance in tuberculosis patients,” he said.
He said the ministry is taking a close look to ensure that the current drugs for TB treatment are effective, and nobody will die because of the disease.
Of the estimated 120,191new TB cases in 2007, 56,233 were sputum smear-positive (SS+), due to improved quality of services and evaluation; Tanzania met the World Health Organization’s global target of 85 percent in 2007 for treatment success.
However, the case detection rate for new SS+ TB cases remains low at 51 percent, well below WHO’s target of 70 percent. Case notification rates have fallen over the last three years. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is associated with a 60 percent increase in active TB in Tanzania.
Fifty percent of notified cases were tested for HIV in 2007, and the prevalence of HIV infection among TB patients is estimated at 47 percent.
Plans to expand treatment to HIV-positive TB patients will reduce the death rate, and plans to improve TB reporting systems will improve followup and reduce patient default rates.
Prevalence of multi-drug resistant TB remains low, with about 1,300 cases reported in 2007. Management of MDR-TB started in 2007, although preparations began in 2006 with the renovations of laboratories and patient facilities, procurement of new diagnostic tools, and recruitment of personnel.
Antibiotics to control tuberculosis have been available for more than half a century. But TB bacteria have shown a resilient capability to evolve drug-resistant varieties.
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‘Corruption major factor for substandard goods’
By Elias Mhegera
THE lust for money has been described as one of the major challenges in stopping the importation of substandard goods into Tanzania, including certain foods and medicines.
This theme was thoroughly discussed during a two-day seminar at the Glonency Hotel in Morogoro on Thursday and Friday last week, that organized by the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA).
“Our bitter experience is that the control of fake and substandard drugs is a complicated issue, due to the fact that a good number of these do not enter through official border posts, thus in fact control needs co-operation between neighbouring states,” said Hiiti Sillo, TFDA director-general, during the discussion.
He recounted further that in many cases the control of unwanted drugs has been affected by a number of issues, such as the shortage of staff, and lack of vital information from sources who decide to collaborate with law-breakers.
“It is strange that people tend to go for cheap things without knowing the ultimate consequences of using them, as it is the case with using fake, substandard or expired drugs, but the effects are altogether devastating, including death itself,” said Sillo.
Supporting this stance was Ms Charys Ugullum, who said that identifying the harmfulness of any drug is a scientific process which involves the use of a laboratory for examination, but in many cases people either take for granted their security whenever they use drugs or sometimes they think laboratory experiments are just time-consuming.
“While we admit that there are fake and substandard drugs in the market, we request you journalists to allow us to conduct technical examinations, as we have such laboratories as can help in verifying the samples, before these matters are reported in the media,” she remarked.
She elaborated that currently the TFDA is well equipped for examining various food samples and medicines; she urged whoever wants to establish a business or import such goods to use the services of her organization in order to ensure that end users are not ill-affected by such commodities.
On the other hand, a legal counsel with the TFDA, Meshack Shashi, said that implementation of laws with regard to importation and use of drugs has been successful, for his organization has conducted arrests and some of the culprits have received punishment in the courts of law.
However he noted that some of the law-breakers get minimum sentences up to the fine of 30,000/=, for crimes that are worth millions of shillings, a fact that has caused them to go back to the same illegal conduct.
In another presentation, by Emmanuel Alphonce, who dealt with the matter of control of foods and drugs, he said that it demanded one’s having good training in order to discover what a fake medicine is and what is not.
“In some cases we have discovered that the covers of medicines do not necessarily represent what is inside, but this needs one to be knowledgeable, and at times requires laboratory experimentation in order to verify,” he said.
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Pinda launches Tanzania’s natural heritage book
By Damas Makangale
A book depicting in detail Tanzania’s natural heritage of flora and fauna, authored by a Finnish professor, has been launched by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda at an evening ceremony in Dar es Salaam at the weekend.
The book, ‘The Great Savannah’, by Professor Olli Marttila, in its 528 pages, summarises the diverse tourist attractions with details and colourful pictures and it is useful to tourists, travellers, environmentalists as well as academics and students.
“It is a masterpiece… and we Tanzanians are highly indebted to the author
of the book,” Prime Minister Pinda told the audience at the launch at Serena Dar es Salaam Hotel in the presence of the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Ezekiel Maige and the Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania, Sinikka Antila.
The Prime Minister said: “The say ‘History Never Dies’ and that is the fact
that Professor Martilla has put in record by publishing this handbook to ensure that our country’s history will be in record for ever.
“If we plunder our resources, this book will definitely be our judgement as it will always tell our future generations what Tanzania had. We must, therefore, do whatever possible to continue conserving the natural resources with their flora and fauna,” he added.
The Finnish ambassador, whose country funded the printing of 9,600 copies of the ‘Great Savannah’, said: “Tanzania as well as our country has to look for balance between development, exploitation of natural resources and conservation of nature. This book will contribute to a public debate about what the development path of Tanzania should be – where do we want to go and how?”
One-third of Tanzania (approximately 315,000 sq. kilometres of the total of
945,203 sq. kilometres) is reserved for conservation and the Prime Minister said the area “is far more than in any of the wealthier nations”.
The book gives a detailed description of each of the 15 National Parks, of which four are World Heritage, with key information on the country’s climate, geography and habitats and discusses way in which Tanzania protects its natural resources and identifies risks.
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Police chiefs pledge support for forensic centre
By Reporter, East African News Agency
Police chiefs in the five-member East African Community (EAC) support the establishment of a Regional Referral Forensic Centre (RRFC), aimed at boosting the fight against crime in the region.
"We have to work together for our common future and prosperity," Fabien Ndayishimiye, the director-general of Burundi's National Police, told EAC experts in Bujumbura who were on a visit to assess the country's suitability to host the RRFC.
In a statement issued from the EAC Secretariat, Ndayishimiye said the EAC bloc is united and any crime in a partner state has an impact on the other member states.
The EAC's eight-member forensic experts’ team started its assessment tour on 8 March.
In Rwanda, the Inspector-General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, commended the EAC for pioneering the regional referral forensic center, adding that his country supported the initiative.
"We are seriously waiting to see establishment of a very good facility in addressing the emerging crimes," he said.
Gasana added that Rwanda had already upgraded its own forensic facility to address investigation challenges.
"The government spends huge amounts of resources to outsource forensic services and expertise from abroad but time is ripe to acquire our own services and expertise which will cut down on both the time and the resources," he said.
On his part, the Inspector-General of Police of Tanzania, Saidi Mwema, said the country had already approved and implemented police force reforms, including modernizing its forensic investigation capacity.
"We want to see the people in an integrated East Africa benefit and be proud of our professional police services," Mwema said in Dar es Salaam during a visit by the forensic experts. "All these efforts have full government backing."
The Inspector General of Police of Uganda, Lt-Gen Kale Kayihura, said there was need for East African countries to have ultra-modern forensic services, citing the 2008 terrorist bombings in Kampala as a case in point during which forensic investigations services were outsourced.
"If partner states [of the EAC] can pool together their capacities, we can achieve a lot," said Grace Akullu, the Assistant Inspector General of Uganda Police and Uganda’s Head of Criminal Investigations Department (CID), who represented Lt-Gen Kayihura.
According to Didacus Kaguta, the EAC Peace and Security Officer, who led delegation of experts, the regional forensic centre, once established, would ensure standards such as quality control, certification of forensic scientists as well as the accreditation of forensic laboratories.
"The facility is also expected to offer high-class training and research services," Kaguta said, adding that the facility would store data be shared with the partner states whenever required.
"Even the experts will be readily available from the centre to beef up the national resources during the time of need like emerging calamities such as terrorist attack investigations," Kaguta said.
The EAC and the Federal German Government jointly facilitated the assessment mission by the forensic experts.
GIZ Peace and Security Advisor Joachim Von Bonin said the German government shares a long history with the EAC and enjoys a very cordial partnership in the region's integration effort.
The report of the experts will be presented to the next meeting of the Chiefs of Police and the fifth Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security for consideration and adoption.
The EAC has already initiated the harmonization of peace and security initiatives, common policing standards, joint investigations, exchange of information and mutual legal assistance, among other services.
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Farmers’ federation urged to spearhead integration
By Reporter East African News Agency
The Speaker of EALA, Abdirahin Abdi is urging the farmers’ movement in the EAC region to consolidate and notch up its participation in the integration process for the benefit of the farming fraternity and citizens at large.
Consequently, the Speaker has pledged the Assembly’s support towards the enactment of relevant law to protect the interests of the farming community.
Speaking when he met with representatives of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) in Arusha recently, Abdi noted that the grouping had a fundamental and critical role to play in the social, economic and political integration of the EAC region.
Abdi pledged the Assembly’s support to EAFF and said he was keen to see both organizations collaborate further to actualize a regional law on Co-operatives which it (EAFF) is mulling over.
‘Farmers are an integral part of our development not only for food security and secure livelihood reasons, but EAFF can be of much help in delivering the EAC integration dream particularly in areas of co-operation in technology transfer and the participation of ordinary people in the integration journey’, he said.
EAFF President, Phillip Kiriro led the delegation. Other Members were EAFF 2nd Vice President, Andrew Hepelwa, Board Member, Cesarie Kantarama, EAFF CEO, Stephen Muchiri, MVIWATA President, Habibu Simbamkuti and Shem Mecheo, EAFF Agribusiness and Trade Officer. In attendance from EALA was the Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko.
The EAFF President Kiriro said EAFF would continue in its quest to promote and enhance regional integration for its membership.
‘Apart from voicing views and demands of the farmers on crosscutting issues, EAFF will also endeavour to promote regional integration of the farmers through trade and good neighbourliness. We have a membership that spans 20 million people and we intend to keep them informed of the benefits of integration including the Common Market Protocol that the region is currently implementing’, Kiriro remarked.
The EAFF chief termed agriculture as a vital sector in the economies of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
‘Agriculture in this region which is basically small scale has got its uniqueness.
The EAFF would like to see agriculture that guarantees food and revenue to the farmers in a sustainable manner while at the same time creating surplus for external markets’ the President added.
EAFF CEO, Stephen Muchiri noted that the Federation was fully involved in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process up to and including monitoring of the associated budgets. He noted that EAFF was consulting its membership with a view to taking a position in readiness for the forthcoming RIO + 20 Conference (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in June this year.
The EAFF delegation which has an observer status at the EAC had earlier on met with the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera, who welcomed EAFF’s interest in the EAC and informed the farmers’ representatives that implementation of the Food Security Action Plan was ongoing.
EAFF is a non-political, non-profit and a democratic apex organization of all
farmers of Eastern Africa. Its Membership constitutes Member organizations from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Its role is to voice legitimate concerns and interests of farmers of the region with the aim of enhancing regional cohesiveness and social-economic status of the farmers.
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Rwanda extends duty waiver on sugar imports
By Reporter, East African News Agency
The Ministerial Session of the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment concluded in Arusha recently, by granting a request by Rwanda for an additional six-month duty waiver on sugar imports, among other business.
The Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment which brings together the Ministers responsible for these dockets in the EAC Partner States gave its approval for the extension of the stay of application of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) on 38,000 metric tonnes of sugar to be imported into Rwanda following a report that the country could not take full advantage of a previous EAC allowance to import 50,000 metric tonnes duty free due to logistical issues.
The Sectoral Council directed that sugar exported from Rwanda to other Partner States attracts a CET rate during the six months the waiver is effective, and further directed the Secretariat to develop a strategy on sugar production, supply and distribution after observing that persistent shortage of sugar in the region has continued since 2005, despite the commodity being a sensitive product and attracting a duty rate of 100%.
The Ministers welcomed Turkey's request to negotiate a Trade and Investment
Framework Agreement with the EAC, directing the Secretariat "to respond positively" to Turkey and to undertake a study which will inform the region on the cost and benefits as well as issues to include in the harmonization with other investment and trade agreements/initiatives.
Additionally, the Sectoral Council tasked the EAC Secretariat to develop an EAC Common Trade Policy and Strategy within the next financial year which will form the framework to guide the bloc in its engagement with third parties.
On the COMESA-EAC SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area negotiations, the meeting directed that the Secretariat expeditiously develops an EAC negotiation position on Cluster One and Two of the Tripartite FTA negotiations on Trade in Goods.
The first cluster to be negotiated between April this year and August next year, covers the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers, rules of origin, customs and transit related issues while the second cluster covering technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures will be undertaken over a period spanning nine months between August 2012 and April 2013.
The meeting took note of the study reports on the attainment of the Single Customs Territory in a fully fledged Customs Union and directed the Secretariat to forward the same to Partner States for comments. The Sectoral Council also took note of the report of the Ministerial Meeting on Non Tariff Barriers; progress made on the EAC-EU EPA negotiations; as well as the request to de-gazette Mukwano Group of Companies from the list of Ugandan companies accessing raw materials and industrial inputs duty free.
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No to Somali EAC membership
By Mboneko Munyaga, East African News Agency
There are views circulating in East Africa that war-torn Somalia deserves to join the community. The country has also reportedly expressed interest to join the region while those who support its candidacy hold that it would be good for its stability, progress and development.
While such arguments are not altogether misplaced, there is still serious concern that they are wrong. The East African Community (EAC) is not a charitable organization for beating into line the wayward behaviour of its members. Indeed, no member should seek to join the community and be accepted on the grounds that such an outcome accords the candidate opportunity to be part of civilized conduct.
The EAC is above all, a contractual or Treaty partnership that has no room for emotional sentiments except by meeting the standards and criteria for membership. Furthermore, the EAC is no soaking sponge or laundry service for countries that have not found their social bearing or seriously worked to farther the kind of human ideals for equality, peace and justice.
I think it is up to the Somalis themselves to arrive at a calm reckoning that they truly need to be part of the global comity of nations and not be pampered in any way simply because they happened to be a society of tribal warlords, who live like the 21st century is a thousand years ago.
As I said, the EAC is a contractual partnership, which is open to others also to join as long as they fulfill the conditions and considerations set out in the treaty. To do otherwise is to breach the treaty and East Africans have to ask themselves whether breaching the Treaty is what they want to happen in order to expand their membership. In any case, once the Treaty is breached, there will be no EAC!
Under the Treaty establishing the EAC, membership of the community is dealt with under Article 3, which states as follows:
1. The members of the Community, in this Treaty referred to as "the Partner States", shall be the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania and any other country granted membership to the Community under this Article.
2. The Partner States may, upon such terms and in such manner as they may determine, together negotiate with any foreign country the granting of membership to, or association of that country with, the Community or its participation in any of the activities of the Community.
3. Subject to paragraph 4 of this Article, the matters to be taken into account by the Partner States in considering the application by a foreign country to become a member of, be associated with, or participate in any of the activities of the Community, shall include that foreign country’s:
(a) Acceptance of the Community as set out in this Treaty;
(b) Adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice;
(c) Potential contribution to the strengthening of integration within the East African region;
(d) Geographical proximity to and inter-dependence between it and the Partner States;
(e) Establishment and maintenance of a market driven economy; and
(f) Social and economic policies being compatible with those of the Community.
4. The conditions and other considerations that shall govern the membership or association of a foreign country with the Community or its participation in any of the activities of the Community shall be as those prescribed in this Article.
The founding partners have since brought on board Burundi and Rwanda although there were concerns too their membership was kind of rushed. There can be no doubt that Somalia meets some of the above conditions but it is also a hard fact that it falls terribly short of meeting some of the key criteria.
The East African Community has come from a highly tortured historical past and we should not allow bleeding-heart liberalism to take us back to where we all do not want. Indeed, I would very much love to have the Somalis in the EAC but they should first put their house and act together. They would never know the value of EAC partnership if they are handed soft-hearted membership.
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MUWSA receive an ISO Certification
By Lyamuya Stanley, Moshi
THE Moshi Urban Water Supply and Sewerages Authority (MUWSA), was last week handed over an ISO Certificate for delivering quality services to its customers.
This certificate named ISO 9001: 2008 was handed over to the Chairman of the Board of MUWSA, Mr. Paul Chikira by the Deputy Minister of Water, Eng Gerson Rwengo in a short ceremony held at MUWSA office premises situated here in Moshi.
While handing over this certificate, the Deputy Minister took time to praise both the Moshi Municipal Council (MMC) and MUWSA.
Starting with the MMC he praised Moshi town for being the cleanest town in this country for more than four consecutive years adding that even how trees and the environment have been planted and protected within this town can tell it all that this town deserves to be the best in the country.
Giving his praises to MUWSA he said this Urban Water Utility Body have ever since 2003/04 to date been receiving a Clean Audit Report from the Exchequer and Auditor Generals offices adding that MUWSA have been collecting an annual average revenue amounting to Sh 3.6 billion thereby making it to be among the best three top Urban Water Utilities body among the existing nineteen in numbers authorities across the country.
However, the Deputy Minister called upon MUWSA Board Members and staff to maintain this sprit of giving out the best quality services to its customers.
“Please maintain this spirit of delivering the best quality services to your customers. Receiving ISO 9001:2008 Certificate should not be the end of the road for you and with this in mind please aim higher meaning you have to strive to receive more of such certificates,” he said.
Earlier, the MUWSA Managing Director, Antony Kasonta took time to give a short history of efforts made by his authority so as to achieve this ISO Certificate.
Kasonta said the same started in 2007 whereby much was done in giving workers education on quality services, documentation procedure, internal audit of quality services and external audit of quality services which was conducted by an International French Company abbreviated as SGS which had issued the said certificate.
The MUWSA Chief further said that the issued ISO Certificate will help his authority to achieve its Strategic Action Plan which covers the years 2011-2015.
The ISO 9001:2008 Certificate issued to MUWSA covers three years from 1st December 2011 to 1st December 2014.
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