MISCELLANY

Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa has been elected chairman of the Board of the South Centre, based in Geneva. He takes over from Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali The South Centre which was established in 1996, plays the role of a ‘Think Tank’ for the South, with the task of defining and implementing analysis, research and consultation programmes; collection, systematising, analysing, and disseminating relevant information concerning South-South and North-South relations.

Some health centres and dispensaries which do not have electricity, will be supplied with solar-powered generators courtesy of former US president Bill Clinton following several meetings he has had with President Kikwete. Clinton said he had lined up sponsors who would help in the exercise.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF has launched the first computer game in Kiswahili, aimed at halting the spread of HIV and Aids. The game called “What would you do?” (Ungefanyaje?) takes players through various scenarios to explain the importance of prevention and testing. The UN estimates that around 80% of all young people do not know how to protect themselves from Aids. More than 100 million people speak Swahili across East African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the game, players choose from different options as two male and two female characters embark on relationships. link to unicef site

Dar es Salaam is finally beginning to take action to defend some of its few remaining historical buildings as skyscrapers begin to dominate the horizon. Police intervened to stop the demolition of a century-old building at the corner of Mkwepu Street and Samora Avenue. According to Mwananchi they acting on a notice by the Director of Antiquities in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Ilala Municipal Council that the building should not be demolished because it was a legally protected site. The building had been sold to ‘Quality Group’ by the National Housing Corporation and a June 16 court order by the Sokoine Drive Resident Magistrate said it should be demolished as it was ‘unfit for human habitation’. Workers hired by Quality Group gathered at the building as early as 6am to start demolition but were stopped by the police. However, the workers had already pulled down a section of the building before the police moved in. Summing up the controversy, there were two notices pinned up on the building, one said to be from the court allowing Quality Group to demolish it, and another from the government warning the company against doing so – Mtanzania.

The first Tanzanian to lead the Kiswahili section of BBC, Tido Mhando, has resigned. He said he was likely to take up a senior job that he had been offered back home. Mhando worked for Radio Tanzania before leaving for Kenya and later for the BBC in the eighties. He was appointed head of the Kiswahili section in 1999. He said the main achievements under his leadership were to open bureaux in East Africa and to go on-line. He said he could have continued with the BBC for seven more years but he thought it was time to contribute to the development and modernisation of the media in Tanzania – Mwananchi.

The Dodoma Regional Commissioner has banned the use of children in dancing troupes welcoming leaders to the region. “We don’t want to see our children becoming experts in wriggling while they are denied their basic right to education,” he told villagers.

The government has again changed the name of the Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere International Airport (JKNIA) to the ‘Julius Nyerere International Airport’ as airline staff could not pronounce the former name properly and it was too long. This was announced at the handover ceremony of the first phase of rehabilitation work at the airport runway, taxiway, aprons and other facilities that cost 22.9 million Euros (about 37bn/-) co-financed by the Netherlands – Mwananchi.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appointed Mrs Anna Tibaijuka of Tanzania as Director General of the UN Office in Nairobi. She is the highest ranking African woman in the UN system and has been the Executive Director of the Nairobi-based Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) since September 2000 – a position she will continue to hold. In June 2005 Mr Annan appointed Mrs Tibaijuka as his special envoy to study the Zimbabwean government’s evictions of informal traders and people said to be squatting illegally.

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