MISCELLANY

The Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB) has won the ‘Golden Europe for Quality and Commercial Prestige Award’ for offering quality services in the tourism sector. The award was given in Berlin on January 27 this year by France-based ‘Otherways International Research and Consultants Company’.

Members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives have passed a bill that many see as violating press freedom. Minister of State in the President`s Office responsible for Constitutional Affairs and Good Governance, Ramadhan Abdalla Shaban, said that “From now onwards, House activities will be regarded as court issues.” However, he said, the bill did not bar journalists from reporting what went on inside the house, but rather wanted them to perform their duties in accordance with rules and regulations set by the House.

Opposition leaders called on the government to get rid of all rules interfering with the freedom of the press. Article 28 of the Bill declares that journalists can only report matters concerning the House with the permission of the Speaker. Failure to follow this rule would mean a TShs 50,000/- fine or six months imprisonment. The Bill states that it is a criminal offence for journalists to report blunders committed by legislators or any information that may in any way tarnish their image in society. The Minister said: “No arrests will be carried out in regard to criminal offences committed by media personnel without the written consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions and after the report has been sent to the Speaker”. Asked why journalists should be treated like strangers in the legislature although they were serving the people, State Attorney Iddi Pandu Hassan said such a Bill was common in Commonwealth parliaments. He said the House only recognized its members adding that anyone else, including government officers, was a stranger. He said that journalists might carry identity cards but could only get inside the House with the permission of those responsible.

According to the Daily News (February 6) The World Bank has shattered a plan of the Lake Victoria Environment Management Project (LVEMP) to introduce a new fish species from Egypt into Lake Victoria. The project management had planned to introduce the species originating from China which feeds on water hyacinth currently choking the lake. Apparently the World Bank, which supports LVEMP activities, feared that the introduction of a new species might upset the ecological system as had happened when Nile perch were introduced into the Lake many years ago.

President Kikwete has proposed sweeping reforms, the highlight of which will be the seizure of big tracks of land owned by rich individuals and to transfer of them to poor, landless people. The move is aimed at forestalling a land crisis in future. The President said he would not hesitate to revoke a land title deed if by so doing, he would be catering for the interests of poor people and broader national stability. All land in Tanzania is held in trust by the President on behalf of all Tanzanians and is therefore public property.

The idea of fast-tracking the proposed East African political federation faced fierce public rejection in January as a committee charged with collecting views on the matter sought contributions from Dar es Salaam residents. Most dismissed the idea as rushed, unacceptable and untenable. Rushing would deny most Tanzanians the chance to digest a plan with a direct bearing on their lives, if the envisaged federation indeed materialised as planned in 2013. The three founder East African Community partner states, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, have adopted a fast-tracking concept to speed up the process towards the formation of a full federation with a rotating federal president. Critics pointed out that Tanzania was effectively two countries in one – Zanzibar and the Mainland – and its problems should be resolved first. Committee Chairman Professor Wangwe would not be drawn into commenting on the public reaction, only saying that the committee’s current task was to collect views from as wide an array of Tanzanians as possible before making its own informed recommendations.

The government has approved a three-year preparatory scheme for the issuing of national identity cards. Smart card technology will be used to print the ID’s.

A state university is to open in Dodoma next September with an initial enrolment of 2,000 students. The campus will be at the Chimwaga complex initially which will be renovated by the Parastatal Pensions Fund. On completion it will have a capacity of 40,000, making it the largest university in the country. Dar es Salaam University has 17,500 students at present.

Abubakar Faraji has been elected chairman of the Tanzania Association in Britain. He replaces Nora Sumari whose term has expired. Faraji got 37 votes, defeating Saidi Yakubu (27) and Susanne Mzee (22). Ms Zebeda Mahugu was voted in as vice chair, while Juma Pinto became publicity secretary and Ms Lucy Shegikile treasurer. An executive committee of seven was also elected. Opening the meeting, Tanzanian High Commissioner, Mwanaidi Sanare Maajar, urged members to pick leaders who would be answerable and who would lead the association in keeping up with the changing times – Majira.

A team of Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania experts has discovered a new species of rare bird known as the Uluguru Bush Shrike in Morogoro Region’s Uluguru South Forest Reserve. The discovery, took place at the 1.5 km long Bunduki gap. Adult Uluguru Bush Shrikes measure 22 cm in height on average. They have green and yellow undersides with washed green flanks and a distinctive black cap or head – Guardian.

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