Archive for September, 2007

CRIME

Police in Arusha engaged in a six-hour gun battle on July 21 with suspected bandits believed to be behind the killing of a policeman at a bank robbery incident in Mwanga, Kilimanjaro earlier in the month. The gun battle started when police detectives working on a tip off stormed into a villa at around 5:00 am and had to open fire to try and force the bandits to surrender. However the bandits fired back and hundreds of local residents rushed to the scene to witness the battle. The bandits, who wore bullet-proof jackets surrendered six hours later. They begged for mercy and were arrested – Guardian.

Police in Dar es Salaam are holding a person found in possession of 223 elephant tusks apparently harvested from 112 elephants killed by poachers. They were being specially packed for export. In June last year two consignments worth $3,100,778, were traced as having originated from the Dar es Salaam port. They were packed in 18 boxes, loaded in a container and shipped to Korea.

The development came as MP’s, assembled in Dodoma for the National Assembly’s budget meeting, protested over reports of gross violation of hunting laws by both Tanzanians and foreigners and called for immediate intervention by the government to arrest the situation. Opposition MP’s decried what they called palpable lack of transparency and seriousness in the allocation of hunting blocks to local and foreign dealers.

Some MP’s said that the government had endlessly embraced foreign investors in the management of the tourism sector, ignoring local players “who contribute greatly to the sector’s development”.

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FAITH NEWS

According to the Muslim paper An-Nuur a plot has been hatched in the USA to introduce Islamic Studies in schools in such a way as to restrict the interpretation of the Koran. The idea was to turn Muslims into stooges of the West, also known as ‘moderates’. Under the scheme various governments, including the Tanzanian, had been ‘persuaded’ by the USA to adopt the curriculum.

An Nuur has also complained that in the 2007/08 intake for some twenty courses at the state-owned Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Ardhi Universities not a single Muslim student had been selected. Subjects included were BA (History) and BSc (Computer Science). In the BA (Education) course there are only 26 Muslims out of 107 students. Dodoma University was said to be taking a total of 415 students of whom only 70 were Muslims.

According to Majira Muslims in Tanga are demanding that a secondary school teacher be expelled after controversial remarks he made during a General Study class. It is alleged that while discussing gender and culture with ‘A’ level students he said that Islam oppressed women. Citing an example, he said the Prophet Mohammed had married four wives and had five concubines. Muslim students then walked out and decided to boycott the class. The teacher was transferred.

An alcohol merchant of Asian descent was seriously injured after unknown people sprayed acid on him at his shop in Michenzani, Zanzibar. The assailants had covered their faces with stockings. A manhunt was said to be under way. According to Nipashe the attack was faith-motivated. Recently, Muslim activists have been complaining of ‘moral erosion’ through increasing influx of foreign influences.

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NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION ACT

A new ‘Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act, 2007’ has been passed by parliament and signed by President Kikwete.
The Law Reform Commission had earlier stated that the Prevention of Corruption Bureau (PCB) was not able to combat corruption effectively because of structural weaknesses, lack of government support and inadequacies in the previous Act of 1971. International donor agencies had also been pressing government to take action.

The new Act contains preventive and enforcement measures.
It establishes a new ‘Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau’ (PCCB) whose work will be overseen administratively by a Board comprising members drawn from the private sector, civil society and the general public.
The number of corruption offences which can result in prosecution has been substantially increased and now includes: corrupt contracts, procurement, auctions, employment, and bribery of foreign public officials, sexual favours, embezzlement, and conspiracy. It allows for the freezing of assets, protection of whistle-blowers and protection of witnesses and victims.
But many Tanzanians have been highly critical. Read the rest of this entry »

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CIRCUMCISION THE SOLUTION ?

The UN has begun to advocate mass male circumcision in HIV/Aids stricken Southern African nations. Several recent medical studies have confirmed that circumcision cuts the risk of HIV infection among men by 50-60 per cent, and the findings have been backed by UNAIDS.

However, in Tanzania, the Government remained cautious. “We cannot rush into this idea. We want to conduct a thorough study on the suggestions and get clear evidence before incorporating the idea in our HIV/Aids policy framework” said Health and Social Welfare Minister, Prof. David Mwakyusa. He admitted that the prevalence rate in certain coast and central areas in Tanzania was low due to male circumcision. “I am talking to experts who are meeting in Arusha. I hope they will come up with sound suggestions and advise the government accordingly” – Guardian.

The government has assured the public that, Rift Valley Fever, which had been widespread for more than five months, is now under total control.

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HE DID NOTHING WRONG

This is the story of Tanzanian man called Hitler and a place called Upendo.

HitlerHitler at the Upendo Centre in Arusha

Hitler is a gentle man, whose name is just another burden he bares in life. Hitler’s home was on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. When he first contacted leprosy nobody in his village had any knowledge of what it was. When he started losing fingers and toes the villagers were afraid. Superstitious stories abounded until it all became too much for them. The whispering suddenly stopped as he drew near. His fellow villagers turned their backs. Nobody wanted to drink with him. Few patronised his shop. People who he had known all his life now treated him as a stranger. Read the rest of this entry »

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ASHDEN AWARD FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

Company Zara Solar of Tanzania won first prize in the Africa Award category of the world’s leading green energy awards this year. All award winners, including Zara Solar representative Mohamedrafik A. Parpia, were received at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London by former US Vice President Al Gore. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Ashden Awards personally congratulated them in a separate private ceremony.

zara_solarA man stands in front of his solar home system- Photo Ashden Awards www.ashdenawards.org

Zara Solar provide high-quality, reliable solar-home-systems to areas in the North of Tanzania around Mwanza particularly those which are not connected to the electrical grid. Read the rest of this entry »

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TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

NEW AFRICAN in its May issue included an interview under the heading ‘Jakaya Kikwete – SADC cannot abandon Zimbabwe.’ The first question was: “You have been to Europe twice in recent months. Did Zimbabwe come up in your discussions with European leaders?” Reply: “Oh yes. Everywhere. The US, Europe, the Nordic countries. Zimbabwe is a big story of huge interest. There is a lot of dissatisfaction in Europe and beyond on what is going on in Zimbabwe and they see President Mugabe as some kind of devil. They think that we in Africa should have done something to have him removed….. But we have been saying: fine, you can condemn when something is not going right but our approach has been to say let’s talk about the issues”. Read the rest of this entry »

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MISCELLANY

A series of some 10 earth tremors including one estimated at 5.9 on the Richter scale hit northern Tanzania between July 12 and 18. They were close to the Ol Doinyo Lengai mountain, an active volcano on the floor of the Rift Valley The last major eruption was in 1966. No major damage was reported, but several of the tremors caused panic in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when buildings shook violently. Workers were evacuated from several high-rise buildings in Nairobi as uncertainty spread. The tremors also affected Arusha where the building housing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was evacuated on 17 July – IRIN. Read the rest of this entry »

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OBITUARIES

AMinaPress coverage of the death of Amina Chifupa – photo Issa Michuzi

The death of Amina Chifupa on 26th June 2007 caused a large outpouring of grief in the press and among ordinary Tanzanians. Aged only 26 and a Special Seats MP representing the ruling CCM’s youth wing, Umoja wa Vijana, Amina was something of a celebrity and her colourful life had been closely followed in the media.

Amina died some days after being admitted to the Lugalo Military Hospital in Dar es Salaam from what was described as complications from diabetes and malaria, although some speculation surrounded the exact cause of her death.
Thousands of people from all walks of life gathered at the last rites ceremony in Dar es Salaam, including veteran politician Mzee Rashid Mfaume Kawawa, the Chief Sheikh, Mufti Shaaban Simba, as well as musicians and media celebrities.

President Jakaya Kikwete described Amina as a fearless girl who staunchly stood for the truth. ‘Many of us will remember Amina for her contribution to debate in Parliament and elsewhere in society, notably among the youth. She was strong, creative and always ready to stand for the welfare of the youth and the nation at large’

In an unprecedented move, the National Assembly was adjourned for the whole day and the Speaker announced that he would be leading a delegation of more than 30 MPs from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam for the last rites, and later to the burial at Amina’s mother’s home village of Lupemba Village, Njombe District in Iringa Region

In her remarks, Special Seats Representative Zahara Ali Hamad (CUF) said the death had robbed Tanzania of a fully dedicated leader who during her short tenure in the public service did a lot for the nation.

‘Most of the legislators fear to speak the truth, particularly when it comes to drug abuse and trafficking, but Amina feared nobody. The government should honour her by making sure that it fights drug trafficking even more vigorously’ he noted.

Amina was born on May 20, 1981 and attended primary school in Mwanza. She completed her schooling in Dar-es-Salaam in 2001. Soon after that, she worked with the Dar es Salaam-based Radio Clouds FM as a broadcaster. She held the post until she ventured into politics in 2005 through the CCM youth wing.

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REVIEWS

Edited by John Cooper-Poole
Our reviews pages have often featured books distributed by African Books Collective [ABC]. This is an organisation of 114 independent and autonomous African publishers from 18 countries. It is non-profit making, commercially self-sufficient, and receives support from funding agencies for development of publishing capacity in Africa. ABC stocks largely English language titles in 56 subject disciplines. Some 150 new titles are added each year. There is an emphasis on scholarly and academic books, literature, and general culture titles. There are a small number of children’s titles in Swahili, and some titles in French. If you would like to receive monthly new title email announcements from ABC please send an email to Justin Cox – email address available from editor

BANAGI HILL, A GAME WARDENS’S AFRICA. John Blower. Librario Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-904440-35-5. pp 303. Can be ordered at www.librario.com or from Brough House, Milton Brodie, Kinloss, Moray IV36 2UA. Tel. 01343 850617. £11.99.
This book is a good read. It is a saga of one man’s life and work in the “old” Africa of the 1950’s and 60’s. As well as bringing back many nostalgic memories to those who were John’s contemporaries, it will also appeal to others who prefer their adventures second-hand. I knew John and the Serengeti back in 1953-4 when I was District Officer Musoma in which district Banagi lay, and I remember many of the places and people he mentions. I find it interesting that though the book is entitled Banagi Hill, his experiences in this area occupy only seventy pages of the book and the author only spent four years there. But it was a wonderful area and I for one understand his evident love of the place. If he were to go back there today, he might be disappointed, for there is now a luxury tourist resort nearby at Seronera, and the area swarms with tourists. Read the rest of this entry »

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