Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
By Elias Mhegera August 6, 2012
DIVERTING and abuse of donor funds is a common problem in Africa and many other parts of the world. This was revealed recently during the International AIDS 2012 Conference.
Dr Fatma Mrisho the Executive Director of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) was asked how does deal with this problem and her answer was “it is through a continuous advocacy and some prayers”.
This answer reflects that even Tanzania has not been able to deal properly with the problem of misuse of donors funds. Several times and in various fora it has been discussed that such funds do not reach the targeted people.
The conference to discuss the challenges to tackle new infections was conducted in Washington DC and Dr Mrisho was one of the panelists.
Tanzanians and other foreign dignitaries were invited to view a recorded session and later on experts were allowed to answer questions in response to the presentation.
The event was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the National Institute of Medical Research on Wednesday last week.
Other presenters at the Washington DC event were Dr Mariangela Simao, from Switzerland, Deborah von Zinkernagel, the United States, Raymond Yekeye, Zimbabwe and Marieke van Schaik, Netherlands.
The moderator at the event was Alvaro Bermejo. In The Tanzania session respondents were Brian Rettmann, Tanzania’s President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Country Coordinator.
Another respondent was Dr Luc Constatine Tanzania’s Country Coordinator UNAIDS. The two respondents concurred in one point that good implementation of programmes stems from a good policy framework in combating HIV/Aids.
“It is only after establishing a good policy framework that the Government’s investment in HIV/Aids programme will yield fruits,” commented Rettmann.
He added that in essence there have been many discussions on this subject but the main problem is that they do not create new awareness in the problem.
On her part Ms Petronella Mwasandube, Health Care Systems expert had this to comment “ we must act more professionally and seek for new solutions to the existing problems.
The presenters warned that there is a reduced donor funding which threatens to undo successes in the global response to HIV/AIDS. The funding provided from donor countries decreased by 10 percent in 2009-2010.
Dr Alex Ngaiza a technical adviser on HIV/Aids said that there was a need to continue with media campaigns on the use of condoms and other safer methods in order to avoid new infections.
“We must not only advocate for increased donor funding, but also invest wisely, and hence the media is very important in disseminating messages against new infections,” he commented.
The panel also advised stakeholders to be innovative and design financing tools for raising large scale funding from non-government sources such as the introduction of an AIDS levy and lotteries.
Moreover they advised that the use of ARVs should not be taken as patients and the community in general as a cure to the HIV/Aids but as a tool for health care and quick recovery.
February 18, 2013
By Elias Mhegera
Stakeholders in the water sector have asked Tanzanians to support the government’s initiatives in providing clean water in both the urban centres and in the rural sector.
This call came on Thursday last week when these stakeholders attended a one day seminar on clean and safe water by experts from the Nippon Poly-Glue Co Ltd from Japan; the seminar was conducted at the residence of Japanese ambassador to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
Commenting after a water purification experiment was Allen Mweta, the Principal Engineer, Rural Water Supply in the Ministry of Water who appreciated that the simple purification process by this company will rescue a good number of Tanzanians from the rural sector who are highly affected by water borne diseases.
“There is a need to mitigate together between the government and investors both local and foreign in order to find how the private public partnership strategy can work in the provision of clean and safe water,” he commented.
Earlier the Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania Masaki Okada said that his country had supported the provision of clean water in many countries through after realizing that it has proven to be of high quality and trustworthy.
He acknowledged that the service is simple and affordable to people of low incomes. “This technology is suitable even to people in the rural areas of Tanzania because it does not demand costly investments,” he said.
The initiator of this technology Dr Eng. Kanetoshi Oda, chairman of the Poly-Glu Social Business Co Ltd said that his company finally managed to come up with successful results after a scientific research of more than ten years.
“We are in many places with a severe demand of clean water, like Somalia, Bangladesh, with an aim of ensuring that every villager gets clean and safe water, we have organized safe water committees, in so doing we have created jobs apart from providing clean and safe water.
He boasted that the core element of operations of his company has always been to make local people understand that they are able to make a new supply water point by themselves through the profit from the business.
“We have managed to create model water supply points, we have demonstrated that our business can improve people’s health, create jobs, and make a profit to water management committee too,” he concluded.
For his part the Bukoba Regional Commissioner Fabian Massawe thanked the Japanese Government and the Poly-Glu company for making his region a pilot study since many dwellers was being affected by water born diseases.
It was disclosed during the question ad answers session that even regions with high concentration of fluoride like Arusha, Singida, Manyara and Kilimanjaro will benefit trough this technology which is able to remove the destructive chemicals that affect water users.
A woman who was caught up in search of water in Mbeya, Southern Highlands of Tanzania
Sunday, April 20, 2014
By Elias Mhegera
March 26, 2014
Contacts: Tel: 0754-826272 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanzanians have once again been warned not to lose the track from the peaceful political terrain of mutual understanding which has identified this country for decades.
The call was made at a one day symposium at the New Africa Hotel; Dar es Salaam City Centre on March 26, and it was organized by the Konrad Adanauer Stiftung (KAS) in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Council for Peace Tanzania (IRCPT).
Calls for peaceful discussions on the draft constitution were started by Judge (rtd) Raymond Mwaikasu Chairman IRCPTs’ Board of Trustees, who counseled members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to respect suggestions from the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC)
He counseled that Judge Warioba who represented the CRC which he had chaired did not present his personal opinions, but those of Tanzanians at large, and those of people his team managed to interview, and according to researches that it conducted during it’s tenure.
The KAS CEO, Mr Stefan Reith reiterated that it was in 1964 when KAS was invited by the founding father of this nation Julius Nyerere to facilitate the construction of Kivukoni College the main motive was to enhance leadership in a newly independent country by then.
He said that the meaning of participation of his organization was meant to contribute to the ongoing process of formulating a new constitution. He said that the vital role of the religious leaders is important because their congregants are in Dodoma as well.
For his part the moderator at the event Mr Salim Zagar reminded that efforts to get a new constitution had started long time ago and that the IRCPT has been part of this effort though then in a different name.
“this efforts started way back in 2003, then 2009 in a meeting at the Economic and Social Research foundation ESRF, then since 2010 particularly after the General Elections the main opposition party Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) came out very vehemently in support of this bid,” he commented.
He reminded that it was again in 2010 when the IRCPT came out with 18 propositions of which 10 have been accepted in the Draft Constitution.
Earlier Mr Israel Ilunde from the Constitutional Forum well known as Jukwaa la Katiba said that he was happy to see that the Draft Constitution had sought for the institutionalization of the leadership code which is a good thing.
Also he cherished the move to abolish was offshore account for any public leader. For his part Auxiliary Bishop of the Dar es Salaam Archdiocese, Titus Mdoe expressed his disappointment as the process for getting a new constitution has been manipulated in order to further certain political agenda.
Rev. Fr John Solomon, Secretary for a Peace Committee in Dar es Salaam says that the president was wrong in addressing Tanzanians in a style of a party leader than head of state.
“I fear that already the power mighty have already prepared their own constitution and that It seems the new constitution will just favour the ruling CCM than what the citizenry at large wishes,” he commented.
A Muslim cleric Sheikh Ali Mosse said that the existence of God should be clearly stipulated in the Constitution and that non-believers should not be allowed to contest.
Rev. Chediel Sendoro called for more wisdom from the power mighty calling them not to hijack the constitution process anyhow. He called for members of the CA to maintain National cohesion.
Sheikh Athuman Mkambako was wary as he wanted to know why there is a fear if one part of the Union was to join international organizations. Although he did not mention any name of an orgnisation but one could infer of Zanzibar’s attempt to join the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
The answer was immediate from his colleagues that there are certain items of international cooperation which for some reasons needs mutual consensus before one partner in the Union can join.
Eventually servants of God came up with twelve resolutions that will be tabled in Dodoma to members of the CA. Namely; that they must come out with a people’s constitution.
Secondly that the new constitution must indicate vividly the existence of God the Almighty and that God’s sovereignty than that of individuals should be the goal. Fourthly they counseled that the Constitution should join people than separate them.
Fifthly they warned of party fanaticism as it could destroy the ongoing Constitutional process. Moreover they were categorical that this is not a CCM’s constitution and therefore the Government and the CCM itself should not hijack the process.
They called for full attendance participation during the CA sessions. Moreover they warned members of the CA to abstain from non-constructive agitations. Ninthly they called members of the CA not to count on numbers but pertinent issues for mutual benefit of all Tanzanians.
There was a call to respect differing opinion, and that the CA is not an avenue for cheap popularity and finally those who want to criticize anyone should do so in a respectable way, without attacking one’s party but issues in hand.
Auxiliary Bishop of the Dar es Salaam
Archdiocese, Titus Mdoe
Contacts: 0754-826272 email@example.com
By Elias Mhegera
The call to respect people’s voices in the process of formulating a new constitution has reached a high peak as the civil society organizations (CSOs) are championing for their rightful position.
Many debates have been conducted so far in support or opposition to the three-tier government structure that was proposed by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) which was chaired by the former Premier Joseph Warioba.
One of such fruitful efforts was convened by Kepa an international NGO originating from Finland in collaboration with other NGOs like the Tanzania Constitutional Forum, well known in its Kiswahili acronym of JUKATA and the Tanzania Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO).
The main discussion was centred on the theme “New Constitution for CSOs rights-based advocacy work”. Explaining the essence of the seminar was Mr Masud Hossain the Kepa-Tanzania country’s director who said human rights are essential in guaranteeing democratic rights and improving governance in general.
“Kepa is a stakeholder being an NGO, and for the fact that the CSOs are becoming more serious partners in development, therefore the meaning of this seminar is to chart out how NGOs can make a positive contribution in the formulation of the new constitution from a CSOs perspective,” he said.
Further, he challenged CSOs in Tanzania to enhance their position and take their rightful position in the systems of check and balance emulating the Finnish model which he boasted that has been appreciated as the homeland of associations.
Speaking on the development of NGOs in Tanzania was Zaa Twalangeti, Programme Manager at TANGO who highlighted on how the CSOs now have become a institutions to reckon with in the power fabric of Tanzania.
“In the 1990’s, Tanzania was spurred on by a liberal market ideology and economic instruments, and through disillusionment with the post-independence one party-state, the civil society shifted its fight to poverty and economic hardships brought about by under-development…
“This time around the role of civil society spanned the political arena and became an instrument for promoting the well-being, influencing public policy, reducing poverty and administering humanitarian aid”. He said.
This statement was a reference to how political parties have dominated the Katiba process particularly the formation of a new federation whether to retain a slightly modified two-tier Government or to establish altogether a three-tier Government which the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has vigorously rejected.
But Humprey Polepole a Commissioner from the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) is bold in defending the Warioba’s Commission which came up with the three-tier Government much to the jubilation of the CSOs, opposition parties and the citizenry at large in Mainland Tanzania.
He disclosed that if the new constitution is to be approved and become operational will have many provisions which adhere to the Bill of Human Rights than the previous one of 1977.
“Development organizations should work in ways which strengthen accountability of governments to people living in poverty, particularly ensuring that citizen’s can hold governments to account in regard to human rights obligations” he said.
He revealed that human rights were given an impetus because the focus was to have a long-term working constitution which also adherers to international standards given the fact that now there are many interactions globally which also seeks for more accountability and transparency.
“Human rights-based approaches to development ‘empowers’ the beneficiaries of development, by making them the active participants of the development process, and by giving greater legitimacy and moral force to their demands,” he added.
Responding to these presentations was Mr Deus Kibamba the chairman of Jukwaa la Katiba (JUKATA) who said that good as it is the Draft Bill did leave certain elements of ambiguity which needs to be worked upon by the CSOs.
He said that there was a need of a thorough research on the implications of reducing Union matters from 22 as per the 1977 constitution to seven. He reminded that in the 1964 there were 11 issues which were doubled to 22 in 1977.
He also queried that there was no enough media engagement in order to enlighten citizens. Moreover, he questioned the extent of dialogue in analyzing issues, shortage of capacity building and even coming up with clear terms of reference.
It was during the debate that issues of divergence from the CSOs cropped up. For instance Bubelwa Kaiza the executive director of the Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA) said that some NGOs in Tanzania are not serious therefore causing disharmony in the working of the CSOs.
But this was reduced by Israel Ilunde, Executive Director, Youth Partnership Countrywide (YPC) who said that the CSOs operate under very difficult circumstances from lacking resources both human and financial which cripples their working. “In my case I approve the efforts by the NGOs so far,” he said.
It was decided that NGOs should form strong networks in order to enhance their position when championing for people’s rights and other democratic requirements. Also it was decided that CSOs in Tanzania should amplify the provision of civic education and debates on pertinent issues which have been neglected.
Chairman of the now defunct Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), retired judge, Joseph Warioba
By Elias Mhegera
It is true that this has been going for quite some time that a receiving country has a right to approve or reject a diplomat from a sending country at its own resolve.
But the recent rejection of a proposed new Germany Ambassador to Tanzania Ms Margit Hellwig-Boette who had completed her term of service in Kenya could raise some eyebrows in the diplomatic circle at least here in Tanzania.
This is because the diplomatic world knows it well that a sudden change of attitude is always an earlier warning sign, and for that matter, some homework has to be conducted in order to get explanations on the underlying circumstances which dictated the Tanzania’s decision.
But analysts could go an extra-mile and associate this decision with political developments in this country whereby some countries including Germany have been associated with the ever growing popularity of the main opposition party Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA).
The diplomat in case has had a good record of championing for human rights in Kenya as well as supporting the international initiative through the International Criminal Court (ICC), concerning the Kenyan 2007 post-election violence which culminated in the loss of hundred lives of innocent people.
It can tell that the Dar es Salaam either is not happy with this diplomat on the pretext of what might befall the Tanzanian mighty politicians if things will not augur well in regard to the respect of human rights.
To elucidate this and enlighten readers’ minds is when the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung (KAS) through its country’s resident director Stefan Reith and another official and researcher Danja Bergmann published a report of their findings on a startling security situation in this country in late June 2013.
As it was anticipated simple minds from some unqualified spin doctors jumped into a conclusion that the KAS had a religious agenda in that this international foundation originating from Germany is a wing of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and therefore its alliance with CHADEMA is more of a religious alliance than a political one.
In an instance a segment of non-serious observers might be led to believe in this cheap propaganda, but serious mind will go an extra mile and discover that not accepting ‘comrade criticism’ from well-wishers of this country like the KAS will just create a bad omen than bring hope to the fast waning away peace that this country used to enjoy.
If it is not for cheap propaganda, the culture of impunity and lawlessness that are finding a permanent space in Tanzania could eventually lead to more severe shortcomings, never witnessed within the 50 years plus since the independence of this country.
A list of such nasty events is rather long, the bombing of Roman Catholic congregation at the St. Joseph Olasiti in Arusha on May 5, 2013, another similar incident in Arusha again during the CHADEMA meeting on June15, 2013 and yet another bombing in Arusha on April 13, 2014, the killing of a humble and unarmed journalist DaudMwangosi, the killing of Catholic priest Fr. EvaristMushi in Zanzibar, to the torching of churches in Mbagala and Zanzibar.
As if this is not enough, there is the throwing of acidic materials to foreign volunteers and even the killing of a Pastor Mathayo Kachila of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Tanzania (PAGT) in Buseresere, Chato district, in Geita region on a simple matter of beheading cows is not good signs of any peaceful country.
These nasty incidents instead are good indicators of crumbling state machinery. Therefore it is irrational to condemn whoever strives to improve the situation through comrade criticism and a friendly advice as the KAS did to Tanzania.
Moreover, it is not proper to chastise the good relations between KAS and CHADEMA because German foundations are not new to Tanzania. Spanning from the mid-60s as it has been with the SPD-FES and the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi which started in 1965.
On the other hand, another foundation the FNS, which is linked to the FDP is a closer associate of the Civic United Front (CUF), all these shares experiences and political strategies of survival and tactics in the political game, in so many ways.
It is sad indeed to notice that the co-operation between CHADEMA and KAS is seen in the light of a hidden religious agenda, even more so, that this party is registering continuous political vibrancy because of this ‘external influence’.
Instead, the situation should be discussed in the light of a growing failure in satisfying the disgruntled youngsters who were promised of a million jobs in the 2005 General Elections by the incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete, a dream that remain unfulfilled to date (2013).
Therefore CCM lost in all the major cities of Tanzania with big concentrations of the street hawkers ‘machingas’ as it happened in Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya, Ubungo and Kawe in Dar es Salaam, to municipal towns like those of Iringa and Shinyanga not forgetting the tiny island of Ukerewe and this has nothing to do with KAS, but unemployment and youngsters frustrations in general.
Problems like unemployment needs a long term plan and they cannot be resolved anyhow trough Police intimidations, brutality and harassment of journalists who are seen as agents of the opposition. Neither serious problems of this country can be resolved by hijacking the constitutional formulation process.
Promoting religious animosity could serve short term interests, but leave the country with unhealed wounds for quite a number of years to come. On the opposite, the KAS stands out to be the giant organization for finding an amicable solution of religious tensions in Tanzania through sponsoring a number of conferences on interreligious dialogue.
A number of publications are available both at the KAS offices, in Dar es Salaam, at the Inter-Religious Council for Peace Tanzania(IRCPT) offices and to its members partners like the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), Tanzania Episcopal Council (TEC) and the Free Pentecostal Churches of Tanzania (PCT).
Others are the Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) and the Hindu Community all these efforts cannot be undermined. Moreover, publications that have been sponsored by KAS for O-level on Civics, and A-level secondary schools in General Studies to as far as Climate Change are indications of a good motives rather than devastative ones.
The bombing of Roman Catholic congregation at the St. Joseph Olasiti in Arusha on May 5, 2013
By Elias Mhegera, Feb 2013
The death of a Catholic Priest Fr Evarist Mushi has just been a catalyst for a serious discussion on religious bigotry in Tanzania which was neglected for quite some time.
Opening a two days seminar discussing the preservation of peace in Tanzania on 20 and 21 was the Resident Director of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Stefan Reith who called for religious leaders from all sects to work on peace as a necessary prerequisite for development and harmony.
“Tanzania has a big history of peace and harmony, people of all religious have been living together without confronting each other, the recent developments are worrisome, we should overcome emotions when dealing with religious matters,” he said.
But during the main discussion accusing fingers were directed towards the two Governments both the Union and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar because religious rallies attacking other faiths have been there for quite some time but no tangible action was taken.
The seminar that was convened by KAS in collaboration with Inter-Religious Council for peace Tanzania (IRCPT), in the name of Interfaith Dialogue in Tanzania proved to be a milestone in recent times.
In question was the timing of commotions that were unprecedented before with many analysts pointing external elements due to the nature commotions and extent of damages that these tensions are causing to this country.
Rev Mushi who passed away on February 17 is a victim of negligence and unequivocal long term ill plans by criminals who are camouflaging themselves as proponents of certain religious interests.
Condemnations from all over the country including the USA, and European Union indicated that this killing has been given due weight in many circles domestically and internationally as well.
Efforts by the KAS and IRCPT have been there for long time but the tempo now has changed due to this event. For instance this seminar went hand in hand with the launching of a book on Peace, Love and Development being a reflection of a similar meeting that was convened last year immediately after commotions in Mbagala which led to destruction of church properties.
Ms Jacqueline Aisaa student at the Institute of Financial Management (IFM) says that she has been hearing incitements for a number of years but she never thought they could read to such catastrophic results.
“Whenever I pass along some corners in Dar I hear people preaching and even rebuking other faiths but I do not take those nasty incidents seriously, even if my religion is being attacked, but today I can understand to what extent these unauthorized rallies are devastative,” she confesses.
She was referring to the rallies which are common in the Dar es Salaam city particularly in densely populated areas like Mwenge, Buguruni, Ubungo, Mbagala, Manzese and other outskirts where the common grievances of Muslims are aired every now and then.
The common cry of Muslims as frequently addressed by their ‘activists’ spate from the education sector in that Muslims are lagging behind because they are neglected or deliberately segregated. Another claim is that the Islamic Kadhi courts are being objected in an attempt to turn a deaf ear to this faith.
Moreover it is the claim that it is the leaders from the Christian denominations which influence for the failure of the Tanzania Government to join the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and therefore this is a hindrance to their developments.
Frank Chuwa a representative of the youth of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), he says he has been hearing devastative campaigns from ill motivated propaganda.
Campaigns that some churches own big portions of land could cause natural hatred of people belonging to the condemned churches. He warned that it was high time that these religious rallies are banned indefinitely.
In one instance one cleric from the Christian denominations admitted that there is a proliferation of new churches which some lack a requisite background and therefore could be agents of some foreign elements, today in Mbeya alone there are more than 200 of these denominations,” he commented.
When this commentator finished his contributions there were claps and banging of support from the Muslim clerics who found this self confession from Christians was a good omen.
But it was Khamis Ali Mohamed from the GNRC-Africa who warned that even in the Islamic faith there are preachers who have been using house of worship as halls for political agenda he cited Uamsho in Zanzibar as being an organization which was registered as a religious entity but it has turned itself into a political movement.
This did not augur well with some clerics from the Zanzibar isles who were not satisfied with these utterances and would justifiably conclude that they are sympathetic to the Uamsho cause.
From the Ahmadiya Islamic wing was Abdulrahman Ame who defended one Mohamed who had previously condemned the Uamsho group “whoever defends Uamsho wants to demolish the whole Islamic faith, this is inacceptable,” he concluded and in away revitalized the whole debate.
Fr. Evarist Mushi who was shot dead in Zanzibar on February 2013
By Elias Mhegera
A landmark achievement has been reached in the democratic frontier in the Tanzanian governance arena after a recent agreement between the Police Force and human rights NGOs, under their umbrella body the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC).
The meeting between the THRDC and the Police Force on Thursday last week came as a development after the willingness that was shown by the Deputy Inspector of General of Police Force (DIGP), Abdulrahman Kaniki in November 26, 2013 when he was invited to represent the Force in a public event that was organized by the former.
Thereafter this was followed one day seminar on February 27 at the New Africa Hotel in Dar es Salaam, where more than 30 senior Police Officer including Regional Police Commander (RPCs), from both Mainland Tanzania and the Isles, attended.
This turned out to be an opening to new relationship between the Force and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) if the promises were to be kept. It was realized that the communication gap has created unfounded mistrusts which now the two parties have decided to resolve.
It was after speeches by the DIGP, and the THRDC board member who is well the executive director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba when there was an enshrining of emotional reactions from the some Police officials who were categorical that they have never been treated fairly by the Human Rights NGOs (HRNGOs).
Talking about the challenges that Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are facing it was the National Coordinator of the THRDC Onesmo Olengurumwa who said that depending on the nature of their activities and geographical locations, HRDs face a number of challenges.
It is during their operations when their either co-operate or at times even clash with the Police Force. For instance, women defenders have been facing problems from a segment of conservatives who view introduction of gender equity and campaigns against domestic violence as attempts to imitate foreign cultures as instigation of matrimonial conflicts.
For that matter, HRDs in these areas as the survey by the THRDC indicated, and the most recent survey by Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), in Zanzibar and Musoma are in risky situations.
In other cases it is those who are dealing with governance and financial accountability in the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) this can be journalists or NGOs which are conducting Public Expenditure Surveys (PETS). Another group is those who are championing for environmental and land rights this is because of land grabbing, land based conflicts and environmental degradation due to mining activities.
As it has been occurring in many occasions, whenever HRDs want to make follow up in violations of human rights usually there is a cooperation between human rights activists, journalists and other stakeholders, this is in many cases have had devastative effects.
In most cases they are rounded, beaten, arbitrarily arrested, and even their communication equipment like cameras and lap top are destroyed. These harassments, co notates that HRDs are hindered to inform the public while at times this goes hand in hand with repeated hatred statements from Government ministers as it was with the immediate former Tourism Minister Hamis Kagasheki against NGOs in Loliondo.
Whenever there are challenging situations like this very few HRDs can continue to work effectively, as a big number of them are scared. To a large extent that is why the HRDs are struggling in order to ensure that the Constitutional Assembly is to formulate laws that are supportive towards the freedom and access to information.
Although there have been constant denials every now and then, but HRDs are always entangled and they become victims of power abuse by the power mighty like the regional and district commissioners, police commanders, and even with The Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) soldiers as it was with gas commotions in Mtwara.
In other words HRDs are facing challenges not from a single direction as some of them are from the community itself and at times from the Government functionaries.
“The current economic and political contexts in this Country are not friendly and they need a thorough review if HRDs were to implement their working strategies without frequent interruptions” warned Olengurumwa.
The Coalition demands for established security strategies and resolutions and invites other stakeholders to be part of the general platform for change in the governance structure of the NGOs. As it has been occurring many times there is a tendency to perceive HRDs as being agents of the opposition.
These kinds of perceptions are promulgated by a segment of political leaders knowingly or unknowingly due to lack of understanding how the systems of separation of power and transparency work in democratic societies. In Tanzania anyone who criticizes poor performance in any area of the Government is regarded as an agent of the opposition or foreign elements.
It was the Mwanza’s Regional Police Commander (RPC), SACP-Valentino Mlowola who started it all when he lamented, “you have been tantalizing the Police Force through the media, this is very unfair we are also human rights defenders just like you,” he lamented.
His reaction followed statements that the Police Force has been part of the gross violation of human rights in Tanzania. His cry as a defensive mechanism even before a presentation was made was an indication that some bigwigs in the Force are never prepared for criticism.
But this does not mean that he did not have supporters in the hall. Arusha’s RPC Liberatus Sabas suggested that whenever HRNGOs discusses human rights issues in this country they should have in mind that Police Officers are also human beings. “You should treat us as human beings as well” he added to the cry from the law enforcers’ commanders.
However he appreciated the fact that the HRDs trough the THRDC has opened a discussion forum. “I advice that we produce documents that will be shared in order to improve working relations, but also for imparting human rights knowledge to law enforcers” he commented.
This stance was also echoed by other colleagues in the Force as well. Ahmed Msangi Mbeya RPC’s went further and said that at time human rights defenders HRDs work as a supporting hand to the opposition, and that he was annoyed by their demonstration during the doctors’ strike in February 2012.
But it was not all differences at the session, as jokes also increased the fragrance at times. For instance Judge (rtd) Thomas Mihayo was cornered by the gigantic commanders of Paul Chagonja’s like, due to one TV jingo where he condemns violation of human rights by state organs, where his answer was simple “I do not mean all Police Officers are violators of human rights,” he defended.
Probably it was Mr Jesse James, lecturer Law School University of Dar es Dar es Salaam, who enlightened the commanders that their violation of human rights was implicit. “This is after a failure to balance between rights and responsibilities” he commented.
Elaborating further he disclosed Police officials are not cushioned from the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute and they can face prosecutions even after their retirements. He reminded them that the legality of international mechanisms against them stems from the fact that Tanzania has ratified various international protocols on human rights.
“we should tread carefully in our operations lest we find ourselves facing charges in the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)”, he warned. As the knowledge was passing over one could tell that Police brutality is partly contributed by lack of knowledge on human rights.
Main discussions and reactions
During discussions it was realized that some officials from the Force do not understand the role of CSOs in fulfilling the principles of separation of power. However, to this rescue were seasoned and probably much more exposed officials in the name of Zelothe Stephen and Suleiman Kova who admitted that there is no way the Police Force can sideline HRNGOs and journalists being in the family of HRDs.
For his part Kova said that his Force has had a good working relation with journalists which has facilitated a lot in the community policing zeal. He also lauded the HRNGOs because they are defenders of the citizenry at large, but called for more formal communication between these parties rather than outbursts through the media.
Adding to this debate Stephen said that if the Police Force, HRNGOs and the media were to work in good relations there would be tremendous improvement in the social welfare since the main motive of ensuring security is to create an enabling environment for the citizenry and other residents in this country to produce peacefully without any fear of unpredictable intrusions.
Conclusions and recommendations
Eventually it was decided that there must be a formulation of a new mechanism which will assist the Police Force to maintain peace but without sacrificing their vital role of protecting security, in order to remove assumptions that this Force is an armed wing of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as it has been claimed several times in various political circles.
The Police Force promised that it will convene internal meetings and redefine its position in a new multiparty era where politicians have been at the centre of their daily operations.
“It is true there is a need to find what we can do with the executive, the legislature and even the judiciary, but our main problem has been political tug-of-wars” said Paul Chagonja a senior official in the Force who also heads special operations and training.
For this matter he suggests that NGOs should be intermediaries between these bodies and reminding them that national welfare should be given priority rather than intrinsic political divisiveness which now has at times put this Force in jeopardy.
In the working document for these organizations the Police Force will put forth its suggestions, and then the knowledge will be disseminated up to the grassroots level. It was also suggested the Force and CSOs should prepare joint media campaigns and education sessions which will enlighten the citizenry their role in maintaining peace and tranquility.
There will be engagement sessions between the Force and politicians in order to chart out working mechanisms and avoid unnecessary commotions as it has been the tradition previously. The media and HRNGOs were counseled to get enough information from the Force before they rush to the media for any utterances.
The dissemination of education on human rights should be expanded gradually within and without the Force in order to make law enforcers work more professionally but also the citizenry to understand their responsibility in maintaining peace and order.
Protection of human rights should go beyond the traditional understanding where law enforcers are only perceived as violators of human rights. In other words exchange of mutual trust should reduce the existing mutual suspicions between HRNGOs and the Police Force.
The Police Force promised to institutionalize a focal person on human rights in order to maintain regular communications between the Police Force and the CSOs.
“From now onwards I believe we have opened a new working chapter, we do not expect outbursts in the media, and we promise that all the deliberations will be worked upon” said a jubilant Chagonja when giving the closing remarks at this seminar.
Inspector General of Police
Published on: Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
By Elias Mhegera – There are many questions surrounding the attempt by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to quash second draft of the New Constitution Bill which is currently under the special Constituent Assembly in Dodoma central Tanzania, for tabling.
Special voices in the debate
Judge (rtd) Amir Manento-Chairman of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), he is pro a three-tier Government
Prof Josephat Kanywanyi; warns that the three-tier Government will weaken the Union
Law Professor Chris Peter Maina he is pro-three-tier Government
Earlier there was much ecstasy with the coming of this second draft, but the appointment of some party stalwarts of the CCM did signal that there is an attempt to manipulate the process, and there are reasons for this, analysts now say.
Although it is difficult to come up with clear answers but one can construe the whole meaning of this through the tug of war particularly on the nature of the Union. Although there are many good proposals in the Bill, but now the whole discussion has drawn attention to either two or three-tier Governments.
This has now been echoed in various circles, starting from civil society organizations (CSOs), the Pentecostal Churches of Tanzania (PCT) and the public at large. CCM as a party is openly supporting the two-tier Government, opposition parties are pro-three tier Government.
The main claim is that the Warioba Commission also known as the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) had adhered, to a large extent, to the people’s wishes of formulating their own constitution, but some politicians have been trying to reduce the entire process to their vested interests.
One assumption is, if the new three-tier structure is to be applied then it would be easy to remove the CCM from power. It is argued that it is because of this reason that the Tanzanian Government is forcing all political parties to fall within all the two parts of the Union, Mainland Tanzania and in the Isles.
But for the Catholic Church followers the matter is bit complicated because its’ top most leader in Tanzania Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam, said it categorically that those supporting a three-tier government were tired of the Union and ‘selfish.’
Implicitly he was representing the RC’s stance where the Union matter is concerned, but this does not mean that he commands an overwhelming support in this matter from all his followers.
The point is, the question of whether to continue with the current structure two-tier of the Union is not conclusive in itself if one was to analyze it in line with party affiliations or religious inclinations. There are Muslims from the Mainland who support a two tier, likewise those who support a three-tier structure.
There are Muslims from the Isles who support the two-tier, but a big number (if not all) supporters of the Civic United Front (CUF) supports a three-tier Government but under special contracts. Sympathizers of the CUF have been complaining in many occasions that the Union Government has been assisting its wing in the Isles to win against their presidential president Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad who has gone in the race four times.
For them now it is the time to escape ‘colonization’ of the Mainland through the Union. So although supporters of the three tier are found from the two sides of the Union but their reasons are quite diverse and not necessarily of the same nature.
Deus Kibamba –holding the 1977 United Republic of Tanzania Constitution, Chairman of the CSOs –Jukwaa la Katiba (JUKATA) i.e. Constitutional Forum, he is pro-three-tier Government just like many leaders of the CSOs in Mainland Tanzania
Deus Kibamba –holding the 1977 United Republic of Tanzania Constitution, Chairman of the CSOs –Jukwaa la Katiba (JUKATA) i.e. Constitutional Forum, he is pro-three-tier Government just like many leaders of the CSOs in Mainland Tanzania
This was revealed during a recent debate by one seasoned academician who is a supporter of the three-tier Government, as he is quoted here; “It is for the first time that Tanzanians are going to have a constitution of their own after having been subjected to ‘borrowed’ constitutions for a long time,” said a senior law lecturer Prof. Chris Peter Maina, who also support a three-tier Government.
The don said this at the Ubungo Plaza where he was a discussant at one of the constitutional forums – jointly convened by the Konrad Adenaur Stiftung (KAS) and the Tanzania Development Initiative Programme (TADIP) early this month of February 2014. Similar statements have been made in other meetings.
Julius Nyerere mixing soils of Tanganyika and Zanzibar symbolizing the Union
Julius Nyerere mixing soils of Tanganyika and Zanzibar symbolizing the Union
Probably one of the main consolations to sympathizers if the three-tier Government was when the Chairman of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) stated openly that he supports the three-tier form of Government, “you can quote me anywhere, I am for three-tier Government,” he boldly affirmed.
On January 31, for instance, the Chairman of the Constitution Forum, Mr. Deus Kibamba, also listed a number of demands from civil society which had since been accommodated in the new Draft Bill, saying: “We are heading towards a positive democratic transition.” He was addressing a well attended meeting at the New Africa Hotel Hall.
Again, this forum was orgnaised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, (FES), the Constitutional Forum well known for its Kiswahili name Jukwaa la Katiba (JUKATA), and the Konrad Adaneur Stiftung which drew experts who were keen on disseminating good knowledge in the formulation of the new constitution after having discussed it thoroughly.
Julius Nyerere and Abeid Karume signing the Articles of the Union
Julius Nyerere and Abeid Karume signing the Articles of the Union
During the opening speeches, the two resident directors of the KAS, Stefan Reith and Rolf Paasch, called on civil societies to play an active role in empowering the Constitutional Assembly, and eventually the general public, to get ready for the referendum sometimes later this year.
Already, there are lots of public expectations against the backdrop of political interests. “I can predict that three things will draw significant attention, namely, the nature of the Union, natural resources, and the consequences of all these to the local government authorities in the future,” Kibamba said.
Kibamba also warned that despite apparent jubilation at the rebirth of a Tanganyika government in line with the three-tier recommendations, this could possibly weaken the United Republic of Tanzania as a sovereign state.
Analysts also project that the Warioba Commission had reflected more on a three-tier government and, if not possible, the whole process would have to be delayed because of the structural setbacks.
Although experts insist that discussions focus on yet unspecified ‘pertinent’ issues rather than the nature of the Union, all attention seems to have been directed at “the Union matter” and this was reflected by reactions from the 201 members that were appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete and their names were announced on February 8th, 2014.
For instance, a board member of the Tanzania Constitutional Forum (TCF), Mr Hebron Mwakagenda, raised concerns that some of the appointees do not belong to the civil society and that they had been appointed in order to foster the ruling party’s agenda the two-tier government which has been a big source of commotion between the opposition parties and CCM.
But the National Coordinator of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), Mr Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa, also raised similar concerns that human rights activists had been sidelined.
“It has come as a surprise to us … when strong human rights NGOs like the Legal and Human Rights Centre have been sidelined … this is a political agenda,” he told a news conference that was organized by the TCF.
The mayhem of the CSOs and a sect of the PCT tells that the draft Bill might have been exhaustive and promising but the process of formulating a new constitution might be flawed mid-way. Ms Gemma Akilimali, representing women interests at the debate, agreed that the new constitution was promising and that women issues were adequately addressed.
She said through the Women Coalition on Constitution (WCC) they had worked hard to ensure gender equity in keeping with global protocols to which Tanzania was a signatory.
“We have formed a good team … drawn from … the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Women’s Legal Aid Centre (WLAC), Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) and other stakeholders … the trend is promising so far,” she commented.
Ms Rahma Bajun from the Tanzania Youth Coalition agrees, saying that most of the demands from the youth had been accommodated in the second draft of the Bill.
“One of the most startling was a clause on the age of potential legislators … the first Bill had risen to 26 … this one has gone back to 21 years, this is a positive development,” she affirmed.
Moses Kulaba, Executive Director of Agenda Participation 2000, approves most of the items of new draft Bill, but is worried as to whether the new constitution will come with strong anti-corruption mechanisms.
Also he cherishes that it is clearly stated that the new constitution will be supreme where Union matters are concerned.
“I am happy that this is clearly explained but the task will be for the two governments in the federation, that of Mainland Tanzania regardless of its new name, and that of Zanzibar to reflect these new developments, otherwise it was so confusing particularly after the formulation of the Zanzibar Constitution in 2010,” he remarked.
Prof. emeritus Josephat Kanywanyi of the University of Dar es Salaam raises issues in Chapter 17 of the Bill. “I am worried that the spirit behind many discussions on this chapter is not to strengthen the Union, but to go separate ways,” he warned.
The elderly professor suggested that the debates should have focused on how to reduce or remove altogether the imbalances of the 50 years Union. It is this stance that was once shared by Cardinal Pengo
This strong statement could have probably been received as ‘good news’ by some ruling CCM stalwarts where many analysts have since been identified as the main propagators of the two-tier government — which many of the young people now active in the current politics do not share!
But while this remained a strong position of mainstream CCM stakeholders, the main opposition party Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) is for a three-tier government, while another strong opposition particularly in the isles, the Civic United Front (CUF), as mentioned earlier, supports the three-tier government but under what it calls ‘special contracts.’
“I am totally convinced that the three-tier government will weaken the Union … this will have severe repercussions even in the working of the new constitution itself,” remarked a renowned academic.
Narrating the long history of the Union, he said that it was wrong to assess the Union within the context of happenings in 1964 but from ‘the commonality of a number of issues prior to that.’
He chose his words carefully, knowing that a good number of participants inside the hall supported the three-tier system of government.
He suggested that even if the new Union were to follow this new formula, there would be a need for thorough discussions along it.
“I know for sure that the Union did not survive simply because there were general acceptances on issues, but also partly because Mainland Tanzania (Tanganyika) had projected the supremacy of the Union than the shortcomings,” he argued.
These statements from Prof Kanywanyi which attracted a considerable attention given his age, experience and exposure reminded the audience of what the founding father of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere once warned that once the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar is over there could be a breakaway of Pemba from Unguja as well as a spill-over effect.
Similar statements were also once made by the Second Phase President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, the Third Phase President Benjamin Mkapa and even the incumbent Premier Peter Pinda. One can predict that these warnings are an indication that the three-tier government much as it is being celebrated in the Mainland, is just a lee-way to the total crumble of the Union.
So defenders of the Union as it is, or with minor modifications, might be differing on their vested interests, but they can be as well sharing the final results of a demised Union.
For instance it has been discussed in many circles that a lot of issues surrounding the Union are never discussed openly. While in 1964 the possible reasons could have been containing “Communism” as it has been reported so many times, but also it was to cushion the new Zanzibar regime from a possible ‘counter-coup’ from the deposed Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah.
Read more at: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4288980?uid=3739224&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103425890591
But reading from the current political development if Zanzibar was to assume supremacy then this will entail assuming some powers which are firmly withheld in the Union fabric particularly foreign affairs matters. Zanzibar’s sovereignty will definitely wipe out Christianity in the two islands.
Attempts to join the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) on the part of Zanzibar have been quashed twice on grounds of the supremacy of the Union Constitution which is explicit in the Article 19, of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, that Tanzania is a secular state.
Hence the worrisome attitude by the Roman Catholic head in Tanzania, are compounded within attempts by Zanzibar’s attempt to join the OIC, and this does not go without explanation of the “fear of the unknown” read more at: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/is-tanzania-the-next-target-for-radical-islam
However even within the new constitution, Union matters have retained the same test concerning joining international organizations as it is well stipulated in the Montevideo Convention, on the Rights and Duties of States, agreement signed at Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 26, 1933.
Thus the Union matter is crucial in determining the new Tanzania as enshrined in the ongoing debates. When he was interviewed by The Guardian on Sunday exclusively, retired lecturer from the Philosophy Department of the University of Dar es Salaam Dr Azaveli Lwaitama had this to say, “There are shared interests between the Zanzibar CCM supporters and their counterparts from the Mainland no wonder the appointments of members of the constituent assembly had reflected these hidden interests”.
For him therefore there will be a lot of manipulations in order to ensure that the three-tier structure is quashed or the whole process of the formulation of the new constitution is facing snags altogether. These assumptions from the don are shared again by Olengurumwa from the THRDC.
He had this to say when he was contacted for comments, “It is apparent that CCM’s interest will prevail in this process, this can be detected through such appointments of ‘their’ stalwarts Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, and Paul Kimiti, these are former Cabinet Ministers and they do not belong to the CSOs, their subsequent penetration leaves a lot to be desired,” he commented.
He further mentioned some CCM cadres who have been appointed to fulfill this desire as Abdallah Bulembo, Paul Makonda and many others whose appointments he claims has been done much to the detriment of the citizenry and for the benefits of the CCM.
This stance is shared by Hebron Mwakageda a staunch member of the CSOs and current CEO of the Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development (TCDD) who says that he has never seen Mzee Kingunge in the CSOs for the past 20 years and his sudden emergence there as their representative is a serious joke.
But speaking on Zanzibar’s contribution through the Zanzibar Legal Services Centre (ZLSC), was Jasad Bungala who says the main interests of Zanzibar in the process, at least from the CSOs was recognition of Zanzibar’s contribution to the Union Government, rectification of certain clauses’ in foreign affair matters, and the Union Presidency.
Moreover, he mentioned other aspects as the need to have an independent government from the Mainland so that it can be conjoined with Zanzibar in forming the Union Government. He also advanced that all borders including those in the ocean must be clearly explained in the new Union constitution.
Probably these demands from Zanzibar can be explained within the framework of what have been termed several times as “kero za Muungano” (Union nuisances) particularly from the Zanzibar side.
To mention a few of those it is the question of the presidency which Zanzibari’s says it should be switched in turns that once the president from the Mainland completes his tenure they should be automatically succeeded by one from the isles.
In this particular note the incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete from the mainland Tanzania had succeeded Benjamin Mkapa also from the same side of the Union. While in regard to Union borders there have been a claim that Tanzania Mainland is to extract some minerals and gases which belongs to the Zanzibar waters and therefore in the process trespassing the Articles of the Union.
In this bid there have been many campaigns covertly and openly that the Union was imposed in order to suppress Islam as a dominant religion in Zanzibar, as well as to ‘steal’ natural resources from Zanzibar including oil and gas.
In May 2006 it was reported in the media that ten Zanzibaris had filed a case against the mainland over the Tanzania Union agreement and the Coastal Strip, they also sued their Attorney General and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives over the Isles’ loss of its seat in the United Nations.
Others sued include the secretary general of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives for “colluding to infringe Zanzibar’s sovereignty.
“Therefore if one was to reflect the demands by the ZLSC they were replica of these long upheld demands of a Union framework which undermines Zanzibar’s political hegemony.
While the demands are still hot in many circles, the media has been reminded its vital role of amplifying this debate and set the national agenda for the sake of acquiring a new, table and far reaching constitution according to Prof Maina, when summing up issues at the panel discussion.
So far there has been a lot of lobbying from various circles as there has been a general belief that a certain sect of politicians is there to hijack the new constitution formulation process in their interest.
photo: Deus Kibamba, Chairman of the Tanzania Constitutional Forum well known a Jukwaa la Katiba in Kiswahili, Tanzania's national language