The Chanzo’s Morning Briefing – June 15, 2021

From the postponement of the ruling in the case of activist Mdude Nyagali and the new pressure on President Samia from press freedom groups to the fate of Maasai people in Ngorongoro and the New Constitution quagmire, here are the major news stories reported on Monday
The Chanzo Reporter15 June 202116 min

Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories in Tanzania which were reported on Monday, June 14, 2021.

Resident Magistrate’s Court of Mbeya yesterday failed to read a judgment in a case that involves a popular activist and member of Tanzania’s main opposition party CHADEMA Mdude Nyagali, 33, with the judge in charge citing “circumstances beyond my control” as the reason for the failure, postponing the judgment until June 28, 2021. Nyagali, one of the most vocal critics of the John Magufuli Administration before he was arrested, faces life imprisonment after the government accused him of being involved in drugs trafficking, which is a violation of Section 15A (1) of the Drug Control and Enforcement Act, No. 5 of 2005. Since he was formally charged on May 13, 2020, Nyagali has been in remand prison as the charges are non-bailable. An intensive online campaign has been launched by CHADEMA and other activists aimed at pressurizing the Samia Suluhu Hassan Administration to let Nyagali free, calling the charges against him “trumped-up,” which target Nyagali for his political activities. On May 13, 2019, for example, while briefing journalists on the charges against Nyagali, Mbeya Police Commander Ulrich Matei revealed that the police was hunting Nyagali following his “inciting language against government’s leaders on social media,” but that charge never made it to the formal charge sheet. The entire CHADEMA top brass, led by its national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe, attended Nyagali’s court appearance yesterday as a sign of solidarity, and even had a prayer organized in the courtroom soon before the case was adjourned. Briefing reporters outside the court shortly after the adjournment of the case, Mr Mbowe said that he is optimistic that “eventually justice will be served.” The ongoing case against Mdude Nyagali was brought to him a few days after the fearless activist had just survived an abduction by unknown assailants that saw him missing for three days before he was abandoned in one of Mbeya’s villages showing signs of being tortured, mistreated, and humiliated.

The US-based policy think tank, the Oakland Institute, released its report on the situation of Maasai people in Ngorongoro yesterday where among other things it called on the international security mechanisms to intervene to prevent the Maasai from being “wiped out” from their ancestral lands. Titled The Looming Threat of Eviction: The Continued Displacement of the Maasai Under the Guise of Conservation in Ngorongoro Conservation Area the report points out that the intervention is necessary because the Tanzanian government has failed “to uphold [both] national and international obligations” like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, as well as national obligations including the right to life, as enshrined in Tanzania’s Constitution. “The international community must support the struggle of the Maasai in resisting further displacement at the hands of international conservation agencies and the Tanzanian government,” write the authors of the report, Andy Currier and Anuradha Mittal. “The colonization of Indigenous land in the name of conservation must end.” You can read the full report here and if interested in what is happening in Ngorongoro this, this and this analysis may provide you with more background on the issue.

Shaka Hamdu Shaka, the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) secretary of ideology and publicity, said yesterday that the New Constitution is not the agenda of the oldest political party in Africa. Mr Shaka made the remarks while in Tanga, a northern region of Tanzania during a meeting with elders from the Tanga Urban district. “The New Constitution is not a political agenda, so politicians should stop using it as a political tool with which to fool the people that the New Constitution is the cure to all of their problems,” Jamvi la Habari, a local newspaper, quoted Mr Shaka as saying on its Instagram page. “That is not true.” Mr Shaka said that President Samia’s top priority, for now, is to finalize all major development projects initiated by her predecessor the late John Magufuli and start the new ones. The demand for the New Constitution has been alive since the Constituent Assembly passed the Draft Constitution in October 2014. The Draft Constitution is awaiting a referendum that both the previous and the present CCM-led government has been reluctant to organize. With the ascendance of President Samia as the new President of Tanzania as well as the chairperson of CCM, optimism ran high among the country’s opposition parties, religious organisations, civil societies and other followers of Tanzania’s democratic development that now Tanzania was going to have the New Constitution. The hope was based on the fact that President Samia served as the Deputy Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly and thus may understand the importance of finalizing the process for the New Constitution. President Samia was aware of this optimism and so she chose to promise nothing. During an official function in the capital Dodoma on April 1, 2021, President Samia told those who wanted the New Constitution “should forget [about it] a bit.

French ambassador to Tanzania Mr Frédéric Clavier congratulated Tanzanians yesterday for having their country “back in the international arenas.” Mr Clavier was speaking during a function to inaugurate a water project in the district of Misungwi in Mwanza where President Samia is for an official three-day trip. President Samia was a guest of honour at the function.  Mr Clavier never clarified what he meant by his “Tanzania is back in the international arenas” phrase but assured President Samia France’s support in the efforts that the Tanzanian leader is taking to bring about social and economic development in the country. But while the remarks may be extraordinary coming from a foreign envoy in the country and in the public, it is not a secret that the previous administration under the late John Magufuli was not doing great in the area of international relations and diplomacy. This opinion might have informed President Samia’s decision to replace Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, a person with zero expertise and experience in international diplomacy, with the seasoned diplomat who has represented Tanzania to various international organisations Ambassador Liberat Mulamula.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the New York-based non-governmental organization that defends press freedom worldwide, wrote to President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday, urging the Head of State “to take all necessary steps to ensure a free and safe environment for journalists by committing to legal reforms that conform to Tanzania’s constitution as well as regional and international treaty obligations.” Among the pieces of legislation that CPJ wants to be revoked, reformed or suspended are the 2015 Cybercrimes Act; the 2016 Media Services Act; the 2020 amendments to the Electronic and Postal Communications Act; and Online Content Regulations enacted under the Electronic and Postal Communications Act. “We welcome your recent call for a government that stands for justice and serves all Tanzanians without discrimination,” Joel Simon, CPJ Executive Director tells President Samia. “These goals are directly linked to a probing, vibrant media, but only if journalists can operate freely and safely.”

And, in case you missed it, yesterday was the birthday of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) which marked its 55th anniversary since it was established on June 14, 1966. Join us and several others in wishing BoT workers and management a very happy birthday!

Thanks for reading this briefing, just letting you know that The Chanzo also receives stories and opinions from independent writers and analysts for publication. So if you want to have your say on our platform, or you have any suggestion on how we can improve this briefing, please contact our editors at editor@thechanzo.com for further inquiries.

The Chanzo Reporter

One comment

  • Beejay

    15 June 2021 at 10:45 AM

    This brief is cery very useful!! I didn’t have time to catch up on what was happening yesterday but now I’m well updated. I also love the conversational tone of the news. Haichoshi! 🙂

    Bravo, Chanzo Initiative! Keep on making waves.

    Reply

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The Chanzo Initiative exists at the interface between advocacy and journalism. It is founded to uplift the voices of the underreported, vulnerable, and marginalized communities in Tanzania with the goal to make Tanzania the best place to live for everyone regardless of class, creed, sexual orientation and nationality.

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