Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday.
Samia holds talks with AfCFTA boss
President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday met and held talks with the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Mr Wamkele Mene in what appears to be the block’s continuous lobbying to make Tanzania, which has so far been reluctant to join the so-called largest free trade area in the world, to change its position and become part of the 38 countries that have ratified the trading pact.
Tanzania is one among the countries that are yet to ratify AfCFTA, with the minister for trade and industry Prof Kitila Mkumbo telling the Parliament recently that Tanzania is in discussions with the block’s secretariat to finalize the process. The same government position was reiterated by the minister of foreign affairs Liberata Mulamula during a meeting with Mr Mene in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
“We are in the final process,” said Mulamula during the meeting. “There are a few issues that have to be sorted out because this is a union government and we have to ensure everything has been considered.” On his part, Mr Mene said that he was impressed with the efforts Tanzania was taking towards ratifying the protocol which he called “a critical response to Africa’s developmental challenges.”
Stakeholders have been pushing Tanzania to ratify the protocol given the opportunities it would offer the country especially in its efforts to build an industrial economy. By ratifying the protocol, Tanzania’s products will be able to reach any African country with the ease of customs clearance, moving the continent towards another stage in strengthening African economies.
CUF joins CHADEMA, ACT-Wazalendo in protesting Samia’s New Constitution position
The Civic United Front (CUF) chairperson, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba said yesterday that the party was disappointed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s statement that political rallies and the New Constitution should wait first because she’s stabilizing Tanzania economically, pointing out that democracy “is a very important tool with which to build an inclusive economy.”
During a State House meeting with editors from Tanzania’s media outlets on Monday as part of the commemoration of her 100 days in office, President Samia urged Tanzanians to give her more time to fix the country’s economy first before she lifts a ban on political rallies and revives the stalled New Constitution process. “I’m not saying [the New] Constitution is not important. It is important,” said President Samia. “But please give me some more time so that I can stabilize Tanzania economically and then the rest will follow. They say economic power buys political power, isn’t it? So let us build our economy first and then we will move towards fixing our politics.”
The late President John Magufuli imposed the ban on political rallies in early 2016, saying that they were distracting him from delivering what he had promised Tanzanians in the campaign trails. Though the ban was termed illegal and unconstitutional, police enforced it viciously and it was responsible for various criminal cases brought against opposition politicians in the past four years. As for the 2014-proposed New Constitution draft, the document has been on the shelves for about seven years now waiting for a referendum that the Magufuli administration declined to organize.
“If you need to build an economy that benefits all people you can not ignore the issue of building strong democratic institutions,” said Prof Lipumba who is an economist by profession during a press conference organized by his party to weigh-in on Samia’s 100 days in office. “President Samia needs to know that a constitution with democratic principles is a people’s demand as they expressed it when they gave their opinions to the Constitutional Review Commission.”
CUF is the latest opposition party in Tanzania to criticize President Samia’s statement on political rallies and the New Constitution. On Monday, immediately after the Head of State made the controversial statement, CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe described it as a “very very sad” statement that would make opposition leaders “sleep with tears.” Opposition ACT-Wazalendo party also said Tuesday that it received the president’s statement “with huge disappointment,” urging President Samia to rethink her position on the question of the New Constitution.
Over 2000 bars to benefit from SBL’s COVID-19 funding
Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) Managing Director Mark Ocitti said yesterday that the company has launched a programme worth over Sh2.3 billion aimed at supporting bars and eateries in Dar es Salaam and other major towns of Tanzania with the goal of protecting their staff and customers against the global coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement released yesterday, the initiative is part of a new Sh230 billion ($100 million) global Diageo programme to help outlets, and bars recover from COVID-19 and support jobs and communities around the world. Diageo is a British multinational beverage alcohol company, with its headquarters in London, England. The fund, which will roll out over the next two years, is expected to benefit over 2,000 outlets. It will include practical equipment for outlets to implement new social distancing measures, digital skills training and contactless technology.
“In our initiative, we will support resilience, resolve and re-imagination to on-trade in Tanzania,” the press release quoted Mr Ocitti as saying. “The ultimate goal is to rise again, hence the name of our new project, Raise the Bar or Tunyanyuke Pamoja. The project will cover 2,000 outlets in the cities of Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza.”
You can learn more about the programme here.
EWURA announces new cap prices for fuel
The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) yesterday published new cap prices for petroleum products in line with the Finance Act of 2021 and other miscellaneous amendments that will be in effect from today, July 1, 2021. The changes concern an increase in fuel levy by Sh100 for each one litre of petrol and diesel as well as an increase in petroleum fees by Sh100 for each one litre of kerosene.
Dar es Salaam residents will see an increase of sh156/litre for petrol (6.9%), sh142/litre for diesel (6.87%), sh164/litre for kerosene (8.38%), for Dar es Salaam new retail price cap will be sh2405, sh2215 and sh2121 per a litre of petrol, diesel and kerosene respectively.
IGP Sirro warns against turning Tanzania into another Somalia
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro warned yesterday that if there is anyone in Tanzania “who thinks that what is happening in Somalia can happen [in Tanzania] too, the police will never allow them such a chance. The Horn of Africa country of Somalia has been embroiled in a civil war since the 1990s with the Islamist insurgents of Al-Shabaab wreaking havoc in every facet of Somalis’ lives.
Speaking during an internal meeting with national security stakeholders in the northern region of Kilimanjaro, IGP Sirro said: “Any person involved in jeopardizing the nation’s security will be dealt with according to the country’s laws. Because our grandfathers gave this country to us while it was safe and we will have to give it to our grandchildren while it is safe. Those few who think that what is happening in Somalia and other countries can be replicated here in Tanzania won’t be allowed such a chance.”
IGP Sirro emphasized the role that local authorities can play in ensuring that Tanzania’s security remains stable. He said that many local authorities’ leaders think that they are not responsible for preventing and combating crimes in their respective areas, thinking that that is a job of the police force. Sirro made it clear that any local leader who thinks that way should resign and find another more important job to do.
Majaliwa irked with the presence of govt communications on social media
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday called secrecy “the lifeblood of any government,” warning against the circulation of government’s communications, such as letters, on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram.
Mr Majaliwa made the remarks during a special training session organized for regional commissioners and regional administrative secretaries from Tanzania Mainland that took place in the capital Dodoma on Wednesday.
Quoted in the Mwananchi newspaper website, the premier said: “This behaviour [of circulating official communications on social media] emerged in the recent years with the arrival of social media. It is, therefore, necessary to control the present globalization and the use of social media. It is my belief that everyone will be very careful on this.”
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