The Chanzo’s Morning Briefing – July 21, 2021

In our briefing, today: CHADEMA’s standoff with govt far from over, 11 arrested; Selous keeps its heritage site status amid protests; and TZ seizes over 99kgs of drugs in June only.
The Chanzo Reporter21 July 20214 min

Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here once again with all the big stories that broke in Tanzania on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

CHADEMA’s standoff with govt far from over, 11 are arrested

It seems like the opposition CHADEMA party will have another standoff with authorities following its decision to proceed with its New Constitution conference scheduled for today, July 21, 2021, in Mwanza despite the region’s commissioner Robert Gabriel banning all gatherings in the city as part of what he called the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The conference, organized by CHADEMA Youth Wing (BAVICHA), was supposed to take place on July 17, 2021, but police prevented it from happening under the pretext that political rallies were banned. Dozens of CHADEMA cadres and other pro-democracy activists were arrested in the process of preventing the internal meeting from happening, with many of them spending hours in detention before they were released.

On Monday, CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe held a press conference in Mwanza where he said that the party’s leadership would not leave the city until the New Constitution conference takes place, telling the government if it intends to prevent them from organizing the conference “they should hone their skills to fight the people.”

But Mr Gabriel said Tuesday that Mwanza was one among the regions with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and the region’s government is taking all necessary measures to curb the spread of the killer disease, including banning all unnecessary gatherings. Responding to concerns that he might have imposed the restrictions in response to the scheduled CHADEMA conference, Mr Gabriel emphasized: “People can interpret the directive in various ways but I assure you it does not target any specific person, group or institution.”

CHADEMA director of communications and protocol Mr John Mrema said in a statement yesterday that the planned New Constitution conference will take place as it has been planned, inviting the party’s members, supporters and members of the general public to show up at the conference en masse.

“[CHADEMA] urges the regional commissioner [Mr Gabriel] to avoid being involved in plans whose aim is to discriminate other social groups under the pretext of fighting COVID-19,” said Mr Mrema in the statement.

In other developments,  the party chairperson Freeman Mbowe and ten others were arrested today at  night. The group was arrested at around 3 in the night, from Kingdom Hotel where their accommodation was based ahead of the scheduled conference today.

“I regret to inform you, the hotel room where Freeman Mbowe was staying here at the Kingdom Hotel was breached, It’s more than thirty minutes now since they took Mbowe but he was not taken to join others at the Central Police”, said the CHADEMA youth leader, Twaha Mwaipaya in a tweet.

This morning CHADEMA leadership has reported that they have not managed to know where Mbowe was taken. The rest of the group including youth leaders, zonal leaders, and speakers of the schedule conference are at the Central Police in Mwanza

Selous keeps its heritage site status amid protest

The government’s efforts to convince the UNESCO World Heritage Committee not to delist the Selous Game Reserve from the World Heritage Sites appear to have borne some fruit after the committee ruled in favour of Tanzania, several media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Environmentalists had petitioned the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to delist the Selous Game Reserve, which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1982, from the list, arguing that the government’s decision to build the 2115 Megawatts (MW) Julius Nyerere Hydro-Power Project within the reserve in 2017 deprives the reserve of the status.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a London-based non-governmental organization campaigning against environmental crime and abuse, says the construction of the controversial Rufiji hydropower dam has caused irreversible damage to wildlife and will continue to do so upon completion, the UK-based inews reported on July 14, 2021.

But seating yesterday during its 44th session in China, the World Heritage Committee decided to maintain the reserve in the list. The decision followed the arguments presented by the Tanzanian delegation which was supported by the members of the World Heritage Committee, that include Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Mali.

According to the permanent secretary in the ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources Dr Allan Kijazi, the reason why the committee did not uphold the environmentalists’ case is that the arguments they put forward were “baseless,” The Citizen newspaper quoted him as saying.

Dr Kijazi, who doubles as Director-General for the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), said the raised issues were not in line with what needs to be done for a country or a game reserve to be scrapped from the list of world heritage sites.

“Since we got that report from UNESCO, ministries have done several meetings with experts at different levels, including at the level of permanent secretaries, to analyze UNESCO’s arguments,” The Citizen quoted Dr Kijazi as saying. “We have done a review of the issue and so far the fact is that they are baseless.”

TZ seizes over 99kgs of drugs in June only

The Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) seized 99.33 kilograms of various drugs in June in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam and arrested eight suspects, DCEA commissioner-general Gerald Kusaya said during a press conference on Monday.

The drugs, mostly heroin and methamphetamine, were seized during special operations conducted by the DCEA in collaboration with the police and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Mr Kusaya said.

Among the suspects arrested are a police officer, two officials with the TRA and five businessmen.

This is it for today and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below) or follow us on Twitter (here) as that is the best way to make sure you do not miss any of these briefings.  And in case you have any questions or comments, please consider dropping a word to our editors at editor@thechanzo.com.

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