The Chanzo Morning Briefing – August 5, 2021.

In our briefing, today: Samia holds talks with US Under Secretary Nuland; Amnesty International asks Tanzania to provide evidence against Mbowe or release him; Vodacom Tanzania CEO Hisham Hendi resigns; and Manara accuses Simba SC Chairman Dewji of phone spying.
The Chanzo Reporter5 August 20216 min

Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, August 4, 2021.

Samia holds talks with US Under Secretary Nuland

President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Wednesday met and held talks with the US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Ms Victoria Nuland as part of the US government official’s trip to Africa that commenced on July 31, 2021. Ms Nuland has so far visited South Africa, Botswana, and Niger.

Ms Nuland’s discussions with the Tanzanian leader focused on strengthening democracy, combatting COVID-19, and enhancing security and prosperity. She also held meetings with leaders of opposition parties in the country, emphasizing the US government’s commitment to stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.

“We want to deepen and strengthen [the US-Tanzania] relationship in all its aspects,” Ms Nuland told reporters shortly after concluding her closed talks with President Samia. “We are delighted to be a strong health partner of Tanzania as evidenced in our COVID-19 vaccines donation to the country.”

President Samia assured her guest of Tanzania’s commitment to promoting its sixty-year-old relationship with the US, especially in the areas of investment, COVID-19 pandemic and defence.

Amnesty International asks Tanzania to provide evidence against Mbowe or release him

Amnesty International, a global movement campaigning against abuses of human rights, demanded on Wednesday that Tanzanian authorities “must” promptly provide evidence to substantiate charges against CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe, “or else release him” as the opposition figure’s case is brought for hearing today.

Mr Mbowe, who is who is currently at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison in Dar es Salaam, was brought before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court on July 26, 2021, as authorities accuse him of taking part in conspiracies to blow up fueling stations and other public gatherings as well as funding terrorist acts. His case resumes for hearing today with State attorneys expected to present to Principal Magistrate Thomas Simba evidence that they think will prove Mr Mbowe’s culpability.

“The timing of [Mr Mbowe’s] arrest raises questions around whether this was a tactic to silence critical voices [or not],” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said in a statement yesterday. “The onus is now on the authorities to provide evidence to back up the charges or else promptly release him.”

CHADEMA and other pro-democracy activists have dismissed the terrorism charges against Mr Mbowe as “trumped-up” and “politically motivated”; they have since then called for authorities to drop them. They have said the charge sheet on Mr Mbowe’s case “lacks any legal basis” and would have been “immediately dropped under any competent criminal justice system.”

CHADEMA Secretary-General John Mnyika has called on all party members and supporters to come out in mass at the court today to show solidarity to Mr Mbowe. But the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro has warned that that would be synonymous with “invading the court,” promising “a wrath” against anyone who will heed Mr Mnyika’s call.

Vodacom Tanzania MD Hisham Hendi resigns

Vodacom Tanzania announced Wednesday that Mr Hisham Hendi has resigned as its Managing Director with effect from November 1, 2021. He’s taking a new role as the commercial lead at Vodaphone Spain.  

Mr Hendi said in a statement released by the company yesterday that he was happy with the opportunity that was waiting for him in Spain. He added that that would not be possible if it were not for the opportunity he had in Tanzania for five years serving as CEO.

“I have worked with a good team and I am leaving the locals who are senior leaders working with great efficiency,” the statement quoted Mr Hendi as saying. “I am happy to be serving in this great nation.  My experience here in the country is what has made this move possible, I am really proud.  I am leaving Tanzania as the country’s ambassador.”

Vodacom board chairman Judge Thomas Mihayo described Mr Hendi as a “key driver” in securing investments to reach millions of Tanzanians who were previously not connected.

In May this year, Vodacom Tanzania announced a net loss of Sh30 billion for the year to March 31, 2021, primarily on account of recalculated taxes, the first time the company reported a net loss since it was listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) in August 2017.

Manara accuses Simba SC Chairman Dewji of phone spying

Former Simba Sports Club spokesperson Mr Haji Manara accused the club’s board chairman Mohammed Dewji aka Mo of having spied on the latter’s mobile phone as well as the mobile phones of other club’s personnel in a tell-all press conference on Wednesday.

Mo Dewji was not immediately available to respond to the accusations if they are true or not. Simba SC acting spokesperson Mr Ezekiel Kamwaga told The Chanzo that: “The club has decided not to comment on anything [coming] from [Mr Manara’s] press conference.”

The VPL and Azam Federation Cup Champions 2021 Simba Football Club relieved Mr Manara of his duties as the club’s communications officer on July 28, 2021, following a wrangle between the Wekundu wa Msimbazi and Mr Manara over alleged sabotage and mistreatment. The club as a result appointed a seasoned journalist Mr Kamwaga as the acting Head of the Information and Communication Department.

“I asked Mohammed: who are you [to spy on people’s mobile]?” said Mr Manara during the press conference in Dar es Salaam. It was after Mo Dewji had allegedly summoned Mr Manara to his office to show him the records of Manara’s phone tracking. Manara said that he found out that it was not just him that Mo was spying on but also other Simba SC players.

“Where do you obtain the rights to spy on people’s mobile phones?” Mr Manara claims to be asking the Tanzanian business magnet Mo Dewji. “Who gave you that authority, is it your money? I told [Mo]. I was seriously pissed off.” 

While the constitution guarantees the right to privacy and other pieces of legislation appreciate the importance of data protection, Tanzania does not have a comprehensive law that addresses issues of privacy and data protection, two things which are increasingly becoming necessities given how digitization influences every aspect of people’s lives. Talks of Tanzania coming up with a bill on privacy and data protection law have been going on since 2018 but with zero results.

Speaking July 2, 2021, during the launching of a report An Overview of the Digital Ecosystem, Emerging and Applied Technologies on NGOs in Tanzania by Media Convergence, a local digital consultancy firm, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies Dr Faustine Ndugulile expressed his concerns at how Tanzania’s legal framework falls short of protecting people’s personal information, naming the changing of the status quo of one his ministries top priorities.

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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