The Chanzo Morning Briefing – August 6, 2021.

In our briefing, today: Tensions run high in Dar as Mbowe’s case is brought for hearing; Canada boosts WFP’s support to poor households in Tanzania; and US ambassador to Tanzania defends covid vaccines’ efficacy.
The Chanzo Reporter6 August 20215 min

Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, August 5, 2021.

Tensions run high in Dar as Mbowe’s case is brought for hearing

The case against CHADEMA national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe that was postponed yesterday after the virtual proceedings suffered some technical glitch is expected to resume today amid tension between the opposition figure’s supporters and the police.

Mr Mbowe, who is currently at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison in Dar es Salaam, was brought before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court for the first time on July 26, 2021, accused of taking part in conspiracies to blow up fueling stations and other public gatherings as well as funding terrorist acts.

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.”

Yesterday’s hearing took place amidst unrest and tension between Mr Mbowe’s supporters who showed up at the court to call for his release, carrying placards that read, “Mbowe is not a terrorist” and police who were determined to disperse the supporters. State attorneys were expected to submit evidence to the court that would prove Mr Mbowe’s culpability.

Though Mr Mbowe and his co-accused – Halfani Bwire, Adam Kasekwa, and Mohamed Lingwenya – were not brought to the court because the hearing was done virtually police heightened security around the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court area and in its immediate vicinity where Mr Mbowe’s supporters were organizing marches calling for his release.

“Mbowe is not a terrorist; he has been detained because he was mobilizing for constitutional reforms,” Edna Kimaro, who introduced herself as Mr Mbowe’s mother, told reporters outside the court yesterday. She was one among hundreds of people who showed up at the court calling for Mr Mbowe’s release. “I’m calling for authorities to release Mbowe. Mbowe is my son. The direction that [Tanzania] is taking is very bad.”

Police arrested a couple of protesters during the course of their protests yesterday. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro had forewarned people who were organizing to show up at the court, saying doing so would be synonymous with “invading the court” but Mr Mbowe’s supporters decided to defy the warning anyway.

“Canada is closely following the case against the chairman of CHADEMA Freeman Mbowe,” Canadian High Commission in Tanzania said yesterday in a Twitter post. The delegation became the latest member of the international community in the country to comment on the highly controversial case after the Embassy of the United States had done so recently.

“A strong democracy requires: fair [and] transparent legal processes for all citizens; freedom of speech and assembly; and security forces that uphold human rights [and] ensure the safety of all citizens,” said the Canadian delegation in Tanzania.

Canada boosts WFP’s support to poor households in Tanzania

Canada has provided the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with $3.74 million support to contribute towards the latter’s efforts to support people living in the poorest urban areas of Tanzania, a statement said Thursday. Emphasis will be put on addressing gender-related vulnerabilities, including those faced by female-headed households.

WFP is currently working with the government to support the Productive Social Safety Net system managed by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) to reach the most vulnerable households.

“The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable Tanzanians, particularly women and girls in urban areas, who are already suffering from other socio-economic shocks,” the statement quoted Pamela O’Donnell, High Commissioner for Canada to Tanzania as saying. “This initiative expands social protections to reach more people in need, including the newly vulnerable, and puts money directly in their hands to meet basic requirements and build resilience for the future.”

Sarah Gordon-Gibson, WFP Country Director and Representative said that social safety nets are essential in ensuring food security and nutrition and changing the lives of the most vulnerable populations, especially women who have the main responsibility for household food security and nutrition.

“This will enable women to access adequate and diversified food and other basic needs for their family,” added Ms Gordon-Gibson. “This contribution reflects Canada’s commitment to building the resilience of vulnerable Tanzanians.

US ambassador to Tanzania defends covid vaccines’ efficacy

United States Ambassador to Tanzania Mr Donald Wright yesterday called the doubting of the coronavirus vaccine by some people “a reasonable attitude,” insisting, however, that the vaccines “may save your life or the lives of someone you love.” Mr Wright was speaking during a press conference in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania has started distributing the coronavirus vaccine to all regions of Tanzania Mainland, with priority given to those with underlying health conditions, healthcare workers and the elderly. There are about one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine in the country right now.

The vaccines were donated to Tanzania by the U.S. government through the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative, the global vaccine-sharing facility that the country requested to join in mid-June this year.

The government plans to inoculate at least 35 million people or 60 per cent of the population but misinformation surrounding the issue of coronavirus vaccines threatens to paralyze this ambitious goal.

“Vaccines are an important part of the public health toolkit because they’re safe and because they work,” Mr Wright said during the press conference that was organized in order to share the right information about COVID-19 vaccines to the Tanzanian public. “The science is not in doubt. In the United States right now, 99 per cent of new deaths from COVID-19 are among people who have not been vaccinated.”  

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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