Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.
Samia reshuffles cabinet, appoints first female defence minister
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Sunday announced a mini cabinet reshuffle whereby among other appointments she picked the immediate former Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary Dr Stargomena Lawrence Tax as Tanzania’s new defence minister, the first woman to be appointed to head the docket in the history of the East African nation.
Dr Tax was sworn in as an MP on Friday, September 11, 2021, after President Samia had appointed her as a lawmaker in the 12th Parliament. She is replacing Mr Elias Kwandikwa who died on August 2, 2021, while receiving treatment at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam for an undisclosed disease.
Experienced in peace and security issues, Dr Tax is taking over the defence docket at a time when the region is facing a number of security threats from terrorism and cybercrimes, with Tanzania recently agreeing to host a SADC Counter-Terrorism Centre as part of the efforts to maintain peace and security in the SADC region.
According to a statement released late evening on Sunday, President Samia also appointed Dr Eliezer Feleshi as the new Attorney General, replacing Prof Adelardus Kilangi who has been appointed ambassador. Before Sunday’s appointment, Dr Feleshi served as a principal judge at Tanzania’s High Court.
On September 20, 2019, Dr Feleshi, then a High Court judge, slapped former Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) president and outspoken activist Ms Fatma Karume with an indefinite suspension as an advocate over alleged misconduct.
Ms Karume had allegedly committed the unspecified misconduct in her submission in the then ACT-Wazalendo spokesperson (now it’s Secretary-General) Mr Ado Shaibu who was challenging then-President John Magufuli’s appointment of Prof Kilangi as AG. As of writing, Ms Karume had not been reinstated in Tanzania’s advocates’ roll.
In Sunday’s reshuffle, President Samia also announced that she is transferring the Information Department from the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Sports to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies. The Head of State appointed Dr Ashatu Kijaji to head the docket, replacing Dr Faustine Ndugulile whose appointment has been revoked. Dr Kijaji had served as deputy finance minister during the Magufuli Administration.
Samia also appointed Bumbuli MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi) Mr January Makamba who is replacing Dr Merdard Kalemani as minister for energy. Mr Makamba worked as Union Affairs and Environment Minister under the Magufuli Administration until his unceremonious sacking on September 20, 2019. The docket is under the Office of the Vice President, meaning that Mr Makamba worked closely with the then Vice President Samia.
President Samia also appointed Prof Makame Mbarawa as Minister of Works and Transportation, replacing Dr Leonard Chamuriho whose appointment has been revoked. Prof Mbarawa had served the docket under President Magufuli before the late Head of State appointed him as Water and Irrigation Minister.
According to the Director of Presidential Communications Mr Jaffar Haniu, all newly appointed ministers are expected to be sworn in today, September 13, 2021, at the State House, in the capital Dodoma.
VP Mpango: Tanzania committed to boosting food security in the region
Vice-President Philip Mpango said on Saturday that Tanzania is committed to improving the agricultural sector thus boosting food security for socio-economic prosperity in the East African region, according to a statement by APO Group.
The VP made the remarks during the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit, which is taking place in a hybrid format in Kenya, whereby the VP participated virtually on behalf of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
The summit is bringing together political leaders, policymakers, donors, investors, and innovators to discuss novel ways to transform Africa’s food production system amid challenges posed by the pandemic, climate change, diseases, and pests.
Other topics discussed include innovation in the agriculture sector and the role of women in the invention and innovation of appropriate technologies in the continent.
“[Tanzania’s Second National Five-Year Development Plan – FYDP II] had set a target of attaining a real growth rate of 7.6 per cent in the [Gross Domestic Product] GDP share of 29.4 per cent and 24.9 per cent share in total exports and in total employment at 56.5 per cent,” Dr Mpango said. “Such target was not met as the sector has grown by an annual average of 5.1 per cent, accounting for an average of 27.7 per cent to GDP share, 24.1 per cent to export earnings and 65 per cent of total employment.”
Dr Mpango added that in realising agricultural sector transformation and growth, the government has been taking various measures, notably the improvement of the National Agriculture Policy, 2013 and the Zanzibar Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ZASDP 2019-2029).
Tanzania is currently implementing its third National Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III), and agriculture has been identified as central to Tanzania’s industrialisation drive and a source of livelihood for approximately 65 per cent of the Tanzanian population. Estimates show that the agricultural sector employs 66.3 per cent of Tanzania’s workforce.
During the meeting, Dr Mpango also revealed that during the UN Food System Summit on September 23, 2021, Tanzania will present a paper on the area of agriculture financing, lack of quality seeds for agriculture and fisheries, pests’ challenges and lack of modern technology in agriculture as well as livestock keeping.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who was hosting the meeting said that bold policy choices combined with investments in appropriate technologies were key to boost agricultural productivity in Africa.
Mr Kenyatta said: “We must identify immediate steps to accelerate agricultural transformation, achieve food and nutrition security for our citizens even as we embark on rebuilding our economies after disruptions triggered by the pandemic.”
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said that political goodwill is key to transforming Africa’s agriculture amid myriad challenges linked to climate change, pressure on arable land, distorted value chains, and low technology uptake.
Tanzania, US close joint military training exercise
Tanzania’s Marine Special Forces and US Special Forces Detachment on Saturday concluded a six-week Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) that has been taking place at the Peacekeeping Operations Training Centre in Kunduchi, Dar es Salaam, the government-owned Daily News newspaper reports.
For the six weeks, the US and Tanzanian forces trained side by side to strengthen skills such as small unit tactics, marksmanship, medical treatment, unit manoeuvre, the Law of Armed Conflict and the preservation of human rights in combat.
The training was officially inaugurated by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General Stephen Townsend who paid a two-day visit to Tanzania in late July this year. JCET programs are exercises designed to provide training opportunities for American Special Forces by holding the training exercises in countries that the forces may one day have to operate in, as well as providing training opportunities for the armed forces of the host countries.
While announcing the end of the training exercise, the Head of Armed Forces training for Land Forces Command (LFC) Brigadier General Iddi Nkambi urged the Tanzania and US commandos to appropriately utilise the skills gained from a joint training in their work.
“This training should transform and lead you to better performance, let it link the Tanzanian army with that of the US,” the Daily News quoted Brigadier General Nkambi as saying.
The exercise was the first of its type between the US and Tanzania since 2017. According to Brigadier General Nkambi, the training has equipped the soldiers with skills to tackle international crimes including terrorism.
“As you are aware that the terrorist now uses new tactics, therefore, this kind of training is crucial in ensuring you are equipped with crucial skills to tackle any threats,” he said, adding that the joint programme was a continuation of the partnership Tanzania and the US have been in for seven years.
In his part, the Commander of the Tanzania People’s Army Command, Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Kulya, said the training involved officers and soldiers with special commanding skills in Tanzania and American commandos.
It provided an opportunity for both Tanzania and the United States to learn as they exchanged skills to deal with crimes that disturb the nation.
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