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The Chanzo Morning Briefing – December 23, 2021.

In our briefing today: EAC Heads of State want DRC admission talks finalized; Tanzania to receive US $500 million loan from the World Bank for primary education improvement; US donated 1.6 million doses of Pfizer vaccine; US officials accused of helping US national escape prosecution after killing a woman in Tanzania

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

EAC Heads of State want DRC admission talks finalized 

Leaders of the East African Community member states directed the bloc’s Council of Ministers to “expeditiously” commence and conclude negotiations with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for admission to the East African Community (EAC).

The Council of Ministers has been directed to report the progress on the upcoming summit,  a communiqué released on Wednesday stated.

The directive was given during the ongoing virtual 18th Extraordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Summit is held under the theme “Deepening Integration, Widening Cooperation.”

EAC Heads of State considered DRC’s application to join the EAC during their 21st ordinary meeting on February 27, 2021, and directed the Council of Ministers to undertake a verification mission to the DRC in accordance with the bloc’s procedures for admission of new members,

The DRC applied for admission into East African Community in June 2019. If approved, it would give the EAC its first port on the African west coast.

Writing for The Chanzo on December 1, 2021, Dar es Salaam-based analyst Charles Makakala argues that DRC joining the EAC is “a game-changing experience” for both sides.

“With a population of 90 million people, DRC has a huge untapped market for goods from EAC nations,” Makakala writes. “For the EAC, increased integration with DRC, which borders five EAC nations, will be quite transformative.”

According to Makakala, DRC’s biggest need for is security, something which he thinks the EAC can help to deliver, an argument, however, contested by another The Chanzo’s contributor Dastan Kweka who argues that EAC membership is no panacea for DRC’s problems “because the EAC has no exemplary conflict resolution track record to speak of.”

Tanzania to receive US $500 million loan from the  World Bank for primary education improvement

On December 17, 2021,  the World Bank Board of Directors approved the $500 million BOOST Primary Student Learning Program for Results that is expected to make Tanzania primary schools safer, more inclusive and child friendly.

More than 12 million children in Tanzania Mainland are expected to benefit from a new World Bank-supported program that aims to make preprimary and primary education better and more accessible across the country, the international lender said in a statement.

According to the World Bank, while primary enrollment in Tanzania has increased by more than 2.5 million since 2013, Tanzania’s education sector remains constrained by several key factors, including inequitable access to early learning and primary education for rural marginalized and vulnerable groups among others.

“Tanzania has made important progress in education by expanding access and reducing gender disparity in basic education,” the statement quoted Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, as saying. “Investing in the education of young and vulnerable children, especially girls, is a critical building block to accelerating the country’s progress towards inclusive growth, poverty reduction and stronger upward mobility of all Tanzanians.”

The overall goal of the project is to ensure an education system that supports all children, including the most marginalized, to enrol early, develop strong foundational skills, and complete a quality education, the bank said in a statement.

The project will focus on three main areas: improving the public school learning environment; improving teacher competencies and quality of classroom teaching; and strengthening education financing and decentralized service delivery capacity.

US donated 1.6 million doses of Pfizer vaccine

The US embassy in Tanzania has on yesterday announced the donation of additional 1.6 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to Tanzania making a total of 3 million doses that were received from the US since July 2021.

The consignment come days since the Ministry of Health has announced that all 1,058,400 doses of Johnson and Johnson which were also donated by the US have been used.

Up to December 18, 2021, Tanzania has vaccinated 2.2% (1.2 million) of its eligible population. To increase the uptake of the vaccine, yesterday, Tanzania has launched a community plan for raising awareness on Covid-19 vaccines. The plan will involve communities from the grassroots level, with local leaders championing the initiative.

According to the Ministry of Health, in every 10 critically ill patients of COVID-19, 8 have not been vaccinated and in most cases, the 2 vaccinated patients would recover fast after receiving healthcare compared to the unvaccinated.

US officials accused of helping US national escape prosecution after killing a woman in Tanzania

Peace Corps and US Embassy officials in Dar es Salaam reportedly prevented the prosecution of a US citizen by rushing him onto a plane and out of Tanzania after reportedly killing one person and injuring two others in a series of road accidents, an investigation by US-based newspaper USA TODAY has revealed.

John M. Peterson, then the 65-year-old director of management and operations for the Peace Corps in Tanzania was on August 24, 2019, in Msasani, Dar es Salaam, driving around 5 a.m., where he driving back a sex worker to the area where he had picked her up and, though it was a clear and dry morning, struck a bystander on the way.

The woman’s injuries were severe but not life-threatening. A group of angry onlookers gathered, and when Peterson took off – with the sex worker still in the passenger seat – motorcycle drivers chased close behind.

According to USA TODAY, Peterson plowed through a sharp turn and hit 47-year-old Rabia Issa, who was the primary breadwinner in her family, according to her relatives, as she was setting up her food stand, leading to her untimely death.

Peterson kept driving. A short distance later, the sex worker leapt from the moving vehicle and was injured. Eventually, Peterson slammed into a pole and was detained by police. By the time police made it to Rabia, she was dead. Bystanders watched as her body was covered with a cloth.

“But within hours, Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy staff rushed the man onto a plane and out of the country,” USA TODAY reported. “Tanzanian authorities were unable to charge him first, and the U.S. Department of Justice later declined to file criminal charges because of a lack of jurisdiction.”

Peterson remained on Peace Corps staff for 18 months before resigning in February 2020.

Carol Spahn, the agency’s chief executive, declined to be interviewed by USA TODAY but in a written statement to the publication she said Rabia Issa’s “tragic death broke my heart and horrified me.”

Of Peterson, she added, “The actions of this individual are in total contradiction to the values of the Peace Corps, and we strongly condemn them.”

Rabia Issa’s relatives told USA TODAY they received 20 million Tanzanian shillings, the equivalent of about $8,700, after her death and were told the money came from the company that insured Peterson’s vehicle.

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