The Chanzo Morning Briefing – February 11, 2022.

In our briefing today: Relief as Tanzania lifts a ban previously imposed on four newspapers; Senior UN civil servant Mwele Malecela dies aged 58; TPSF boss steps down after a year in the job; Tanzania orders ships from Kenyan military firm; Minister explains strategies to reduce drug shortages in hospitals.
The Chanzo Reporter11 February 20229 min

Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Thursday, February 10, 2022.

Relief as Tanzania lifts a ban previously imposed on four newspapers

In a move that signals redefined relations between the government and journalists, the Minister for Information and Communication Information Technology Nape Nnauye on Thursday lifted a ban previously imposed on four newspapers while referring to the media as an “important development stakeholder.” 

The newspapers – MwanaHALISI, Mawio, Mseto and Tanzania Daima – were banned at different times on various grounds under the administration of President John Magufuli who died on March 17, 2021, paving the way for then Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan to take the helm of Tanzania’s leadership.

Mr Nnauye, who briefly served as information minister under Magufuli before falling from grace, handed four licences to the four newspapers during an Uongozi Institute-organized workshop for editors that took place in the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam.

“Let the government start its relations with journalists on a fresh page,” Mr Nnauye, who doubles as Mtama MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM), proclaimed. “If the government means to have a fresh start with journalists, it should express that commitment with actions and not mere words, is that not right?”

The Magufuli administration was criticised for its muzzling of press freedom that saw not only newspapers banned but also media outlets heavily fined while others were outrightly suspended

All these made Tanzania perform badly in the world press freedom index, including the Reporters Without Borders 2020 World Press Freedom Index that ranked Tanzania 124th out of 180 countries.

Managing Director of HaliHalisi Publishers, which publishes MwanaHALISI and Mseto newspapers, Mr Saed Kubenea said after receiving the licenses for the two papers that he is feel “comforted” by the government’s decision.

“Let bygones be bygones,” Kubenea remarked after explaining that the granting of the licenses was overdue given the fact that the papers finished serving their punishment a long time ago. “We thank President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her directives, meaning without her the ban on these papers would not have been lifted.”

During the meeting, Mr Nnauye also told editors that the political environment under Magufuli is different from the one under Samia, something that he correctly observed that offers an opportunity for reforms, not just in the media sector but also in other sectors.

“President Samia has directed that [the ministry] go through all laws, policies, regulations and procedures that govern Tanzania’s media sector and see how we can make them friendly and enable smooth operation of journalists instead of being an obstacle,” he announced.

The staunchest of these laws is the 2006-passed Media Services Act that free press advocates have described as “draconian” and which the previous administration heavily weaponized against independent media. 

For years stakeholders have been urging authorities to review the piece of legislation, calling it antithetical to Tanzania’s national and international commitment to ensuring freedom of expression and press freedom.

Now, Mr Nnauye explained Thursday during the meeting with editors that the government would finally arrange a meeting with key stakeholders to review recommendations that have been submitted to authorities for the purpose of amending the law. 

“We will discuss and see where do we agree and eventually the government will table an amendment bill to the parliament to amend the law,” said Mr Nnauye who obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Bangalore University, in India.

He also announced a grace period of one more year until the government start to enforce the provision that wants for a person to practice journalism in Tanzania he or she must have a diploma or a bachelors degree in journalism or a related field.

Mr Nnauye also directed government institutions that stopped advertising through independent media houses to start doing so and those that owe media houses should clear their debts.

Previously speaking on behalf of editors of Tanzania’s media houses, Tanzania Editors’ Forum (TEF) chairperson Deodatus Balile stressed the need for laws governing the country’s media sector to be reviewed and aligned to international best practices.

Senior UN civil servant Mwele Malecela dies aged 58

One of Tanzania’s most cherished scientists Dr Mwele Ntuli Malecela died on Thursday. She was diagnosed with late stage cancer in 2018, since then she has been sharing her surviving journey yearly.

Malecela died in the Swiss capital of Geneva where she was working as the director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization Headquarters in the city.

Prior to her appointment to the position in April 2017, Dr Malecela served as Director-General of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) until former President John Magufuli fired her for announcing that there were Zika Virus cases in Tanzania, a position that differed from that of the government.

Four years after her dismissal, in October 2019, Magufuli said that he had to fire Dr Malecela because her revelation would have scared off tourists. 

Dr Malecela was born on March 26, 1963, in a family with a strong political lineage. Her father, Mr John Malecela, held several senior political positions in Tanzania, including those of Prime Minister and First Vice-President, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Dar es Salaam and an MA and a PhD at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1990 and 1995 respectively.

When she was appointed as NIMR’s Director-General in 2010, Dr Malecela was the first woman to hold such a position.

In her condolences message, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said she was “saddened” by the passing of a woman who “wholeheartedly served Tanzania within and outside of its borders.” 

Dr Faustine Ndugulile, who was serving as deputy minister of health when Dr Malecela was fired, described her as “a sister, friend and confidant.” 

In a Twitter post, the Kigamboni MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM) eulogized: “Mwele was always on top of things. She played a critical role in my first parliamentary campaign in 2010. I’ll remember her for her kindness. May her soul rest in eternal peace.”

Writing on Twitter, ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe described Dr Malecela as “[Tanzania’s] finest professional,” adding: “It feels like a dream. My condolences to the family of Mzee John Samwel Malecela.”

TPSF boss steps down after a year in the job

The chairperson of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Angelina Ngalula on Thursday announced the resignation of the organisation’s executive director Mr Francis Nanai, who is “going to pursue other personal interests.” 

Mr Nanai resigned from the position effective from February 8, 2022.

Mr Nanai’s tenure at the umbrella body of private sector associations and corporate bodies in all sectors of the economy started in December 2020 when he succeeded Godfrey Simbeye who had resigned from the post.

In a statement, Ms Ngalula thanked Mr Nanai on behalf of the Board of Directors “for his devotion and commitment towards promoting effective engagement of the private sector in driving the business and development agenda of Tanzania.”

TPSF appointed Raphael Laizer as their new Acting Executive Director, replacing Mr Nanai who before his stint at the organization served as a managing director for Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) since 2013. 

“The Board would like to reassure all its members, government and all stakeholders of a smooth transition period that will not affect the delivery of the foundation’s mandate,” Ms Ngalula said.

Mr Laizer was the organization Director of Finance prior to his appointment.

Tanzania orders ships from Kenyan military firm 

Tanzania has contracted state-owned Kenya Shipyard Limited (KSL) for the construction of ships, Kenya’s The East African newspaper reported on Thursday, naming Uganda also among those who have sought the service of the company operating under Kenya’s Ministry of Defence.

It was not immediately clear what types of ships have Tanzania ordered from the ship-maker, how many and how much would each ship cost.

The paper also does not say how was KSL selected and whether or not the tendering process was open.

“In total, we have got 17 orders from different companies that want us to construct ships for them,” The firm’s deputy director Peter Muthungu told The East African newspaper. He added that it had another 11 orders from local firms for the construction of the ships.

Kenya’s government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna told the paper that the country is keen on utilising the shipyard across the region given that it’s the only facility currently around.

“This shipyard will play a significant role not only in Kenya but also in handling ship-related issues across our neighbouring countries,” the paper quotes Rtd Col Oguna as saying.

Minister explains strategies to reduce drug shortages in hospitals

Deputy Minister for Health Godwin Mollel said Thursday that the government is constructing a Sh18 billion-pharmaceutical factory in Idofi, Njombe that is expected to reduce the importation of medicines and medical supplies. 

Dr Mollel made the remarks in the parliament following a question by Special Seat MP Dr Alice Kaijage who wanted to know if the government has any plan to reduce or eliminate the drug shortages in health facilities across the country.

“Upon its completion, the factory will have the capacity of producing enough tablets for two days to cater the country’s needs for three months,” Dr Mollel said of the factory which has so far reached 70 percent completion.

He also spoke of the Njombe gloves factory that he said is 100 percent complete and is currently on trial.

Dr Mollel said that after trials and starting full operations, the industry will be in the position to cater to the country’s glove needs by 85 percent.

The deputy went on to reveal that the Keko Pharmaceutical factory located in the Dar es Salaam region has been revived and is currently producing 12 different types of medicines.

This is it for today and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below) or following 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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