Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Thursday, February 17, 2022.
Human Rights Watch lauds lifting of a ban on four newspapers
Human Rights Watch on Thursday described the lifting of a ban on four newspapers in Tanzania as “an important decision,” after freedom of media and expression in Tanzania “seriously deteriorated since 2015 when the late President John Pombe Magufuli came to power.”
The newspapers – MwanaHALISI, Mawio, Mseto and Tanzania Daima – were banned at different times on various grounds under the administration of President 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.
On February 10, 2022, Minister for Information, Communications and Information Technology Nape Nnauye 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 while referring to the media as an “important development stakeholder.”
“Although Nnauye told the editors that the government is now ready to work with the media, the authorities need to do more to ensure freedom of media and expression in Tanzania,” Human Rights Watch said yesterday in a statement.
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.
According to Human Rights Watch, the authorities should start by reviewing repressive provisions in the Media Services Act, the Cybercrimes Act, and the Electronic and Postal (Online Content) Regulations, and protect journalists from physical attacks and arbitrary arrests.
Tanzania sets aside Sh2b for procurement of fire fighting vehicles
Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Jumanne Sagini said Wednesday that the government has set aside Sh2 billion for procurement of fire fighting vehicles in the 2021/2022 financial year to bolster operations of the Fire and Rescue Force, an official told parliament on Wednesday.
Mr Sagini made the remarks in the parliament when responding to a question by Special Seats MP Esther Matiko who wanted to know measures the government was taking to procure modern fire fighting vehicles in the wake of fire outbreaks that claim people’s lives and property.
“The government is working hard to ensure that the Fire and Rescue Force is well equipped,” said Mr Sagini after admitting that the Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force is facing a shortage of fire fighting vehicles and other equipment crippling its operations.
Sagini said the government has prepared a strategic plan which is aimed at strengthening fire and rescue services in the country by reinforcing fire rescue operations.
“The government will continue to allocate funds each year to ensure that more modern fire fighting equipment and vehicles are procured and distributed all over the country,” he said.
Tanzania has been rocked with fire incidents lately that mostly face markets, schools and dormitories. In almost all cases, the fire brigade fails to put down the fire, resulting in serious damages to people’s lives and properties.
Check out our timeline (in Kiswahili) that outlines some of the fire incidents that have been reported to raze some of Tanzania’s markets here.
Govt turns to rainwater harvesting to solve Tanzania’s water woes
Deputy Minister for Water Maryprisca Mahundi informed the parliament on Wednesday that the government was working on strategies aimed at strengthening rainwater harvesting in the wake of water shortages facing various parts of the country.
She said that the government has decided to invest in rainwater harvesting instead of digging wells that do not produce enough water.
She was responding to a question by Kiembe Samaki MP Mohamed Maulid Ali (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM) who asked the government to explain plans it was taking to harvest rainwater to avert the water crisis.
“Instead of spending huge amounts of money to dig wells which at the end of the day do not produce water, it is better for the government to put more emphasis on harvesting rainwater,” Ms Mahundi was quoted by media as saying.
Mahundi said construction and rehabilitation of dams for harvesting rainwater are underway in 20 districts in the country.
She said 58 suitable sites for the construction of small dams for harvesting rainwater have been identified and the construction will be carried out in the 2022/2023 financial year, which started on July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.
Mwinyi sacks isle’s taxman
Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi on Thursday revoked the appointment of the Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB) commissioner Salum Yussuf Ali over reasons that were not shared with the general public.
A statement released by the Zanzibar Chief of Secretary Zena Said stated that the removal of Mr Ali from the post is effective from yesterday February 17, 2022.
Mr Ali has served as the taxman’s commissioner for a year. He was appointed as ZRB’s top boss on February 11, 2021.
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