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The Chanzo Morning Briefing – February 19, 2022. 

In our briefing today: Mbowe has a case to answer, court rules; Weather watchdog issues alert over rainfall season; Two miners killed by dynamite explosion in Mara; Govt to spend Sh2b renovating community-build police posts.

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Friday, February 18, 2022.

Mbowe has a case to answer, court rules

The High Court of Tanzania (Corruption and Economic Crimes Division) ruled here on Friday that CHADEMA national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe and his three other co-accused have a case to answer in the terrorism and money laundering charges they face.

In an unprecedented development of case No. 16/2021 today, the presiding judge Joachim Charles Tiganga ruled that the general evidence brought against Mr Mbowe together with Halfan Hassan, Adam Kasekwa and Mohamed Lingwenya was sufficient enough to let the case proceed.

“The court, therefore, informs the accused that they can bring forward their defence and even witnesses or they can choose to stay quiet,” Judge Tingatinga told the courtroom that was packed to the brim. “If they [choose to] defend themselves under oath, the prosecution will cross-examine them. If they keep quiet, the court will rule.”

Mr Mbowe 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 before his case was transferred to the High Court. Both Mr Mbowe and the three other accused have denied all charges.

Today’s ruling comes hardly a day after CHADEMA deputy national chairperson Mr Tundu Lissu pleaded with President Samia Suluhu Hassan to instruct the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to withdraw the case, calling it an important step towards reconciling with the country’s political actors.

Mr Lissu made the request when he was meeting with the Head of State in Belgium where the Tanzanian leader has been touring for an official visit. Asked by the German broadcaster DW if she would pursue that path, Samia said the matter was in the court and the law interpreting body would rule over it accordingly.

Given Friday’s ruling, it now means that Mr Mbowe and his fellow co-accused will be defending themselves, guided by their legal team, a process that starts immediately.

Weather watchdog issues alert over rainfall season

Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) on Thursday issued an alert over the March-May rainfall season, saying the rains will have both positive and negative impacts.

The weather watchdog said in a statement that the March-May rainfall season expected to be experienced in some parts of the country will have an impact on sensitive sectors, including agriculture and food security, livestock and fisheries, wildlife and tourism, health, water, transport and energy.

The rainfall season is specific to areas of the northeastern highlands, northern coast, Lake Victoria basin and the northern part of the Kigoma region, said the statement.

It said periods of enhanced rainfall are expected during March over the northern coast and in April for the northeastern highlands area.

According to TMA’s weather forecast, excessive rains may cause excessive soil moisture and hamper field crops that do not require much water, such as maize and leguminous crops.

The TMA advised farmers to start land preparation and planting early, using appropriate soil management practices and technology to control soil erosion and nutrient loss, seed and crop selection based on seasonal characteristics.

The statement said pasture and water availability for livestock are expected to be sufficient over most areas during the March-May rainfall season.

It added that livestock pests and diseases associated with enhanced rains may occur during the season, advising livestock keepers to practise good animal husbandry such as rotational grazing in order to conserve pasture and harvest rainwater for future use.

The expected rains are likely to cause the risk of infectious diseases particularly due to the exposure to water-borne and vector-borne pathogens, said the statement.

An increase in water levels in lakes, rivers and dams are expected to contribute to the availability of food for fish production, said the statements, advising fishers to strengthen fishing infrastructure, and seek advice and guidance from extension officers in their localities.

It said sufficient pasture and water availability for wildlife are anticipated over most areas which may cause infrastructure damage and occurrence of pests and diseases.

“Relevant authorities are advised to improve tourism infrastructure and take control measures against animal pests and diseases,” said the statement.

According to the statement, the potential occurrence of extreme weather events is expected to affect transport infrastructure, leading to damage of road and railways infrastructure, and an increased number of accidents for land transport.

The statement said increased water levels in dams are expected to improve hydropower generation.

On the other hand, the rainfall is expected to affect exploration and mining, especially for small-scale miners for gold and gems.

Two miners killed by dynamite explosion in Mara

Two miners have been killed by a dynamite explosion in Tanzania’s northern region of Mara, an official told Xinhua news agency on Thursday.

The news organization reported that Farida Nchagwa, a councillor for Kenyamanyori ward in Inchage division in Mara region, told a meeting of councillors that the duo was killed by the explosion while they were underground mining gold on Wednesday.

Nchagwa said the victims were aged 20 and 21 years, appealing to relevant authorities to conduct regular inspections in mining pits to avoid further disasters.

She said ongoing rains have affected mining activities, especially for small-scale miners who are using crude mining facilities.

Govt to spend Sh2b renovating community-build police posts

Deputy Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) Dr Festo Dugange told the parliament on Friday that the government plans to spend a total of Sh2 billion to construct and renovate 63 police stations initially built by the public as part of efforts to curb criminal activities in their areas.

He said so far a total of Sh1.85 billion has been released as of December 2021.

Dr Dugange was responding to a question from Igunga MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM) Daud Venant who sought to know the government’s strategy in completing various structures that have been built by the citizens for Education, Health and Police purposes.

He also said that the government has set aside a total of Sh43.8 billion in the 2021/2022 financial year for the completion of dispensaries and health centres where over Sh29.5 billion has already been released for the project.

Mr Dugange added that a sum of Sh79 billion has also been disbursed for the completion of classrooms and laboratories.

“The government is aware of the 1,715 fortified dispensaries and health centres that were established by citizen’s efforts that require a total of Sh98.7 billion for its completion also in the education sector there is a total of 12,101 structures that require Sh183.5 billion to be completed,” he said.

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