Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
Religious leaders met Samia on Wednesday. Here’s what they told her
Leaders of various religious denominations from Tanzania on Wednesday met and held talks with President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Dar es Salaam State House where, among other things, they pleaded with her to find wisdom and finish the case against CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe.
On February 18, 2022, the High Court of Tanzania (Corruption and Economic Crimes Division) ruled that Mr Mbowe and his three other co-accused have a case to answer in the terrorism and money laundering charges they face.
The ruling came hardly a day after CHADEMA deputy national chairperson Mr Tundu Lissu pleaded with President Samia 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.
Opposition parties and democracy activists in Tanzania have demanded the release of Mr Mbowe, calling the case against him a trumped-up one and which targeted Mr Mbowe for his political activities.
A lot of calls made to secure the release of Mr Mbowe and his co-defendants have gone unheeded so far. It’ll be interesting to watch what will be the authorities’ reaction towards the latest call by the religious leaders.
But the clerics also had other pleas to make to the Head of State. For instance, they asked the president if her administration could exempt the money donated to them by well-wishers from being taxed while they use the aid money to do businesses aimed at supporting needy groups like widows and orphans.
The clerics also, according to a statement by the director of presidential communications Zuhura Yunus, asked the president to heed the call from Tanzania’s education stakeholders who are demanding a total overhaul of the country’s education system.
Stakeholders have been pointing out for years now that the current education system is outdated, arguing for an updated system that goes hand in hand with the demands of the 21st century as well as the government’s industrialization drive.
Other issues raised during the meeting between the religious leaders include the prioritization of environmental protection; improving Tanzania’s relations with its regional and international partners; increasing women’s opportunities in political leadership; and the need to maintain the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Ambassador to hold talks with Zanzibar authorities over the fate of stranded Ukrainians
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Kenya Andrii Pravednyk is scheduled to meet Zanzibar officials and Ukrainian tourists stranded on the island following Russia’s invasion of their country, Kenya’s The East African newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The development follows President Hussein Mwinyi’s remarks on Monday that his government has received a request for help from about 900 Ukrainians who can no longer stay at the semi-autonomous archipelago because they have run out of money and cannot go back to their country because it is currently at war with Russia.
President Mwinyi said that some hoteliers have already started helping the Ukrainians in their hotels by providing them with services without charging them.
He said in turn the government “will consider” hoteliers who provide this support to the Ukrainian nationals when it comes to tax calculations and payments.
According to The East African, authorities in Zanzibar are in talks with Ukraine to help the stranded Ukrainian nationals to fly to Poland, which is accommodating refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian airspace has been closed to all civilian flights following Russia’s military action.
The paper quoted Zanzibar’s Tourism Minister Leila Mohammed Musa who said that the stranded Ukrainians are being accommodated in various hotels, with some staying free of charge and receiving humanitarian support.
Inside Zanzibar’s use of drones in efforts to eliminate malaria
Zanzibar is making use of drones to locate and map mosquito breeding sites in malaria hotspots in an effort to eliminate the killer disease in the semi-autonomous archipelago, according to a report by DroneDJ, a website that publishes drone-related stories.
The effort is part of a project by an international team comprising of the UK’s Aberystwyth University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program, Tanzanian Flying Labs, Mosquito Consulting, and Zzapp Malaria.
The project is funded by the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, which was established in 2005 with an initial grant of $50 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project is informed by the realization that public health authorities need up-to-date information on malaria hotspots to target elimination efforts better.
Experts say that drones can map these areas quickly, and once the breeding sites are identified in the drone images, the authorities can use the data within a bespoke smartphone app to precisely locate and treat mosquito habitats.
“One of the main challenges to disease managers is finding small water bodies that mosquitoes use to breed. This is where drones come in,” Dr Andy Hardy from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University told DroneDJ.
“For the first time,” he added, “drone imagery can be routinely captured by the malaria elimination program in Zanzibar, to create precise and accurate maps of potential breeding sites.”
According to Dr Hardy, a single drone is able to survey a 30-hectare rice paddy in just 20 minutes. This imagery is then processed and analyzed on the same afternoon to locate and map potential breeding sites.
The approach in Zanzibar has proven to be so accurate and efficient to the extent that experts want drone mapping to be adopted in other national malaria campaigns in Africa as well, including those in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana.
“As we strive towards the ultimate goal of malaria elimination we look to new techniques and technologies to inform intervention strategies,” DroneDJ quoted Dr Silas Majambere from Pan-African Mosquito Control Association wants as saying.
According to her, drone mapping work is helping to provide critical information to enable a broad-scale assessment of where permanent and semi-permanent water bodies exist – key targets for malarial mosquito control.
VP Mpango leaves for Kenya for global environmental summit
Vice President Philip Mpango on Wednesday left Tanzania for Kenya to represent President Samia Suluhu Hassan in a Special Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly slated for March 3 and 4, 2022.
More than 100 nations that will convene in Nairobi for the summit are expected to take the first steps toward establishing a historic global treaty to tackle the plastic crisis afflicting the planet.
The summit will be taking place amidst calls from environmental activists who point out that as the situation stands in most parts of the world, including the East African region, there remains a huge gap in legislative alignment, consistent enforcement, uniform standards, common language, and clear targets regarding plastic pollution and management in the region.
A recent report by three environmental organizations from East Africa, for example, urged the EAC member states to do away with the ‘business as usual’ approach to dealing with the issue of single-use plastic products and take measures that benefit the health, wellness, and livelihoods of all East Africans.
“[EAC member states] should establish a legal framework to control the manufacture, importation, use and sale, of SUPs, that coordinates with existing regulations and agreements,” the organisations, which include the Flipflopi, ALN Kenya and Sustainable Inclusive Business, urged in their report.
“They should also allocate technical and financial support to the framework,” they added. “They also need to establish monitoring and reporting structures that track progress and ensure compliance.”
According to environmental activists, the Nairobi summit provides a unique opportunity for governments to commit to the establishment of a UN global treaty on plastic pollution that the world has been calling for.
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