Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
World Bank: Gender-based violence remains a serious concern in Tanzania
Two new World Bank studies report that the high rates of gender-based violence in Tanzania remain a serious concern despite many promising opportunities to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in the East African nation.
The studies are thus calling on Tanzania’s authorities to continue to strengthen the policy and legal environment to protect the nation’s women and girls in the country.
The two reports, the Tanzania Gender Assessment 2022 and the Tanzania Gender-Based Violence Assessment 2022, bring together the latest evidence on gender gaps in human endowments, economic opportunities, ownership and control of assets, and women’s voice and agency.
Speaking during the launching of the studies here on Tuesday, World Bank country director Mara Warwick said it is encouraging to see the commitment of policymakers to end violence against women and children in Tanzania.
“However, as our studies show, existing efforts such as the National Plans of Action need to be supported by sustainable funding for their implementation,” Ms Warwick said. “Also, laws that continue to undermine the rights of women and girls to be free from violence and discrimination need to be urgently reformed, such as the Law of Marriage Act whose repeal is still pending.”
More than 20 per cent of all women aged 15-49 years have experienced physical violence in the last year (40 per cent in their lifetime), and about 75 per cent of children experience physical violence by a relative before the age of 18, the studies note.
Moreover, 58 per cent of women and 40 per cent of men believe a husband is justified in beating his wife under certain circumstances.
Social norms, low levels of economic independence and education for women and women having lower levels of agency and decision-making power due to their lower participation in employment are key drivers attributable to the high rates of GBV, including intimate partner violence.
Yaa Pokua Afriyie Oppong, World Bank Sector Leader and report co-author, said this during the launching of the studies: “To combat GBV, it is important to build legal literacy among the population through [the] translation of laws and policies, as well as support to widespread community outreach and sensitization.”
The authors, among other recommendations, are making an urgent call for action to change the legislative framework to address child marriage as a key driver of GBV.
The Law of Marriage Act set the minimum age of marriage at 15 for girls and 18 for boys.
In 2016 the High Court of Tanzania ruled that the minimum age for girls was unconstitutional, and this ruling was upheld subsequently by the Court of Appeal in 2019.
As part of this ruling, the government was instructed that within one year it should change the minimum age of marriage for girls to be 18, however, this reform is still pending.
Samia to address regional editors on media freedom
President Samia Suluhu Hassan will on May 3 open the 2022 World Press Freedom Day conference in Arusha convened by the Eastern Africa Editors Society (EAES), organisers confirmed to The East African newspaper on Tuesday.
Media freedoms in the region, safety issues concerning journalists, and the advancement of big data and artificial intelligence are expected to take centre stage at the conference.
This year’s theme is “Journalism Under Digital Siege.”
Particular emphasis will be placed on the subject of media viability in digital times as a route to resilience and the effects that privacy, online surveillance and hacking have on public trust in journalism.
The chairperson of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) Deodatus Balile told The East African newspaper that President Samia’s opening address will form a launchpad for frank discussions on journalism and freedom of expression for sustainable development, as well as digital advancement and associated challenges to gender equality and women’s empowerment in public media and information delivery.
“We look forward to hearing from her on how she intends to deepen access to information and media freedoms in Tanzania and challenge other African countries to see media as an important part of growing our democracy,” the paper quoted Mr Balile as saying.
‘Justice, peace and reconciliation’ conference kicks off in Dodoma
The Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) was on Tuesday finally able to organise its so-called justice, peace and reconciliation conference in the capital Dodoma after having been postponed at least twice due to logistical challenges.
The conference – which drew participation from political parties, civil society, the diplomatic community and religious institutions – is part of the national process aimed at examining the status of multiparty democracy in Tanzania with the goal of making it serves the best interests of the country.
The process – which takes place under the auspices of the TCD and the Council of Political Parties – is spearheaded by President Samia Suluhu Hassan who seems to be determined to chart a different path for Tanzania than that left by her predecessor John Magufuli.
Inaugurating Tuesday’s conference, President Samia said: “Tanzania cannot be built by one political party. The function of many political parties is to see what is going on and to give opinions to the government and our task is to engage you in those issues. I promise to engage you.”
Two pieces of legislation are of concern to members who participated in the two-day conference, which is expected to give recommendations on how to improve them: the National Elections Act and the Political Parties Act.
Already two model bills have been prepared with assistance from the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and if successfully turned into laws, stakeholders think, the bills will go a long way in ensuring free and fair elections in Tanzania.
The conference, however, took place against the boycott from opposition parties CHADEMA and NCCR-Mageuzi that have ruled out taking part in any process that will fail to deliver the New Constitution to Tanzanians before 2025.
The ongoing government-backed process, of which Tuesday conference is part, has ruled out the possibility of getting the New Constitution before 2025, with its key players arguing that now is too short a time to get the document before the general election.
The task force formed by the Registrar of Political Parties to recommend to President Samia reforms to be taken to improve multiparty democracy in Tanzania has postponed the revival of the New Constitution writing process to after 2025.
The task force’s priorities, for now, are legislative reforms that aim at improving the electoral management mechanisms in Tanzania that would help deliver what it believes to be a free and fair election in 2025. Thus the two bills which are at the centre of today’s conference.
Speaking during the conference, the outgoing TCD chairperson who doubles as the leader of the opposition ACT Wazalendo party Zitto Kabwe, said the meeting is expected to heal various injuries that had occurred in the past, and that from the meeting they expect to focus on making recommendations for some law reforms.
“This conference will focus on proposing amendments to the two laws which are certainly the widely discussed laws,” said Mr Kabwe. “Those laws are the law of political parties and the law of elections.”
Millicom completes Africa exit with Tanzania sale
A telecommunications services company Millicom International Cellular has completed the transaction for the sale of its operation in Tanzania to a consortium led by Axian, a pan-African group, Advanced Television reported Tuesday.
In accordance with the terms of the sale, Axian has assumed ownership of the business, including its debt and other obligations, and Millicom has received net cash consideration of approximately $100 million, the website said.
The transaction completes Millicom’s multi-year plan to divest its African operations and associated obligations and liabilities and to focus on its Latin American markets.
Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos said that Tigo is now a leading provider of broadband services to consumers, businesses and governments in Latin America, where penetration and data speeds remain low by the standards of more mature markets.
“Through our investment-led strategy, we are bringing reliable high-speed mobile and fixed broadband to the communities we serve in the region” Ramos was quoted as saying. “With today’s announcement that we have completed the divestiture of our African businesses, we close a chapter in our history and open another solely focused on the Latin American region.”
In April 2021, the company announced that it was disposing of its African businesses and focusing on its Latin American investments.
The Luxembourg-based company said then that it has agreed to sell its entire operations in Tanzania to a consortium led by Axian, a Madagascar group that was part of the consortium that acquired Millicom’s operations in Senegal in 2018.
Axian then confirmed to the media it was leading a consortium regarding the sale of Millicom’s shares in both Tigo Tanzania and Zantel in Zanzibar.
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