Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, April 20, 2022.
Police in Dar arrest activist Peter Madeleka over unspecified charges
Lawyer and activist Peter Madeleka was reportedly arrested in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday with no one knowing exactly why law enforcement officers were interested in the man who has been very vocal lately about the misuse of power by Tanzania’s security organs.
According to reports that circulated on social media, plain-cloth officers picked up Mr Madeleka at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam during mid-hours of Wednesday.
Mr Madeleka, who is a lawyer by profession, was expected to be a member of the panel to discuss the importance of visas in the national security during a function scheduled to take place on April 22, 2022, at Serena Hotel.
The topic was supposed to take place against the background of a massive scandal that implicated the Department of Immigration that involved the issuance of fake visas to 21,208 foreigners who entered Tanzania between January 2019 and June 2019 via Kilimanjaro International Airport, causing the nation a staggering cost of Sh2.42 billion, according to the latest audit report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).
Wednesday’s arrest also followed reports by Mr Madeleka that his life was in danger, alleging that officers from the Immigration Department were plotting to take his life.
In a series of tweets on Monday and Tuesday, Mr Madeleka claimed that the officers were devising plans to kill him through a WhatsApp group, even sharing screenshots of WhatsApp messages where members discussed ways of “finishing him.”
A number of people reacted to Mr Madeleka’s alleged arrest yesterday, with many condemning the manner with which the arrest was conducted, saying that it was not in line with procedures of how the police should be acting.
The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), for instance, sent out this tweet: “LHRC is following up closely on the incident of [the] arrest of Advocate @PMadeleka. We encourage that all proper procedures are taken during his custody to avoid any violation of human rights and miscarriage of justice.”
In a statement, the National Coordinator for Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) Mr Onesmo Olengurumwa said he was “saddened” by the arrest of Mr Madeleka, urging the Ministry for Home Affairs to either “free Mr Madeleka or inform the public of the reasons that led to his arrest and produce him to court as per as the law requires.”
A lawyer appointed by the THRDC to follow up on Mr Madeleka’s legal challenges Paul Kisabo said in a Twitter post on Wednesday evening that police confirmed to him that they were holding Mr Madeleka, telling him Madeleka was in a safe place but denied him access to see him.
According to Mr Kisabo, police also went to search a hotel where Mr Madeleka was lodging while preventing him from going with them in Madeleka’s hotel room where the search activity was taking place.
Mr Madeleka and his wife Jamila Ilomo spent more than 18 months in pretrial detention on economic sabotage and money laundering charges before being released in June 2021, following the failure of the prosecution to provide evidence into the charges against them.
Mr Madeleka sued the government for “malicious prosecution”, and the case is still ongoing.
Bolt: We are engaging authorities regarding the 15pc service fee
The Estonia-based ride-hailing company Bolt has said that it is engaging the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) to re-negotiate the new 15 per cent service fee order that came into effect Friday last week.
Bolt’s revelations, which come a few days since its biggest competitor suspended its services in the Tanzanian market citing the very service fee.
The website TechCrunch quoted Bolt East Africa regional manager Micah Kenneth as saying: “Bolt has requested a meeting with the relevant stakeholders to further discuss this particular matter with the hope of reaching favourable tariff and commission regulations, even as we continue to seek and explore alternative lobbying options provided within the legal framework including LATRA regulatory framework.”
Kenneth added that the company will switch off its car category should nothing change. This would leave the market to smaller players like Little, which charges a 15 per cent commission, and Ping. Bolt charges its partners a 20 per cent commission. Uber was charging 25 per cent.
“While we acknowledge and appreciate LATRA’s mandate, we strongly believe that the introduction of control tariffs in a well-functioning and competitive ride-hailing sector is detrimental to a free market economy. Nevertheless, Bolt has implemented the directive under duress and for a limited interim period,” the website quoted Kenneth as saying.
“We are complying temporarily to demonstrate goodwill and our commitment to engage with LATRA for more favourable regulations that enable further investment. We are cognizant of the fact that should LATRA maintain the status quo, the market will eventually cease to be viable for Bolt, and this will necessitate turning off our car category.”
On March 14, 2022, LATRA released a fare setting order for ride-hailing services, Order No. LATRA/01/2022.
The Order, which platform owners have refused to comply with, stipulates ride-hailing fares per km to the tune of Sh900 and Sh100 per minute. The minimum fare is set to be Sh3,000, while the approved maximum commission for platform owners is 15 per cent.
You might be interested to read this analysis of the matter by our contributor, Emmanuel Mwesiga, an experienced commercial and corporate lawyer, here.
Road accident kills six in Arusha
Six people were killed and four others seriously injured after two cars collided head-on, on the Arusha-Makuyuni highway in Alkatani area on Tuesday evening.
Arusha Regional Police Commander Justine Masejo told journalists on Wednesday that the grisly road accident occurred after the driver of the ill-fated truck with registration number T 250 CAA veered off its lane and rammed straight into the oncoming Toyota Noah, registered as T 189 DFY.
The minibus was travelling to Karatu town when it collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction along the busy highway.
The minibus is said to have been ferrying passengers from Arusha to Karatu town, while the truck was heading to Arusha.
Six occupants in the Toyota Noah were declared dead on the scene, while six others were rushed to Mt Meru regional hospital for treatment, according to Commander Masejo.
The RPC further revealed that the driver of the truck has since been held for questioning following the fatal accident.
“It seems that the driver of the lorry lost control of his truck and ended up ramming the oncoming minibus, killing six people on the spot,” Maseju explained.
He said those being treated had suffered multiple cuts and fractures.
According to the police, fatal accidents are common in Kenya due to reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving, drunk walking, drunk riding, and failure to use helmets.
At least 22 people died while 32 others sustained injuries last month when a bus collided with a Lorry at Mlela-Kibaoni in Mvomero District, Morogoro region.
Barrick donates high-level disease detection systems to two regional hospitals
Barrick’s North Mara and Bulyanhulu mines have donated Point of Care (POC) systems to two regional hospitals as part of a support program to assist the country in combatting and containing Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, the company said Wednesday in a statement.
In a handover ceremony at the Musoma Referral Hospital, Mine General Manager Apolinary Lyambiko made the donation to the Regional Commissioner for the North Mara region, the Honourable Ally Happi.
The instrument-based isothermal systems will be used for the qualitative detection of multiple infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus, mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, mycoplasma pneumonia, herpes simplex virus, influenza and human papillomavirus infection, to name a few.
Resident doctor at the North Mara mine Dr Nicholas Mboya noted that detection can be made through a wide range of sample types, namely nasal swab, throat swab, saliva or sputum and, depending on the condition to be assessed, can produce results within between 49 and 80 minutes of testing.
The system’s accuracy demonstrates high sensitivity and specificity and provides the ability to run four samples at once.
“We are proud to provide this special equipment to strengthen the medical infrastructure in the communities around the company’s mines,” Lyambiko said.
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