Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, May 2, 2022.
‘Panya Road’ strikes again, a day after Samia’s warning
At least nineteen people from the Dar es Salaam neighbourhood of Kunduchi were on Monday attacked by a group of marauders commonly known in Kiswahili as ‘Panya Road,’ a day after President Samia Suluhu Hassan warned members of the gang, telling them that “there will be consequences for their actions.”
Police are yet to comment about the incident. But according to reports circulating on social media the band of marauders raided the Mtongani street in Kunduchi and started attacking people with machetes with the goal of robbing them of their properties.
According to statements by victims of the attack reported by local media, the attackers are adolescent boys who showed up in different groups, demanding people provide them with whatever properties they might have including mobile phones, before attacking them with machetes.
Monday’s development regarding the persistence of Panya Road attacks in Dar es Salaam means that police in Tanzania’s commercial capital will need to intensify their operations aimed at eliminating the security threat once and for all.
Dar es Salaam Special Zone Commander Jumanne Muliro told journalists on April 28, 2022, that law enforcement authorities are holding 10 members of the band during a special operation launched to put the security situation in the city back to normalcy.
Muliro’s statement followed reports that boys aged between 13 and 21 marauded the areas of Chanika and Tabata in the city with the sole aim of robbing people of their properties using traditional weapons of knives and machetes, leaving dozens injured and panicked.
“This operation is intense and continuous and it will be carried out in all areas of Dar es Salaam,” Muliro said during a press conference. “[The police] will work closely with citizens and see these criminal gangs are stopped as soon as possible in accordance with the law.”
In her May Day speech on Sunday, President Samia expressed concern over the terrifying trend, urging the boys involved in the crimes to stop, warning them that they will face the law enforcement’s wrath should the trend continues.
“I’m warning them to stop immediately,” President Samia said. “They should immediately stop such bestiality because when they put other people’s lives at risk, and their properties, they are also putting their lives in danger.”
While the security danger that Panya Road poses to civilians remains a matter of concern to many people, theories about what might have led to the emergence of the groups persist.
One concerns the economic precarity that many young Tanzanians find themselves in.
This was the conclusion of a 2019 study that examined the trend when it emerged then. Researchers called on authorities to provide an education system, which is skill-oriented to enable young people to employ themselves, as a means to solve the challenge.
Kuduishe Kisowile is a medical doctor and public health commentator who thinks that until the nation invests heavily in eradicating youth poverty, the danger of being attacked by Panya Road will remain as eminent as ever.
“People, especially youths, join criminal gangs like Panya Road because they need to belong first,” Kisowile says in a Twitter post. “Schools have failed them, there are no alternatives. The only way that remains to make it in life is joining [criminal] gangs.”
Others think the reemergence of Panya Road is a failure on the part of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro to ensure the safety of people and their properties, going as far as urging the top cop to step down.
Minister summons online TV following report on the increased cost of cell phone plans
Information, Communication and Information Technology Minister Nape Nnauye is facing criticism online after directing the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to summon the management of Darmpya TV for questioning.
The move follows Darmpya TV’s report that mobile phone users have sought government intervention in the latest move by telecom services providers in Tanzania to lower the plans of internet bundles but requiring users to pay the same price as they used to for previous plans.
Following the report, TRCA sent out a statement, saying that it has seen the discussion regarding the matter making rounds online.
“[TCRA] would like to inform [the public] that if there is any customer who happened to buy a cellphone plan and received the one that she/he did not pay for, should communicate with us through [the number] 0800008272,” the regulator said.
But Mr Nnauye told TCRA to go beyond what they did and “communicate” with Darmpya TV so that they can provide the regulator with evidence of the complaints that the media outlet reported.
“The way they have published the claim, it seems like Darmpya TV has got the evidence that a decision has been taken to change cellphone plans secretly,” Nnauye, who doubles as Mtama MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM), said in a Twitter post. “I want TCRA to communicate with [Darmpya TV] in order to obtain the evidence of the said decision.”
Following the minister’s directive, many people online volunteered to stand as Darmpya TV’s witnesses while criticising Mr Nnauye for going against a media outlet instead of working on issues raised.
“I’m a Tigo customer,” said one Twitter user with the name Dickson Amos. “I’ve been buying a Sh2,000 plan where I used to get 1.5GB, 60 minutes and many SMS. Yesterday [May 1], I bought the same plan, paid the same Sh2.500 but received 1.4GB.”
The Chanzo asked Mr John Marwa, the Managing Director of Darmpya TV, if TCRA reached out to them following Nnauye’s directive.
He said they had a meeting with the TCRA but declined to answer our specific questions, saying now is an inappropriate time to do so.
AfDB finances new center for cardiovascular science in Tanzania
The African Development Fund has financed a new Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Science in Tanzania as part of a wider initiative on regional health response through biomedical education in East Africa.
The state-of-the-art facility at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences is expected to bolster Tanzania’s response against the rising cases of cardiovascular diseases.
The center’s goal is to train medical staff in cardiovascular disease prevention, disease treatment and rehabilitation of patients touched by cardiovascular diseases.
It is the latest health project in the East African country’s efforts to boost healthcare.
Last week, Tanzania’s health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a $70 million health strategy aimed at aligning national healthcare priorities alongside WHO’s policies.
The health strategy, which will be undertaken between 2022 and 2027, is part of the WHO’s commitment to support Tanzania achieve its mission of attaining high quality health and livelihood of its people.
The country’s parliament also in February urged the government to introduce a bill designed to facilitate universal health coverage (UHC).
Parliamentarians argued that availability of UHC will help majority of the country’s less privileged people access quality health services.
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