Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.
Tanzania raises minimum wage by 23 percent
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Saturday approved a 23.3 percent increase in the minimum wage in a move that has been well received by public servants who have been going without an increase in their salaries for the last six years.
The director of presidential communications Zuhura Yunus said in a statement over the weekend that the decision follows a recent consultative meeting between Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and key stakeholders whose recommendations were submitted to President Samia.
“The salary increment was approved considering the country’s gross domestic product, domestic revenue and developments in both the local and global economies,” Ms Yunus said in a statement.
Following the decision, the government plans to spend Sh9.7 trillion in the fiscal year 2022/23 to pay the salaries of public servants in the central and local governments, institutions, parastatals and agencies, pushing the wage bill to 2022/23 by Sh1 .59 trillion.
On May Day, the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) Hery Mkunda asked the Head of State to upgrade the minimum wage for public servants from the current Sh315,000 to Sh1,010,000.
Mr Mkunda said that the cost of lives has skyrocketed to the extent that the current minimum wage does not allow a public servant to lead a decent life, pleading for an increase that would allow workers to take good care of themselves and their dependents.
“TUCTA is proposing that the minimum wage should be at least Sh1,010,000 per month, if possible,” said Mr Mkunda. “We will be very grateful.”
President Samia said that she strongly agrees with Mr Mkunda that the current amount of salaries does not meet the needs of the workers and their families, especially in times like these when the cost of living has gone up.
However, she fell short of announcing an increase. The Head of State, however, made this promise: “We will increase the salaries. Brothers and sisters, this matter is being considered [but] not at the amount proposed by TUCTA because you know our economic situation and that of the world. The situation is not that good, our economy extremely declined.”
The government approved the increment at a time when the nation is reeling from the impacts of a global hike in the price of fuel, a phenomenon that has caused runaway inflation in Tanzania, leading to the increase in the cost of living among many people.
Samia’s remarks on Ngorongoro stir debate
Tanzanians on Twitter have had different reactions to President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s statement that human rights defenders should support the government’s plan to ‘relocate’ Maasai from Ngorongoro instead of helping the indigenous peoples movement to remain the UNESCO-inscribed world heritage site.
While speaking during the occasion to mark the ten-year anniversary of promoting and defending human rights and civic space by the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders’ Coalition (THRDC), Samia said her government works to prevent the site from destruction, wondering why human rights defenders do not support it.
“When we go out to defend world heritage, the heritage that exists in Tanzania, like Ngorongoro, the government is committed to preserving that heritage,” Samia said. “But is it not your networks [of human rights defenders] that defend the people putting that heritage at risk? It is your networks by claiming that it is human about rights.”
The statement was however received with different reactions from Tanzanians who use the social media platform Twitter, with some condemning it while others were supporting it.
Deus Valentine is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic Litigation (CSL), an NGO that promotes the rule of law and constitutionalism in East Africa, who thinks that President Samia’s statement has raised “a very important debate” about the presence of Maasai in Ngorongoro.
“Is it true that the Maasai that we have found living with the animals ever since are the ones responsible for the destruction of ‘the world heritage?’” he asked in a Twitter post. “We need a national dialogue [to discuss this question].”
David Moses, a human rights activist who has been very vocal against the plan of the government to ‘evict’ Maasai from Ngorongoro, said in a Twitter post: “This is another evidence that [President Samia] is an architect of Maasai eviction in Ngorongoro. She seems not pleased by those who defend Maasai rights in Ngorongoro.”
A lawyer and human rights activist Fatma Karume said President Samia’s remarks “are saddening beyond limit” while Maria Sarungi Tsehai, another human rights activist, said that the world heritage site of Ngorongoro is not threatened by Maasai but by the construction of hotels in the site.
Others however commended President Samia’s statement, pointing out that the statement introduces the Head of State as someone interested in wildlife conservation.
“Congratulations Madam [President],” wrote one Twitter user with the name Patrick Gayo. “You’ve been a leader in the conservation movement to make sure that our natural resources benefit all of us and not just a particular group of people.”
The Maasai people of Ngorongoro are fighting for their right to remain in their ancestral land as the government is trying to evict them, arguing that their continued existence there puts the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage site at high risk of losing its status.
On May 7, 2022, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues called on the government of Tanzania to “immediately cease efforts to evict the Maasai people from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.”
Tanzania, Oman sign MoU for deep-sea exploration
Oman Investment Authority (OIA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Tanzania for deep-sea exploration and fishing last week as the OIA seeks to expand in international markets.
Mohamed al Toqi, general manager of the East Africa department of OIA, and Mashimba Mdaki, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Tanzania, signed the MoU, according to a statement released over the weekend.
The MoU stipulates that Al Wusta Fisheries Industries Company – a subsidiary of OIA’s Fisheries Development Oman (FDO) – will conduct a fish stock assessment in the Tanzanian maritime territory, in collaboration with Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI).
This assessment covers coastal areas from the edge of the continental shelf (approximately 80m in depth) to the edge of Tanzania’s 320km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including the Pemba Channel and areas to the east of Zanzibar.
“This MoU aims to strike partnership and cooperation between OIA and the Tanzanian Deep Sea Authority to acquire fishing permits for Al Wusta Fisheries Industries Company to find pelagic fish and manage the Tanzanian tuna-fishing quota in the Indian Ocean,” the statement quoted Toqi as saying.
Toqi added that the MoU is an opportunity to explore a promising fish stock that the company’s fishing vessel can target. He said the company will be able to increase its production volume and market its products in Oman and the Middle East.
As per request from TAFIRI and the Deep Sea Fishing Authority in Zanzibar, Al Wusta Fisheries Industries Company worked on the provision to sail one of its fishing vessels in the Tanzanian territorial waters starting from June for 12 months with a 25-tonnes daily fishing capacity. This estimation was made based on the same capacity in Oman at the beginning of the pelagic fishing project.
Suspected poachers kill seven elephants in Ruvuma
Ruvuma regional police commander Joseph Konyo said Friday that seven elephants have been killed in the past two weeks in the southern region of Tanzania after the animals were found dead in two separate incidents in Namtumbo and Tunduru districts.
In the first incident, Konyo told a press conference, five elephants were found dead on May 1 in a forest in the Hanga area in Namtumbo district.
“Police could not find poachers who killed the jumbos, but they managed to recover five tusks weighing 44 kilograms,” he was quoted as saying.
In the second incident, Konyo said, police found two dead elephants in a forest in Tunduru district on May 10 where they recovered four tusks and eight pieces of tusks weighing 20.4 kilograms.
He said three suspected poachers were arrested in connection with the second incident.
The elephants were suspected to have been strayed from the Julius Nyerere National Park that borders with the districts, said Konyo.
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