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The Chanzo Morning Briefing – July 13, 2022. 

In our briefing today: Tanzania reports outbreak of unknown disease in its southern regions; Road accident kills eight in Kagera, including a mother and her four children; LHRC sign Sh3.95b agreement with Norway to promote human rights in Tanzania; CPJ wants Tanzania to allow DarMpya to resume operations.

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

Tanzania reports outbreak of unknown disease in its southern regions 

President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Tuesday that a team of experts has been dispatched to Tanzania’s southern regions to investigate an unknown disease whose patients have reported experiencing nose bleeding before falling down.

The experts working on the ground aim to establish the nature of the disease, and its causes and subsequently come up with prevention measures, the Head of State explained.

She was speaking during the 20th plenary assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam.

Themed ‘Environmental Impact on Integral Human Development,’ the conference brought together 100 Catholic Bishops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, and Eritrea

“I was discussing with Prime Minister [Kassim Majaliwa] who recently visited Lindi region, he told me he had seen people were experiencing nose bleeding problems,” President Samia said. “So far, we’re clueless about the disease. We have dispatched a team of experts to establish the cause.”

“Why would a person experience nosebleeds and fall down?,” President Samia wondered. “If it was one or two people [experiencing the same] we would have quickly concluded by saying it is blood pressure. But it is so many people in a row…this is a disease that we have never experienced before. This might be caused by the destruction of the environment. We are destroying habitats of living organisms.”

Road accident kills eight in Kagera, including a mother and her four children

Eight people, including a mother and her four children, died on spot on Tuesday after two vehicles collided head-on at Busiri area of Biharamulo district, Kagera region, Kagera regional police commander William Mwampaghale told journalists yesterday.

The accident involved a lorry that collided head-on with Toyota car with registration number T 626 DRX, which was being driven by Nyawenda Bihela with seven passengers on board. All passengers in the car died on the spot.

Mwampaghale identified the deceased as Nyawenda Bihela, 35, a resident of Kikoma village, in Biharamulo District, Jesca Leonard, 45, Magreth Sekanabo, 14, Adidas Sekanabo, 12, Vestina Sekanabo, 8  and Zabron Sekanabo, 6, all residents of Nyamalagala village, in Biharamulo.

Others are Michael Runyilija, 28, and Majaliwa Kanundo, 32, all residents of Kikomakoma village.

Speaking in the parliament on May 6, 2022, Minister of Home Affairs Hamad Yussuf Masauni said that nearly 1,200 people were killed in 1,594 road accidents that occurred in Tanzania between July 2021 and March 2022, with 2,139 people injured in road accidents during the same period.

Between July 2020 and March 2021, 999 people were killed in 1,228 road accidents that left 1,589 people injured, Masauni said when he was tabling his ministry’s budget proposals for the 2022/2023 financial year.

“Statistics indicate that there has been an increase of 366 road accidents, which is a rise of 29.8 percent,” said the minister, adding that most of the accidents were caused by reckless driving, defective vehicles, and bad roads.

LHRC sign Sh3.95b agreement with Norway to promote human rights in Tanzania

The Legal Human Right Centre (LHRC) on Tuesday signed an agreement with the Norwegian Embassy that will see the latter providing Norwegian Kroner 18,000,000 (Sh3.95 billion) to support the centre’s work on human rights provision in Tanzania for the period between 2022 and 2024.

The agreement was signed on Tuesday at LHRC’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam by the centre executive director Anna Henga and Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania Elisabeth Jacobsen.

Norway’s contribution will support LHRC’s core programmes and operations and deepen understanding and respect for human rights among both rights holders and duty bearers as improving the rule of law.

“LHRC is committed to delivering on its mandate and envisioned results through implementing its programmes efficiently and effectively while observing value for money and in collaboration with governance stakeholders and partners, work towards achieving a just and equitable society,” said Henga during the signing ceremony.

On her part, Ms Jacobsen noted that human rights have been and still is Norway’s area of focus, hence Norway’s support to LHRC aims at ensuring the promotion of human rights in Tanzania.

“I’d like to appreciate LHRC’s efforts in advocating and protecting social and economic rights through advocacy in human rights and business,” she said. “According to the recent reports, a significant number of labourers and workers face some labour challenges despite having protection mechanism in place.”

CPJ wants Tanzania to allow DarMpya to resume operations

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the New York-based non-profit, urged the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to allow the DarMpya online news outlet to resume operations without further interference and reform the country’s online content regulations so they cannot be used to muzzle the press.

On July 6, 2022, TCRA prohibited DarMpya from publishing content online, citing the outlet’s alleged failure to renew its publishing license as required by regulations governing online content in Tanzania.

CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo said in a statement on Tuesday that Tanzanian authorities are using a repressive set of regulations to control who may and may not express themselves online.

“The suspension of the DarMpya news outlet shows how such regulations can become tools of censorship,” she said. “Authorities should allow DarMpya to resume operations without interference, cease using harsh regulations to police speech on the internet, and urgently reform the country’s laws to nurture, rather than limit, press freedom.”

CPJ said on Tuesday that it was told by Information Minister Nape Nnauye that DarMpya had been under scrutiny for allegedly unbalanced content, but said the outlet’s suspension had nothing to do with its journalism and was solely due to its failure to comply with licensing requirements.

Nnauye told CPJ that the Tanzanian government was engaging with local journalists about reforming media laws, but while the regulations remain on the books, the government will enforce them.

“We can’t close our eyes and say the law isn’t there,” CPJ’s statement quoted Mr Nnauye as saying. “As long as the law is there, it is not suspended, it is not changed. I am sworn to stand and make sure these laws are followed. If it is changed, then we will follow the new one.”

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