Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
Demands for accountability intensify following Bukoba plane crash
Opposition party CHADEMA on Tuesday joined ACT-Wazalendo and other pressure groups in demanding accountability within the government for the alleged failure to respond on time to disasters, leading to the huge loss of both lives and properties.
The recent plane accident that took place in Bukoba, and the subsequent failure of relevant authorities to intervene on time, have been described as a microcosm of a larger problem that Tanzania’s system of disaster response currently faces.
Sunday’s accident, involving aircraft 5H-PWF, ATR42-500, which was flying from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba, occurred around 08:53 am, crashing at Lake Victoria, killing 19 people.
There were 39 passengers (38 adults and one infant) and four crew on board the plane, according to reports.
The loss of nineteen lives has put the government in a tight spot, with institutions responsible for disaster response facing intense criticism from members of the general public for their alleged failure to act on time to save the passengers aboard the plane from dying.
On Tuesday, CHADEMA called on all relevant authorities responsible for disaster management in Tanzania to take responsibility and step down, saying doing so is the first step in their commitment to protecting people’s lives and properties.
“[Tanzania] should not continue to be the nation of condolence messages every now and then,” the party’s director of protocol, communications and foreign affairs director told a press conference. “It is very clear that [the plane crash] shows just how incapable the Disaster Management Department is in responding to disasters.”
The Disaster Management Department is under the Office of the Prime Minister and CHADEMA’s calls followed high on the heels of ACT-Wazalendo’s demands that Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa should step down, followed by a transparent and independent investigation into the matter.
“We emphasize the need to empower this department in an attempt to ensure security and immediate rescue during the time of disasters,” the party’s deputy national chairperson (Tanzania Mainland) Dorothy Semu said in a Sunday statement.
In his statement regarding Sunday’s plane crash, the Executive Director of Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) Dr Rugemeleza Nshala said that once again the organs entrusted with the role of responding to disasters proved to be incapable of the task, demanding an “immediate responsibility.”
Full story here.
Petra Diamonds halts Tanzania mine after dam breach
The diamond mining group Petra Diamonds announced on Monday that it had halted operations at its Williamson mine in Shinyanga after a tailings storage facility burst, causing flooding in nearby areas.
The company, which also operates three mines in South Africa, said the eastern wall of Williamson’s tailing dam was “breached”, but said in an email that the pit was not affected.
Petra noted that there were no injuries or fatalities confirmed so far, adding that the government and mine emergency response teams had been mobilized to the site.
“While no injuries have been reported, any impact on the local communities would be viewed as a material negative from an ESG standpoint,” the company said in a statement.
The diamond miner has worked hard to clean up its image in Tanzania, according to a report by the website Mining.com.
Last year, it achieved a $4.9m settlement with claimants alleging widespread human rights abuses, including beatings and detentions, at Williamson —the country’s biggest diamond mine.
Petra, which has repeatedly denied the involvement of its own employees in the incidents, admitted that “regrettable” incidents took place at the mine in the past.
The clashes between locals and police resulted in “the loss of life, injury and the mistreatment of illegal diggers” within the mining license, it said last year.
Pope Francis offers condolences following Bukoba plane crash
Pope Francis is praying for victims and survivors and has assured all those affected by the tragedy of his spiritual closeness, according to a report by Vatican News.
The accident involved flight PW-494, property of Precision Air, which crashed at Lake Victoria in Bukoba.
The aircraft, 5H-PWF, ATR42-500, was flying from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba when the accident occurred around 08:53 am. According to a statement by Precision Air released on Sunday, there were 39 passengers (38 adults and one infant) and four crew on board the crew.
According to a telegram addressed to the Apostolic Nunciature in Tanzania and signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father was praying for the victims of a plane crash.
“Having learned with sadness of the plane crash in Bukoba, His Holiness Pope Francis sends condolences and offers the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this tragedy, especially the families of the victims,” the telegram, seen by Vatican News, read.
“He prays in particular for the eternal repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and strength for those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts. Upon all, His Holiness invokes the consolation and peace of Almighty God,” the telegram concluded.
In another development, the wreckage of the plane was finally pulled out the Lake Victoria on Tuesday, bringing the three-day work to pull the plane out of the water to a success.
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