Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
Vavagaa: A feminist storytelling platform seeking to disrupt tired narratives
Vavagaa is a Swahili word that translates into English as pervade, which the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary translates as “something to spread through and be easy to notice in every part of something.” Its most relevant synonym is permeate.
Armed with years of experience working in Tanzania’s feminist space, these women, which included Demere Kitunga, one of the country’s respected feminist activists and writers, rightly concluded that if efforts to dismantle patriarchy were to succeed, alternative ideas must be created, shared, and articulated everywhere.
Feminists, who want to organise society based on the equality of sexes, consider patriarchy, which promotes the dominance of the male sex, as the biggest obstacle towards the welfare and freedom of women and men who do not meet the patriarchal masculinity standards. Thus, it must be dismantled.
“From the start, we have had the ambition to make it about listening, hearing, understanding, or appreciating, offering an alternative perspective,” Kitunga, who leads a Feminist Storytelling Organization, Readership for Learning and Development, and literacy space, Soma Book Café, opened up recently during an interview with The Chanzo.
“In short, [we targeted] curating conversations where there is open contestation based on different experiences of privilege and vulnerabilities; while posing questions for participants to find common ground and rationale for social gender transformation,” she added.
Based in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam, Readership for Learning and Development, popularly known as Soma, organises around literacy issues, and it is under its auspices that Vavagaa implements its mission: dismantling patriarchy and intersecting forms of oppression.
Full story here.
African Court orders Tanzania to amend election, criminal justice laws
Tanzania’s reformers received yet another boost on Tuesday after the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) ordered the government to amend the National Election Act and the Criminal Procedure Act to align them with the treaty establishing the continental court.
In the first ruling, the Arusha-based regional court ruled on the case between Bob Chacha Wangwe and the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) versus the United Republic of Tanzania on using District Executive Directors (DEDs) as returning officers during elections.
In their case, Mr Wangwe and LHRC challenged the provisions of the National Elections Act, charging that the law violated numerous rights, including the right to equality before the law, the citizen’s right to participate freely in the government of their country, and the right to vote and be elected.
They charged that sections 6(1), 7(1), 7(2) and 7(3) of the National Elections Act, which permits DEDs to act as the returning officers during elections, violated various sections of the Charter establishing ACJHR, with the court ruling in their favour.
The court ordered the government “to take all necessary constitutional and legislative measures, within a reasonable time and without any undue delay,” to amend the law and align it with the provisions of the Charter.
The court ordered Tanzania to publish its ruling on the Judiciary and Ministry for Constitutional and Legal Affairs websites within three months from today.
Full story here.
Tanzania, Austria seek improved ties on trade, security
Tanzania and Austria have discussed ways through which bilateral relations could be improved, especially in trade and regional peace and security initiatives.
Austria’s Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, expressed this during Monday’s meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart Dr Stergomena Tax on the official inauguration of Tanzania’s embassy in Vienna, the capital of Austria.
Austrian press reported Tuesday that the volume of trade exchange between the Central European nation and Tanzania was only 13 million euros, with Mr Schallenberg saying there is a room for improvement.
“With the strengthened political relations, we want to lay the foundation for a more intensive economic exchange,” he said.
“Austrian know-how in infrastructure, green technology, and the health sector, combined with Tanzania’s young and dynamic population, holds enormous potential that we should exploit,” Mr Schallenberg added.
The two foreign ministers also discussed regional foreign policy issues such as security in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and its global implications.
Mr Schallenberg said appreciated Tanzania’s role of mediating due to its geographic proximity to the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa, describing Tanzania as an important role anchor for political and economic stability in a volatile region.
He said the country plays a central role in resolving regional conflicts and participates in regional integration efforts, for example, as a member of the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Tanzania also provides peacekeepers in troubled spots such as Mozambique and Sudan, Mr Schallenberg said, pledging his support for this approach to regional ownership.
International Maritime Organisation supports Tanzania in drafting maritime security laws
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations body responsible for regulating shipping, is organising a five-day training in Dar es Salaam to support Tanzania in drafting national legislation to incorporate international legal instruments on maritime security.
The training, which commenced on June 12, 2023, has brought together 30 participants from Tanzanian agencies, including the Drug Control Enforcement Authority (DCEA), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and the National Prosecution Services (NPS).
Other attending the training are representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, Immigration, Police Marine, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), and the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC).
In a statement on Tuesday, IMO said that during the workshop, staff from the Ministry of Works and Transport would be trained, particularly in reflecting SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code in Tanzania’s domestic legislation, including control and compliance measures.
The ISPS Code forms the basis for a standardised mandatory security regime for international shipping, according to IMO. It also provides a framework for exchanging and evaluating information between Contracting Governments, companies, port facilities, and ships.
Dr Ally Possi, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Works and Transport, opened the European Union-funded workshop on Monday. Participants will visit the Port of Dar es Salaam to see the security measures applied in situ.
USAID in a mission to end Neglected Tropical Diseases in Tanzania
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said Tuesday that it works alongside endemic countries and global, regional, and in-country partners to improve health and end Neglected Tropical Diseases in Tanzania.
In a statement, USAID said that its NTD program has four key objectives: controlling and eliminating diseases; strengthening the scientific and program evidence base; supporting sustainable country-led programs; and strengthening and expanding partnerships.
USAID said that Tanzania’s 61.7 million people are at risk for one or more NTD. The organisation said its Act to End NTDs | East program supports Tanzania in the sustainable control and elimination of five NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, onchocerciasis schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminth infections.
It supports the government in reaching the population with treatment through mass drug administration, conducting surveys to assess impact, and helping to prepare dossiers for the World Health Organization’s certification process, which confirms the successful elimination of these diseases.
“Since 2018, Act | East has supported Tanzania to deliver more than 50 million treatments for at least one NTD and trained more than 200,000 government officials, health workers, and teachers on skills to effectively deliver NTD services,” the agency said.
Act | East ensures NTD services are integrated into a robust and resilient health system, including integration into national and sub-national health plans, strategies, and budgets, the organisation said.
The program also supports Tanzania in expanding the reach of NTD services through microplanning, behaviour change communications, gender equity, and social inclusion activities, strengthening the health system to reach all people at risk for NTDs.
“To date, Tanzania has made remarkable progress in achieving their national NTD goals, with 28.9 million Tanzanians no longer at risk for lymphatic filariasis and 17 million persons no longer at risk for trachoma,” USAID said.
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