Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday August 01, 2023
Stakeholders lament that Tanzania NGO law constrains civil society in the country
Leaders of several civil society organizations have met yesterday in Dar es Salaam on the reflection of the civil society environment in the country. This was during the launching of the civil society week which is expected to be held in October.
“Unfortunately, I think our relevance as civil society is not well, we do things to please the government or not to get in friction with the rulers,” commented Bob Chacha Wangwe, Director of Jukwaa la Katiba.
“We found ourselves in this situation after the change of the law. We have laws that if the registrar decided to deal with you, there will always be a reason.
“We cannot solve this situation if we are not honest with ourselves, our sector is made captive to the government, it is in the pocket of the government,” argued Wangwe during a discussion session on civil society freedoms.
Responding to Bob Wangwe’s comments, Executive Director of Twaweza, Aidan Eyakuze said the sector is not captive, ‘it is struggling but it’s fighting through’. “If we want to continue existing, we must do some activism to change the law, it is possible,” argued Eyakuze giving an example of how the sector was able to change statistic law.
Stakeholders were also able to take stock of the current civic space environment and agreed that the space has improved but it was noted that civil society is yet to recover and completely assume the space.
“We are coming from a very tough situation. When the space was closed every one of us responded differently, some chose to align themselves with the state,” argued Francis Kiwanga, Executive Director of the Foundation For Civil Society.
“The old habits are still there, you can see even today we can’t do any function without having a guest of honor, and we have to wait for them for many hours.
“But who are we as civil society organizations? We are supposed to be about the people, this makes me sleepless at night,” continued Kiwanga.
Some of the issues that were raised about the law include the micromanagement aspect of the law where every quarter NGOs have to present returns to the registrar and also require a permit for implementation of project contracts over Tshs 20 million.
Also, series of permits that NGOs requires in the implementation of their role and the fact that by law NGOs cease to exist in ten years, so they have to register afresh.
Peter Madeleka denied bail, a prominent critic of the Dubai DP World-Tanzania port deal
The court yesterday at the Integrated Justice Centre in Arusha denied bail against activist lawyer Peter Madeleka. Lawyer Peter Madeleka was arrested on July 17, 2023, after the court had cancelled the plea bargain entered between him and the Director of Public Prosecution.
In this case, there was disagreement between the defense side and the prosecution on the charge sheet that is to be used in the current circumstances. The defense argued that the last charge sheet that was used to enter the plea agreement is the right charge sheet that should be used in the current circumstances, in this charge there was no economic sabotage charge which is unbailable.
On the other hand, the prosecution argued that there was an original charge sheet before the plea agreement, in this charge sheet which the prosecution argued is the original position there is an economic sabotage charge against him. The court agreed with the prosecution side, and because the economic sabotage charge is unbailable, Madeleka was returned to a remand.
The lawyer who represents Madeleka, Advocate Boniface Mwabukusi, has argued that they are going to appeal as they believe their client has the right to bail.
Both Madeleka and Mwabukusi had emerged as fierce critics of the Tanzania-Dubai port deal, Mwabukusi is currently facing a disciplinary hearing at the Advocate Committee because of the complaint made by the Attorney General who claims gross misconduct by Mwabukusi in remarks on the deal.
Mwabukusi risks disbarment in this hearing. When asked yesterday about his position on the hearing Mwabukusi responded, “I was not born to be a lawyer but I was born a Tanganyikan.”
Many observers are of the opinion that Mwabukusi is facing an unwinnable uphill battle because of the composition of the Advocate Committee.
The Committee is made up of the High Court Judge, the Attorney General (also the complainant), or the Deputy Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions; and a practicing advocate nominated by the TLS.
However, to form a quorum for disciplinary proceedings only two members of the Committee are required, one of whom shall be the Attorney-General or the Deputy Attorney-General, and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Fuel prices hit a new high in 2023
The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) has on yesterday released new fuel prices for the month of August 2023. For Dar es Salaam petrol is priced at 3,199 and Diesel at 2,935, a 16 percent and 15 percent increase respectively from last month’s price.
EWURA explained that the high price observed is because of the dollar shortage, depreciation of the shillings, new tax rates introduced in 2023, and high cost of fuel and premiums in the global market.
The new prices are going to hit hard to the largest percentage of the population who are already struggling to make an end meet. As per the new Finscope study (2023) it has revealed that 66 percent of Tanzania’s adult population often struggle to pay for their daily regular expense. This is equivalent to 22.5 million adults who struggle to pay for their expenses.
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