Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, August 14, 2023.
Amnesty International wants detained DP World port deal critics released
Global human rights organisation Amnesty International urged Tanzanian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release all critics detained for their criticism of the Tanzania-Dubai intergovernmental agreement.
Among those detained include Willibrod Slaa, former parliamentarian and Tanzanian Ambassador to Sweden, Boniface Mwabukusi, a lawyer and activist, and Mdude Nyagali, a political activist.
In a statement, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said the government’s crackdown on critics of the port deal, approved by the parliament on June 10, 2023, reveals authorities’ growing intolerance for dissent.
“The authorities must stop arbitrarily detaining activists simply for peacefully expressing their views and immediately and unconditionally release these activists to ensure the respect of the right to freedom of expression,” Chagutah said.
According to his lawyer, Slaa was arrested by police officers at his home in Mbweni, Dar es Salaam, on 13 August at around 1:00 pm and taken to Mbweni Police Station. He was then taken back to his house, where the police conducted a search and confiscated some of his communication devices. After the search, the police took Slaa to Oysterbay Police Station.
Mwabukusi and Nyagali’s lawyer told Amnesty International that he received a distress call from the two activists when they were apprehended by police officers on 12 August, at around 3:00 am.
According to the lawyer, Mwabukusi and Nyagali were arrested near Mikumi in Morogoro region, while traveling to Dar es Salaam from Mbeya. Emmanuel Masonga, an opposition party official, was also arrested with them but released the same day with orders to report to Mikumi Police Station on 14 August 2023.
Mwabukusi and Nyagali are currently being held at the Central Police Station in Mbeya, having been transferred from Mikumi during the day. Their lawyer told Amnesty International that the two activists have refused to eat or drink anything since their arrest.
Lawyers of the detained critics told Amnesty International that they have all been denied bail. According to the lawyers, the police chiefs in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya said the three critics will be charged with treason but they have not yet provided any official information about the specific charges.
The lawyers are yet to be presented with any formal charges against Slaa, Mwabukusi, Nyagali, while the prosecution has shared no details of the alleged offence.
Under Tanzania’s Penal Code, treason carries a mandatory death penalty. Treason is also an unbailable offence under section 148 of the Criminal Procedures Act.
“By criminalizing public criticism of the port deal, the Tanzanian authorities are clearly trying to snuff out dissent,” Amnesty’s Chagutah said in a statement.
“The government should instead enable the public to engage in discussions of all matters of public interest, including the UAE port agreement, and ensure all aspects of the agreement are transparent to ensure the public’s meaningful engagement,” added Chagutah.
Kenya’s wanted terror suspect Zuena Nakhumicha arrested in Tanzania
Authorities in Tanzania arrested Zuena Nakhumicha Machabe, a Kenyan suspected key terror fugitive linked with terror activities in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Ethiopia, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reported Monday.
Machabe, 34, from Kenya’s Nakuru County, was arrested on July 27 by Tanzanian authorities at Tunduma town near the Zambian border as she attempted to cross illegally alongside her three children, aged 14, 7 and 3 years old, the paper reported.
She was handed over to Kenyan authorities and presented at the Kahawa Law Courts on August 7, 2023, where the court granted the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) 14 days to conclude investigations into her involvement in terrorism activities within the East African region.
Investigations and court filings have linked Machabe to an active terrorism facilitation cell with links in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.
According to police, the cell Zuena runs is responsible for recruiting and moving recruits to the Puntland region of Somalia to join the Islamic State (ISIS), also known as Daesh.
“Zuena and her collaborators had established a network responsible for procurement of travel documents, housing and transport logistics from Tanzania via Kenya to Ethiopia, all the way to Somalia,” an officer aware of the matter told the Daily Nation.
Off-grid solar product maker d.light secures US$30 million to scale up Tanzania operations
d.light, a firm focused on household products and finance solutions for low-income households, has secured US$30 million from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank Group (TDB Group) to scale its solar business in Tanzania.
d.light said it would use the capital to increase its existing securitised financing facility in Tanzania and scale up its Pay-Go personal finance service there.
“The securitisation facility from the TDB Group includes the “capability to purchase up to $125 million of receivable assets,” said d.light in a statement, adding it has raised $490m in total securitised financing since 2020.
Tanzania is Africa’s fifth most populous country, and its population of 63.6 million is spread out over a wide geographical area. According to the World Bank, only 40 per cent of the population has electricity access: the majority currently don’t have grid connectivity and a reliable power supply.
d.light said its finance facility in Tanzania works “by leveraging the payments of its existing and future customers” who purchased solar equipment. This is then used to raise funding and grow market share in the country, said d.light. The company said its network includes some of Tanzania’s remote areas.
Nick Imudia, the CEO of d.light, commented, “This new financing from TDB gives us the extra funding to reach more low-income families and households in Tanzania via our Pay-Go business in a way that is affordable for our customers and sustainable for our business.”
Further elaborating on their innovative financing model, he added, “d.light and our lending partners are long-time pioneers in developing securitised finance as an innovative, scalable financing model for raising equity for off-grid solar that is guaranteed against current and future customer sales. We’ve successfully used the securitisation model for several years in Kenya, and now we and our partners are expanding it to Tanzania.”
Michael Awori, CEO of TDB, said access to energy is critical to the continent’s sustainable development, especially for the most vulnerable off-grid communities.
“As one of the leading renewable energy financiers in the region, we are delighted to extend this second facility to d.light, this time in Tanzania,” he said.
“Globally, in 2022 alone, the company reached over 1,677,216 people through the PAY-GO model, created nearly 2,000 jobs, and averted 1,329,371 tons of CO2 and black carbon emissions with solar replacing kerosene lamps. This is the kind of impactful track record TDB is keen to support,” he added.
This is it for today, and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below) or follow us on Twitter (here), or joining us on Telegram (here). And in case you have any questions or comments, please drop a word to our editors at email@example.com.