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The Chanzo Morning Briefing Tanzania News – January 22, 2024

In our briefing today: ELCT's top bishop pledges support to the government; President Samia to make a state visit to the Vatican, Indonesia, and Norway; Tanzania, Russia share experience in human rights protection; Govt orders readiness, evacuation as heavy rain submerges Dar es Salaam

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.

ELCT’s top bishop pledges support to the government

Bishop Alex Malasusa, who was installed as the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) yesterday, has pledged his support to the government in a speech that has sparked widespread discussion online.

“When I was elected, one of my congregants sent me a message congratulating me on becoming a bishop, but expressing concerns about my perceived closeness to the government,” said Malasusa, who is leading ELCT for the second time. Responding to the message, he added, “I will not hesitate to say that I was not raised to be against the government. I was not raised to distance myself from the government.”

In 2018, Malasusa found himself in a bitter dispute with fellow bishops after he refused to allow the reading of the Easter message, which criticized the government’s undemocratic practices. The tension culminated in Malasusa being partially banned from participating in church activities.

During his speech, Malasusa also cautioned politicians to prioritize dialogue and refrain from taking any other actions, a sentiment that many have associated with the upcoming CHADEMA demonstrations.

“Let us not reject dialogue—whether within families, in life, or especially among politicians. We should not shy away from dialogues, and we must avoid taking any steps other than dialogue,” emphasized Malasusa.

Additionally, in his address, Malasusa urged the government to ensure that the upcoming elections set an exemplary standard.

President Samia to make a state visit to the Vatican, Indonesia and Norway

Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, January Makamba has announced that Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan is scheduled to make states visit to the Vatican, Indonesia, and Norway.

President Samia is set to visit the Vatican from February 11 to 12, 2024, following an invitation from Pope Francis. During her visit, she will hold discussions with Pope Francis and later meet with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Accompanying President Samia in her meeting with Pope Francis will be several Catholic congregates.

Last year, the Catholic Church issued a critical statement on the Tanzania-Dubai port deal and called for it to be canceled, this was one of the rare moments where the church had a confrontation with the government, something that many observers considered would affect relations going forward.

Even when the government went on with concluding the deal, catholic representatives who were present in the ceremony complained that they were tricked into attending the ceremony.The upcoming visit is anticipated to contribute to the mending of this relationship.

President Samia will also visit Indonesia between January 24 and 26,2023 and it’s expected the two governments will sign seven memorandums of understanding. Agreements will be on the health, energy sector, and those involving parastatals including; Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANSECO), Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and the State Mining Corporation.

Tanzania, Russia share experience in human rights protection

The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) has received a delegation from the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation in an interaction that involved the two commissions sharing experiences on how they protect rights in their respective countries.

“The delegation came to Tanzania to explore ways in which we can cooperate in our work, the two commissions do the same job of protecting and defending human rights”, said Judge Mathew Maimu, the chairperson of Tanzania’s commission.

In that engagement which involved the signing of the memorandum of understanding, the Russian delegation involved: Ilya Chechelnitskii, the First Deputy of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation; Viacheslav Tolmachev, Head of International Bilateral Cooperation Division; Grigorii Malinkin and Tatiana Dzhedzhula.

Tanzania and Russia have continued to strengthen their relationship, in July 2023, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russia-Africa Summit. And recently on December 19, 2023, Tanzania’s Minister of Defense Stergomena Lawrence Tax met with the Russian ambassador to Tanzania, Andrey Avetisyan in a discussion about increasing cooperation in the defense sector.

Govt orders readiness, evacuation as heavy rain submerges Dar es Salaam

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu has called for the emergency response systems to be ready for emergencies caused by heavy rains that continue to pour in Dar es Salaam and other regions.

Since the night of January 20, 2023, Dar es Salaam residents have suffered a great deal of disruption caused by damaged infrastructure, flooded homes, and congestion due to the closing down of several roads in the city.

“I call for citizens to take precautions, for those living in risky areas they should evacuate so that we can avoid crises,” said Samia Suluhu as she was speaking to members of the Azania Front church.

Some of the areas that are most affected include Tegeta, Kunduchi, Mbweni, and Madale; a bridge connecting Kunduchi and Bahari Beach had broken down.

Poor drainage also caused flooding in areas like Mikocheni, Sinza, Mbezi Beach, Salasala, and Mwenge.

This is it for today, and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below), following us on X (Twitter) (here), or joining us on Telegram (here). And if you have any questions or comments, please drop a word to our editors at editor@thechanzo.com.

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