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The Chanzo Morning Briefing Tanzania News – February 21, 2024

In our briefing today: Tanzania and World Bank sign 988 billion loan to transform Dar es Salaam; CHADEMA concludes successful Mbeya demonstration, sets sights on Arusha; Bariadi DC Simon Simalenga criticised after kicking journalists out of key meeting

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Tanzania and World Bank sign 988 billion loan agreement to transform Dar es Salaam

Tanzania and the World Bank have signed an agreement for a 361.1 million euro loan, equivalent to Tshs. 988 billion earmarked for the second phase of the Dar Es Salaam Metropolitan Development Project (DMDP II). The project’s second phase aims to improve urban services, institutional capacity, and climate resilience in Dar es Salaam.

The agreement was signed yesterday at the treasury offices in Dar es Salaam. Nathan Belete, the World Bank Country Director, represented the World Bank, while Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba, PO-RALG Minister Mohamed Mchengerwa, and his deputy Deogratius Ndenjembi represented the Tanzanian government. Other stakeholders present at the event included members of parliament from Dar es Salaam, led by their Chairperson Faustine Ndugulile.

The project has five main components the first component being climate-smart priority infrastructure which includes infrastructure development; upgrading and rehabilitating roads, especially those accommodating non-motorized transport, construction of drainage systems, and developing parks and public spaces among other items.

The second component is the integrated solid waste management infrastructure and services which includes the construction of solid waste landfills, closing dumpsites, construction of solid waste transfer stations, waste recycling, and overall waste management. The third component is strengthening urban institutions, the fourth component is project management and the last component is contingency emergency response.

Tanzania confirms that the project will entail the construction of approximately 250 kilometers of roads, 18 markets, nine bus stations, and drainage systems. Repayment of this loan is slated to commence on March 1, 2034, with an interest rate set at 2.5 percent.

CHADEMA concludes successful Mbeya demonstration, sets sights on Arusha

Opposition party CHADEMA concluded its demonstration in Mbeya and is now preparing for similar demonstrations in Arusha to be held on February 27, 2024. This marks the third successful demonstration organized by CHADEMA, drawing large crowds akin to those seen in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza. The party has strategically chosen major cities as demonstration sites, believing them to be catalysts for change.

Many attendees of yesterday’s demonstration expressed concerns about the rising costs of social services, particularly the expenses faced by pregnant women during childbirth.

The objectives of CHADEMA’s demonstrations are twofold: to exert pressure on the government to lower the cost of living and to oppose what the party views as superficial reforms in the electoral process. CHADEMA criticizes the three bills passed on February 02, 2024—the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Bill, 2023; the Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Government Elections Bill, 2023; and the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023—for failing to create the necessary conditions for a free and fair election. Furthermore, CHADEMA calls for the revival of the stalled constitution process.

Observers have noted CHADEMA’s demonstrations as positive developments in civic and political engagement. Unlike in the past, where the government would suppress any signs of dissent, CHADEMA’s rallies have been allowed to proceed peacefully.

In response, the ruling party CCM has launched a public campaign to address people’s concerns, gaining significant attention. Speaker of Parliament, Tulia Ackson, responded to the demonstrations in his constituency by ridiculing the turnout on Instagram.

Bariadi DC Simon Simalenga criticised after kicking journalists out of key meeting

Mwanza. Press freedom advocates in Tanzania have criticised Bariadi district commissioner Simon Simalenga for his decision to reportedly kick journalists out of a key meeting to discuss the possibility of authorities dividing the Bariadi constituency into two, which Mr Simalenga has been championing.

Monday’s meeting involved key attendants with stakes in Bariadi’s development, including councillors and other participants. Journalists were at the meeting as part of their duty to cover its proceedings and inform the public about what participants discussed.

But to their surprise, immediately after Mr Simalenga arrived at the meeting, he ordered journalists out of the room, claiming that the meeting guidelines do not allow the participation of uninvited guests. Simalenga also reportedly ordered the meeting venue’s doors shut, to prevent anyone from entering.

Journalists who were present at the scene told The Chanzo that the DC’s decision shocked and surprised them, noting that not only were they invited to the meeting by district officials but also this was not the first time that they attended such meetings.

Sitta Tuma, a reporter with the Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and STV online media, and was among the journalists who were removed from the meeting, described what happened as “unprecedented” and “baseless.”

Read the full story here

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