Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mr. Presient, I think you're wrong on this one

JK decries poll observers` bias
By Judica Tarimo
20th March 2012

My Take: I know not of any respectful International Election Observer who
takes sides on any election in Africa, Tanzania in particular. None. Zero. Nada! However, I think you are a little paranoid on this one, Sir. Because if that sort of "imaginary" observer of yours really existed, I'm pretty sure Mr. President, we would have by now, heard you whining already. 'Cause I scan till remember (vividly) of how you whined bitterly following the release of the infamous Documentary, Darwin's Nightmare. I still remember, Mr. President. And am pretty sure all "sane" Tanzanians do, too. I mean, if the story you're telling is true, why not mention the name of that Observer then? Why hide it, Mr. President? And, what's wrong with an Observer asking you a question about "why Tanzania refuse to have independent candidates?" What's awkward with that question, Mr. Kikwete? Tell us, please! Personally, I see wrong with that question, ndugu Jakaya? And so, I don't really know why you got so offended (to say the least, offended)with such common and universal question.

President Jakaya Kikwete delivers keynote address at a conference on managing elections in Africa, held in Dar es Salaam yesterday. I

President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday said international election observers taking sides in the course of executing their duties in African countries only help to fuel violence and hamper growth of genuine democracy.

“Some foreign observers are not impartial, and this creates a lot of problems in our countries, especially during elections,” said the president as he officially opened an international conference on Managing Elections in Africa.

Organised by the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development, commonly known as Uongozi Institute, in collaboration with the Electoral Commission Forum of SADC countries, the conference drew participants from 13 African countries -- representatives of election management bodies from several African nations, regional bodies, senior government officials, political and opinion leaders from Tanzania.

Kikwete said managing elections was a big challenge in many African countries, explaining that this is contributed by numerous forces - including behaviour of some key players in the electoral process.

The president said some foreign observers were to blame for political and election intolerance in some African countries, because of being one-sided.

“Their (foreign observers) independence is a very crucial component for fair and free elections in Tanzania and other African nations…but you may find that some of them are taking sides in the local political competition, thus instigating chaos and conflicts in the election process,” said Kikwete.

He stressed that foreign and international election observers should not be partisan, but remain impartial, citing an example of one African country where a foreign election observers had close links with one of the contesting political party -- to the extent of becoming furious when that party lost the election.

“It was a true case, but I cannot mention the country…this foreign observer was quoted as saying ‘Oh! Oh!...we have lost….implying that he was part and parcel of that political party and completely forgetting his/her role as an observer,” said Kikwete.

Giving another example, he said, at one time (during a Tanzanian election), a foreign observer went to see him and asked awkward questions which showed that the observer had his own preference and pre-conceived perceptions before coming to Tanzania to observe the election process.

“He told me that the Tanzanian election period is too long. He also asked me why we (Tanzania) refuse to have independent candidates in elections. [In response] I asked him straight-forward: “Who are you to ask me such a question” I also asked him: “Is it part of your election observation,” elaborated the President.

He said foreign/international election observers must respect laid down rules and regulations, observe elections, as prescribed in their job-descriptions and should not teach respective nations how to manage the election process.

“By penetrating their preferences and interests, foreign/international election observers automatically become a problem in the entire election process…I once again stress that for Africa countries to realise fair and free elections and minimise election-related complaints, proper modalities for operations of foreign observers must be put in place,” he noted.

He emphasised the importance of other key players in the election process -- political parties, civil societies, the media fraternity, communities of people with disabilities, other social groups and other key players to respect election laws and regulations in order create conducive environment for free and fair elections.

Election bodies, he added, must also be resourced properly (technically, materially, financially, human resources wise), short of which they would not be able to manage elections.

Contributing, CUF National Chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba blamed the lack of credible and independent election bodies as main force behind political intolerance in many African countries.

“Absence of credible and independent election bodies are seeds for political squabbles and endless conflicts in Africa,” said Lipumba.

For his part, Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, retired Judge, Damian Lubuva, admitted that lack of independent bodies could be one of the factors behind election-problems in Africa, but noted there were many other contributing factors.

“And that’s why we are meeting here…as election experts and other stakeholders, to identify forces hindering fair and free elections and recommend practical solutions to address these problems,” said Lubuva.

In his introductory remarks, Uongozi Institute Chief Executive Officer, Prof Joseph Semboja, said: “With more African nations embracing multi-party systems, there is a need to increase stakeholder confidence by ensuring that elections are well managed and are a pathway to sustainable democracy.”

“That’s why Uongozi Institute has organised this conference to enable participants to discuss and share experience on the challenges of managing the election process in Africa,” he emphasised.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kudos, Prof Tibaijuka!

19th March 2012
My Take: This what should have been done 50 years ago, when we assued Independence from Great Britain! Anyhoo, you deserve some sort of credit Prof Tibaijuka, one for seeing this problem and two, for actually attempting to correct it. Kudos!! P.S. We need each county to have its own zip code for mail delivery purpose.
Lands minister Prof Anna Tibaijuka

Lands minister Prof Anna Tibaijuka has ordered all maps of the country’s urban areas to be submitted to the ministry by December this year for approval and to enable authorities to mark in chosen street names.

The minister issued the directive in Morogoro on Saturday during graduation ceremony at Morogoro Ardhi College.

Prof Tibaijuka said most of the urban areas in Tanzania have no clear addresses, adding that street names and addresses help not only locals but foreigners to easily get to their destinations.

She said previously in Dar es Salaam city most of the streets were named after animals and rivers, adding that the same could be done now in other regions.

“Foreigners visiting our country can only say that they are heading to Morogoro, but cannot be more specific as [to where they are going] because the streets lack names. We want our streets to be like those in other countries”, said Prof Tibaijuka.

The minister also ordered the Administrative Director to work on a plan that will enable the ministry to directly employ some of the graduates from the Ardhi University so as to ensure the availability of land surveyors at the village and division level. She said such a move would help to reduce the increasing unplanned areas and land disputes.

She said that the government is in the process of identifying all unsurveyed lands which have been given to investors.

She said once the exercise is completed, they will officially write a letter to President Jakaya Kikwete to request him to take back such lands.

She said most of the investors have been taking pieces of lands without developing them, which is contrary to their contracts with the government [YUP! Government should confiscate/take all 'em land. And I suggest that you start with Agrisol Energy (T)].

Meanwhile the minister has warned that the government will be forced to revoke title deeds of owners who will not have settled any outstanding rents by May 15, this year.

Elaborating Prof Tibaijuka said the government will leave no stone unturned during the exercise, insisting that the law shall take its course.

She said the owners were provided with a three-month notice as required by the law.

“By May this year the government will take away title deeds from owners who will not have settled outstanding land rent. I would like to remind land owners to pay before the deadline”, she said.

Earlier, the Morogoro Ardhi College Principal Desderius Kimbe said that they have been able to survey a total of 7,103 plots in the region for a period of one year.

He said that Morogoro residents have already cultivated the habit of seeking professional consultation before entering into any land deals. He said most of the residents are now using surveyors from his college.

Meanwhile, the College Board Chairman, Sylvester Mpanduji said they are planning to introduce new courses and increase the number of student enrollment.

He encouraged girl students to apply. “We will also increase the number of teachers. Our aim is to produce more professionals to help reduce land conflicts and advise people on better land use”, he said.

Speaking on behalf of other graduates, Danstan Kisaka advised the government to help them to get employment [no, you create your own business, why should the government help you?].

Addressing parliament mid last year, Prof Tibajuka unveiled a plan whereby Members of Parliament and councillors will be directly involved in the signing of title deeds for plots allotted to investors as a way of mitigating conflicts resulting from rapidly intensifying demand for land.
CLAIMER: Anything in [] are my own words so don't hold The Guardian responsible for that.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Good Job Waziri Magufuli!

Firm wins 220bn/- Dar road, flyover projects
By The guardian reporter
15th March 2012

My take: I think Magufuli is doing a fabulous job as a minister of works. He should, I think, run for president in 2015. And I might actually vote for him (even though I don't quite like or agree with CCM manifesto).

The government has awarded a 220bn/- contract to a German contractor ‘Straberg’ for the construction of 21 kilometres of roads and five flyovers under the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit project.

Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli revealed this in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a ceremony where he was offered with Honorary Certificate Fellowship by the Tanzania Institute of Engineers.

He said under the project set for take off in the next two weeks the 21-kilometre road stretch will be from Kivukoni to Kimara area while the flyovers will be built at Tazara, Ubungo, Magomeni, Fire, Kamata and Chang’ombe road junctions to address the problem of congestion.

“The government has disbursed a total of 220bn/- to the contractor for implementation of DART. The contractor has promised to hand over the project within 36 months,” he noted.

The minister called on other stakeholders including the Transport and Communication Ministry to support the efforts to reduce extreme congestion in Dar es Salaam.

Dr Magufuli said under the project a total of 29 bus stands and service roads will constructed.

He said that President Jakaya Kikwete is expected to lay a foundation stone for the project in April this year.

According to him Dar es Salaam has a total of 506 kilometres of roads, but only 120 are under tarmac, adding that plans are underway for their expansion.

Dr Magufuli said laws and regulations will be properly applied during the expansion of the roads to ensure justice for all.

He said among the main sources of road congestion in the city is the Ubungo Bus Terminal which he said is to be relocated to Bunju area in the outskirts of the city.

He called on engineers not to hesitate to advise the government on various matters, saying they can directly seek consultation with the President or channel their request through his office.

“You should not hesitate to advise the government because this country is ours,” he said.

He said his office has received requests from Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke municipal councils for the upgrading of 27 roads from district to trunk roads. He said stakeholders including engineers are today expected to meet to discuss its implementation.

For his part, the President of the Institute of Engineers Tanzania Dr Malima Bundala who presented the certificate to Dr Magufuli said the minister had been awarded in recognition of his contribution to the sector.

Bundala said the appointment of members of honour of best engineers is always made by the council to recognise an individual’s unique contribution to the development of the engineers’ profession for provision of better service to the community.

DART public relations manager William Gatambi was recently quoted saying implementation of the project has encountered a number of challenges, including traders defying the order to vacate premises to pave the way for construction of the roads.

He said some residents agreed to shift soon after they had been paid compensation, but others have been reluctant to do so.

Speaking during the DART official launch in August 2010, President Jakaya Kikwete said it will be completed in 2025. He directed the ministry responsible to deploy qualified contractors to implement the project.

He said the number of vehicles in Dar es Salaam was expected to reach 500,000 by 2030 from the current slightly over 100,000, adding to the congestion unless measures to address it were taken.

Dar es Salaam contributes 75 per cent of the country’s economy, calling for measures to address its transport problems.

Dar’s traffic jams are said to be costing the economy 4bn/- daily, equivalent to over 1.4trn/- per year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here we go again

JK: Doctors` strike should be the last
By Felister Peter
13th March 2012
My Take: First of all, you don't print extra money to pay doctors' demand. You cut unnecessary government spending. You collect taxes. You fight corruption. And most of all, you direct your ineffective and useless government to stop mismanaging the country's abundant natural resources, and also cut cost of running this overly bloated big government of yours. P.S. A piece of advice to you, Mr. President: (i) Next time, ukitaka kuongea na hao "wazee wako wa Dar es Salaam," kumbuka kuwa Tanzania haiko Dar Es Salaam peke yake. Tanzania iko pia huko Manyoni, Chunya, Tarime, Same, na Marangu. Kwamba, kuna wazee wengine wengi tu huko mikoani, hivyo basi fanya bidii uwasikilize nao wanachotaka kusema. (ii) Idd Simba anahusika moja kwa moja na Kampuni korofi ya Agrisol Energy, inayodaiwa kuwaibia wananchi ardhi zao na kuwafukuza toka kwenye makazi yao. And so, Mr. Rais, if I were you, I wouldn't have wanted to be seen sitting close to that guy! That's all, Mr. President.
.Wants a system to govern sector to minimise disputes

Wants a system to govern sector to minimise disputes
President Jakaya Kikwete speaks to Dar es Salaam elders at the Diamond Jubilee Hall yesterday.

President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday told doctors in the country that their recent strike should be the last, calling for formalisation of a system to govern the running of the health sector to minimise disputes.

He said the main lesson learnt from the strike was the lack of trust between the two sides and therefore the need for laws and regulations which will be applied by any leader who took charge of the ministry.

President Kikwete made the remarks in his address to Dar es Salaam elders yesterday. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, Vice President Dr Gharib Mohamed Bilal, government officials and religious leaders.

“Better laws and regulations will guide any person who will be appointed to lead the ministry and therefore there will be no issues of who we like or dislike,” he said.

He said the strike should be the last because when they laid down tools it cost lives of human beings and even their professional ethics prohibited them from striking.

He said the country’s laws also prohibit public servants in the health sector (doctors and nurses) from striking, adding that the government is ready for further negotiations in order to find solutions to the doctors’ demands.

He said in other countries doctors are normally held responsible and even taken to court if patients die during a strike.

Kikwete warned that doctors should not put forward difficult conditions during negotiations with the government, adding: “We don’t have an express response to the doctors’ salary demand.”

He said the government does not have direct answers to the demands, although it intends to work on them.

Elaborating, he said the amount of salary increase requested by the doctors is too high and would push inflation to over 50 percent from the current 19 percent. He said providing the doctors with between 7.0m/- and 17m/- salary would force the government to print extra money, thereby fueling inflation.

He said the current salary of 957,700/- per month is a 100 per cent increment from the previous payment of 400,000/- per month.

Kikwete said apart from salary increment, doctors demand to be paid 30 percent of their salary as risk allowance, 40 percent for working under difficult condition, 10 percent for emergency and 30 percent of their salary for house allowance.

He said they also want 10 percent of their salary as transport allowance or to be provided with loans to purchase vehicles.

The president said in a bid to improve the health sector, the government has embarked on a programme to build 700 doctors’ houses countrywide. He said that every district would have 18 houses.

He said the ministry of health and social welfare had already submitted to the treasury a request for doctors allowance increment and that the government was working on it.

“We are determined to improve the health sector…we are now providing subsidy to private colleges and universities. The government has also issued funds for expansion of Bugando and KCMC hospitals aiming at increasing the number of graduates”, he noted.

On improvement of the sector, he said the government has put in more budgetary resources, with the sector this year being ranked third in priorities with a budget of 1.2trn/-, compared to 2005 when it was ranked sixth.

The president also blamed activists’ saying they did not fight for human rights, but took advantage of the strike to gain popularity. He said the activist should have played their part by convincing the doctors to go back to work in order to save life.

MAT called the latest strike on Wednesday last week after the government failed to respond to doctors’ demand to sack minister of Health and Social Welfare Dr Hadji Mponda and his deputy Lucy Nkya.

President Kikwete intervened to end the strike after holding an extensive meeting with MAT leaders at which he told them he needed time to find a solution to their problems.

Friday, March 09, 2012

On the issue of Independent Candidates, we are Making Some Progress

Call for independent candidacy in new constitution
By Correspondent

9th March 2012

Sengerema residents in Mwanza region have proposed the Constitutional Review Act, 2011 to include the independent candidacy’s position to broaden democracy in the country.

Tanzania Evangelical Fellowship Network district chairman Lusesa Charles said it was the right time for a country with over 40 million people to have an independent candidate.

Contributing to a constitutional debate, Charles said: “We have been going through a lot of turmoil before and after the election because our constitution does not allow a private candidate to run for any position.”

He said it was possible to have clean and patriotic candidates outside political parties, who could stand for the post.

“We have been missing this chance because our current constitution is silent on the matter,” he said.

A Serengeti resident, Kasusu Wayela proposed the new constitution to put in place the formation of three governments.

“We have seen our colleagues in Zanzibar having their own government, why not we mainlanders and union government. We want the new constitution to state clearly the formation of three governments of Tanganyika, the union and that of Zanzibar. This will help mainlanders to have an equal share for the country’s resources with islanders,” he said.

He was asking what was behind the government’s reluctance to introduce three governments.

Another Sengerema resident Adam Salum was in the opinion that there was no need for the president to appoint deputy ministers suggesting that it was possible their duties be done by permanent secretaries to reduce the government’s running costs.

ASDA pastor in Sengerema Jackson Mazamile proposed powers to revoke licences of investors in the mining sector to enable others to come in if they had violated applicable laws.

“Our resources have been depleted much. We have been observing the government awarding some investors a 99-year contract. This will only create more poverty,” he said.

Mwanza Policy Initiatives (MPI) facilitate Milton Rutabana said the current constitution needed some amendments to meet people’s expectations, rights and give enough room for people to express their views on what they wanted to be in the constitution.

The MPI official stressed the importance of civic education among members of the public to make them well informed of constitutional matters.

“We want people in the country to be empowered in different categories from national to grassroots level,” he said.

MPI finance and administration officer Kizito Kondamali said there was a need for Tanzanians to know various policies so that they could have time to evaluate how policies were implemented by the government for the betterment of all Tanzanians.

“We in MPI are trying to show members of the public how those policies are implemented, where the government has failed and why but also we are cooperating with people to find the way forward,” he said.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Dear, President Kikwete

Mr. President Complainer-in-chief,

If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be something like this: when public employees or civil servants fail you/fail the country, you just don't blame them, you take proper actions against them.

That is, you fire them immediately!

And so, you need to be serious Mr. President! Get rid of all the lazy and incompetent people and send out a strong message to the rest of your cabinet and other government employees that you mean business. That you will not tolerate these sorts of behavior! Enough is enough!

With all due respect, Mr. President, I must say that for more than seven years now that you have been in the office, you have been doing nothing but jetting around the world and complaining! I mean, all you do is blame everyone for their failures, rather than taking any responsibility for your own bad leadership?

Every time I read a local Newspaper, all I read is you complaining or blaming someone. This needs to stop Mr. President! I mean, as a nation's leader, when are you going to start taking responsibility for your own bad leadership?

Because all these complaints and blames just make us all sick to the stomach! And quite frankly, we are tired of hearing them, and we can no more take them!

I think you are a really cool person [always smiling, dressing well, and attending funerals and such, on time], but quite frankly, I don't think you have what it takes to be the president of a complex, beautiful country like Tanzania.

In other words, you have failed us and we are so very disappointed in you!

P.S. Please fire that Health and Social Welfare minister guy, Dr Haji Mponda. I don't think he's up to the job. And also, you need to meet with 'em doctors in person ( don't send Mizengo Pinda to negotiate, again). I think he's an arrogant and a terrible negotiator. Remember: people's lives are worth far more than an extra 2.5m of salary per month, which the doctors are demanding.


Me, a concerned citizen,

Edward Chacha

President Kikwete blames ministry department for degrading forests
By The guardian reporter
6th March 2012

President Jakaya Kikwete has accused the Department of Natural Resources in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism of degrading forests through issuance of permits to loggers.

He sounded the blame at the State Lodge here when responding to a regional development report read to him by Kilimanjaro regional commissioner Leonidas Gama.

The report, among other things, highlighted the challenge of deforestation and efforts being taken to curb it.

The strategies include suspension of issuing permits for harvesting, using and transporting natural forest products.

Gama said the government had been working hard to curb the problem, but a few unfaithful natural resources officers “continue to issue permits” to loggers despite a ban imposed by a local authority.

In his response, Kikwete directed regional leaders to collaborate with politicians by explaining to them their plans and strategies of forest conservation so that they could deliver the message correctly.

“There has been a problem for experts to have good plans, but politicians are not involved effectively, as a result they fail to talk about and support the plans to their electorate,” he said.

Kikwete also directed local authorities to deal with forestry officers who issue illegal permits to loggers.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Oh no, Mr. President:you didn't just say that!?

My take: The President shouldn't have wobbled to these greedy investors! Instead, he should have been as savvy and assertive [in defending his people & his nation's interest] as a strong leader ought to be. I mean, you just don't beg greedy investors, you direct them! After all, you are the head of the state, for crying out loud!

Fulfill commitments, JK tells mining firms Pay Taxes or else your gonna be in big, big Trouble!

By Judica Tarimo
1st March 2012

Wants them to source more goods and services locally

President Jakaya Kikwete has warned investors who do not pay rightful taxes to the government or fulfill their social responsibility commitments were to blame for the conflicts that ensued in their operations.

“It’s disappointing to see some mining investors want to benefit alone…leaving the government, surrounding communities with nothing,” said Kikwete when officially launching the Presidential Award on the Extractive Industry Corporate Social Responsibility and Empowerment (CSRE) programme. The award will be contested annually and companies with outstanding performance will be acknowledged.

According to the President, investors’ failure to pay taxes to the government, support small-scale operators, and surrounding communities creates hostile environment in the mining operations.

“This triggers endless conflicts and tug of war between the investors and residents living around the mining areas,” said the president, in the wake of increasing public concerns over mining investors’ benefiting from the sector at the expense of millions of poor Tanzanians.

He described the CSRE presidential award as an important milestone in the development of the country’s mining industry, but noted that investors must act responsibly and observe the underlying principles.

“Mining investors need to pay taxes that are due to the state, rightfully and timely. They have to support local development projects around them. They have to empower small-scale mining operators,” said Kikwete.

If investors observe these principles, he said, they will enjoy good relations with the government, small mining operators, and local communities noting that all sides (the government, investors, and surrounding communities) must benefit from the country’s mining operations.

“In the end everybody benefits and a win-win situation will be realised. I believe this is the best insurance policy one can long to have as an investor and as an investment destination.”

If this is absent, he said conflicts would ensue, something which was not healthy for business and may put the investments in jeopardy. “Everybody will be at risk losing,” he insisted.

Apart from direct contributions, mining companies must promote socio-economic growth of the respective areas and the country’s economy by sourcing goods and services locally, thus creating jobs and incomes for Tanzanians.

He said that it was unfair for mining investors, with all sorts of incentives (tax holidays, exemptions etc) to generate profits but contribute nothing to the communities where they operate.

According to Kikwete, there were services which can be sourced locally, decrying the growing tendency of mining companies of importing every service and commodity from abroad.

Sourcing goods and services locally, he said, would create “what economists call backward and forward linkages. This will make the people strongly feel a sense of ownership and an obligation to protect the investments.”

“But if such things are absent people will have no stake in the operations of the company. As a result, they may care less about the presence, survival and progress of the company. They may even turn hostile,” said the President, appealing to all mining investors to take it seriously.

Besides, Kikwete said in the same context of CSR, large-scale mining companies should use their economic strength and technological capacity to help small mining operators improve their operating systems, increase productivity, and production.

“I believe, this will reduce jealousies, minimise friction, and avoid unnecessary hostility and increase friendship and cooperation. If large companies assist small operators and treat each other as partners, instead of competitors or contenders, it will very much improve relations between the two players.

“It will clear undue misunderstanding and remove the mistrust and resentment. Attitudes of hostility, threats and violence can easily be avoided. In the end everybody benefits,” he added.

He proposed that all these components (including community well-being and sustainability, local industry participation, community safety, water and environment, infrastructure development roads, electricity etc) should be incorporated as indicators for picking the winner of the Presidential Award on CSRE.