Tanzania and Kenya on Friday resolved a dispute over COVID-19 tests for truck drivers crossing the border, facilitating trade between the two East African countries.
The dispute, which had been ongoing for quite some time, was resolved by ministers responsible for transport from the two countries at the end of their one-day meeting at the Namanga border post, said a communique released at the end of the meeting.
The meeting followed a directive on Wednesday by heads of state of Tanzania and Kenya to ministers responsible for transport and commissioners of border regions to resolve the dispute to facilitate trade between the two countries.
According to the communique, the ministers agreed that truck drivers from both sides will be tested for COVID-19 before commencement of their journeys at the point of origin using standards set by the World Health Organization.
The two countries agreed that tested truck drivers should be issued with a 14-day COVID-19 free certificate by competent authorities, which should be mutually recognized by the two countries, said the communique.
The communique said the two countries also agreed that each country should create conducive places where the truck drivers can stop for a rest, adding that such places should be equipped with necessary amenities.
They further agreed that the two countries should undertake random COVID-19 screening at the designated resting places, said the communique, adding that the screening should be done in a transparent manner.
According to the communique, the two countries agreed that in case of one of the truck crew being found to be at high risk of COVID-19, the owner of the truck will be allowed to replace all the crew and the truck allowed to proceed.
It said the two countries agreed to release to the public data on the status of COVID-19 without mentioning the nationality of the infected.
Tanzania was represented by Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Isack Kamwelwe, while Kenya was represented by Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works James Macharia.
Feature: Home delivery businesses booming in Tanzania amid COVID-19 pandemic
Since the COVID-19 outbreak started in Tanzania in mid-March, 30-year-old Hassan Teja has been a busy man from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
Teja is a co-founder and chief operating officer of duka.direct, a start-up online shopping platform that was launched in February. The online platform allows customers to order products across various categories such as groceries and household essentials, and delivers them to doorsteps.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, customers’ demand for home delivery services has increased by two times, said Teja in an interview with Xinhua at his office located in the city center of Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
During the period of self-isolation, online shopping through app with free courier service has become the first choice for people living in the commercial hub of the east African nation, as a way to avoid shopping in crowded open markets, said Teja.
“This has been a great opportunity for us to witness a change in customer behavior in the nation, including their growing acceptance of digital payment,” said Teja.
He said currently, the company’s delivery coverage is within a 25 km distance from the city center, but as they are seeing more and more suburban customers inquiring about the service, they are aiming to expand the business to reach more corners in the city.
Teja says plans are afoot to expand duka.direct online services to neighboring countries of Kenya and Uganda.
Demand for delivery also increases in other businesses. Jibril Mohamed, a restaurant owner in Dar es Salaam, said despite the fact that the number of dine-in customers have largely decreased due to the pandemic, requests for home delivery service have doubled last month.
Kauthar D’Souza, a Tanzanian housewife residing in Kariakoo, a major market area in the commercial capital, said COVID-19 had doubled her online shopping needs.
“Online shopping is the best way of avoiding mass gathering. It gets me less exposed, especially during this time when authorities request us to avoid mass gathering as a way to protect ourselves against the COVID-19“, said D’Souza.
Bora Chitanda, a Tanzanian salesman working in marketing industry, said the culture of online buying and home delivery in Tanzania that had been accelerated following the outbreak of COVID-19 should be maintained even after the disease was contained.
Meanwhile, he also hoped that the trend of online shopping may not render the employees in supermarkets and restaurants jobless.
Tanzanian court finds opposition leader guilty of sedition, sets him free
A Tanzanian court ruled on Friday that an opposition leader was guilty of sedition and incitement on accusations that he falsely said some 100 people were killed in clashes between herders and police in his home region in 2018.
The court however set Zitto Kabwe, the head of ACT Wazalendo party, free on condition that he refrain from saying or writing anything that would be considered sedition.
Kabwe, who is member of parliament for Kigoma urban constituency, in western Tanzania, was charged in November 2018 with three counts related to incitement after saying that 100 people were killed in clashes between herders and police in the region.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the time, the head of police in Kigoma said just two herdsmen and two officers had died during an operation to stop pastoralists keeping livestock illegally on a government-owned ranch.
Huruma Shaidi, principal magistrate of Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam, said he found Kabwe guilty on all three counts.
In a written order setting out conditions for Kabwe’s discharge, Shaidi said Kabwe should commit no seditious offence for a period of one year, and if he did, he would be liable to be sentenced for the offence.
Kabwe’s defence lawyers said they were going to appeal the verdict.
“Zitto Kabwe is a politician and we are in the elections period, we are going to appeal this ruling to clear him,’’ Jebra Kambole, Kabwe’s lead counsel, told reporters outside the court.
Kabwe split away from the main opposition CHADEMA movement in 2015 and is now his party’s only lawmaker.
The East African country has been one of the continent’s most stable, but opposition leaders and rights groups have accused the government of cracking down on dissent an accusation it dismisses.
Tanzania is expected to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in October.
Edited By: Halima Shehu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
IFAW deploys wildlife rangers to curb poaching along Kenya, Tanzania border
An international wildlife organization said Thursday it has deployed more than 50 community wildlife rangers from Kenya and Tanzania in a joint border patrol in response to a potential risk of poaching.
James Isiche, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) regional director for East Africa, said the safety of wildlife is paramount in the midst of the deadly pandemic.
Isiche said the patrol sought to ensure the safety of wildlife at risk of being poached because of the lack of visitors and hospitality staff in the area due to the global pandemic, which has impacted the local economy and incomes.
“The role and presence of the community wildlife rangers particularly during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic when operations have been hampered by lack of tourism revenue to sustain them is of paramount importance as they continue to protect wildlife from potential poaching for bush-meat and other wildlife products,” Isiche said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He said the rangers simultaneously monitored the wildlife-rich landscapes along their respective borderlines while staying within their international boundaries.
“Cross border landscapes are particularly difficult to preserve as would poachers take advantage of the fact that they cannot be pursued across the common border after committing their acts. Synchronized patrols such as this one ensure that this is not the case,” he added.
Over 500 wild animals killed by motorists in northern Tanzania in 2019
At least 588 wild animals, including lions and giraffes, were killed by motorists in 2019 as they crossed roads within the Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks ecosystem in northern Tanzania, a statement said on Tuesday.
The statement by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism said the knockdown of the wild animals was mainly caused by lack of road signs that cautioned drivers over the presence of the wild animals.
Following the killings of the animals by motorists, Constantine Kanyasu, the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, ordered relevant authorities to fix road signs in the area that alerted motorists over the presence of the animals, said the statement.
The statement said Kanyasu made the order to fix road signs to the Tanzania National Parks Authority and the Tanzania National Roads Agency in a meeting with wildlife conservation experts held in Babati district in Arusha region that discussed ways of protecting wildlife corridors.
On the protection of the wildlife corridors, Kanyasu directed the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to form a task force to guard wildlife corridors.
Tanzanian police kill 7 suspected armed gangsters in business capital
Tanzanian police killed seven suspected armed gangsters in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam after their robbery attempt became abortive, a senior police officer said on Monday.
The suspected gangsters were killed at midnight on Sunday as they planned to raid a warehouse for construction materials in the business capital, said Lazaro Mambosasa, the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander.
“Acting on intelligence reports, a special anti-crime police task force trailed a vehicle in which the suspected bandits were driving towards Mwenge area,” Mambosasa told a news conference.
He said when the suspected gangsters realized that they were being followed by the police they started firing at the law enforcers who fired back killing the suspects on the spot.
“When police searched the vehicle used by the suspects they found a pistol with three rounds of ammunition, two gas cylinders, machetes, a mobile telephone and a rope,” said Mambosasa.
He said the gas cylinders were to be used for breaking into the warehouse.
On May 11, police gunned down four suspected armed robbers after an exchange of fire in the east African nation’s western region of Kigoma.
Tanzania PM urges farmers to get ready for massive oil palm cultivation
Dar Es Salam, May 23, 2020 Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Saturday that the east African nation will start engaging in massive cultivation of oil palm from October to end importation of edible oils.
A statement by the Prime Minister’s office, issued in Kigoma region after Majaliwa had inspected oil palm seedlings nursery, said the premier told oil palm farmers in the region to get prepared for massive cultivation of the crop.
The seedling nursery is owned by Bulombora National Service, an affiliate of Tanzania People’s Defence Forces.
“Massive cultivation of oil palm starts in October.
“Each farmer, be individuals or cooperative farming groups will be provided with free seedlings across the region,’’ said Majaliwa.
The statement said the Prime Minister said 1.8 million oil palm seedlings have already been grown for distribution to farmers.
He added that Tanzania looked forward to end imports of edible oils.
In February, 2019, Majaliwa announced that the government had set aside $4.3 million to boost cultivation of oil palm as part of its strategy to ending importation of edible oils.
The Kigoma region accounts for more than 80 per cent of the palm oil production in the country and has the potential to make Tanzania one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of palm oil due to its soils and weather.
Tanzania imports almost half of its total edible oils despite having a vast and promising production potential in palm oil and sunflower sub-sectors.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Tanzania PM urges farmers to get ready for massive oil palm cultivation
Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Saturday that the east African nation will start engaging in massive cultivation of oil palm from October to end importation of edible oils.
A statement by the Prime Minister’s office issued in Kigoma region after Majaliwa had inspected oil palm seedlings nursery owned by Bulombora National Service, an affiliate of Tanzania People’s Defense Forces, said the premier told oil palm farmers in the region to get prepared for massive cultivation of the crop.
“Massive cultivation of oil palm starts in October. Each farmer, be individuals or cooperative farming groups will be provided with free-of-charge seedlings across the region,” said Majaliwa.
The statement said the Prime Minister said 1.8 million oil palm seedlings have already been grown for distribution to farmers, adding that Tanzania looked forward to end imports of edible oils.
In February, 2019, Majaliwa announced that the government had set aside 4.3 million U.S. dollars to boost cultivation of oil palm as part of its strategy to ending importation of edible oils.
The Kigoma region accounts for more than 80 percent of the palm oil produced in the country and has the potential to make Tanzania one of the world‘s leading producers and exporters of palm oil due to its soils and weather.
Tanzania imports almost half of its total edible oils despite having a vast and promising production potential in palm oil and sunflower sub-sectors.
Tanzania releases over 27 mln USD education loans as colleges to reopen
Tanzania’s Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) announced on Thursday it has released education loans to the tune of 63.7 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 27.5 million U.S. dollars) following President John Magufuli’s announcement that universities will reopen on June 1.
A statement by HESLB said the released amount will be loaned to students for meals and accommodation for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Earlier on Thursday, President John Magufuli announced the reopening of universities on June 1 after what he described as a drop in COVID-19 infection cases.
Magufuli ordered the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance and Planning to make preparations for the reopening of the universities, including the release of education loans.
HESLB said in the statement that the loans will be availed to beneficiaries in respective universities by May 28.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the government will release higher education loans to the tune of 450 billion shillings to 132,119 students in universities, said the statement.
Tanzania to reopen universities, resume sports
Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced on Thursday the reopening of universities on June 1 after what he described as a drop in COVID-19 infection cases.
Speaking after he had sworn in officials he had appointed recently at an event broadcast live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation from Chamwino State House in the capital Dodoma, Magufuli ordered the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance and Planning to make preparations for the reopening of the universities, including the release of education loans.
He said Form Six students should also go back to school on June 1 and directed the Ministry of Education to arrange a program that will prepare them for their examinations which were earlier planned to start on May 4.
“COVID-19 should not delay the Form Six students from sitting for their examinations,” said Magufuli adding that the government was monitoring the trend of the COVID-19 pandemic before it reopened primary and secondary schools.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the shutdown of schools and universities on March 17 and March 18, respectively, following the outbreak of the virus in the east African nation.
Magufuli said the reopening of the universities was based on the fact that university students were grown-ups who could follow COVID-19 prevention and protection guidelines given by relevant authorities.
He also announced that international flights will start ferrying tourists to Tanzania on May 27, adding that tourists visiting the country will not be in quarantine.
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