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Tanzanian PM suspends 7 public officials over misuse of public fund

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Tanzanian Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, on Sunday suspended seven public officials in Morogoro region over embezzlement of 1.3 billion Tanzanian shillings ($567,000), a statement said.

The statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital Dodoma said Majaliwa has ordered the seven public officials to refund the money in three days’ time before he concluded his official visit to Morogoro region.

The suspended public officials were from Kilombero district council and Ifakara town council, said the statement.

“The whole of Morogoro region is facing misuse of public funds.

“Government revenue is being collected but it ends up in people’s private pockets.

“This is unacceptable,’’ the premier said.

According to the 2016/2019 report of the Controller Auditor General, Ifakara town council collected 2.7 billion shillings during that period but only 1.9 billion shillings was deposited in a bank, said Majaliwa.

He said investigations revealed that most of the money, unaccounted for, were deposited in personal bank accounts of the suspended public officials.

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Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Tanzanian gov’t to crack down on hiking of sugar price

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Sugar

Dar Es Salaam, June 3, 2020 Tanzanian Authorities said on Wednesday it will launch a crackdown on sugar traders who have been hiking price.

Japhet Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture, said the crackdown followed complaints from the public that traders sold the commodity higher than the indicative price set by the government.

“The crackdown will target one shop after another and traders, who are found for hiking price of sugar, will face the full force of the law,’’ said Hasunga.

“If there are traders who think the crackdown is a joke, let them continue selling the commodity at a high price.

“They should not blame anyone when they face the music,’’ added the minister.

On April 24, the government announced indicative price of the commodity, which is 2,600 Tanzanian shillings (about $1.12) a kilogramme, after sugar price had gone up.

The rise in sugar price was allegedly attributed to traders, who had hoarded the commodity in warehouses, to create an artificial shortage.

Hasunga said Tanzania’s sugar demand stood at 470,000 tons a year, while the country’s five sugar processing factories had the capacity of producing 378,000 tons in 2019.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Tanzanian universities reopen on cautious note over COVID-19 pandemic

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Tanzanian universities reopened on Monday on a caution note after they were shut down about two months ago following the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the east African nation.

Chancellors of universities in the country said they had taken precautionary measures days before they reopened according to instructions of education authorities.

They said the measures included making sure that the students wash hands as they enter the academic buildings, wear face masks, undergo thermal scanning and observe a one-meter social distance.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor for private-owned Tumaini University’s Dar es Salaam College, Andrew Mollel, said 70 percent of students at the college based in Mwenge area have already reported for studies.

“We have made adjustments to the academic program to enable them to cover their curriculum in the remaining 12 weeks before they sit for their examinations,” said Mollel.

Jackson Isdory, communications officer for government-owned University of Dar es Salaam, said many students reported on Monday, adding that all precautionary guidelines against CIVID-19 were already in place.

Faustian Bee, the chancellor of state-run University of Dodoma, said 12, 533 students, an equivalent of 42 percent of total students, have already reported for studies.

“We have placed buckets for hand washing all over the university. All students have been instructed to wear face masks. In short, we are observing guidelines given by the Ministry of Health,” said Bee.

On May 21, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced the reopening of universities on June 1 after what he described as a decline in COVID-19 infection cases.

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.

(XINHUA)

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Tanzanian court finds opposition leader guilty of sedition, sets him free

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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)

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Tanzanian police kill 7 suspected armed gangsters in business capital

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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.

(XINHUA)

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Tanzanian police gun down 4 suspected armed robbers

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Tanzanian police on Monday gunned down four suspected armed robbers after an exchange of fire in the east African nation’s western region of Kigoma.

Martin Otieno, the Kigoma regional police commander, said the four killed suspected bandits were among eight of them who had planned to waylay a bus at Mvugwe village along the Kasulu-Kibondo districts road.

In addition, police recovered a military firearm loaded with 13 rounds of ammunition, he said, and another 40 rounds of ammunition and two machetes were found in a plastic bag.

“The armed robbers planned to waylay the bus at 6 a.m. (03:00 GMT) but police acted promptly to intercept them,” Otieno told a news conference on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

“The bandits started firing after they had realized that they were being hunted by police. In the course of the fire exchange police managed to kill four out of the eight bandits,” said Otieno.

(XINHUA)

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Tanzanian gov’t urges textile mills to produce face masks for COVID-19

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A Tanzanian government cabinet minister has urged textile mills in the country to start producing face masks for protection against the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement said on Monday.

Innocent Bashungwa, the Minister for Industry and Trade, also appealed to owners of the textile mills to sell the masks at cheaper prices to enable the general public afford to buy them, said the statement issued by the ministry.

The statement said Bashungwa made the appeal when he visited two Arusha-based textile mills, Sunflag Tanzania Limited and A to Z Textile Mills where he inspected production of the masks.

The statement said the minister appealed to textile mills to produce the masks in bulk and promised them government support.

Bashungwa said locally produced masks should be sold at 1,500 Tanzanian shillings (about 0.65 U.S. dollar), warning non-governmental organizations that were producing the masks and selling them at between 2,500 shillings and 3,000 shillings apiece.

“There are NGOs that were given permit to produce the masks but they are selling them at hiked prices. They should stop that immediately,” warned the senior official.

Emmanuel Mgoma, an official with Sunflag Tanzania Limited, said the mill was producing 25,000 masks a day.

Slyvester Kazi, an official with A to Z Textile Mills, said the factory was producing 15,000 masks a day.

Tanzania has nearly 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the first case was reported on March 16.
(XINHUA)

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Tanzanian students to learn through radio, television during COVID-19 crisis: minister

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Tanzanian education authorities said on Friday they have made arrangements aimed at enabling students to study through radio and television during the COVID-19 crisis.

Joyce Ndalichako, the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, said the arrangement will require radio and television stations to air learning programs for the students.

Tabling her ministry’s budget proposals for the 2020-2021 financial year in parliament in Dodoma, Ndalichako urged parents to make sure that their children used the opportunity to learn during the virus pandemic.

“This arrangement will help the students to cope with their school syllabuses,” the minister told the House.

Susan Lyimo, the shadow minister for education from the opposition camp in parliament, urged the government to set aside a budget that will improve online learning for the students.

COVID-19 has massively affected the education sector. The government should find ways to ensure that the sector is not adversely affected during the virus crisis,” said Lyimo.

On April 14, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced extension of closure of schools and universities in the east African nation, saying they will remain closed indefinitely as part of measures aimed at fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 17 and 18, the prime minister announced the shutting down of all schools and universities for 30 days, respectively.
(XINHUA)

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Tanzanian president rules out lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Wednesday ruled out a lockdown of business capital Dar es Salaam amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the move was aimed at saving people from difficulties and saving the country from an economic meltdown.

A statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House said Magufuli made the remarks when he addressed heads of defense and security organs over the COVID-19 crisis from his native home of Chato in Geita region.

Instead, Magufuli urged people to stop panicking but observing preventive and protective guidelines on the virus and at the same time participating in national building activities.

“Let’s give people facts about the viral disease. We should stop giving information that creates panic among members of the public,” said the head of state.

He urged the heads of defense and security organs to take punitive actions against people, including politicians, who were spreading false information on COVID-19.

In another development, Magufuli appointed his personal advisor for health issues, Mabula Daudi Mchembe, the new permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health.

The appointment in the health docket was termed as reinforcing the government’s resolve to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Magufuli also appointed Abel Makubi the country’s new chief medical officer, replacing Mohamed Bakari Kambi who has retired.

At the same time, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tanzania climbed from 254 to 284 after 30 new cases were announced on Wednesday.

Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, said in her official twitter that 10 of the 30 new cases were from Dar es Salaam.
(XINHUA)

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Tanzanian MP tests positive for COVID-19

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A Tanzanian Member of Parliament attending a marathon budget session in the capital Dodoma has tested positive for COVID-19, Deputy Speaker Tulia Ackson announced on Monday.

Ackson told parliament that the lawmaker who has tested COVID-19 positive was infected with the deadly virus after he had travelled to Dar es Salaam.

“The MP is receiving treatment and is doing well,” Ackson told the House shortly before she adjourned its session to allow disinfection of the House chamber.

The Deputy Speaker did not reveal the identity of the MP but she urged the lawmakers to take precautions against the virus that has already infected a total of 170 people in the east African nation with seven recorded deaths.

The budget session of parliament runs from March 31 through June 30.
(XINHUA)

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