Author Archive
Stories written by sinned

Rwanda Has Region’s Highest Inequality Rate

By Dicta Asiimwe

Despite heavy investments in quality housing, education, and health care, Rwanda still has the highest inequality rate in East Africa, according to a new report by Oxfam.

Oxfam Uganda, in the report titled Who is Growing, says that in Rwanda, the gross national income of the richest 10 per cent is 3.2 times more than that of the 40 per cent poorest in the country, compared with Kenya’s 2.81, Uganda’s 2.33, Tanzania’s 1.65 and Burundi’s 1.35.

But the report, which is about ending inequality in Uganda, shows that Rwanda’s inequality is decreasing, even as it grows in the other East African countries.

In Uganda, for example, the report notes that income disparity has increased. In the 1999/2000 financial year, the richest 10 per cent collectively had 1.35 times more income than the 40 per cent poorest. The Gini coefficient has increased from 0.395 in 1999/2000 to 0.47 currently.

Income distributionThe Gini coefficient is a measurement of the income distribution of a country’s residents. This number, which ranges between 0 and 1 and is based on residents’ net income, helps define the gap between the rich and the poor, with the most equal societies having a Gini coefficient of zero, and the most unequal having one.

Irene Ovonji Odida, chairperson of ActionAid International, blames the growing inequality in Uganda on inadequate social investment in areas such as education and health care. She said that Uganda spends resources on politically connected people while the poor, who most need a helping hand, are either left to their own devices or to use substandard government services.

The report highlights widespread disparities in remuneration as one of the factors that fuel inequality. For instance, the lowest paid civil servant in a government ministry earns Ush129,217 ($35.5) per month while an employee of the Bank of Uganda on the same level earns Ush2.1 million ($586.9).

The report points out such schemes as workers in elite government institutions deciding their rewards and allowances, citing a recent discovery that top workers of the Uganda Revenue Authority, the Ministries of Finance, Energy and Mineral Development and the Attorney-General’s Chambers shared Ush6 billion ($1.6 million) as a reward for collecting capital gains tax from an oil company.

The matter is now the subject of an inquiry by a parliamentary committee.

According to experts, the problem with inequality is that it fuels conflict and crime.

Prof Augustus Nuwabaga, a lecturer at Makerere University and one of the Oxfam report’s authors, cites the case of South Africa, where the incomes of the 10 per cent richest are seven times more than those of the poorest 40 per cent.

The fact that South African cities are also ranked as some of the most dangerous in the world, with high robbery and murder rates, speaks to the effect of this inequality, he said.

Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam Uganda country director concurs.

“Inequality leads to national insecurity,” he said. “It also stunts economies.”

Rwanda

Foreign Investment Declines

East Africa’s investment climate is facing a litmus test following the decline in foreign direct investment, faltering… Read more »

East Africa: Rwanda Has Region’s Highest Inequality Rate

By Dicta Asiimwe

Despite heavy investments in quality housing, education, and health care, Rwanda still has the highest inequality rate in East Africa, according to a new report by Oxfam.

Oxfam Uganda, in the report titled Who is Growing, says that in Rwanda, the gross national income of the richest 10 per cent is 3.2 times more than that of the 40 per cent poorest in the country, compared with Kenya’s 2.81, Uganda’s 2.33, Tanzania’s 1.65 and Burundi’s 1.35.

But the report, which is about ending inequality in Uganda, shows that Rwanda’s inequality is decreasing, even as it grows in the other East African countries.

In Uganda, for example, the report notes that income disparity has increased. In the 1999/2000 financial year, the richest 10 per cent collectively had 1.35 times more income than the 40 per cent poorest. The Gini coefficient has increased from 0.395 in 1999/2000 to 0.47 currently.

Income distributionThe Gini coefficient is a measurement of the income distribution of a country’s residents. This number, which ranges between 0 and 1 and is based on residents’ net income, helps define the gap between the rich and the poor, with the most equal societies having a Gini coefficient of zero, and the most unequal having one.

Irene Ovonji Odida, chairperson of ActionAid International, blames the growing inequality in Uganda on inadequate social investment in areas such as education and health care. She said that Uganda spends resources on politically connected people while the poor, who most need a helping hand, are either left to their own devices or to use substandard government services.

The report highlights widespread disparities in remuneration as one of the factors that fuel inequality. For instance, the lowest paid civil servant in a government ministry earns Ush129,217 ($35.5) per month while an employee of the Bank of Uganda on the same level earns Ush2.1 million ($586.9).

The report points out such schemes as workers in elite government institutions deciding their rewards and allowances, citing a recent discovery that top workers of the Uganda Revenue Authority, the Ministries of Finance, Energy and Mineral Development and the Attorney-General’s Chambers shared Ush6 billion ($1.6 million) as a reward for collecting capital gains tax from an oil company.

The matter is now the subject of an inquiry by a parliamentary committee.

According to experts, the problem with inequality is that it fuels conflict and crime.

Prof Augustus Nuwabaga, a lecturer at Makerere University and one of the Oxfam report’s authors, cites the case of South Africa, where the incomes of the 10 per cent richest are seven times more than those of the poorest 40 per cent.

The fact that South African cities are also ranked as some of the most dangerous in the world, with high robbery and murder rates, speaks to the effect of this inequality, he said.

Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam Uganda country director concurs.

“Inequality leads to national insecurity,” he said. “It also stunts economies.”

Rwanda

Foreign Investment Declines

East Africa’s investment climate is facing a litmus test following the decline in foreign direct investment, faltering… Read more »

Sierra Leone: ACC Signs Integrity Pledge With Ministry of Agriculture

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), has strengthened partnership in the fight against corruption by signing an Integrity Pledge on Thursday 26th April 2017. This event took place at the Ministry’s Conference Hall, Youyi Building, Brookfields Freetown. The Commissioner ACC, Ady Macauley Esq., accompanied by his Deputy Shollay Davies, signed the Pledge on behalf of the ACC, whilst Professor Monty Jones, Minister of Agriculture signed on behalf of his Ministry.

The Pledge is the first to be signed between the ACC and the Ministry. The Commissioner of the ACC sees it as an opportunity for both institutions to restate their commitment in the fight against corruption.

“There is the Anti-Corruption law and the Public Procurement Law… The law is the law. Once it has gone through the legislative process we are bound by it. But this is just to restate our commitment to follow the oath we took when we became public servants,” the Commissioner reaffirmed.

The ACC Commissioner also noted in his statement that the Ministry is a key pillar in the socio-economic development of the country. He added that as public servants, they are holding trustee positions and that it is a breach of trust anytime one does something that is improper. In a passionate tone, Commissioner Macauley encouraged all and sundry to put Sierra Leone first at all times.

In buttressing the Commissioner’s passion in the fight against corruption, Professor Monty Jones outlined that upon becoming Minister, one of the first things he tried to do was not just to fight corruption but also to set things right. Professor Jones added that, though over the years there had been a lot of issues in his Ministry, he said, he could stake his neck today that tremendous efforts had been made to fight corruption in his Ministry.

“I know that over the years there have been lots of issues relating to corruption in Agriculture… but we’ve passed that today. And we are waiting very keenly for the next Audit Report to see how we stand… I think there will be considerable improvement,” Professor Jones asserted.

Apart from the signatures of the Commissioner and the Minister, senior staff of the Ministry also signed the Pledge.

Addressing them directly, Professor Jones said that, it was very important that they understood what they were signing. He encouraged them to read and understand the document well and put its content into practice.

Professor Jones and his staff were appreciative of the Commission’s work under the leadership of Mr. Macauley.

“I would like to add my voice and thank the ACC… You people have done a fantastic job all these years, but more so in the short period that you have been there as Commissioner,” Professor Jones stated.

The Ministry of Agriculture under the leadership of Professor Monty Jones, expressed keen interest to continue the fight against corruption. The Minister reiterated the Commissioner’s philosophy that we should always put our country first. He added that putting our country first means doing the right thing all the time.

Sierra Leone

Navigating Helene Cooper’s Fine Art of Madame President

Helene Cooper’s fascinating new book, Madame President, made me think of my friend, the global girl rights advocate… Read more »

Campaigns, New Curriculum Usher in Second Term

By Ouma Wanzala

Schools re-open for the second term on Tuesday with several activities lined up during the period amid heightened political campaigns ahead of the August elections.

Top on the academic calendar this term will be the piloting of the new curriculum and the release of the report on school arson attacks last year.

Learners will also have to contend with increased political activities, which are likely to interfere with learning in some areas.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to rein in politicians who destroy school facilities during campaigns.

PROPERTY DAMAGEDr Matiang’i said he had provided several public schools as designated polling centres throughout the country and taken all steps to ensure efficient access to these institutions by candidates and eligible voters.

“It has, however, come to our notice that the property of several public schools has been severely damaged during the political party primaries.

“These actions are illegal and will certainly upset school operations including opening of schools, which begin next week,” the CS said in a letter to IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati dated April 26.

He went on: “Noting your pivotal role in the country’s electoral process, I request you to use your good offices to remedy this worrying situation.”

FUNDS AVAILABLESchools will also have to conduct co-curricular activities, prayer days, visiting, prize-giving ceremonies and Annual General Meetings this term since such activities are prohibited in third term.

Already the government has released Sh3 billion to secondary schools ahead of the re-opening in order to allow schools to run effectively.

The government will also be embarking on piloting of the new curriculum in 470 selected schools ahead of its rollout in January next year.

The piloting will be from pre-primary to Grade Three.

READ: Rules for new curriculum pilot programme released

Five pre-primary and five primary schools from each county have been selected for the exercise that will end in August.

The new system has three tiers: early years comprising Pre-Primary One to Grade Three; middle-school, comprising Grades Four to Nine; and senior school, running from Grade 10 to 12.

INDISCIPLINE CASESThe new education framework will focus more on Continuous Assessment Tests (CATs) and will see the current classification replaced with grading, according to Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli, who spoke at the forum, appealed to principals to be extra vigilant this term and act on any intelligence.

“We have asked our members to be regular in schools, and have constant consultations with students so that we can have a peaceful term,” Mr Indimuli said.

He also asked school heads to stick to the school fees guidelines issued by the ministry and, in case of any increase, seek the approval of the Cabinet Secretary.

BULLYINGNational Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo asked school heads to create an education environment for learners free from bullying of learners.

He said the association would not accept a situation where prefects are given power to inflict physical, psychological or emotion harm on fellow students for whatever reason.

Mr Maiyo said parents entrusted their children in the hands of the school administration in the hope that they will be accorded a friendly environment to learn.

Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general Wilson Sossion said teachers are ready for the new term.

BUILDING CLASSESSpeaking at a workshop for principals of secondary schools and chairpersons of boards of management at Nakuru Girls’ High School, Dr Matiang’i said the government had set aside Sh6 billion to finance construction of 2,000 additional classrooms in 2,576 secondary schools across the country in order to absorb 1.2 million additional students.

“The funds will also be used to construct 1,000 laboratories and a further 1,000 sanitation facilities to cater for two classes each in the schools,” he said.

It is estimated that each classroom will cost Sh1 million, laboratory will cost Sh3 million while an ablution block will cost Sh500,000.

“In order to meet the staffing needs of the extra spaces created, a projection is made on the basis of staffing norms of schools where a one stream school of 180 students is entitled to nine teachers,” the report by the Ministry of Education states.

PROSECUTIONThe growth in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination enrolment has not had a commensurate growth in secondary schools.

The report further indicates that inadequate secondary school places has been the greatest contributor of poor transition from primary to secondary and proposes that parents make their contributions as well as constituency development funds in construction of more classes.

The CS warned heads of schools and board members that they will be arrested and prosecuted should they misuse the funds as they had a shared responsibility in the school finance.

“Principals and board members should not allow themselves to be influenced by MPs on how to spend infrastructure funds the government has given to them,” said Dr Matiang’i.

Bushenyi Man Stabs, Kills Friends Over Gambling

Bushenyi police is holding a man accused of stabbing his friend to death after losing Shs 200,000 to gambling.

Modern Twijukye was arrested for allegedly stabbing his friend, Mpira Muterane at Kyabugimbi trading center on Friday evening.

According to information obtained by URN, Muterane reportedly lured Twijukye to stake Shs 200,000 in a local betting game known as Wakareeba [spot it game], saying he would earn Shs 400,000. However, Muterane lost the bet and lost his money.

As a result, he turned his anger against his friend and stabbed him to death. Marshal Tumusiime, the greater Bushenyi regional police spokesperson, says angry residents attempted to lynch the suspect but he was rescued by police.

He says residents vandalized the house of Andrew Kabuzi, who helped the suspect to flee from the crime scene. Twijukye is in custody at Bushenyi Central Police Station.

This is the second murder incident in the same area in less than a week. On April 25, 2017, an 89-year-old man identified as Hezekiah Kagate, reportedly stabbed his wife 24-year-old Gladys Kembaga to death using a spear before committing suicide.

His daughter told URN that her father has been battling a mental illness and is still on treatment. She his father told her last month that he would have loved to die before their mother because he doesn’t want to live her suffering.

Uganda

Thousands of Free Mosquito Nets Sold On Black Market

Thousands of treated mosquito nets that were procured the by government for free distribution to citizens across the… Read more »

Villagers Get Reliable Water Supply

By Sunday News Reporter

Tanesco boosts Kibaha cleaning exercise drive Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan helps Mabama villager to carry a bucket of water to symbolise the launch of a water project in Tabora Region, yesterday. (Photo by VPO)

THE Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, yesterday launched a large scale water project that will benefit 42,000 residents of seven districts in Tabora Region.

The Project worth 28bn/- has been implemented by Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with Tanzanian government.

Speaking at the launch of the project, the VP said the project is meant to ensure that Tabora residents have access to clean and safe water thus ending water woes in the region. She insisted that the government recognises the importance of making the service accessible to all citizens.

The state will continue taking various actions to ensure that critical water problems in various areas are addressed. Commenting on poor implementation of some water projects, the VP warned that the government will not tolerate a civil servant or contractor who will implement the projects below standard.

Ms Hassan said the government in collaboration with various donors have been providing lots of funds for development projects especially water projects but, some government officials have been embezzling the funds. She warned that their days are numbered.

She also advised Tabora residents to maintain the project so that it can benefit them for a long time. The VP also called upon Tabora regional authorities to fight against people who degrade the environment especially in water sources as efforts towards environmental preservation. .

Minister for Water and Irrigation Eng Gerson Lwenge said that the project will serve 31 villages in seven districts of Tabora Region.

She said that the project will help to relieve the residents of water woes since the region is often affected with drought. Ms Hassan said the government will continue to put in place various strategic plans aimed at providing citizens with clean and safe water in order to improve their lives and economic activities.

For his part Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania Masaharu Yoshida said that his government has implemented the project which will benefit thousands of residents in Tabora.

He said that his country will continue to provide various forms of assistance to Tanzania basing on the government priorities for the prosperity of the nation.

Tanzania

More Pregnant Women Go to Hospital

AS the world prepares to mark the International Day of the Midwife (IDM) 2017, health officers here said more expectant… Read more »

Rhino Fausta to Take Rhino Frida On a Date

By Amby Lusekelo

MAY 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Oh, happy day I thought to myself then laughed out loud. I inherited my late Dad’s sense of humour because I see the sense of humour in anything.

If all else fails, I will consider becoming a stand-up comic but that’s a story for another day.

But seriously, the words ‘press’ and ‘freedom’, being so completely dissociated in the country right now but mark my words, there will be someone, somewhere who will issue a press release commemorating the day.

The press release will give [fake] praise and all that good stuff and the press corps will be encouraged to keep doing their jobs confidently as if they were working to the Promised Land. World Press Freedom Day will be just another Wednesday in Tanzania because we have to watch it.

We really, really, have to watch it. However, do you know who does not have to watch it? Rhino Fausta. Did you know this 54-year-old rhino (yes, a wild animal) is living it up in Ngorongoro Conservation Area and costing the government 64m/- per month? That is approx. $30,000 Rhino Fausta is living it up and has nothing to worry about and absolutely does not do any watching.

This discovery was made when the minister in charge of Natural Resources and Tourism Minister admitted in parliament that the government was spending this amount per month for the wild animal. Apologies, I mean Rhino Fausta.

There was no mention of Rhino John who was also being ‘maintained’ by the government. Everybody seems to have forgotten about Rhino John but, let me watch it. Rhino Fausta did not received any memos regarding having to watch anything really. Not the amount he uses on his food allowance, not his cable TV subscriptions (home and office), not his monthly entertainment allowance and not even his wardrobe allowance.

This has got to be the only way to explain 64m/- (approx. $30,000) per month expense that the government of the united republic of Tanzania is spending on this wild animal. Gosh, I apologise again. I mean Rhino Fausta.

In an effort to understand this issue, a friend of mine decided that Rhino Fausta was actually being kept at such an expense not for research as was claimed because really, how much can you learn from a 54-year-old rhino?? But rather because he was being groomed to mate with a Rhino Frida to produce a Rhino Filip.

In a show of solidarity with the government, you know, being patriotic citizens and all, we decided that this was in fact the only reason. That the government of the united republic, is actually sponsoring the preparation for a real expensive date.

At 54 years of age, Rhino Fausta is the luckiest bachelor in Tanzania because really, as other bachelors are struggling to take their dates out in this economy, he has the government covering the bill. Meanwhile, where is Rhino John? Actually, never mind.

Twitter: @ambylusekelo Twitter: @ambylusekelo

Tanzania

More Pregnant Women Go to Hospital

AS the world prepares to mark the International Day of the Midwife (IDM) 2017, health officers here said more expectant… Read more »

Every Drop Counts, Protect Source of Water

By Faustine Kapama

Udzungwa waterfalls. Water is essential for human life and sustaining various aquatic living organisms.

WATER is essential for human life and to sustain various aquatic living organisms. It is also an important economic driver as an essential requirement for industry, power generation, commerce and agriculture. But in his performance audit report on the control of water abstraction from the water sources, the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad, has noted, among others, absence of proper plans and effective mechanism to monitor and control authorised water abstractors. Our Staff Writer FAUSTINE KAPAMA reports…

WATER is abstracted for a range of uses, including agriculture, industry, power generation and public water supply. The government and the responsible institutions together with water users need to make sure that abstraction is sustainable and does not damage the environment.

The control of how much, where and when water is abstracted is done by issuing of water use permit. If water abstraction is not controlled, it will reach a point that our water sources will deplete and result into water stress situation, where people and the surrounding environment will not have enough water for survival. Water sources in Tanzania are faced with different problems that may cause either water depletion (reduction in quantity) or water pollution (deterioration of quality).

Increasing human activities and the land use practices in the various catchment areas are impacting on the availability of water resources through consequent changes to runoff patterns, groundwater recharge mechanisms and the overall water balance of catchment areas.

Deforestation, agricultural activities like use of pesticides and irrigation, livestock grazing, settlement near water sources, industrial activities, fisheries, wildlife and tourism, energy production and mining activities are some of the human activities that are detrimental to water sources.

According to Tanzania Water Policy 2002, Tanzania’s annual renewable water resources are 2,700 cubic meters of water per person per year. Based on projected population from estimated 33 million in year 2001 to about 59.8 million by year 2025, annual average available water per capita will be reduced by 45 percent to about 1,500 cubic meters per person per year. This shows that the country will face a water stress situation, considering that quantity of below 1,700 cubic meters per person per year signifies water scarcity.

Therefore, there is a need of controlling abstraction in order to protect water sources from overuse. Several economic activities are taking place within prohibited sites; people are abstracting water without permits, while others with permit, abstract more than the prescribed limits.

There has been an increase in conflicts between different groups of water users. Control of water abstraction goes way back before Independence. Many water rights which were allocated during the pre-Independence period allowed for very high rates of abstraction, sometimes on a 24-hour basis.

The allocations were made during a time when the population was much lower than at present, and when industry and urban centers were less developed. Currently water is under pressure and getting scarce as a result of increasing multi-sectoral demands of the rapidly growing population.

Water is also vulnerable due to increasing environmental degradation, which causes unsustainable availability of the resource and hence failure to meet demands.

In 2009, the Water Resource Management Act was enacted and introduced the water use permits which prescribed the limit of water by nondomestic abstractor from the sources. The Basin Water Boards were given the mandate to control and monitor the water resources through granting water use permits.

Moreover conflicts of water sharing have been very common in almost all the water basins. Conflicts have emerged between users of different categories in the basins. Large scale plantations using hundreds litters of water per second come into conflicts with small-scale users using small quantities of water.

Similarly, the urban centers in the basins require more water as they expand at the expense of the village governments of farming communities causing more conflicts between them.

The other issues which have motivated the CAG’s audit are increase in illegal abstraction and over-exploitation of water resources especially during droughts. This has brought confrontation between pastoralists and irrigation water users to the point of loss of properties and lives.

The Maasai’s traditional land was strained by overuse of water resources and overgrazing as the result in the past few years, 2,987 herders with 871,321 cows and 98,341 goats moved into the basin’s low lands and destroyed arable lands.

Therefore, the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) decided to conduct a performance audit on the area of water abstraction from the sources based on the above motivations.

He was motivated by the frequent public outcry from civil societies and parliament discussions through different local media. Such outcry, according to the CAG, regarded the frequent occurrence of water source pollution and depletion in different parts of the country which is threatening the growth of economy and health of the people.

The CAG audit aimed at assessing whether the Basin Water Boards have developed effective plans for water use, whether the Ministry of Water and such Boards effectively monitor activities in controlling water abstraction.

He also sought to know whether the Boards take proper actions to control water abstraction and whether there is proper coordination between the Ministry, Boards and other stakeholders. In his findings, the CAG has discovered that all visited Boards planned to give out certain number of permits, however important component such as water balance was not considered before issuing water use permit.

It was further noted that there was no involvement of key stakeholders in process of planning for water use. Stakeholders such as Water User Association, Non-Government Organizations and Local Government Authorities and the concerned ministries were not involved.

The CAG has further noted that inspections of water sources were not conducted properly as in some places water was still used without permits from the respective Boards. According to the report, it was observed that some abstracting structures were used to abstract water from upstream rivers leaving the downstream without water.

Geographical coverage of basins and inadequate resources, he says, were claimed to be the causative factors of failure to conduct regular inspection and no follow up was made to determine whether water users, abstracted the permitted amount of water.

It was also revealed that collection of user charges were not effectively done as not all the users paid what they were supposed to pay.

The CAG states that both large and small scale water users were not paying their tariffs timely as prescribed in their abstracting permits. Several urban and municipal water authorities did not pay their water use fee to the Basin Water Boards as required, and the system set for collecting water bills was weak.

This, he noted, hassled to the weakening of monitoring activities which could have been conducted using the money collected. The CAG states further that actions taken by Basin Water Boards to illegal water users were not deterrent; hence the activities of illegal water abstraction were increasing throughout the visited basins. He noted that communication and information sharing between Ministry of Water and Basin Water Basins with other actors on the control of water abstraction was not effective.

It was further noted that, having different reporting structures has weakened coordination. The Local Government Authorities report to the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government while the Basin Water Board report directly to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has weakened their coordination.

Prof. Assad concludes in his audit that the ministry, particularly at the Boards level is not effective enough to Control water abstraction. This is because there were no proper plans for water abstraction. He states that the Boards had failed to have effective mechanism to monitor abstraction levels and control unauthorized water abstractors as they did not conduct regular inspections.

They also did not effectively collect water use fees from the authorized users and the actions taken to prevent unauthorized users were not deterrent enough to stop the tendency of abstracting water illegally. He recommends, therefore, to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to ensure integrated Water Resource Management and Development Plan is finalized and implemented in all Basin Water Boards and also ensure that Water sources inventory is conducted by all Boards.

The CAG proposes further to the ministry that Basin Water Boards are staffed with required professions and equipped with all necessary equipment required for inspection and monitoring activities.

On the other hand, he recommends to the Basin Water Board to ensure regular inspection is done so that water users are complying with their water use permits requirements and improve internally generated funds by improving the financing mechanism of Water Resources Management activities.

Go-Slow By Ferry Workers Causes Heavy Traffic Jam

By Galgalo Bocha

Some Kenya Ferry Services employees staged a go-slow paralysing ferry operations at the busy Likoni channel on Saturday.

The go-slow caused massive snarl-up as hundreds of passengers and motorists on either side of the 500-metre crossing channel were stranded.

Loading and off-loading of human and vehicular cargo from the three operating ferries – MV Kwale, Mv Harambee and MV Kilindini – took long on the island and at mainland ramps.

Hundreds of passengers and motorists were stranded for hours resulting into a massive traffic jam that snaked its way into Mombasa central business district.

“We have been here for more than one hour yet we have a very important meeting in Diani,” said John Njuguna, a motorist.

TOTAL FAILURES

Some of frustrated motorists demanded for a total overhaul of KFS management, saying it has failed to implement the much needed reforms at the channel that links Mombasa Island and South Coast.

“We urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to come personally and send the workers home including the managing director. They are total failures, “said Sheikh Abu Hamza.

The workers were protesting KFS management’s failure to implement the second phase of 17.5 per cent basic salary increments awarded to them by Industrial Court two years ago.

The Industrial Court awarded basic salary increments across the board and various allowances to 181 unionisable workers out of a total of KFS 290 employees in 2015.

The Dock Workers Union, ferry branch, sued their employer for failing to honour collective bargaining agreement signed between the management and their representatives.

HARDSHIP ALLOWANCES

The dispute involves basic salary increment, casual workers employment, outsourcing of services , public holidays overtime pay, and extraneous, house, leave travel, duty, and commuter/transport and hardship allowances.

The workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also complained that key private hospitals have refused to treat them and their families due to lack of remittance towards their medical insurance scheme.

“Some of our colleagues have been surcharged because of our employer’s failure to deduct money from their salaries to repay bank loans,” said an employee who did not want to be named.

But speaking to the Sunday Nation, KFS Public Communication Officer Aron Mutiso denied the claims by the disgruntled workers and attributed the crisis at the busy channel to an influx of commuters due to children going back to school.

“That is your own creation (the go slow). There is nothing like that. The long queue you are seeing is as a result of the back school rush and the holiday,” added Mr Mutiso.

Schools are expected re-open on Tuesday, May 2, for the second term this year.

Dodoma Land Lease Extended to 99 Years

By Sunday News Reporter

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday directed Dodoma regional authorities to form a committee that will work on changing land occupancy duration in the region from 33 to 99 years.

The Head of State issued the directive at Dodoma Airport when he met with various regional leaders led by Regional Commissioner (RC) Jordan Rugimbana, National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai and Minister for Works , Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa.

According to the President, the committee will comprise of members from the Regional Commissioner’s Office, the Office of the National Assembly Speaker, Ministry of Works , Transport and Communication, Dodoma Town Council Director and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Director General.

He said that Dodoma is the only region facing problems on issues related to land ownership, because its land occupancy certificates are valid for 33 years instead of 99 years, thus stalling development of the area such as investments.

“Dodoma is still facing a major problem on issues related to land ownership, certificates of all land plots which have been leased are valid for 33 years … we cannot attain our industrialisation drive or attract investors whose certificate of land occupancy is valid for 33 years,” he said.

He added that “it will be difficult for investors with a guarantee of 33 years to access loans from the banks … I think this is one of the laws which discouraged the construction of many factories in the region.”

Meanwhile, the President has also accepted the request by University of Dodoma (UDOM) to relieve it from paying land rent debt of more than 2bn/- it owes Capital Development Authority (CDA). “This university is not doing business but rather providing education to many Tanzanians, most of them from poor families .

“The country laws governing land give power to the President to oversee the resource in the country. Basing on these laws I am giving special offer to UDOM to be relieved of the debt,” he said.

Tanzania

More Pregnant Women Go to Hospital

AS the world prepares to mark the International Day of the Midwife (IDM) 2017, health officers here said more expectant… Read more »

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google
    Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes