Posts tagged as: health

‘Kiswahili Is Making Huge Strides Globally’

By Syriacus Buguzi

Dar es Salaam — Minister for Youth, culture and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has commended the ongoing efforts by various stakeholders in strengthening Kiswahili language.

Dr Mwakyembe said Tuesday that Kiswahili is now being recognised globally because top leaders, including President John Magufuli have decided to use the language in high profile gatherings.

He said this in Dar es Salaam during the event to mark the 60th Anniversary of BBC Swahili.

The event, which took place in the city, was attended by veteran journalists, politicians as well as Kiswahili lecturers.

“We have recently launched a Comprehensive Kiswahili Dictionary and I think this is a step towards the right direction in making this language grow and spread across the world,” he said.

East Africa

Kenya Third Most Innovative Sub-Saharan Africa Country

Kenya has been ranked the third most innovative country in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more »

What’s Troubling Diamond Platnumz?

Photo: Diamond Platnumz/Facebook

Diamond Platnumz.

On Monday, Instagram was ablaze after a fight between Ugandan socialite Zari Hassan and her baby daddy, Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platnumz, ensued. The two exchanged in a serious war of Swahili words, with pictures in tow that left many seeking the services of translators, and thereafter, coming to the conclusion that there was trouble in paradise.

It is said that on Sunday, Zari went to her deceased ex-husband’s (Ivan Ssemwanga) spa where she bumped into one Edwin Lutaaya, a cousin to the deceased. The two hit the hot tub together as Lutaaya’s wife took pictures that eventually found their way to the Internet. The pictures of course got to Platnumz who was quick to interpret it negatively.

He quickly shared the pictures saying that the reason he chooses to be ‘a player’ is because of such things. Zari tried to explain but the Bongo Flavour star was not taking any of that. Zari’s relatives, including her sisters, had to calm Platnumz down with proof that the guy in the picture is a relative and that there was no need for drama.

“I’m God fearing, I did not know that those pictures would go viral. Ivan was my brother; I never meant to offend you as alleged. That picture was taken in decency. Deep down in my heart, I have no intention of hitting on my in-law. I respect you and will never come in between you and Zari,”Lutaaya said.

Platnumz eventually pulled down the post, though screenshots had already been taken and shared all over social media.

More on This

Diamond and Zari – Rocky Beginnings, Rockier Union

The blogosphere has been awash with rumours since Monday about cracks in the union of celebrity couple Diamond and Zari,… Read more »

Political Parties Challenged to Embrace Gender Equality

By Janeth Mesomapya

Dar es Salaam — Women participation in politics is said to remain low because it isn’t a priority within political parties. Political Science Professor Ruth Meena voiced this during a panel discussion at this year’s Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair on Wednesday.

She said that the gender gap in politics is fueled by the fact that gender equality is not a priority, even in nominating candidates during the elections. “The constitution should compel political parties to align with international policies in order to enhance gender equality and bridge the gap,” she said.

Former Parliament Speaker Ms Anna Makinda said young girls should be taught to be bold from the family level to be able to stand against any sort of gender discrimination. “Let’s build a society where women are confident of who they are and participate all socio-economic activities,” she added.

Tanzania

Magufuli Orders Seizure of Undeveloped Farms

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has directed the confiscation of all undeveloped farms in the country and ordered that… Read more »

Many in Hot Water After Magufuli’s Second Minerals Report

By Katare Mbashiru

President John Magufuli has directed the security apparatus to summon and interrogate all officials who were mentioned in the second report on the export of mineral concentrates.

Among them are former cabinet ministers who entered into shoddy Mining Development Agreements (MDAs) with mining companies, occasioning loss to the country in taxes between 1998 and 2017.

Others are former Attorneys General (AGs), their deputies, former commissioners of minerals, directors of contracts departments, lawyers in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and others who participated in the drafting of the agreements, as well as provision and renewal of mining licences.

Speaking at the State House in Dar es Salaaam yesterday after receiving a report from an eight-member team led by Professor Nehemiah Osoro, Dr Magufuli said he endorsed all its recommendations.

The Osoro-led committee also proposed that legal steps should be taken against workers and owners of the biggest mining companies, Freight Forwarders (T) Limited for contravening the country’s laws.

Some of the individuals featuring in the report include former ministers for energy and minerals – Daniel Yona, Nazir Karamagi,Wiliam Ngeleja and Professor Sospeter Muhongo.

Others are former commissioners of minerals Paulo Masanja and Dr Dalali Kafumu, as well as Acting Commissioner of Minerals Ally Samaje. Featured too are former AGs (by virtue of which they were chief state legal advisors) Andrew Chenge and Johnson Mwanyika.

The list also includes former deputy AGs, Felix Mrema and Sazi Salula as well as the heads of the contracts department, Maria Kejo and Julius Malaba.

” I hereby direct intelligence and security officials to summon all the individuals who have been mentioned in this report and interrogate them, as a preamble to taking appropriate legal actions,” he said.

The mining companies that signed vague agreements with the ministry of Energy and Minerals, according to the report, are Bulyanhulu Gold Mines Limited (Kahama Mine Corporation Limited), North Mara Gold Mine Limited and Pangea Gold Mine Limited – all of which are under the Acacia Gold Mine Plc as well as Geita Gold Mine Limited (AngloGold Ashanti Limited).

Dr Magufuli furthermore called for a review of the Mining Act, directing lawyers in the ministries of Energy and Minerals, as well as Justice and Constitutional Affairs to work together to make important amendments that will help the country to benefit from the natural resources.

“Our country is endowed with a lot of natural resources but our people are still languishing in abject poverty because of some people who subordinate individual gains to national interests,” he said. He blamed some officials who ignored potential investors who had shown interest to build smelters in the country.

The Head of State said the country needed investors who were ready for conducting business under win-win arrangements and not exploiters who had been siphoning the country’s resources. He asked the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, to explore the possibility of squeezing amendments in the law within the ongoing parliamentary budget session.

“Even if this entails extension of the session for an extra week, I am ready to give you the go-ahead and give you full support, to enable us amend our legislation for the benefit of our country,” he added.

Mr Ndugai, who also attended the report’s handing over function, said the House was ready to overhaul the law, adding that he also intended to form a team for overseeing the country’s diamond business as he did relating to Tanzanite.

In an interview with the ‘Daily News’, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, said he would facilitate the amendments of the Mining Act as directed by the Head of State. The president accepted all the committee’s 20 recommendations.

World Champ Beatrice Chepkoech Shines At Police Track Finals

By Ayumba Ayodi

World Cross Country Championships mixed relays gold medallist Beatrice Chepkoech cashed in on the absence of several stars to win women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase title Wednesday at the Kenya Police Service Athletics Championships at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Fresh from posting personal best in a second place of nine minutes and 01.57 seconds at Doha’s Diamond League meeting, Chepkoech obliterated the field of five athletes in a gun-to-tape performance victory of 9:50.06.

Chepkoech, who finished fourth at the Rio Olympic Games, edged out Abigael Jelagat and Anne Gathoni to second and third places in 10:16.6 and 10:20.4 respectively.

“It was a good victory even though I am still on medication, having been admitted a while ago after I fell sick,” said Chepkoech, who failed to compete in Shanghai last Sunday after she fell sick.

“I was admitted for three days after Doha but I am well now.”

Chepkoech, who will be seeking a double in women’s 1,500m final Thursday, said she hopes to be fit for the Prefontaine Classic on May 27 in Eugene, USA, where she hopes to turn the tables on world champion Hyvin Kiyeng and Olympic champion Ruth Jebet from Bahrain.

Chepkoech lost the Doha battle to Kiyeng, who ran a world lead time of 9:00.12, as Jebet, who is also the world record holder, came third in 9:01.99.

But Kiyeng, who is also an Olympic silver medallist, lost to Jebet in Shanghai, clocking 9:06.72 against Jebet’s winning time of 9:04.78. Kiyeng failed to compete in the Police meet Wednesday as did Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase gold medallist Purity Kirui and the 2015 Diamond League 3,000m steeplechase series winner Virginia Nyambura.

However, Kiyeng will field in Thursday’s 5,000m final where she will take on the 2013 world 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono, Africa Games 5,000m champion Margaret Chelimo and former world junior 3,000m steeplechase champion and record holder Ruth Bosibori.

Meanwhile, Eglay Nalianya, who was in Kenya’s 4x800m team at this year’s World Relay Championships in Bahamas, won her 800m semi-final in a slow time of 2:10.4.

World 1,500m silver medallist Elijah Manangoi illuminated the men’s 800m first semi-final race with victory in 1:48.1 to storm the final.

Manangoi edged out Job Kinyor and Justus Kipchoech to second and third places in 1:48.4 and 1:48.8 respectively.

Manangoi will also face Timothy Sein and Jeremiah Mutai won the other 800m semi-finals in 1:48.9 and 1:48.8.

Kiplagat Ruto won the men’s long jump in 7.82m while Anderson Muiruri bagged the triple jump title in 2.00m. Damacline Nyakeruri won women’s javelin in 45.94m while Ruth Njoroge went for the 10km walk race in 52:06.2.

Rotich Kipsang and Rose Rakamba won men and women’s discus with throws of 44.68m and 40.91m.

Public Debt Crosses Sh4 Trillion Mark As State Eyes More Loans

By Brian Ngugi

Kenya’s public debt crossed the Sh4 trillion mark at the end of March this year, reflecting the Jubilee government’s sharp appetite for loans.

This has raised fears of the country’s future ability to repay the mounting credit.

The latest Quarterly Economic and Budgetary Review report released Wednesday by the Treasury shows that total public debt has now risen to an equivalent of more than half (52.6 per cent) of the gross domestic product (GDP), on the back of massive increase in borrowing since the Jubilee administration took power four years ago.

The public debt comprises 51.9 per cent foreign and 48.1 per cent domestic loans.

“The gross public debt increased by Sh782.3 billion from Sh3.26 billion as at the end of March 2016 to Sh4.04 trillion, equivalent to 52.6 per cent of GDP by March 31, 2017,” says Treasury in the report tabled in Parliament.

“The overall increase is attributed to increased external debt due to exchange rate fluctuations, disbursements from external loans and more uptake of domestic debt during the period.” The rate of increase in the debt load, however, does not correspond with growth in revenue generation, indicating the widening gap and mounting pressure on government’s capacity to repay loans.

The ability to generate and grow tax revenue is a strong indicator of future ability to repay debt.

The Treasury report shows that the government’s cumulative revenue collection for the period July last year to March this year amounted to Sh984.6 billion against a target of Sh1.05 trillion.

“This represented an under-performance of Sh65.9 billion mainly due to shortfalls in income tax, (fees, charges and court fines) collection, Investment Income and Imports Declaration Fee (IDF),” says Treasury in its documents.

The total external debt stock including the international sovereign bond stood at Sh2.1 trillion at the period ending March 2017.

The debt stock comprised multilateral debt at 38.4 per cent, bilateral debt at 32.8 per cent, commercial banks debt at 28.3 per cent including international sovereign bond and suppliers’ credit debt at 0.5 per cent.

Corresponding to the rising debt load, foreign interest payments rose to Sh38.2 billion in the period compared to Sh26 billion in the same period of the 2015/16 financial year. On the other hand interest payments on domestic debt totaled Sh145.8 billion, which was higher than the Sh122.6 billion paid in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

According to the budgetary review, Kenya’s loan repayment to China stood at Sh18 billion over the period representing over half of the total bilateral loans (Sh32.8 billion) highlighting the country’s growing appetite for Chinese loans.

Kenya this week committed to borrowing additional billions of shillings to finance the ongoing construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) line indicating that the borrowings could soon take the debt load past 60 per cent of GDP level.

On Monday the government announced it is seeking an additional Sh370 billion ($3.59 billion) Chinese loan to extend the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu, pushing the construction cost to Sh847 billion.

The country has in the past four years borrowed billions of shillings to finance power generation and road construction projects.

In addition to Sh327 billion spent on the first phase between Mombasa and Nairobi and Sh150 billion that the emerging Asian economy extended recently for the Nairobi-Naivasha section, the Chinese will have pumped a total of Sh847 billion in the venture.

This excludes interest on the loans that would push the overall cost beyond Sh1 trillion.

IMF Leader Touts for More Stable Tax Regime

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director, Tao Zhang has hailed Tanzania for managing to boost tax collection to finance infrastructure development but cautioned the country needs a more stable tax regime to remain an attractive investment destination.

The visiting IMF leader said it was vital to mobilise more private and public resources by strengthening tax collection but unpredictability of tax regime remained a challenge as the country strive to develop an industrial economy as envisaged in the second Five-Year Development Plan.

“So it is crucial to mobilise more private and public resources within Tanzania, especially by strengthening tax collection under a fair and predictable tax regime. This is an area where Tanzania has fallen behind its neighbours,” he said at a public lecture he gave in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

He described Tanzania as a strong performer in terms of economic growth and macroeconomic stability but argued the country needed to strengthen the role of private sector to sustain its impressive growth which has remained strong for over two decades.

He said the second Five-Year Development Plan would succeed if Tanzania would make optimal use of its comparative advantages, particularly the potential from agricultural and mining and possibilities of becoming a trading and logistic hub for East Africa.

Tanzania should also strengthen the business climate for local and foreign firms to attract investments, he said. The business community have been complaining of an unpredictable and complex taxation system which make doing business in Tanzania much harder and as a result discourage investment.

The government has restated its commitment to work on complaints from investors and business people of nuisance taxes ensure the country’s tax system does not stifle the private sector.

Touring industrial exhibitions at Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) grounds in December last year, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Phillip Mpango had urged investors and the business community to forward to his ministry their tax recommendations so that they can be evaluated and incorporated into next year’s financial budget plans.

And speaking at a meeting with members of the private sector under the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) at State House in Dar es Salaam early this month, President John Magufuli said his government was ready to work with the private sector which he described as the engine of the economy.

The meeting washeld in the wake of reports of weakening investor confidence due to concerns about the economy, policy unpredictability and tax crackdown targeting big companies.

Magufuli dispelled sentiments that his government was “anti-business,” saying he was pro-business, but his administration would not tolerate tax dodging, which was rampant in Tanzania in previous years.

Tanzania

Capital Development Authority ‘Outlived Its Purpose’

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Pius Msekwa has joined an array of patrons supporting dissolution of the… Read more »

U.S. Embassy Partners With Zanzibar Film Festival

History was made yesterday, with the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the US Embassy and the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF).

The new partnership will manifest itself in this coming July’s 20th episode of the event, in Stone Town, with a week-long cultural exchange programme.

Within this agreement, the US Embassy will bring the American film director, Judd Ehrlich and their film expert, Debra Zimmerman, to conduct workshops during the festival.

“These workshops, which we’re looking forward to doing, will focus on promoting and training for documentary film making, marketing and distribution. For the first time ever, we’re going to have a workshop dedicated specifically to women and that is women who make movies here,” The Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, Virginia Blaser, said on the occasion.

She also mentioned that within the partnership it has been scheduled for the screening of “Keepers of the Game,” which has been directed by Eh rlich. This film follows a team of indigenous American girls, as they seek to win a regional championship in the sport of lacrosse, which is traditionally reserved for men and boys.

Through this partnership, Ehrlich and Zimmerman will be working directly with emerging Zanzibari filmmakers, throughout this edition.

The two visitors will also be conducting a series of workshops on documentary filmmaking, together with marketing and distribution of films. Added to this they will be holding workshops specifically for women in the film industry.

Tanzania

Capital Development Authority ‘Outlived Its Purpose’

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Pius Msekwa has joined an array of patrons supporting dissolution of the… Read more »

Court Wants Jubilee Politician Arrested Over Sh2.2m Fraud

By Richard Munguti

Police have been ordered to arrest a Jubilee Party politician charged with defrauding a businesswoman of Sh2.2 million.

Peter Mburu Muthoni, alias Solomon Kamau Nyingi, who is eyeing the Kaguduini ward seat in Murang’a County, will be produced in court on May 22 to plead to six counts of obtaining money through false pretences and forgery.

Issuing the warrant of arrest, Senior Principal Magistrate Kenneth Cheruiyot said Mr Muthoni had been summoned to appear in court to answer the six counts filed against him by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He did not turn up, prompting angry residents of the ward to protest in the court precincts and shouting that they do not want to elect a suspect.

The charge sheet handed over to Mr Cheruiyot read that on diverse dates between June 18 and 29, 2016 at Pioneer House in Nairobi, jointly with others not before the court with intent to defraud, obtained Sh2.2 million from Alice Peninah Wanjiku Guchu by pretending that he was in a position to sell her a motor vehicle, a fact he knew to be false.

Mr Muthoni is facing five other counts, among them one of forging and making a national identity card in the name of Solomon Kamau Nyingi.

The prosecution alleges Mr Muthoni purported that the ID was genuine and had been issued to him by the registrar of persons.

Kenya

Former President Kibaki’s Bodyguard Sues For 2002 Accident

A bodyguard involved in a road accident with former President Mwai Kibaki has alleged in a court case he was mistreated… Read more »

23 Counties Snub EACC Meeting On Graft in Nakuru

By Francis Mureithi

More than 20 counties have snubbed a workshop convened by the anti-corruption commission to declare their assets in Nakuru.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had invited technical officers in charge of the declaration of income, assets and liabilities from all the 47 counties.

PS ANGER

Devolution Principal Secretary Micah Pkopus Powon slammed the 23 counties that failed to send representatives for the workshop at Egerton University in Njoro.

“I did not expect any county to miss in such a crucial forum aimed at helping our country overcome this monster called corruption that is threatening to bring our country to its knees,” said Mr Powon.

Consequently, he asked the EACC to initiate investigations into the counties’ failure to send representatives.

“These counties need to explain why they failed to send representatives to such a meeting because if a PS and EACC commissioners can attend why are counties failing to send representatives?” he said.

“This is a serious issue. We either save our country or lose our country.”

60 OFFICERS

He added :”This meeting is very important and that is why I have taken time to travel from Nairobi to Egerton University to join you and help redeem the integrity of our country.”

The PS urged all counties to speed up the registration of fixed assets to protect them from potential grabbers.

He noted that most of the fixed assets belonging to the counties had not been registered since the inception of devolution in 2013.

“We need to safeguard these public assets because they may be grabbed,” said Mr Powon.

More than 60 technical officers handling declaration of income, assets and liabilities in 24 counties are attending the two-day workshop.

The PS said it would be wrong for the officers to attend the workshop and spend public funds and fail to utilise all the skills they would have learned.

CORRUPTION

“You should not come and sleep in such a workshop and when you go back to your stations you sleep on the job. You should implement fully what you have learnt,” he said.

He urged the EACC to collaborate with the Education ministry and launch a curriculum that will be used to fight corruption through education.

“Our children should be taught the dangers of corruption from an early stage and this should be escalated to universities,” he said.

“This is the best way to seal the corruption loopholes that emerge later in life.”

He warned that the fruits of devolution may not be enjoyed by ordinary citizens if corruption is not dealt with.

He reminded the officers that corruption cost the country Sh270 billion during the 2010/2011 financial year, which translates to 30 per cent of the national budget.

WEALTH

“Corruption is costly and leads to lack of productivity, inefficiency, decrease in foreign investment and most importantly corruption increases inequality in the society,” he said.

He directed the county officials to ask workers in their areas to declare their wealth and account for the use of resources entrusted with them.

“Declaration of wealth practice should be inculcated in all ranks,” he said.

He said laws alone cannot be used to fight corruption and urged the EACC to involve the public.

“We need to institutionalise the fight against corruption because integrity is not a 90 or 95 per cent thing but a 100 per cent personal value,” said Mr Powon.

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