Posts tagged as: special

Zimbabwe: GMB Must Protect Farmers

editorial

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been the buyer of choice for Zimbabwean farmers for decades, but developments in recent years have seen growers shunning the parastatal, opting to deal with private buyers.

It is, however, debatable whether farmers are benefiting from these private deals or they are being short-changed. The truth is GMB has a huge task to restore confidence among farmers, some of whom had abandoned growing cereal crops such as maize in favour of cash crops that offer instant cash on delivery.

The ball is now in the court of the new GMB boss, Mr Rockie Mutenha, to transform the parastatal so that it rises again to the challenges of grain storage and prompt payment to the producers.

On Tuesday we reported Government urging farmers and institutions that grew maize under the special maize import substitution programme (Command Agriculture) to register for a stop order facility with GMB.

There is a strong emphasis that those caught side-marketing will be blocked from participating or benefiting from future similar programmes.

This stop order system seeks to facilitate deductions for inputs received during the 2015-16 cropping season. You receive a loan and you have to pay back. This is a business culture that should be promoted among Zimbabweans, not a culture of abusing revolving facilities meant to benefit all farmers. We implore the new GMB chief to be unpopular among workers, GMB clients, among them politicians, and ensure the company plays its strategic role of storing and value adding the cereals for the benefit of the country.

The figure of 2,7 million tonnes of grain expected to be delivered is just a projection, over three million tonnes may be produced and the country must not suffer avoidable post-harvest losses due to lack of proper storage facilities. We urge the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to ensure that all agro-related departments harness their efforts and ensure that not a single grain is lost.

Treasury should play ball by making sure that money to pay farmers is mobilised, even by floating bonds and Treasury bills so that growers who worked to produce bumper crops are adequately rewarded, and timely too.

In spite of threats by Government to deal with side-marketers, reports abound that dealers are already feasting on Command Agriculture produce, offering farmers as little as $180 cash per tonne compared to Government’s lucrative $390.

History has shown that no matter how eye catching the price may be, it rarely gets to the farmer on time, resulting in those cash squeezed letting go of their crop for a song.

Poor payment plans have a negative effect of dampening farmers’ spirits, resulting in some of them turning to cash crops. This must stop forthwith. Good pay schemes will naturally deal with the side-marketers. We challenge the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to tighten cash management so that unscrupulous businesspeople do not withdraw huge amounts of money they later use to buy maize from farmers.

They later deliver the maize to GMB and manipulate the systems and become the first to be paid at Government prices, thereby disadvantaging genuine producers.

The bumper harvest as a result of Command Agriculture is a litmus test that the GMB must pass because indications are that the country is likely to continue posting higher yields.

Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest of 2,7 million tonnes of cereals, with 2,1 million tonnes expected to come from maize, while the remaining 600 000 tonnes will come from small grains such as pearl millet, finger millet, rapoko and sorghum.

GMB has 85 depots across the country and has established 1 882 collection points countrywide to enable farmers to reduce transport costs when delivering grain.

Farmers must make maximum use of these and shame detractors of the programme.

Kenya: M-Akiba Seen As a Solution to Savings Culture Challenge

By James Ngunjiri

The government will next month be seeking nearly Sh5 billion from Kenyans through M-Akiba after the success of the initial issue of the mobile phone based bond system.

After two years of blowing hot and cold, M-Akiba, which enables those with little cash to participate was finally launched on March 23, 2017.

The issue, which was offered as a Special Limited Offer (SLO), coincided with the 10th anniversary of the globally renowned M-Pesa.

The objective was to deepen access to government debt allowing users to save and invest, through an affordable minimum subscription fee of Sh3,000. This was by fully leveraging on mobile phone penetration rate, which stands at 88 per cent.

The initial offer meant to run until April 10 hit the targeted Sh150 million before due date, and even though it encountered a few teething problems was successful.

The government intends to issue an additional Sh4.85 billion next month and it will be crucial to ensure broader access by the common man across the country through a longer offer period, aggressive sensitisation campaigns, smoother on-boarding process and seamless clearing and settlement mechanism.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich while officially opening Capital Markets Open Day in Nairobi last week said the government is extremely confident that M-Akiba will finally provide a long-term solution to the savings culture challenge.

Kenya is widely regarded as a society where most of its citizens lack a saving culture, living every day as it comes.

The country is trying to realise the 30 per cent annual Gross National Savings to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate necessary to spur economic growth rate to the 10 per cent per annum that is crucial to realising Kenya’s ambition to be a Middle-Middle Income Economy by 2030.

In 2015 the International Monetary Fund data showed that the Gross National Savings rate was at 12.7 per cent of GDP and forecast that last year the rate would hit 16.1 per cent.

It is yet to release the updated statistics.

“While many Kenyans may see M-Akiba as just another of Kenya’s innovations, it portends a tectonic shift in global political and socio-economic thinking, as already manifested by the excitement created around it by the international media,” said Mr Rotich.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is formulating a policy on innovations in the financial technology (FinTech) as part of deepening technology use in the market

“Kenya is renowned as the global pacesetter in FinTech innovations and will in the next quarter issue a consultative paper on the policy and guiding framework to support and nurture FinTech innovations under a ‘regulatory sandbox’ model to market stakeholders,” said CMA in its first quarter Capital Markets Soundness Report.

A regulatory sandbox is a constructed well-defined space, within which companies can experiment with innovative FinTech products in a relaxed regulatory environment.

This is done with support from a national regulator for a limited time while they validate and test their business model.

It allows innovators to experiment and develop FinTech solutions in a safe environment.

CMA chief executive Paul Muthaura said already the authority has proactively engaged other regulators and players in the FinTech space by seeking co-operation and liaison.

Stamp of confidence

This is with organisations and regulators with experience in FinTech to benchmark on their strategy and approach.

Mr Muthaura said the ultimate aim is to support FinTech and foster innovation and participation in capital markets.

This comes at a time when as at March 2017, the stock exchange had 13,047 shareholders with 12,301 of these being local individual investors and 616 being local institutional investors.

According to the Treasury foreign investors have given securities market a stamp of confidence as evidenced by their 45.6 per cent stake.

Recently, an amendment to the Capital Markets Act was signed into law granting the authority powers to oversee and support implementation of reports of the Task Force on establishment of commodities Exchange in Kenya.

Other reports are the Coffee Reform Implementation Committee, and the Northern Corridor Integration Projects – COMEX cluster initiatives.

All these are aimed at providing a solution to the perennial losses incurred by farmers and other community producers, due to volatility of commodity prices and poor outputs occasioned by unstructured intermediation by unscrupulous brokers.

South Africa: Energy Security a Game Changer for Western Cape

Pretoria — As African Utility Week gets underway in Cape Town, the Western Cape government will exhibit at the conference in efforts to grow the green economy.

On Tuesday, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said GreenCape, which was established by the Western Cape provincial government to grow the green economy, will exhibit at the three-day conference, which kicked off today.

“This year’s African Utility Week comes at an exciting time for the Western Cape’s green economy. In the year ahead, we anticipate the designation of the proposed Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will be used for infrastructure development, skills development for residents and the promotion of the SEZ to potential investors. The SEZ will promote the location of green technology companies in the Cape,” said MEC Winde.

Around 7 000 delegates are attending 17th annual conference.

MEC Winde said the province has selected energy security as a provincial government game changer.

“[This is] because we know that a sustainable and affordable energy supply is essential to attracting even more job creating local and foreign investment. We are making good progress.

“South Africa is the world’s fastest growing green economy. And in partnership with GreenCape, we are establishing the province as the hub of this growth, with two thirds of South Africa’s green manufacturing taking place in the Western Cape,” said MEC Winde.

Renewable energy sector expert at GreenCape, Maloba G Tshehla, said African Utility Week is a key opportunity for businesses and investors in the water and electricity space to stay abreast of developments and to network with key players.

“The event is not only for people who work for utilities but also for businesses, investors and other players active within these value chains. GreenCape, a key source of knowledge and market intelligence in the sector, will have a stand again, and businesses and government can chat with the team about work they have been doing to create demand in the embedded generation space,” Tshehla said.

The team at the GreenCape stand will also offer market insight and advice on the water development nexus as well as advice on overall sustainability for retailers.

The 17th annual African Utility Week that is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre will conclude on Thursday, 18 May.

South Africa

Cape Town Recommends Level 4 Water Restrictions

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Shisha Pops Up Smoky Debate in Parliament

Dodoma — After the ban on the use of Shisha in the country, the government now looks forward to resolve dispute with the traders who were licensed to sell the product.

It emerged in Parliament yesterday that some businesspeople were not happy with the ban because they had paid for the licences of selling the Shisha, hence causing them irreparable losses.

Last year, the government prohibited Shisha smoking over the health reasons, and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa was reported to have said that smoking the stuff was killing future generations.

Now Mlalo Legislator Mr Rashid Shangazi (CCM), wants to know the fate of the businesspeople who were issued with the licences to sell the contested stuff.

In response, Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba told the House yesterday that when the government moved to ban the use of the product mainly regarded its effects to the public, which is priority.

But, he quickly explained that discussions were still ongoing within the government to see how they would address the issue of the licensed traders. In her basic question, Ms Najma Giga (Special Seats- CCM) asked why the government allows the use of Shisha in some big hotels and restaurants in which the minors also seek accommodation.

Mr Nchemba said the government plans to craft a law against the use, sale and transportation of the Shisha in the country in a bid to protect health of the Tanzanians, hence improving national manpower.

However, while waiting for the law, the Prime Minister joined the Dar es Salaam Regional Administration in imposing the ban on the Shisha in the city and other regions.

But, Rombo MP Joseph Selasini (CHADEMA) was uncertain that the law alone could address drug abuse among the youth, proposing that addressing social problems among the families could be a better way to go.

Tanzania

Zanzibar President Pledges Relief to Ease Ravages of Rain

Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has pledged his government’s resolve to repair infrastructure damaged by… Read more »

PM to Grace Fete for People With Albinism

By Jimmy Lwangili

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa is expected to grace the national day of of people with albinism that will be celebrated in Dodoma Region next month.

Chairman of Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS), Mr Nemes Temba told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the celebrations will climax on June 13, riding on a slogan, Statistics and Research on the Welfare of People With Albinism.

He said the celebrations will this year “discuss and meditate” on sustainable data collection, analysis and its timely availability to stakeholders.

Temba also says that the year’s slogan taken into account the reality that there was a serious lack of data on people with albinism within the country, especially at a time when the nation was implementing global sustainable development goals on a slogan ‘no one will left behind’.

“Without orderly access to data availability the government cannot plan better for the welfare of special groups in the society including people with albinism,” he argued.

He insisted that availability of such data was challenged by two laws, namely, the Statistic Act number 9 of 2015 which doesn’t allow journalists or researchers to publish any data without approval of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); the other, he says, is the Cybercrime Act of 2015.

“These are good laws especially in controlling crimes and false information in the society … but still pose challenges to the whole system of data availability,” he stressed.

However, he applauded government moves in recognizing the importance of data on the people with albinism in the national census of 2012, which put their figure at 16,376– 7,620 men and 8,756 women.

Yet, the challenge is still “on how to solve various problems facing people with albinism … such as access to education, employment, economic situations and access to better social services.” The celebration is organized by TAS, Prime Minister’s office, NGOs and various stakeholders.

Tanzania

Zanzibar President Pledges Relief to Ease Ravages of Rain

Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has pledged his government’s resolve to repair infrastructure damaged by… Read more »

Uganda: Mother in Agony Over Missing New Born Twin

By Denis Edema

Jinja — On February 8, Ms Zainah Magomu checked into Jinja Regional Referral Hospital to deliver a set of twins.

The first to pop out died shortly after. As her husband, Francis Mubiru made arrangements to take the dead baby for burial, a second child was delivered but it was a premature.

As a medical requirement, the baby was put in an incubator. That, sadly, was the last Ms Magomu saw of the child.

“I went out to the toilet and came back to feed my baby, but the incubator was empty. When I asked the nurse the whereabouts of my baby, she said she did not know,” she narrates.

At the hospital, mothers are only allowed into the Special Care Unit to feed the babies and promptly leave.

According to Ms Magomu’s recollection, there was only one nurse manning the facility on the fateful day.

The couple is traumatised over the disappearance of their baby. Worse still is the fact that they have never received any communication from the hospital.

Ms Magomu said they have spent a lot of money seeking justice.

As their last resort, they have petitioned the President with the hope that power and authority from the top office will help them know the truth about their baby.

“I am demanding for my child whether dead or alive because it was the responsibility of the nurse to ensure safety of my baby while in the incubator,” she said.

Police confirmed the incident, saying it is still being investigated under reference case number CRB 117/2017. Two people, police say, have been arrested, including the nurse who was on duty that day and another suspect whose details police refused to release. They are both out on police bond.

There is suspicion that the investigations are dragging because some people were given money to dissuade them from following the matter.

Efforts to get comments from the hospital director, Dr Sophie Namasopo, were futile as her known telephone numbers were off by press time.

The Jinja Resident District Commissioner, Mr Rex Aachilla, said he has been following the case and engaged the hospital director in security meetings.

“Since the incident happened, we have had security meetings over the matter and the hospital director said she is committed to seeing, through police, that the child is recovered but up to now, the police have not come out with any report,” Mr Aachilla said

He further said there are unusual beliefs surrounding the disappearance of the twin baby that somebody maliciously picked it for a different purpose, which is hindering investigation.

State House has now written to Jinja hospital demanding an explanation.

In a letter dated May 10, signed by Mr Emmanuel Ilukor, on behalf of the Principal Private Secretary to the President, Ms Molly Kamukama, to the Director Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, they are demanding an urgent response to the said allegations.

The hospital has been, among others, asked to explain circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the said twin baby from the hospital incubator, the whereabouts of the baby; alive or dead, the list and details of doctors and nurses who were on duty from the time the mother was admitted for maternity, during maternity to the date of discharge and the names and details of doctors and nurses who were supposed to be on duty.

They must also produce the attendance register for the hospital employees to the maternity section for the period of February 2 to February 13.

Dar Secures Chinese Cassava Market

Cement giants to produce 7m tonnes, create 4,000 jobs for Tanzanians

TANZANIA is among the potential beneficiaries of additional Chinese financing amounting to 14.5 billion US dollars (over 30tri/-) to execute infrastructure projects through the Belt and Road initiative.

And this week, Tanzania and the world’s second economy are scheduled to ink two agreements to open Chinese markets for cassava from Tanzania and set up an industrial park and cement factory in Tanga. Speaking at the opening of the Belt and Road Forum yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged the additional 14.5 billion dollars into the existing Silk Road Fund.

Launched in 2013 by the Chinese to create an open economic system based on balanced trade, the Belt and Road initiative tracks down the ancient silkroad route used by the Chinese traders.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Aziz Mlima, said the implementation of the Bagamoyo Port and its associated Special Economic Zone are among issues to feature at the global forum.

Launched in 2013 by the Chinese to create an open economic system based on balanced trade, the Belt and Road initiative tracks down the ancient silkroad route used by the Chinese traders.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Aziz Mlima, said the implementation of the Bagamoyo Port and its associated Special Economic Zone are among issues to feature at the global forum.

“Agreements for the projects were signed during President Jinping visit to Tanzania in 2012; the stage is now for their execution,” Dr Mlima told ‘Daily News’ in a telephone interview, naming other African countries that will benefit from the funding as South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Congo-Brazzaville.

The Minister for Works, Communication and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa, is representing President John Magufuli, at the meeting that has drawn leaders and officials from all over the world. And, speaking to this paper shortly after President Jinping opening speech, Tanzania Ambassador to China, Mr Mbelwa Kairuki, said cassava farmers in Tanzania have been assured of ready market in the Asian country.

“It is a good opportunity for our farmers; Nigeria for instance exports 3.2 million tons of cassava to China every year, earning up to 800 million US dollars,” Ambassador Kairuki stated.

The envoy explained further that there would be agreement on a joint venture by the two largest Chinese cement producers, China-SINOMA and Hegya to build the industrial park and cement factory in Tanga region.

“The plant is expected to produce seven million tons of cement and create 4,000 jobs,” he stated. Tanga Regional Commissioner Martin Shigela is also attending the meeting.

In his opening speech, President Jinping said the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank will set up special lending schemes worth 250 billion Yuan (about 36.2 billion US dollars) and 130 billion Yuan (18.8 billion dollars) to support cooperation on infrastructure and industries.

The Chinese leader as well pledged aid amounting to two billion Yuan (290 million US dollars) to developing countries along the Belt and Road and additional contribution of one billion US dollars to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation.

He said China will sign business and trade co-operation agreements with over 30 countries and enter into consultation on free trade agreements with related countries.

Also, President Jinping sought to attract countries to join the ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” as China seeks to connect nations along the new Silk Road routes through economic cooperation and infrastructure development.

He said during the past four years, there had been deepened policy connectivity, enhanced infrastructure and trade link in addition to expanded financial inclusion in line with the vision of the Belt and Road Initiative.

President Jinping hailed achievements made over the past four years, saying over 100 countries and international organisations have supported and got involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said China has signed cooperation agreements with over 40 countries and international organisations and carried out the framework cooperation on production capacity with over 30 countries.

At least 29 Heads of State and Government are attending the forum, the highest-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road since the Chinese President proposed the initiative in 2013.

Pregnant Schoolgirls to Resume Classes After Delivery

Dodoma — Members of Parliament (MPs) debating the budget estimates for the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, have pushed the government to set a specific timeframe to allow a pregnant schoolgirl resume classes after delivery.

The Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development and the Opposition Camp pointed out the government was moving slow to enact a law enforcing the new developments. Presenting the Committee report on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology budget for 2017/18 fiscal year, Mr Hussein Bashe (Nzega Urban-CCM) said the committee is aware that the ministry was working on a new circular to reintroduce the girls back to school but still no decision has been made.

“The committee advises that the government should make official announcement on the commencement of the execution of the circular so as to allow them back to school. That way, the country will achieve a great milestone in educating our girls,” said Mr Bashe who is also committee member.

The committee noted that by reintroducing the girls back to education system the country would be ending the vicious cycle of poverty of having uneducated mothers who wouldn’t properly steer their families in terms of education as well.

Shadow Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Ms Susan Lyimo, said when presenting her alternative budget speech that according to a 2016 Human Rights Watch report about 8,000 students in Tanzania are dropping their studies due to pregnancy.

She noted that already some of the neighbouring countries like Zambia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia are giving the girls a second chance to education after delivery. Even in Zanzibar the re-entry system is allowed.

“In February, this year, the Deputy Minister for Education, Eng Stella Manyanya, assured the Parliament that the re-entry circular would be ready by March.

The Opposition Camp would like to know what happened to the circular and when would it be tabled in Parliament for the MPs to deliberate on it and possibly enact a legislation on it,” she said. Debating the matter, Mr Japhet Hasunga (Vwawa-CCM) asked why was the government dragging its feet on the matter. “I don’t understand why this issue takes time to be resolved. What is so hard about it?

These girls deserve a second chance to education, it is their right.” Ms Margaret Sitta (Urambo-CCM) rallied her colleagues to ensure the government implements the circular. “We went to Kenya to learn about this issue.

They were shocked to hear that we’re still locking out the girls. “We should bear in mind that it is only the girls who are coming from poor background who are suffering. The girls of the rich and even MPs will definitely go back to school no matter what.”

Ms Cecilia Paresso (Special Seats-Chadema) called on all MPs to block the budget if the government will not give a concrete commitment. Earlier, Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, on Saturday tabled in Parliament a Sh 1.36 trillion proposed budget estimates for the 2017/18 fiscal year.

According to Prof Ndalichako, 916bn/- or 68.6 per cent is earmarked for development projects and 419bn/- or 31.4 per cent is for recurrent expenditure. The proposed budget however is 4.2 per cent smaller than the current one (2016/17) which stands at 1.39 trn/-. However, it is the recurrent expenditures that has received the cuts, from 499bn/- (2016/17) to 419 bn/- (2017/18).

The proposed budget for development projects jumped from 897bn/- for 2016/17 to 916bn/- for 2017/18. It is also worth noting that as other Ministries have had a difficult financial year, the Ministry of Education of education by last month had received 629 bn/- or 70.2 per cent of the allocations for development funds.

The minister said the government in the next financial year plans to construct 2,000 classrooms for both primary and secondary schools across the country and renovate 17 old secondary schools.

It also plans to construct and renovate water and sanitation infrastructure including pit latrines in 1,000 primary schools and 200 secondary schools across the country.

Prof Ndalichako also told the Parliament that plans are afoot in the 2017/18 financial year to renovate six Teachers Colleges namely Kleruu, Mpwapwa, Dakawa, Tabora, Butimba and Marangu.

Tanzania: Pregnant Schoolgirls to Resume Classes After Delivery

Dodoma — Members of Parliament (MPs) debating the budget estimates for the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, have pushed the government to set a specific timeframe to allow a pregnant schoolgirl resume classes after delivery.

The Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development and the Opposition Camp pointed out the government was moving slow to enact a law enforcing the new developments. Presenting the Committee report on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology budget for 2017/18 fiscal year, Mr Hussein Bashe (Nzega Urban-CCM) said the committee is aware that the ministry was working on a new circular to reintroduce the girls back to school but still no decision has been made.

“The committee advises that the government should make official announcement on the commencement of the execution of the circular so as to allow them back to school. That way, the country will achieve a great milestone in educating our girls,” said Mr Bashe who is also committee member.

The committee noted that by reintroducing the girls back to education system the country would be ending the vicious cycle of poverty of having uneducated mothers who wouldn’t properly steer their families in terms of education as well.

Shadow Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Ms Susan Lyimo, said when presenting her alternative budget speech that according to a 2016 Human Rights Watch report about 8,000 students in Tanzania are dropping their studies due to pregnancy.

She noted that already some of the neighbouring countries like Zambia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia are giving the girls a second chance to education after delivery. Even in Zanzibar the re-entry system is allowed.

“In February, this year, the Deputy Minister for Education, Eng Stella Manyanya, assured the Parliament that the re-entry circular would be ready by March.

The Opposition Camp would like to know what happened to the circular and when would it be tabled in Parliament for the MPs to deliberate on it and possibly enact a legislation on it,” she said. Debating the matter, Mr Japhet Hasunga (Vwawa-CCM) asked why was the government dragging its feet on the matter. “I don’t understand why this issue takes time to be resolved. What is so hard about it?

These girls deserve a second chance to education, it is their right.” Ms Margaret Sitta (Urambo-CCM) rallied her colleagues to ensure the government implements the circular. “We went to Kenya to learn about this issue.

They were shocked to hear that we’re still locking out the girls. “We should bear in mind that it is only the girls who are coming from poor background who are suffering. The girls of the rich and even MPs will definitely go back to school no matter what.”

Ms Cecilia Paresso (Special Seats-Chadema) called on all MPs to block the budget if the government will not give a concrete commitment. Earlier, Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, on Saturday tabled in Parliament a Sh 1.36 trillion proposed budget estimates for the 2017/18 fiscal year.

According to Prof Ndalichako, 916bn/- or 68.6 per cent is earmarked for development projects and 419bn/- or 31.4 per cent is for recurrent expenditure. The proposed budget however is 4.2 per cent smaller than the current one (2016/17) which stands at 1.39 trn/-. However, it is the recurrent expenditures that has received the cuts, from 499bn/- (2016/17) to 419 bn/- (2017/18).

The proposed budget for development projects jumped from 897bn/- for 2016/17 to 916bn/- for 2017/18. It is also worth noting that as other Ministries have had a difficult financial year, the Ministry of Education of education by last month had received 629 bn/- or 70.2 per cent of the allocations for development funds.

The minister said the government in the next financial year plans to construct 2,000 classrooms for both primary and secondary schools across the country and renovate 17 old secondary schools.

It also plans to construct and renovate water and sanitation infrastructure including pit latrines in 1,000 primary schools and 200 secondary schools across the country.

Prof Ndalichako also told the Parliament that plans are afoot in the 2017/18 financial year to renovate six Teachers Colleges namely Kleruu, Mpwapwa, Dakawa, Tabora, Butimba and Marangu.

Areas Which Led in Witchcraft-Related Violence and Killings Named

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam — Tabora, Mbeya and Shiyanga are among the 11 regions of Tanzania Mainland with a high incidence of witchcraft-related violence and killings, a recent report on the state of human rights in 2015/16 released by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) shows.

Released recently, the report shows that the three regions recorded a total of 120 incidents during the year – Tabora (69 incidents), Mbeya (29) and Shinyanga (22).

Other regions with their respective number of incidents in brackets are Geita (13), Rukwa (12), Dodoma (11), Lindi (9), Simiyu (8), Arusha (8), Katavi (7) and Morogoro (7).

Launching the report last week, LHRC researcher Paul Mikongoti said 394 killings of people were recorded by June 2016 compared to 425 killings recorded in 2015, suggesting that the situation might have been worse in the year since data for six months couldn’t be immediately established.

“Following these killings, 135 people were arrested and charged, 20 of them have been convicted, 15 have been acquitted and 35 cases are still going on in court. One major challenge in combating witchcraft killings is, however, a slow pace of investigation and taking the culprits to court. The LHRC recommends to speed up investigation and prosecution,” he said.

According to the report, the country recorded 320 killings by June 2014, but the highest killings (765 incidents) were recorded a year before, which was a slight increment from 2012 during which 630 killings of people were recorded.

The report quotes the Home Affairs ministry’s speech in Parliament during the 2016/17 budget session, saying 222 incidents of witchcraft-related killings, targeting especially elderly people, occurred during the period of July 2015 to March 2016. The reports shows that the majority of the victims of witchcraft killings were women. It further shows that 157 women were killed in 2016 compared to 71 men recorded to have been killed in the same year due to witchcraft accusations. About 90 per cent of those interviewed believe witchcraft beliefs contributed to the killings.

“Witch doctors have been telling their customers, who is harming them or their family members. Being rich or successful in life has partly contributed to increased incidents of violence and killings,” reads part of the report.

Other reasons include, lack of education, poverty and inadequate investigation and prosecution. Traditional courts too are blamed for issuing orders to kill suspects in some parts of the country with the elderly women with red eyes turning major victims, usually facing recurrent attacks with machetes, leading to their deaths. Therefore, the LHRC recommends that the police and local security committees should increase efforts to locate, arrest and take to court perpetrators of witchcraft related killings.

The report recommends the government authorities and civil society organisations to increase public awareness campaigns on witchcraft-related violence and killings in society. “Special attention should be given to Tabora, Shinyanga, Mbeya and Geita regions. Religious leaders and faith based-organisations in the regions should speak against and discourage mob justice and strengthen religious beliefs,” reads the report.

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