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Showing posts from 2013

Katiba Watch Tanzania: Rasimu ya Pili

Tume ya Katiba kuwasilisha Rasimu ya pili kwa rais leo. Mambo muhimu ni pamoja na muundo wa Muungano, jina la Tanganyika, umri wa mgombea urais, madaraka ya rais,  haki za binadamu na mengine mengi. Yatakayojiri kwenye rasimu ya pili ya katiba ntayawasilisha kesho.

Will a new constitutional solve Tanzania's problems?

I am a firm believer in constitutionalism. The constitution embodies the history and aspirations of a people. It defines a people. Constitutions world over are emblematic of the historical backgrounds and definitions of a people. It is thus most, if not all constitution's preamble start with the words "We the People". 
I have been involved in may debates with people of all walks of life regarding Tanzania's quest for a new constitution. I have always argued that a new constitution will emancipate the poor, drag us out of the abyss of poverty, poor governance and many other ills that plague our country. Theoretically speaking am right. A properly written law will incorporate the fundamental needs of a people. It will protect the disenfranchised people, distribute wealth equally, will seek to better the lives of the rural poor by giving them services such as schools, medical services, water, good infrastructure, affordable food prices. You could imagine of all the nic…

World Cup Draw: Who are likely to go to the Second Round? England will Qualify for the KO Round!

With the FIFA World Cup draw done and dusted, focus now shifts to the actual games in Brazil next summer. The draw was done in the Brazilian City of Bahia. Eight groups of four were drawn pursuant to the criteria of geographical location and latest FIFA World Cup Rankings. Below are the 8 groups:

To go to the KO Round
Group A:     Brazil (Hosts)                                          Brazil & Mexico 

Group B:     Spain                                                        Spain & Netherlands

Group C:     Colombia                                                 Colombia & CIV
                     Cote d'Ivoire

Group D:     Uruguay                                                   Italy & England 

A tribute to Mandela: A Servant of Humanity

'South Africa has lost its greatest son' those were the words of South African President Jacob Zuma while announcing the passing of Nelson Mandela. Mandela lived and changed the world. A great man and icon of freedom. He served humanity, influenced humanity and taught us the essence of struggle for humanity. His passing reminds us of his enduring legacy of struggle for justice for all, service and dedication. As a young man, Mandela was a great inspiration of our time. His selfless character and enviable reputation of simplicity has shaped and will continue to shape me. As a Tanzanian, he together with Mwalimu Julius Nyerere remain my political role models.

Fare thee well Madiba!

Reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I heard tales of how prolific a writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was but from my early reading of her book,  I must admit she's an excellently gifted writer. Let me be consumed in what Ifemelu and Obinze have in store. The descriptive prose and flowing connections of culture, tales of love and Nigerian stereotypes makes a good reading. Thank you CNA for this good book.

Bishop Njoya and Dr. Mvungi Juxtaposed: Tanzania will get a new Constitution!

Nico Minde, Arusha The death of Dr. Sengondo Mvungi, a member of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) is a major blow. A man described by his colleagues as bright, humble and dedicated, Dr. Mvungi indeed was a man respected by many. Dr. Mvungi was a constitutional law expert and a law lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam. In 2005 he ran for the presidency on a NCCR Mageuzi ticket coming a distant fifth with a paltry 0.49% of the votes. He was badly injured after robbers broke into his house beating hima nad injuring him badly. He passed away after being admitted in a South African Hospital on 12 November. 
World over, prominent and even ordinary people have lost their lives while pursuing dreams. Nationalists in Africa bore the brunt while fighting for independence. Some like OR Tambo did not see the fruits of independence whereas a man like John Garang only lived a month after helping his country, South Sudan get independence. Their memories still live on, we celebrate the…

Database tracking Performance in Secondary Schools in Tanzania Launched

A website has been launched to track down the performance in O-Level Secondary Schools in Tanzania. Tanzania's education sector has received a barrage of criticisms from different people most notably educational and curriculum practitioners and policy experts. Further questions arose following the abysmal and appalling Form Four results last year (2012), which saw a record failure of 60 percent. A Commission to Investigate Causes of Poor Form IV Results was quickly formed by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda. The findings are yet to be made public.

Just last week, the Ministry of Education came up with a new grading system which saw the expunging of Division Zero (Sifuri). Despite these changes, I have read and listened to a number of arguments and it seems the idea has not augured well with many. Tanzania's education system has for decades been on the spotlight for all the negative things. Issues such as the crisis of language in our education system, poor education infrastructu…

Why Tanzania is being excluded from the EAC

After posting a comment on my Facebook page on Tanzania's exclusion from the East African Community, one of my friends quickly reminded me of what has become a common phrase that "Tanzania is dragging its feet and we shall move on without you". Well, the threats are coming to fruition, with the rapid rise of "the coalition of the willing" of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and most recently South Sudan. The coalition of the willing is a phrase that has been coined to refer to the commitments of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to go it alone without Tanzania and Burundi. See my previous analysis on EAC woes here.
Having bilateral or for this case, trilateral meetings between and amongst states within the East African Community setup is not a problem. The Treaty of the EAC however, in Article 6 on the fundamental principles of the Community, is governed on mutual trust, political will and sovereign equality; peaceful coexistence and good neighborliness; and peaceful settlemen…

The World Today: A glimpse in the Headlines

Sudan, South Sudan leaders in deal over Abyei anr borders in Juba.Mozambique ex-rebels Renamo attack after ending deal.Final campaigns before Madagascar goes to the poll.British Foreign Secretary says Assad not in Syria future plans.Libyan terror suspext in court in New York.France angry about US spying.Uruguay to start selling marijuana next year.Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson launches his autobiography

Happiest Countries Report; Somalis are happier than Tanzanians!

For those who love world indices on various issue, the World's Happiness Report is out. As norm, African countries ranked the lowest in this index. The report shows that there is no African country in the top fifty with Angola being ranked as the Happiest nation in Africa. Tanzania was ranked a lower than Somaliland and other post-conflict nations such as Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone. 
Six variables are used in the survey, namely GDP per capita, years of healthy life expectancy, social support systems, perception of corruption, prevalence of generosity and the freedom to make life choices. See here for full report.Well going by the variables used, it is evident why Tanzania ranked this low. Although there has been an improvement in health service provision over the years in Tanzania with significant improvements in malaria prevention and treatment provision of healthcare to the rural poor has not been achieved. The other variable of perception of cor…

Misinformation is EAC Integration's biggest Hurdle, not Tanzania

Nico Minde Tanzania has occasionally been accused as a stumbling bloc to the efforts of greater and deeper integration of the East African Community. Detractors and doomsayers have gone as far labeling Tanzania a sympathetic and closer to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A new term has now been coined by the other partner states to show their solidarity minus Tanzania "The coalition of the willing". This came after the heads of states of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda and some representatives from countries eyeing EAC membership met in the port city of Mombasa to discuss issues of trade. Tanzanian leaders reiterated that they were not invited. Tanzania's East African Community Affairs Minister Samuel Sitta has slammed this as "an act of isolation" and said that "Tanzania will not be bullied into fast-tracking the integration".  Tanzania's stance has always been a gradual and systematic approach to integration. 
The current tripartite …

Why Iran seeks constructive engagement

OPINION By Hassan Rouhani,
Hassan Rouhani is president of Iran. Three months ago, my platform of “prudence and hope” gained a broad, popular mandate. Iranians embraced my approach to domestic and international affairs because they saw it as long overdue. I’m committed to fulfilling my promises to my people, including my pledge to engage in constructive interaction with the world. The world has changed. International politics is no longer a zero-sum game but a multi-dimensional arena where cooperation and competition often occur simultaneously. Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities.The international community faces many challenges in this new world — terrorism, extremism, foreign military interference, drug trafficking, cybercrime and cultural encroachment — all within a framework that has emphasized hard power and the use of brute force. We must pay attention to the complexities of the issues at hand to solve them. Enter…

Debate on Sim-Card Tax: Views by Tanzanians

By Twaweza
A study by Twaweza on the controversial sim-card tax reveals a number of interesting findings. One key finding is that the tax amount is equivalent to a one week worth of airtime for the poorest households. One positive finding was that most Tanzanians have access to mobile phones but still an abysmal 46% are aware of the sim-card tax. See complete briefing here

Tanzania needs "Minimum Constitutional Reforms" for Now

A constitution symposium was organized by the Tanzania Constitution Forum (Jukwaa la Katiba) yesterday in Dar es Salaam. A number of paramount issues were raised by the discussants. Chief among them was the constituent assembly composition. This follows the heated debate in parliament last week over the same issue. A Bill was passed in parliament last week proposing 357 MPs in the United Republic of Tanzania and 81 representatives of the Zanzibar House of Representatives to be part of the constituent assembly. The Bill further proposes that 166 others be appointed by the president meaning that the total membership will be 604. The Chairperson of Jukwa la Katiba Deus Kibamba highlighted a very important issue of minimum reforms. 
As pointed out earlier in this blog, constitutional making process is not a one time event but a long and tedious process. From the look of things, it would be next to impossible for Tanzanians to finalize the tit-bits of the process and then go for a constit…

Striking Syria Illegal, immoral and dangerous

Phyllis Bennis; additional input from Nico Minde
With an impending motion before Congress on whether or not US carries a military intervention in Syria, Phyllis Bennis examines why the move to sanction a military operation will be illegal, immoral and dangerous. President Barack Obama is coy over the move as interpreted by his move to seek "Congress authorization". Secretary John Kerry has been adamant saying that the President needs no authorization to act. It has been reported in late August that the Bashaar Al Asaad government used chemical gas on its people. International pro-US media has been propping the story and calling for an imminent strike on Syria. Below is an analysis by Bennis posted in Al Jazeera. 
See analysis here

The Future of American Diplomacy

Via the Diplomat

Is not doubling down on its great-power past, but in response to the "rise of the rest" is something more inclusive. Globalization has been changing U.S. foreign policy since the beginning of the American Republic. From our first diplomatic post in Tangier, Morocco founded in 1777, to the more than 285 diplomatic facilities around the world today operated by the U.S. Department of State, the business of diplomacy has evolved over time.
While it is obvious that thriving markets and global security go hand in hand, along with America’s central role in both arenas, often our diplomacy and institutions do not reflect this reality. In other words, the channels of influence that America could once rely on—large, multinational consortia of first-world powers—are waning in power. If one thing is clear to ambassadors around the world, it’s that U.S. diplomacy needs a jumpstart into the 21st century.
The key for American diplomacy is not doubling down on it…

Kenya Referendum Talk: Lessons for Constitution Making in Tanzania

Nico Minde Constitution making is not a one-time event, rather it is a long time and historical process that may be highly contentious, highly volatile and could cause massive divisions if not handled well. I once wrote in this blog that no country can say it is going to write a constitution in one or two years as envisioned by Tanzania. Building strong democracies world over require building strong constitutions and strong constitutional culture (constitutionalism). With Tanzania in this process of drafting a new constitution, we should be reminded of the challenges that lie ahead. We should take substantive lessons from our neighbors Kenya. Kenya has now being involved in two constitution referendums between two crucial general elections. 
In 2005, the proposed constitution was rejected in a landslide "No Vote" which was spearheaded by the opposition together with some 'rebel' cabinet ministers. The move highly embarrassed the government and president Mwai Kibaki wh…

Can Rouhani engage with the US?

Nico Minde New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in early this month. He takes over from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who according to many analysts took the already sour relations with the US to the abyss. Dr. Rouhani is a moderate cleric who is seen by many as a person who could try and engage with the US on issues central to Iran's nuclear agenda. Al Monitor offers an analysis on the same here. The era of Ahmadinejad was filled with fiery rhetoric and Iran positioned itself for increased sanctions from the West. Iran became isolated and its economy hit the doldrums. In his swearing in ceremony, Rouhani called for a "language of respect" when negotiating with Iran and not through sanctions. "If you seek a suitable answer, speak to Iran through the language of respect, not through the language of sanctions," the president said. The president also hinted that Iran will seek to engage with the US. He further said that Iranian nuclear program was a peaceful one…

Kikwete responds diplomatically to Rwanda jibes

Nicodemus Minde Tanzania's president Jakaya Kikwete has responded to the diplomatic spat between Tanzania and Rwanda. President Kikwete was very diplomatic in responding to the jibes and counter jibes coming from some quarters of Rwanda. Kikwete had early made proposals to the Rwanda government to negotiate with the FDLR militia. President Kikwete during the 50th anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, called on Rwanda to negotiate with the rebel outfit because the military efforts have failed. In a quick rejoinder Louise Mushikiwabo, the Rwandan Foreign Minister described Kikwete’s remarks as “aberrant” and “shocking”. The simmering tensions have gone on for long now. As is alleged Rwanda's president Paul Kagame publicly threatened to hit president Kikwete. The following is an excerpt of his alleged tirade: