Guest post: Miss Umeme 2014 scandal unfolds!

This is a guest post by Boyce Sarokin.

On 8th November, Ms Sitti Mtemvu handed in her Miss Tanzania 2014 crown when allegations on social media that she had forged her birth certificate to qualify for the pageant were shown to be correct.

The organisers of Miss Umeme Tanzania, Dar-based event promoters Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines Ltd, (VIP), have strongly denied that corruption was involved in this year’s competition. Tanzanian social media are full of claims that Ms Paulina Fatma Pinduzi, popularly known as ‘Pap’, who won last month’s competition, forged her Tanzanian passport in order to qualify. In fact, it appears that she was born in Nairobi, Kenya.

In a press conference held in VIP’s office yesterday, spokesman and long-time Miss Umeme organiser Mr J B Rungumalaya strongly denied any wrongdoing: “There is no truth whatsoever in the rumour that Ms PAP does not deserve the Miss Umeme crown,” he claimed, looking agitated.

When asked by journalists to comment on Ms Pap’s Kenyan passport, a copy of which was posted on BongoForum’s website last week, Rungumalaya claimed: “This document is a forgery concocted by my enemies to rob me of the Ms Umeme franchise, which I have enjoyed for the last 20 years. Ms Pinduzi is Tanzanian born and bred. And by the way, I have incurred debts of USD 75 million to put on this very successful show, which is not vigisenti”, he fumed, claiming that most of the money had already been spent in promoting the event.
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Chart of the week #32: Where is corruption increasing, and where is it falling?

The Citizen, 4/12/14

The Citizen, 4/12/14

Transparency International published their latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) data and report last week. It draws on data from a number of surveys to assess how corrupt each country is perceived to be.

In Tanzania, The Citizen made this their lead story, (though they misreported of the numbers). “Graft up, but Tanzania among the best in East Africa.”

I’ve taken a look at the data, and there are some interesting insights in here.

I have two charts for you. The first simply shows each country’s CPI score since 2012, for Tanzania and all her neighbours, plus a handful of other comparable countries – Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia and Botswana. Continue reading

Chart of the week 31?: On the quality of health service provision

Teachers are on a cold strike, as we have seen, and many don’t have the level of knowledge of their subject matter that we would like. But what about health facility workers – nurses, clinical officers and doctors?

The same World Bank Service Delivery Indicators project has collected data on this as well, in the same four countries: Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. I’ve pulled out three indicators: health worker absenteeism, adherence to clinical guidelines, and diagnostic accuracy.

So what do these charts tell us?

  • Health worker absenteeism is worst in Uganda, where nearly half (46%) of health workers were found to be not present at the time of an unannounced visit.
  • In Tanzania, absenteeism is substantially higher in urban areas (33%) than rural (17%).
  • Senegal appears to have a bigger problem that the other three countries with the quality of services provided. Only 22% of health workers were found to be following clinical guidelines, and only a third (34%) of diagnostic tests were found to be accurate.
  • In all three East African countries, health workers are more likely to follow clinical guidelines in urban areas than rural. And the accuracy of diagnostic tests was also higher in urban areas.

Telling the Escrow / IPTL story through cartoons: Are we going to see accountability?

It could be a very big day for Tanzania today. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, under the determined leadership of its chair, Zitto Kabwe, promises to present its findings on the IPTL / Escrow audit report as prepared by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), despite apparently considerable pressure through official channels from the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, the judiciary and others, and through unofficial (and unpleasant) channels from unknown sources.

For background on the case and why it is so significant, I recommend two excellent articles in the Citizen newspaper, which has reported steadfastly on this topic for many months:

In all, it is said to be a case involving as much as Tshs 321bn ($185m). And it is said to go both deep into government and high up.  Hopefully we will understand this much better later today.

But for now, let’s celebrate one aspect of the media coverage of this story – the creativity and audacity of the cartoonists. Continue reading

Chart of the week #30: How well do teachers understand what they are teaching?

Last time we looked at data that showed how Tanzanian teachers really are on a “cold strike” (mgomo baridi). This time, a simple question: do teachers really understand what they are supposed to be teaching.

The same World Bank Service Delivery Indicators initiative asked grade 4 teachers (known as Standard 4 in Tanzania) in Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda to take tests based on the primary school curriculum. Essentially, they were asking how well the teachers understand the subjects they are teaching. Continue reading

Is there a contractual obstacle preventing TPDC from providing gas contracts to parliament?

From The Citizen, 7/11/14

From The Citizen, 7/11/14

Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, speaking in parliament last week, said that there was no way his ministry would submit gas contracts to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament. This is despite the PAC having repeatedly requested the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) to provide copies of the 26 Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) the government has signed with oil and gas exploration companies. And despite the arrest (briefly) of the TPDC Chair and acting Executive Director for refusing to comply, on the orders of the PAC chair, Zitto Kabwe.

Here’s what Prof Muhongo said:

“We have to adhere to government regulations. We cannot subject the contracts to public discussions, because they are regulations in place governing them. Even contracts between individuals, like yourself and somebody else must be governed by certain rules.”

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