Tag Archives: incentives

“A journalism of integrity”: Mwananchi and The Citizen take a stand

Favourable press coverage in return for money? That sounds like corruption to me.

According to an announcement published in Mwananchi newspaper last month, it sounds like corruption to them as well:

“Ours is a journalism of integrity. … Our staff are expressly barred from accepting money or any form of payment or inducement for publication of news, opinion, or feature in any of our platforms. Such content … is published purely on merit.”

How many Tanzanian newspapers can say this? 

How many newsworthy organisations and individuals – politicians, businesses, NGOs, etc. – operating in Tanzania can say they’re not part of the problem as well? (For every transaction there is a giver and a receiver.) Continue reading

Parliament as “a place of abject poverty”: Social media reactions to Speaker’s remarks

The Speaker of Parliament, Anne Makinda recently announced that come 2015 she won’t be standing again as MP for Njombe South. She blamed the recent failed attempt to increase MPs’ allowances for low morale among MPs generally, and indicated that this was her reason for stepping down.

In her remarks, made in Njombe town on Saturday Feb 25th, Makinda, who has been the local MP for 17 years, made the following comments (the original Swahili is posted below):

“And I say this with full emphasis: the perception of all people, including you who are here, when I walk is that they see me as money, when they hear I am speaker it’s worse. There’s nobody with more money than me. Nobody. Continue reading

Rural water supply in Tanzania since independence, and for the next 50 years

It is, quite rightly, the season for raising our eyes and looking up at the horizon. December 9th, 2011 will mark 50 years since the British flag came down on Tanganyika and the country’s life as an independent nation began. So what better time to think a little further than the hot political issue of the day (which is usually forgotten within a week or two) or even most NGOs’ furthest horizon – the 5 year strategic plan?

There are plenty of others who are better placed to assess Tanzania’s past achievements and future prospects in political or economic terms, so I won’t trespass on their terrain. But I can say something about rural water supply. In particular, I have identified two themes of change in the sector – covering the past 50 years and the next – that I think may be of interest. Continue reading

Answering the wrong question – privatisation and the right to water

The UN General Assembly recently adopted a resolution recognising the “right to water”. On the face of it, this is hardly a controversial resolution, since who would oppose something as obviously vital as water. But dig a little deeper, and there are some tricky issues here.

For many advocates of this right, the UN resolution has been used as an opportunity to re-open the privatisation debate that burned strongly and divided many over the past two decades. A recent special issue (No. 533) of Pambazuka, a magazine promoting freedom and social justice in Africa, focuses on “Water and Privatisation”, aiming to do just that. The argument is that if water is a basic human right, surely it should be available for free. Or at least, multinational corporations should not be allowed to profit from its provision. Continue reading

What would “free” distribution mean for Tanzanian newspapers?

The (UK) Guardian published an article this week on it’s Global Development website about @Verdade, a weekly newspaper in Mozambique that’s distributed completely free of charge. The same paper has been the focus of articles in Time magazine and Think Africa Press as well. They give away 50,000 copies a week, and estimate their weekly readership to be around 400,000 people, making it the most read newspaper in Mozambique.

I’m not aware of any Tanzanian newspapers that are distributed free of charge. There are plenty of newsletters and the like, some of which are made to look like newspapers, but there’s a big difference between a company, government department or organisation publishing a newsletter to promote its own work and a genuine newspaper trying to be profitable using without charging a cover price. Even Femina, publishers of Fema and Si Mchezo magazines, for which the vast majority of copies are distributed free of charge is not really using a free model as it’s usually understood since it is funded by donors. Nor are they really news magazines. Continue reading

Getting honest about rural water supply, and MKUKUTA II getting it wrong

It’s Maji Week, so a good time for some more analysis of key water supply issues. Several times this blog has presented arguments that the main challenges in rural water supply are political rather than technical or even administrative. We’ve argued, for example, that two of the biggest problems (inequitable distribution of access to clean and safe water in rural areas and keeping rural waterpoints functioning) are both political issues, and reported on how this perspective is far from the conventional wisdom in the water sector, dominated as it is by engineers and technocrats. And we’ve shown how political attention has failed to match the political nature of the sector by documenting how little focus there was on water supply in last year’s general election campaigns – as reflected both in campaign manifesto commitments or in the media (and again here). But we’ve not yet looked at one of the most politicised aspects of rural water supply – data. Continue reading