The cartoon above highlights that we are rapidly running out of time for the official education process. But the bigger obstacle seems likely to be the voter registration process. Is there still enough time for Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) to complete biometric voter registration by April 30, 2015?
Using some figures shared by NEC and quoted in the media, I have done some rough calculations. It’s not possible to be precise, and there are several assumptions involved, so I cannot give a firm conclusion. But I think it gives a useful indication of the challenge.
“Wapigwe tu”, said Tanzania’s Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, back in June – “They should be beaten.” He was responding a question prompted by the police response to protests in Mtwara region, but he made it clear that this was his attitude towards troublemakers everywhere.
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 →
Wednesday this week saw the signing of a major agreement for Tanzania between the National Development Corporation (NDC) and the Chinese company Sichuan Hongda. The agreement sets up a new company, Tanzania China International Mineral Resources Limited (TCIMR), to build a coal mine, iron ore mine, coal-fired power plant and steel works at the Liganga (iron ore) and nearby Mchuhuma (coal) in Ludewa district, just to the south of Njombe. The MPs Zitto Kabwe (the Parastatal Organisation Accounts Committee chair) and Deo Filikunjombe (the PAOC vice-chair and Ludewa MP) were present at the signing.
“Magoda Wafanya Mapinduzi” (Revolution in Magoda) was the front page headline on the very first issue of Daraja’s Kwanza Jamii Njombe newspaper when it was launched last year. (See below for the full article as it was published). Residents of Magoda village, 20km from Njombe town, grew tired of waiting for a government-funded water project and decided to go it alone, paying for the project and doing all the work themselves. At the time it felt a little bit like we were over-hyping the story with that headline, but some more recent developments suggests that it might have been just right. We’ll come to that in a moment, but first some background.
Magoda villagers told us how they had been repeatedly requesting a water project for years from the district council, without success. And then, four years ago, they were told Magoda had been selected as one of ten villages to benefit from a “World Bank” project – it’s actually part of the multi-donor Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) – and that a piped water scheme would be constructed to serve the village. But that was four years ago. They waited, then waited some more. And then they gave up waiting and decided to do it themselves. D-I-Y (do it yourself) development. Continue reading →