Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WORLD VIEW : Donald Trump’s beefed up economics



US president elect Donald Trump.

US president elect Donald Trump. 

By Jonathan Power jonatpower@aol.com

Donald Trump is changing the right wing’s economic spots. He is doing what Franklin Roosevelt did at the time of the Great Depression by increasing government spending- although it was the rearmament brought on by entering World War II that was an even more important factor in lifting America out of the doldrums.

He is following what Hitler did so successfully before World War II when he rebuilt Germany’s economic strength with autobahns and industrial subsidies (not rearmament in the beginning, as is often said). He is walking in the footsteps of President Richard Nixon who when he changed course with a new economic policy said, “We are all Keynesians now”.

John Maynard Keynes was the greatest economist who ever lived. For reasons that were shameful politicians have not listened to his advice as often as they should. The Germans, with their urge to austerity, have gone the other way, carrying ( or pushing) nearly every European state with them, apart from Poland and Sweden which did not follow the herd and now have the best economic growth record of the last few years.

But Obama has certainly been Keynesian. Inheriting an economy totally messed up by President George W. Bush and the collapse of the big bank, Lehman Brothers, he set about being a hands-on Keynesian. He has achieved a lot although he would have achieved a lot more if his ambitious spending plans hadn’t been constantly opposed and thwarted by the Republicans in Congress. The US in recent years has by the year outshone the Europeans in economic development, apart from Sweden and Poland.

It is ironic that Trump wants to follow in the footsteps of Obama rather than the Congressional Republicans. He wants to prime the pump even more with a massive investment in infrastructure. Even building his “wall” (now to be a fence) on the border with Mexico will produce plenty of jobs! The Republicans will be compelled to support him.

What will the Europeans now do- refute him or emulate him? Mrs Angela Merkel is holding firm, even as I write chiding Greece to continue with its debilitating austerity program. Germany with its amazing successfully exports can afford to make big mistakes by imposing austerity at home. Other, less successful, economies can’t. Most economists agree on this. Most politicians including the top echelon of the European Commission have ignored their advice. Why the politicians in power all over Europe did this no one seems to have a satisfactory explanation. But, like lemmings, they took Europe over the cliff. Not even Obama could persuade them to turn back.

Austerity, a profoundly false concept, argues the Nobel Prize winner for economics in the New Statesman magazine, “has been pushed by politicians who have frightened people- orchestrated fear- with the idea that the economy could not but collapse under the burden of public debt…..Austerity in the days of the Great Depression could do little, since a reduction of public expenditure adds to the inadequacy of private incomes and market demands, thereby tending to put even more people out of work. Keynes in 1936 with his book “General Theory” ushered in the basic understanding that demand is important as a determinant of economic activity, and that expanding rather than cutting public expenditure may do a much better job of expanding employment and activity in an economy with unused capacity and idle labour.”

In Europe over the last few years the austerity policy did not help in the announced objective of reducing the ratio of debt to GDP (national income), indeed, sometimes quite the contrary. Neither was it necessary in order to get necessary reforms such as longer working hours in some countries, raising the retirement age in all and the elimination of institutional rigidities such as labour markets in order to impose austerity.

These are quite separate things from the policies of austerity but politicians have mixed them up. Hence, for example, they have pushed in Greece and a number of other countries for pensions to be reduced rather than encouraging people to work more years. (Indeed that would help in other ways- by reducing the demand for immigrants.)

Mr Power is a columnist on international affairs,human rights and peace

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Let’s keep politics out of Dar-Lusaka economic ties

By Citizen

Tanzania and Zambia have agreed on strategies that would make the two country’s joint projects work for the benefit of their people. Agreements signed during the three-day state visit by Zambian President Edgar Lungu aimed at revitalising Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) as well as Tanzania Zambia Mafuta (Tazama) projects.

In his speech at the State House President, John Magufuli noted the sorry state of the two companies, saying to a large extent, they were failed by politics. It is encouraging that at last, our top leaders have seen the reason why such projects, which used to be vibrant, failed when similar projects elsewhere were prospering.

It is hard to understand why, at a time when the transportation sector has become a vibrant and key component to economic development, Tazara be on the verge of total collapse. It is incredible why Tazama should be struggling while oil is deemed a key ingredient in economic development.

This experience serves as a warning to us that in future, we shouldn’t allow politics to mess us up.

The truth of the matter is that politicians had been allowed to reign supreme in the running of economic projects. Now instead of treating them as they are–economic blueprints–politicians used the opportunity to make decisions which benefits them or their political hangers-on at the expense of the projects.

We fully support the plans to revitalise these projects and establish more similar plans. If Tanzania believes that building a standard gauge railway will stimulate its economy, then we expect Tazara, which is of the standard gauge variety, should do wonders.

And then, Zambia’s assertion that it needs a gas pipeline connecting it to Tanzania, is a testimony that Tazama’s relevance will continue.

Our assertion there is: Zambia and Tanzania should continue with their economic partnerships but the concerned should ensure politics isn’t allowed the two entities again.

IT’S RAINING, BEWARE CHOLERA!

The rain season is here and before us is the start of another farming season. Since some 70 per cent of Tanzania’s working population engages in agriculture, many households will be out farming. Agriculture requires practitioners to be of sound health. When a household member falls ill, it affects family’s agricultural productivity.

Often, the rain season comes with its challenges, one of which is the outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera. This is an infection of the small intestine by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

The chief symptoms include vomiting, muscle cramps and diarrhoea. The disease leads to severe dehydration with loss of energy. The attack may last for a few hours up to five days after exposure.

Prevention of cholera involves improved sanitation and access to clean water. Efforts to control and prevent the disease should be hinged on these two conditions.

It is unbecoming for leaders and key players to take action only after people have been killed by the disease. That is a clear sign of slackness in leadership.

There is a need to have in place proactive measures to prevent the disease from messing up people and economic productivity. That should include campaigns to educate the people on how to check the scourge.

With proper plans, we can stop cholera outbreaks.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TALKING POINT : Not enough being done to address urban squalor in Africa

Deus Kibamba is trained in Political Science,

Deus Kibamba is trained in Political Science, International Politics and International Law. 

By Deus Kibamba dkibamba1@gmail.com

As 2016 draws to a close, I am looking back at my travels across Africa during the course of the year. In total, I was able to visit about 30 countries this year.

Wherever I went, I witnessed problems related to the widespread problem of “informal settlements”, especially in urban areas. Statistics point to a looming crisis if appropriate measures are not taken as a matter of urgency to address the situation. Accordingly, figures show that more than 70 per cent of Africa’s urban residents are slum dwellers.

While in Zambia in January, I saw how the poorly planned Chawama suburb in Lusaka was a headache to President Edgar Lungu’s newly elected government. Having been a resident of Chawama for years himself, the situation must have bothered Mr Lungu. Hopefully, something will be done now that he is president.

In Chibolya, another unplanned, slum-like settlement in Lusaka, the situation was even worse. Services such as power and water supply, garbage collection and health care were hardly available.

It was the same story in Misisi, another locality in the Zambian capital. I was told that safe and clean water and sanitation have been virtually non-existent in the area for many years. It is estimated that about half of Lusaka’s population lives in areas such as Chawama, Chibolya and Misisi.

It was more of the same when I visited Uganda in March. My visits to Kabalagala, Bukasa and Ggaba in Kampala were both eye-opening and unsettling. On a positive note, goods sell at rock-bottom prices in these areas. Also, the people are warm and welcoming, at least during the day. Kabalagala is particularly known for its vibrant nightlife, pubs, shops and moneychangers, but is also notorious for its disproportionate number of prostitutes – both female and male.

On my way back home, I made a stopover in Kenya, where I visited a number of places in Nairobi, including the sprawling slum of Kibera, which is home to anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million people, depending on which source you trust. Despite being only a couple of kilometres from Nairobi’s central business district, Kibera has neither running water nor electricity.

Also on my itinerary was River Road in Nairobi city centre. This is one of the areas in the Kenyan capital that never sleep. Bustling River Road probably has the highest concentration of bars packed on a one-kilometre street in East and Central Africa. The common thing about these bars is that music is played at ear-splitting volume, making River Road easily the noisiest street in East Africa. I wondered how people could spend a few hours in the bars and still retain their sanity.

As Easter beckoned, I joined two colleagues in visiting Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi. Lilongwe’s Area 47 is tranquil during the day, but is completely transformed after dark, and we were lucky enough to savour the city’s nightlife in this corner of the city. It is in this area that one finds places where popular Congolese and Malawian music is played. One of the city’s most popular joints is the Chez Ntemba International Night Club. I have to admit that you can have a bit of fun even in an extremely poorly planned suburb!

But the fact remains that we must strive to plan our cities to make them livable.

In Tanzania we also have our fair share of slums and unplanned settlements, particularly in Dar es Salaam where there are over 20 such areas. In fact, unplanned development can be seen all over the city.

Most of Africa needs to address the problem of unplanned settlements. Even South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, has not been spared, what with townships, nay slums, such as Old Soweto, Deepsloot, Alexandra and Hillbrow. Ethiopia and Ghana have Gondar and Jamestown, respectively. Where in African can one not find an unplanned settlement? I bet nowhere.

Tanzania must institute measures to address challenges posed by informal and unplanned settlements in urban areas. The way out of unplanned housing is for the government to increase the pace of surveying undeveloped land on the outskirts of cities and major towns.

Consequently, people wishing to build houses will have to acquire title deeds and develop their plots in accordance with urban development regulations. Short of this, slums will continue to be part and parcel of Tanzanian cities and towns in the foreseeable future.

Deus Kibamba is trained in Political Science,International,Politics and InternationalLaw

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why Donald Trump deserves to be congratulated for his win

Donald Trump won the US presidential election

Donald Trump won the US presidential election after a bitterly fought and divisive campaign. PHOTO | FILE 

By Benji Ndolo

It was quite a campaign. One-and-a-half years of utter madness.

It was a terrible journey for those who followed the presidential election in the US.

Unlike 2008, it was not about optimism and possibility. It was about fear, anger, and revolt.

Barack Obama broke records and expectations, becoming the first black man to win the White House.

His message and demeanour were full of hope, enthusiasm, and decency. America was a better place and a world of possibility was born.

But after the talk must come the walk. While Obama saved the country, and the world, from economic collapse in 2008, the expectations about him were super high and went largely unmet.

From Obamacare to global affairs, health premiums went up as Isis roamed the globe wreaking havoc.

It is my feeling that the president was too diplomatic and his political party, including the Hillary Clinton election machinery, a bit out of touch.

It seemed Mr Obama could only give a good speech and shed a tear as police became unruly and rioted, leading to the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

Health insurance premiums soared on an initiative that gave cover to 40 million people.

His record has been decent, not golden, even though his personal conduct has been exceptional.

Like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders connected with the electorate, especially the rural folk.

He sensed their despair, their frustration with the Washington talk and gridlock.

People everywhere are increasingly insecure, populations are growing, resources are dwindling, suspicions, hate, and terrorism seem to be on the rise and politicians are walking around in suits and ties, talking a lot and doing little to change things.

Sanders began what looked like a sure political revolution.

Although he seemed angry and old, he effortlessly connected with young people and inspired hope and optimism for change against the establishment.

He railed against the status quo. But he was knocked out during the primaries.

One thing about politics and public life is the importance of favourability.

And, unfortunately, women are held up to a higher standard than men.

As the campaigns progressed, it became clear that the two frontrunners — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — were the two most unlikely picks of both party formations.

The Republican Party openly revolted against its candidate.

And in the Democratic corner the pressure continued to mount on Clinton.

The anger against her grew, as did the attacks. But the media loved her and were openly biased against her adversary.

So it was that as the Americans went into voting on November 8, it was a most poisoned atmosphere, full of anger, despair, and disillusionment.

But even the complex electoral college mathematics could not stop Donald Trump.

The world was stunned and there were demonstrations on the streets.

They say every cloud has a silver lining. Well, for me the lesson is that it is possible to come from outside the political establishment and win — as long as you can persuade people and connect with their needs and problems.

So, Donald Trump deserves to be congratulated for winning after a hard-fought campaign.

We should wish him well as he begins the tough task of leading his country and the world.

The writer is a commentator and strategist and the founder/director of ON, based in Nairobi.benji@onekenyagroup.org

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Look on the brighter side of forex controls

 

The mixed feelings that have greeted the closure of some bureau de change were expected. But after all is said and done, the general consensus is that positive regulatory reform is a critical component of economic growth – and this applies to all sectors. Nearly 100 outlets have reportedly closed shop after failing to meet the new Bank of Tanzania (BoT) requirements – among which is the Sh300 million and Sh1 billion minimum capital threshold for Class-A and Class-B bureau de change, respectively. There are several other stricter conditions that the central bank set last June in its revised rules for the operation of forex bureaus in the country, including the outlawing of directorship, shareholding, managing and or employment of one person in multiple bureau de change businesses.

These rules are part of efforts by BoT to address some major loopholes in this critical sub-sector. The loss of jobs, reported by some at 600, is regrettable. The loss of business by those who failed to meet the conditions is unfortunate too. But it is our hope that these reforms will open up a sector that has over the years been increasingly under suspicion for laundering money, not only in Tanzania, but in the region as a whole. Granted, the concerns that the central bank is targeting to address are genuine. More so, they are not unique to Tanzania.

In neighbouring Kenya, for example, the central bank has since 2011 barred investors from having beneficial interest in more than one foreign exchange bureaux. And last year, the National Bank of Rwanda also revised regulations governing the operations of bureau de change to allow for streamlining and better supervision. The whole point is to strengthen the corporate governance structure of forex bureaus and guard against market vulnerabilities. In a nutshell, such painful reforms are necessary to re-define the basic tenets of this critical market.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

FLY ON THE WALL: Monumentous change is in the air



President John Magufuli

President John Magufuli 

By Kasera Nick Oyoo midastea@gmail.com

As the rich of the world congregate meeting world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, our very own President John Magufuli is once again missing in action. There is a list of esteemed men and women from around the world lined up to speak at this conference, which aims at finding solutions to many challenges facing the world especially so the developing world.

Amongst the distinguished speakers Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Ugandan Executive Director of Action Aid and wife to opposition leader Winnie Byanyima.

I will tell you why Dr Magufuli is missing in action. Taking into account I do not speak for the government nor the Presidency, a lot of these are ramblings of an idle mind.

President Magufuli seems to be exasperated not just with Tanzanians for the state of affairs in the country, but also with the wider world out there for being a major bit contributor to the state of the Tanzanian-read, African economy and well being.

The repeated exhortations to Tanzanians to change attitude towards work and not to sit around expecting, like manna from heaven, goodies to come falling , is reason enough to understand that it is no longer business as usual even if the beneficiaries are kicking and screaming about vyuma kukaza (parlance for hard economic times.

More than two years into his Presidency, it is significant that President Magufuli has seen no reason to fly to the capitals of the world in London or Washington DC. He has not even seen it necessary to travel to Beijing despite numerous invitations and seemingly justifiable reasons like Sino-Africa conference.

The standard practice is for presidents to travel and it has been assumed theirs is essential travel. The 3rd and 4th phase presidents had gathered enough air miles in the 1st 2 years of their holding office, and was on 1st name terms with world leaders.

As essential as travel may be we need to look at it from normal relations perspective. It is odd for instance to visit the White House and receive no reciprocal visit. Just like it is odd for me to visit you and you do not visit me.

In deciding not to go to world capitals, President Magufuli is sending message that we shall engage with the world under our own terms. I know I hear you grunting with disbelief but Africa has to start from somewhere.

President Museveni tried it and caved in. President Muamar Ghadafi paid a price for trying it including travelling with his own Bedouin entourage and causing scenes in world capitals.

It is all about making a statement. That we will also discuss matters affecting our continent on our own terms. That the poverty which bedevils this continent, is a scourge on the face of the world and needs to be dealt with on equal terms.

It is not an easy call to make considering the world has been used to lame duck African Presidents who are happy to feed on the trough held by the developed nations as long as they were allowed to have the hand in the cookie jar.

The counsellor officials in foreign missions with a responsibility to remit intelligence must be having a difficult time sending briefs back home given the deliberate laid back approach of the 5th Presidency. A close look when envoys were recently presenting their papers could tell any discerning observer that they (envoys) are not in a comfort zone given the unpredictability (and this is not negative) from Magogoni.

We are truly living in interesting times in Tanzania, East Africa and Africa today and President Magufuli (love him or not) is very much part of these monumentous changes taking place.

I have seen Kenyan commentators exasperated thinking this new foreign policy is about isolating Kenya. Here is a news flash for them. Tanzania is changing too fast even for Tanzanians and the world. It is no longer Kenya’s play ground to deal goods and survives as Kenya pleases. If Kenya’s leaders knew this they would change the way they are dealing with the matter of Tanzanians change resurgence. Seems they don’t.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

OPINION: Revolving role of management accountants in digital era

 

By George Radonde

Management accounting is a role within the finance department, and its main purpose is to provide strategic support and identification of key business performance drivers and timely resolution of significant deviation from planned objectives.

A management accountant will be reporting directly to the head of finance so that he or she can maintain independence and objectivity in the role. However, he or she will have dotted reporting line to business head that he or she supports on daily basis.

And in practice, you will find a management accountant is more inclined to the business head rather than head of finance due to the nature of the role which requires maximum collaboration with the business heads.

In performing this role, the management accountant is expected to contribute to the understanding of economic and financial dynamics; developing corporate plan, strategy, budgets and forecasts.

With highlights from the foregoing, it is obvious that the person performing this role should have relevant knowledge, experience and skills to effectively execute this function. In addition, the candidate should possess/acquire the following skills: ability to think creatively and develop innovative solutions, have excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills.

Impact of changes

In this regard, business heads expect the management accountant to provide detailed analysis of financial performance; explain to them the impact of changes in internal drivers or market forces; provide accurate forecast of monthly, quarterly and yearly performance; responding to their query with speedy and accuracy to facilitate decision making; participate in strategy formulation, advise them on what course of action to take to achieve business targets; and challenge their assumptions so that business can have more realistic targets and plans. These expectations are not exhaustive. Mmanagement accountants are expected to deliver beyond that.

The expected performance identified above may sometimes cause expectation gap because management accountant may feel that he or she is stretching beyond his or her job description whereas business heads think their business finance partner is not doing enough to support the business.

The gap can be real or perceived, but what is required is to address it so that organisations can attain desired prosperity. The resolution to this issue can be reached through various ways depending on the nature and set up of the organisation. I recommend digitisation, which is the current and future trend in finance function, as one of the solution to reduce or eliminate the expectation gap.

Examples of digital transformation already initiated and or implemented by some organisations include automating most of operational and repetitive manual processes (through robotics, artificial intelligence and/or centres of excellence).

With enough time and less operational activities, the management accountant will become forward looking, apply data analytics and market intelligence in advising, shaping and driving the business.

This way, digitisation will surely enable the management accountants to be more helpful by moving away from traditional commentaries that in real sense explains what business heads already know, and step up the analysis to the level that elaborate what factors business heads need to consider in their decisions going forward, and point out implication of those decisions to the business well in advance.

Investment

For digitisation to be successful, it is important to appreciate that a lot of transformation and investment needs to be done for individuals and respective organisations at large. Individuals require a mindset shift, readiness to learn new things and embrace new ways of working to deliver at higher levels while organisations’ management must have visions, plans and provide leadership to oversee implementation of digital invention and innovations.

As 2018 unfolds, for management accountants to remain relevant, they should take bold decisions to completely transform their career in line with inevitable disrupting innovations and inventions brought by digitisation.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Let’s cure what ails Africa financial markets

The DSE. Trusted information on African markets

The DSE. Trusted information on African markets is critical for FDI. PHOTO | FILE 

By Jaindi Kasero

What will move the needle in terms of faster development of financial markets in Africa? That is the question that was top of my mind as I sat among guests at a Nairobi Hotel last week, listening to speeches during the launch of a new financial markets index by Barclays Bank Africa Group.

The new index, which evaluated financial market development in 17 countries in Africa, ranks financial markets on several parameters including strong contract enforcement policies, market depth and capacity of local investors.

Kenya scored 59 per cent ahead of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia but came behind South Africa, the highest performer with 92 per cent, Mauritius (66 per cent), Botswana (65 per cent) and Namibia (62 per cent).

Yet we all know that impressive scores on the Barclays Africa Group Index will not cure the main problem bedevilling financial markets in Africa-namely, small and shallow markets.

The big imponderable remains the question I posed at the beginning: following: what will move the needle?

It seems to me that countries seeking to increase the depths of their financial markets will have to urgently come up with a Marshal Plan to boost national savings.

The needle will only start moving after countries introduce radical policies. I think that top on the agenda will be aggressive effort by governments to reform and improve management of pension funds. We must start discussing how to increase contributions in existing schemes.

We must come up with ways of getting pension schemes in Africa to increase allocations to alternative assets and to tweak strategic asset allocations criteria to include investment in infrastructure.

Currently, our pension funds concentrate on shoving money into treasury bills. As a pension fund manager, you just buy treasury bills and bonds and then go to sleep. This does not increase depth of capital markets. Which is why it does not surprise that the number one ranked financial market in the Barclays Africa Index is South Africa.

Mark you, one of the largest investors in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is the pension fund for public sector employees. I also believe that depth of financial markets in Africa could also benefit if countries established sovereign wealth funds.

Already, we are seeing a trend where resource-rich African economies, including Angola, Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana, have moved to establish sovereign wealth funds to add on to similar and well established ones such as Poola Fund of Botswana and Laico of Libya.

Tanzania and Kenya have also been talking about creating sovereign wealth funds. The main advantage of sovereign wealth funds is that they make it possible for resource revenues to be managed transparently. And, in most markets, sovereign wealth funds are the largest investors.

African countries also need to take advantage of improvements in telecommunication technologies to mobilise more savings. In the past, mobilising savings was difficult because many Africans were effectively excluded from the financial system.

A far greater majority of the population did not have bank accounts. With the advent of mobile telephony and the phenomenal development of mobile banking policy makers no longer have an excuse to drive higher growths in the rates of national savings.

The new Barclays Africa Index should help because it is introducing comparative market information from a trusted source.

Indeed, trusted information on African markets is what will eventually boost and stimulate higher FDI and portfolio flows.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Govnt must heed TPSF call



TPSF Executive Secretary Godfrey Simbeye

TPSF Executive Secretary Godfrey Simbeye 

The recent appeal by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation to the government to avoid the tendency of changing laws, rules and regulations abruptly needs to be treated with seriousness.

As an organisation that is mandated with advocating and seeking change in public policy to promote a better business environment, TPSF is the most suitable authority to advise the government on matters that impact on the country’s business environment and the economy at large.

It is undeniable that many companies have endured hard times recently as a result of well-meaning key policy changes or directives from the government. Some of these well-meaning directives were aimed at reining in corruption, tax avoidance and even unfair business practices.

However, as a result of these changes, some organisations have had to make major operational moves - sometimes aimed at cutting costs - that have included retrenching staff, holding off on new or planned investments and even shutting down crucial operations.

These kinds of reactions to new regulations do not do our country’s image a favour. They portray Tanzania as a country that is intolerant to investors, one that is opposed to enterprise, which is far from the truth.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

TOUGH JUSTICE : When the majority blunder in the name of democracy

 

By Justice Novati Rutenge justice@idev.co.tz

If there was a time politics and entertainment were distinguishable, Donald Trump has either blurred that line or did away with that distinction completely.  That a former reality TV star is now occupying the most powerful office on earth is quite telling of how much the field of politics is changing across the world.

Thanks to Trumps’ chronicles, Americans are now mulling a future president, Oprah Winfrey (pictured), also a billionaire with a background in media. Shortly after receiving her Golden Globe award and delivering an inspirational speech, the world couldn’t resist projecting her name onto the ballot in 2020.

While it is hard to call in question Ms Winfrey as a great individual, the idea of her presidency threatens to continue a dangerous trend largely set by the current president – of choosing fame, charisma, and the like over political experience.

Not to sound exclusionist. I simply don’t personally think the mantra “anyone can lead” should not be taken at face value. It should inspire one to self-reflect, and do what it takes to be in a position to be the best leader possible, and not simply seek the position because they have the means and the opportunity. The day’s dynamics have changed in a way that favours celebrities. Fame makes more money now that it ever did, and the same fame can be great political capital, hence giving celebrities the means and the opportunity to run for office. This is happening in Africa too.

In Liberia the duly elected president is a former football star. George Weah remains the undisputed King of African football. Having won the prestigious Ballon d’Or, Fifa World Player of the year, CAF legend award among many other outstanding recognitions, he stands tall in world football’s Hall of Fame.

But are these yardsticks that can make someone fit to safeguard the interest of a nation; develop and implement policies that ensure food security; urban planning and development; reduce poverty, diseases and improve livelihoods among other important things a president is directly responsible for?

In Tanzania, we have Joseph Haule, alias Professor Jay, and Mbilinyi, alias Sugu, in the august house. Across the border in Uganda, celebrated musician Bobby Wine became a legislator, and the script is no different in Kenya where Charles Njagua, popularly known as Jaguar, also made it to parliament. They do seem like a minority, until one considers a host of other celebrities and socialites who have flirted with the idea of running for political office.

While democracy at its core is about the will of the majority, it’s instructive that we ask ourselves hard questions about this majority lest we destroy our countries. If the will of the majority is to prevail, the danger we face, if I am to borrow from biblical literature, is to crucify Jesus and pardon a thief.

To drive my point home, consider this quote from America’s 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He once said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

I am very much inclined to agree with President Roosevelt’s frame of thinking, except that times have changed. Then, education was perhaps the most important and formative institution of socialisation. Since then, media took over, and I am a firm believer that, largely, social media is fast becoming the most influential method tool of our socialisation. Doubting Thomases may say this is only true in the Western world, but I have reason to believe it’s also happening in our continent, thus in a November 2016 edition of this paper, I discuss how social media could have influenced the outcome of our last election.

A study I personally carried out in 2017 showed a negative correlation between exposure to digital communication platforms and political engagement at the local government level. In other words, social media use is more a predictor of disengagement than it is of engagement as many people would want to believe. In my opinion, the democratisation of the production and dissemination of information could be negatively influencing the practice of democracy, and, therefore, we’ve not seen the last of it in “Trumpism”, nor the imminent “Oprah-ism”. Food for thought.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

The law is clear on ‘sedition’, so what is the TCRA doing?

 

By Aidan Eyakuze

        Five TV stations were slapped with fines totalling Sh60 million this month after the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) content committee decided that they had broadcast “seditious” content in their coverage of a press conference called by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) to present a report on human rights abuses associated with the November 2017 by-elections to elect ward councillors.

The LHRC documented these allegations, including allegations of human rights abuses by the police and by representatives of various political parties. The TCRA’s decision raises serious questions about how the law should be interpreted and applied in cases where “sedition” is alleged.

The TCRA is, in many ways, an admirably transparent organisation. The TCRA website is a great example of how to make important information available to the public: all laws and regulations relating to its work can be found in seconds by anyone with access to the internet. In its own press conference, the Authority offered a public explanation of the reasons for their decision, which was based in part on five specific rules in the Broadcasting Services (Content) Regulations.

TCRA’s regulatory over-reach

So here is the problem. “Sedition” is not mentioned anywhere in the rules cited above. Neither is it found in the Broadcasting Services Act, 1993 under which the regulations were established. Nor, indeed, in the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Act of 2003 or the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010 that significantly amended TCRA’s mandate.

This begs this first fundamental question: How can the TCRA legitimately penalise five TV stations for “seditious” broadcasts, when “sedition” is not mentioned in the relevant enabling law?

“Sedition” is defined in both the Media Services Act and the Penal Code, with very similar wording in each. Both define “seditious intent” as an intention to bring into hatred or contempt the lawful authority of the government or the administration of justice, to raise discontent or disaffection among people, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different categories of the population.

Nevertheless, both laws also provide very clear protections against arbitrary and frivolous charges of sedition. They state that something cannot be deemed “seditious” where it intends only to show that the government has been misled or mistaken in any of its measures, or to point out errors or defects in government, in the Constitution, in legislation or in the administration of justice, with a view to remedying such errors or defects.

In other words criticism of the government or the police in order to get them to correct their mistakes is not sedition. This defence would seem to apply to LHRC’s report and the media coverage of that report.

What is the ‘national interest?

The word “sedition” does not appear in the TCRA regulations. But, a key concept that is mentioned is “the national interest”. Broadcasters are required to ensure that their coverage does not cause injury to this elusive notion.

Reporting on alleged human rights abuses by the police, and by representatives of political parties, may embarrass the government. Such reporting may even cause some citizens to become unhappy with the police or the government. But it is surely “in the national interest” for the media to report anyway. To deny the media such a right would be to allow such abuses to continue unreported and unchallenged.

It seems that, in arriving at its decision, the TCRA concluded that reporting on the LHRC’s findings by the five TV stations was contrary to Tanzania’s “national interest”.

This raises the second crucial question: What exactly is “the national interest”? In this specific case, is it better for the national interest that the reputation of the police is spotless, or that citizens are protected from politically-motivated violence and a flagrant disregard for the rule of law?

Two principles are at stake

How this plays out depends entirely on what the TV stations decide to do in the coming days – the fines must be paid by early February 2018. Two principles are at stake. The first is whether the Authority should operate within the confines of the law. The second is whether the national interest can be separated from and ranked above the government’s interest.

The TV stations can stand up to the TCRA by refusing to pay the fines and asserting their innocence on both legal and moral grounds. Or they can write a cheque.

Tanzanians are watching.     

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Monday, January 22, 2018

War on cervical cancer : Why we must not relent

By TheCitizen

        January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. It is a month to commemorate the millions of women who have battled cervical cancer across the world and re-dedicate our collective efforts to end otherwise preventable deaths from the malady.

Opportunity is also taken during the month to enhance existing prevention strategies, and come up with new, more effective measures against the affliction. Over 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases occur in low and middle-income countries, a heavy burden that squarely falls on women in poorer nations.

According to Seed Global Health, Tanzania has among the highest cervical cancer rates in East Africa, with an incidence of 50.9 cases per 100,000 women and a mortality rate of 37.5 per 100,000.

Greater emphasis is still required in educating women on how to avoid situations that expose them to the risk of contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer.

Last December, Health minister Ummy Mwalimu assured Tanzanians that the government would start to provide vaccination against HPV from April, this year.

She said the vaccine would be administered on girls aged between nine and 13 years with the aim of lowering cervical cancer risk. That is highly commendable on the part of the government.

However, one thing that stands out like a sore thumb is that more education is still needed on some of the issues that are related to HPV transmission. It is a known fact that the virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Yet, more pressing questions have emerged. For example: can condoms effectively protect women from HPV?

According to some experts, condoms can only reduce HPV infection risks. But the virus can live in the scrotum and genitals long after.

That is why it is still advisable for young people to get vaccinated against HPV well before they become sexually active.     

STOP ARBITRARY TRAFFIC FINES

        The zeal shown by some traffic police officers in imposing fines for traffic offences – both real and imagined – is astonishing. It is thus not surprising that the Police Force has in recent years been accused of being more interested in collecting money than preventing road accidents.

After being largely silent on the issue since his appointment last July, traffic police commander Fortunatus Muslimu has finally come out in the open and conceded, albeit indirectly, that indeed there is a problem.

Mr Musilimu told The Citizen last week that he expected traffic police officers to use “common sense” and “wisdom” in determining whether or not a traffic offence has been committed or whether a fine should be imposed.

It has probably come to his attention that motorists are being fined for “offences” such as torn seat covers, dents on their vehicles or faded paintwork. Some officers also rush to impose fines for very minor infractions instead of issuing verbal reminders. This is the “common sense” that Mr Musilimu talked about.

While traffic fines, otherwise known as notifications, can be an affective way of making our roads safer, these must be imposed strictly in accordance with the law.     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

CANDID TALK : How to scare Uswahilinites to death

 

By Peter Muthamia

        In this crazy rat and roach-infested Uswaz, it becomes necessary to scare people out of their skins to rid yourself of them. When a fellow tenant becomes a pain in you-know-where, because he plays music at the highest decibels in wee hours, or does not contribute money for water or electricity, or if the guy has been open-mouthed gawping at my one-and-only Bisho Ntongo, it becomes my ordained duty to get rid of him or her as fast as possible. To succeed, I have weighing options devise ways to make him or her pack up and shift to another Uswaz.

As it is, Uswahilinites are never afraid of muggers, rats, roaches or speeding contraptions called bodabodas meaning that in order to scare them out of their pants, I have to be very innovative. I have been very determined to kick out Hussein the Uswaz wag for gawping at my daughter Jenny. I know that Uswahilinites cringe at the thought of ever being whisked to the Uswaz Police Post to cool their feet but we are never afraid of “cooking” our livers with potent drinks that can knock down a dinosaur at Mama Mwakilambo’s shack. Put otherwise, we, in Uswaz, are only afraid things that are diabolical - the likes of Mzee Kaniki Kombo, who calls himself the professor of witchcraft.

After exploring all the option to get rid Uswaz of Hussein the Uswaz wag, I came to conclusion that the only way is to pretend to fire his imagination in those direction and psychotically subdue him to leave our part of Uswaz. Fortunately for me, it is the mating season for Uswaz cats. During this season, cats moan, groan, scream and make all sorts of weird noises. How then do I make those cats zero in on Hussein’s shack? The idea came from unexpected quarters. My daughter Jenny me told that in order to keep cats around Hussein’s shack, all I needed to do was to toss a few fish bones on Hussein’s roof and cats will be singing hallelujah. I did it and results were spectacular – they danced and sung, scaring him to near-death. All the Uswaz cats migrated to Hussein’s shack, made all the noises they could. I went farther. I wrote some Arabic on some eggs and strategically placed them on Hussein’s doorsteps. On a false belief that he has been bewitched, Hussein has started parking to another house down the street. Good riddance Hussein the Uswaz wag!     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Popularity of uniforms rises



Waheeda Samji

Waheeda Samji 

By Waheed Samji

        There is perhaps no other topic which fires up students, teachers and parents alike, as much as school uniforms. Students mostly dislike uniforms, although they find it gives them a sense of belonging; teachers mostly find uniform policies difficult to implement; and parents tend see uniforms as a form of discipline.

For the most part, I grew up in schools with fairly strict uniform policies and am therefore quite partial to schools which implement them rigorously. I despair when I look my son’s wrinkled and stained polo shirt, and designer navy shorts, and feel only a little gratified that he does not himself like to wear to flip-flops or crocs to school, as that would be too much to bear. I have to admit I feel better when I see my daughter in her crisp striped and buttoned shirt, standard navy school shorts, white socks and black school shoes!

The popularity of school uniforms is on the rise amongst both public and private schools, although it is more common in primary rather than secondary schools, and in smaller rather than bigger schools. The rationale of school uniforms has been based primarily on developing school culture and values, with the added (and more recent) benefits of taking the competition and peer pressure out of school clothing, providing less distraction and more equality amongst student populations.

Why uniforms matter

Studies have shown that school with uniforms are perceived to have fewer disciplinary issues, and is a significant factor in managing school safety and security. School uniforms are also thought to be more cost effective than regular clothing, as they tend to be made to last and in high volume, with many schools having used uniform exchanges/programs in place to recycle.

On the other side of the fence, school uniforms are thought to be an infringement of students’ freedom of expression. They are considered an exercise in conformity in a world that has perhaps moved beyond that.

Uniforms have not conclusively been proven to improve attendance or academic preparedness in school, and nor is there any evidence that uniforms improve exam results. While uniforms promote a sense of belonging amongst student communities, there are no studies to show that they conclusively improve safety or discipline.

As a rational human being, I can relate to both sides of this argument, and could be convinced to go either way. What I feel quite strongly about is schools which have a uniform policy that is implemented half heartedly.

Either have a uniform policy and implement it with pride and ownership, or don’t have a uniform at all – I am not sure there is a grey area on this one.     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Stable emotional status needed to have sharp focus

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the

Ms Terry  Ramadhani is a senior manager in the Human Resources Department, East Africa Aga Khan University 

By Terry Ramadhani

        I regularly have to drag myself out of being in a state of distraction, pull myself back to what the primary task at that particular moment is. I can tell you, it is a struggle that I find too real and I cannot imagine that I am the only one out there struggling with that feeling.

The thing is though our ability to deliver hinges significantly on our ability to filter out the distractions and concentrate on what one needs to get done, in other words the ability to focus.

Some reports say that in the year 2000, the average concentration span meaning focusing on one task without being distracted was 12 seconds. In 2003 that had dropped down to 8 seconds, which is about the same as a gold fish they say. I do not know pray, how and why we would need to know how long the attention span of a gold fish is, much less even knowing a gold fish in our context, however, the point I think that these type of information makes is that we have got so many things happening in our spaces, so fast that it is increasingly becoming very difficult to focus on the task at hand from start to finish, within reason as understandably some tasks take years. Even in the absence of well-researched hard data evidencing this, I would argue that certainly it an area of struggle. I sometimes have to turn off my data whenever I have to do some serious work for 2-3 hours at a time so that I can have no interruptions. The interruptions will come in the form of Twitter, Facebook and the notorious WhatsApp. We seem to have somehow all developed a huge sense of needing to consume so much information at a time that we now even have phobias linked to this subject matter. Recently I was visiting a good friend of mine and in conversation, he alluded to having serious FOMO! So, being puzzled and wondering if that was a new term in the medical world, I asked him what FOMO was and he responded simply stating “Fear of Missing Out”. Of course we laughed loudly about it but it got me thinking that it is actually a serious phenomenon, we are terrified of being the last to know, or not knowing at all.

Now the inverse is what we need to focus on for now and I know, I am running the risk of you my dear reader not getting to the bottom of my article; but, I am optimistic and will soldier on in the hope that you will be interested in tips to help you focus some; so without further ado;

1. Keeping your energy levels up – having masses of energy helps you feel enthusiastic and upbeat about the task at hand. You can ensure that your energy levels are up by ensuring that you are conscious of what you feed your body, for any machine to run smoothly, it requires attention to the parts that are put in right? You must pay attention to fitness too.

2. Take control – one has to aim to be purposeful about being in control of the noise around them. Some switch off their phones, TVs, lock themselves in quiet areas, others will refuse to commit time to events that will not add value to your main goals and objectives.

3. Have some kind of agreed and signed off routines. This means locking down time that is dedicated to working on your goals without interruptions, a certain number of hours in a week. This should be well known to others, but also ensure that you enforce the routine so that it is respected. If you choose to have 2 hours every Saturday morning then ensure it is uninterrupted by putting up signs on your door “do not disturb” etc

4. Have great awareness of your emotions. What or whom pushes what buttons and how you respond. This will help you make decisions about whom you agree to meet on the days you have earmarked as your focus time or indeed activities that you plan to engage in. To have sharp focus, your emotional status needs to be stable.     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

OUR KIND OF ENGLISH :GM ‘outrageous’ over bank closure!

 

By Abdi Sultani

       Remember China and Tanzania have an Agreement on Destination Status. This is said to give the green light between the selected tour operators of the two nations to conduct tourism business.

Good communication isn’t just about adhering to rules of grammar; it’s also about diction, that is, the right choice and use of words. This is most crucial to journalists because readers, listeners and viewers don’t just expect to be informed on what is happening; they also look forward to improving their language skills through us.

With that short lecture, let’s now look into our basket of gems collected over the recent past courtesy of the Bongo print media. So, here we go…

On page 4 of Bongo’s senior-most broadsheet of Saturday, Jan 6, there’s a story entitled, “KFCB customers furious over BoT decision”. The news is about the concern of farmers who have been keeping for safety their hard-earned cash at the Kagera Farmers Co-op Bank (KFCB), one of the financial institutions that the BoT has closed over liquidity issues. Among those who stand to lose heavily following the KFCB closure are members of the Maendeleo ya Wakulima (Mayawa), for their grouping has three fat accounts with the bank. The reaction of their general manager (GM) is reported by a scribbler who writes:

“The GM of Mayawa, Mr Charles Kamando, was visibly OUTREGEOUS upon learning that the KFCB has been closed…”

A-a, we say! The GM wasn’t “outrageous”, for this word is an adjective which means “very shocking and unacceptable.” We’re certain the scribbler wanted to say the GM was visibly OUTRAGED (which means shocked and angered), or filled with OUTRAGE (a feeling of shock and anger) following the KFCB closure.

On the same page, there’s a story headlined, “Torrential rains leaves 3 people dead, 3 bridges destroyed” in which the Dodoma Regional Commissioner, Dr Binilith Mahenge is quoted as purportedly saying, “We have lost a COLLEAGUE at the mining site..”

A colleague of the RC at the mining site? No way! A colleague is a person you work with and we know for sure Dr Mahenge isn’t a miner; he’s senior-most government official for Dodoma Region. We believe the RC had said (compassionately) in Kiswahili “Tumepomteza MWENZETU kwenye machimbo.” Now “…mwenzetu’ in the context of Dr Mahenge’s speech should be translated as “…we have lost a COMPATRIOT (not a colleague) …”

And then, on page 10 of the Sunday, Jan 6 edition of the tabloid closely associated with this columnist, there’s a travel story entitled “Exploring HISTRORIC Meru tribe capital, Ifulong’.

The scribbler reveals in Para 3 that “Ifulong is mostly untouched by globalisation …” adding in the subsequent Para that Njoro and Poli host a culture and the Nringaringa traditional HISTORIC trees site…”

Let’s remind scribblers and sub-editors for the nth time: HISTORIC is something so extraordinary happening now that it’s almost certain to be remembered till the end of time. However, something which reminds us of the past, like Ifulong the Meru tribe capital, is HISTORICAL.

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

Send your linguistic gems to email abdi244@gmail.com or WhatsApp on Tel No 0688-315-580     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

AT A CROSSROADS : Focus more on China in tourism

 

By Saumu Jumanne

The world of big business is brutal, with big corporations and foreign governments investing in Africa. They spend huge amounts of money on “research,” and/ or “business intelligence.”    

It is common knowledge the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for ages has always been interested in getting information about foreign business developments, which may be a threat to the economy.

I write this column, using a computer and software, all patented by Americans, then send it to my editors, using a Gmail address, which is owned by an American company, Google, actually the largest internet company in the world.

Google intelligence could supersede that of the majority of governments in the world.  When we use their company’s services, which have become a way of life, it collects trends.   Obviously, the company is respected for its strict privacy policy. I can bet inside Google intelligence (what is never released to public), they can tell you which country will go to war.

If an employee of the company goes insane and decides to release some information, for example to enemies of a certain state, it can lead even to a government being overturned. Or if Google was in Africa, a rich man could bribe an employee and get information about the best-selling services online (information collected  from chrome browser, which many of us love), and start a business to provide those goods and services, targeting the customers getting them from different providers.

No wonder, China, the number one competitor for the status of superpower to the US, has been doing a lot, to ensure it has its home-grown internet. In Kiswahili, we would have said China hawataki ujinga!  Why is business intelligence so important for a company, a person or a government? Let us take an example of just a small aspect of this important discourse.

Talk of business trends; many times they make the difference between profit and loss.  For example, assume you want to keep livestock in a certain hamlet only to learn that most of the animals in the village die of diseases. It would be business suicide to take your livestock there, unless you first get into the root of the problem, and solve it.

Another example, people used to stereotype typical Tanzanians as not being drinkers of milk. Foreign companies have been selling packaged milk to us for ages. Then a local company decided to introduce the business big time, two or so years ago. Now their milk sells like hot cakes. Business trends are very important in decision-making, as they help us, not to use blind emotions in making business resolutions/ consideration.  In the stocks market, trends are very important in informing buyers of which stocks to buy for long term, and which ones should be taken for short term, and what to sell, even at a loss. 

One of the best bets to make Tanzania realise its high potential is tourism. Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a report that indicated Chinese tourists were the biggest spenders in Tanzania. On average, they spend $541 per person per night compared with the industry average of $181.  By releasing the information, NBS has freely handed over to suave tourist operators critical information, which they can use to earn billions.  Dear tourist operators in dear motherland, focus on China, and pay me later for bringing this to light to you! 

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

CORPORATE SUFI : Be organised through effective systems to cut unnecessary stress



Azim Jamal

Azim Jamal 

By Azim Jamal azim@corporatesufi.com

        Arthur was always relaxed and went with the flow; he was good to be around. He got a lot done, because he swam with the current. There was no stress or tension.

But Arthur was unable to deal with the important issues. He neglected his exercise, reading, and meditation, and rarely went one-on-one with those close to him. Arthur was a good life manager, but not a good time manager.

People waste a lot of time looking for things, planning for things that do not matter much or doing things that do not add any value to their life.

That time wasted could be used to create, to innovate, and to achieve balance by dedicating the time to areas that are important.

If things are done in proper sequence, they take less time. You have to plan what to do and schedule a time to do it. Allow enough time, but not so much that you end up filling it with trivial pursuits. It’s easier to create solutions to well-defined problems, so budget time to define your problem.

What is needed is the time to organise and create a system.

Edward Deming, eminent American statistician, found that 94 per cent of all failures result from flaws in the system, and not from somebody’s unwillingness to do a good job. Having the right system gives you great leverage.

Here are a dozen tips for organising your life and making it more effective:

1. Organise your paperwork.

You feel in control of your life because you know where everything is. This organised system cuts down on unnecessary stress.

2.Organise your travel time.

When you organise your travel time, you can actually fit in a lot more things like catch up on reading, writing, telephone calls, naps, and listening to educational CDs or music.

3.Organise your appointments by priority.

Schedule your important appointments for the time of day when you’re most rested and alert; schedule the less-important ones for the end of the day, when your energy level may be lower but can still handle low-priority tasks.

4.Break large tasks into smaller steps.

Many of us avoid big projects either because we don’t know where to begin or have limited time to complete them. But once you break the big projects into bite- sized tasks you are able to tackle the biggest jobs.

5.Start with priority items.

Do first things first! Start with the most important first.

6.Group related activities that might be dealt with via e-mail.

By grouping activities you are able to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Many items can be dealt with by a short email.

7. Make waiting time productive.

For example, when you go to the dentist, carry work material in your jacket that takes a few minutes to complete, or take a book that you can browse through.

Not only will this make your time productive; it may also take your mind off the drill.

8.Stick to your schedule as far as possible.

This will save time thinking about what to do next.

9.Avoid unplanned activities.

Unplanned activities can mess up your schedule and lead to chaos. The only exception would be an unplanned activity which is far important than the one you are handling.

10.Schedule relaxing time.

You need relaxing time to rejuvenate and if not scheduled it will not happen.

11. Organize your presentations.

If you organize your notes in orderly files, you’ll save lots of time when you have to make spur-of-the-moment presentations.

12. Eliminate clutter.

Tidy up your car, desk, bedroom, and kitchen. This way you won’t be bogged down trying to locate the things buried in the clutter.

Finally, write down your goals every morning. Writing helps crystallize your thoughts and invites focus!

Condensed message from “Life Balance the Sufi Way” by Azim Jamal and Dr. Nido Qubein. For feedback email info@corporatesufi.com     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

OBLIQUE ANGLE : Of causes of genocide ... a response from Turkey

Lebanese Armenians march with flags and

Lebanese Armenians march with flags and placards on the Antelias highway, north of Beirut, on April 24, 2015, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915. PHOTO | FILE 

By Simba Deo @kakasimba

        One objective of this ‘column’ is to stimulate debate on various issues of human interest--locally, regionally and globally.

It is only fair that opposing views supported by evidence or arguments should be given the chance to see the light of day. A couple of weeks ago, we covered a sensitive topic--on genocide. This column was honoured to get a response from the Turkish ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Ali Davutoglu. He shares the official stand of his country, Turkey, on what is often referred to as the Armenian Genocide claimed to have been committed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1922.

Given our editorial space, the response will be run into two parts.

Here is part two.

... Armenians love to start to tell the so-called massacre on April 24, 1915, but they conveniently forget the atrocities committed by them that they had killed 518,000 people in Eastern Anatolia between 1914 and 1921. It is a proven fact by Ottoman documents.

The resettlement of the Armenians took place at a time when the Ottoman Empire was suffering from severe shortage of food, medicine, and other supplies as well as large scale plague and famine. A number of them also died because of disease, climatic conditions and difficulties of travel.

Armenians try to label the deaths during the resettlement process as genocide and bring their claims into the international arena with fabricated figures about deaths.

Furthermore, between 1973 and 1993, 33 Turkish diplomats, employees and families based in Turkish diplomatic missions abroad were murdered by Armenian terrorist groups, with the ASALA being the most infamous one. ASALA memorial was erected in Armenia for the heroization of murderers.

73-year-old Dogu Perincek, is a Turkish national, holder of a doctor of laws degree, and chairs the Turkish Workers’ Party. In 2005, Dr Perincek participated in three public events in Switzerland, in the course of which he expressed the view that the mass deportations suffered by the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 onwards had not amounted to genocide. At a press conference held in May 2005 in Lausanne, Dr. Perincek stated that “the allegations of the ‘Armenian genocide’ are an international lie… Imperials from the West and from Tsarist Russia were responsible for the situation boiling over between Muslims and Armenians. The Great Powers, which wanted to divide the Ottoman Empire, provoked a selection of the Armenians, with whom we had lived in peace for centuries, and incited them to violence.”

Dr. Perincek was convicted of denying genocide. On October 15, 2015, Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered its judgement in the case of Dr. Perincek vs Switzerland. By majority, 17 judges held that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, perpetrated by Switzerland.

By its criminal conviction of a Turkish politician (Dr. Perincek) for publicly expressing his views on Swiss soil, regarding the “Turkish-Armenian Conflict, Switzerland breached Dr. Perincek’s right to free speech.

This judgement teaches Switzerland and the rest of the world that only “genocides supported by the verdict of a competent court” shall benefit from the protection afforded by the “denial laws”. That is, while the Jewish Holocaust, Rwanda and Srebrenica are protected because they are court-proven genocides, the Armenian claim of genocide is not protected. Disputing an opinion is not hate speech. I enclose herewith 2 books (“Prospects of Turkish-Armenian Relations” and “Review of Armenian Studies No. 32”) give information about relations between Turkey and Armenia.

I hope you will share the reality on Armenian issue with your readers.

Yours sincerely,

Ali Dovutoglu,

Ambassador of Turkey     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

STRAIGHT TALK : Curbing ships flying Z’bar flag from carrying drugs is tough task

 

By Ally Saleh

        Once again the issue of ships flying the Tanzanian flag carrying drugs has cropped up, with the country being adversely mentioned although that actually has nothing to do with the state where such vessels were registered.

Ships are registered according to the International Maritime Law. A number of conventions guide this business to enable people to know which ship goes where and ends where to ensure security much as goods and passengers are transported.

The registration of a particular ship that carries a flag of certain country other than that of the owner is called business circles as flag of convenience in maritime parlance and every ship must have one such flag to be allowed to operate.

There are basically four main forms of registry in the maritime world. The first one is the traditional closed registry which is done on Tanzanian Mainland. This caters only for local ships. The second one is the international or open registry as it is conducted in Zanzibar to cater for any ship belonging to any owner living anywhere in the world.

The other two have evolved due to the manipulation for better terms. There is the secondary or also known as an off-shore registry, which involves paying lower salaries than paid to domestic sailors. The fourth one is the hybrid. This combines national and open registries.

In Zanzibar, the issue of flag registration is handled by the Isles Government, which has created its agency to undertake the work for the betterment of the archipelago’s economy. So far about 500 ships have been registered and carry the Zanzibar flag. These include ships carrying huge cargo from one international port to another other. According to the International Maritime Law, the ships have to abide by laws of the registered countries.

Countries that register ships are responsible for inspecting them.

That is not done physically by the home state of the ship but rather by internationally approved bodies. These are known as Flag State Inspectors who verify the documentation, inspect gear for firefighting, life-saving as a well as living conditions of sailors.

Ships are owned by human beings, operated by them and hence there are and will always be contraventions of local and international laws. Ships are caught carrying unauthorised cargo or drugs or illegal arms and so forth.

This has nothing to do, as I earlier said, with the registering state. Every effort might have been taken to ensure that the documentation and declaration by ship owner to do only legal business, and corruption for quick gains.

Sometimes such illegal activities have nothing to do with the owner too but by the character of the ship captain who risks carrying cargo that will generate quick money. On most occasions, members of the crew know nothing.

These activities including pirating and there is no way this can be completely stopped.

Yes, efforts can be taken and fear can be instilled but my point is that it should not be equated to mean it is lowering Tanzania’s image as such as it is not actually the work of the state.

In fact, the risk of a country being negatively named is always there and that is part of taking up this business.So, Tanzanians should know that.     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 likely to be rocky for opposition

By Erick Mwakibete

        Tundu Lissu, in attempting to explain a seismic political U-turn of 2015, Chadema (and its allies in Ukawa), correctly described Edward Lowassa as “perhaps the most controversial and divisive political figure in the country right now”.

Lowassa stunned Chadema when he met President John Magufuli and expressed support for the things the government has been doing especially its efforts in construction of infrastructures and education. On his part President Magufuli praised Lowassa as a good politician who never insulted him once during the ugly campaigns of 2015.

While some analysts saw the meeting as a good sign of easing the political tensions and mistrusts among leading political leaders; to a nervous opposition, that meeting coming at the time of continued defections from the opposition to CCM, sent off alarm bells in Chadema. What Lowassa said was political anathema. What followed crystallised some things to the rest of us.

Chadema’s leaders and their members were quick to condemn or express disappointment at Lowassa’s statement and were at pains to explain that what Lowassa said in the presence of President Magufuli in no way represented his party’s sentiments. Chadema’s Youth wing went as far as mentioning defection, that their party will never be affected even if Lowassa defected too.

Even after two years, the allies have trust issues.

The political marriage of convenience between Chadema/Ukawa and Lowassa was based on cold political calculations where one side wanted more political reach which they argued was only possible with Lowassa as their candidate despite his political flaws and the other part wanted a real shot at the presidency before a political sunset. Of these political goals one was decidedly lost and the other achieved but with debatable political consequences to individual parties within the alliance.

It appears Lissu was better informed when it comes to Chadema’s dealings because while expressing his displeasure at what Lowassa said, he pointed out that it was unwise for a party leader to say the things he said without communicating with other leaders first.

Lowassa’s entry into Chadema/Ukawa led to the departure of some leaders and as far as Prof Ibrahim Lipumba and his allies in the CUF are concerned is part of what led their party to where it is today. The details of how exactly Lowassa joined Chadema are bitterly disputed, and some versions of the story paint a picture of a process that started outside Chadema’s decision making bodies. The whole matter led to bitter parting shots from Dr Wilbrod Slaa, Chadema’s former secretary general.

There have been occasions where statements/actions by Chadema’s regional leaders contrasted those of national leaders with the latest example provided by Singida regional leaders who had fielded a parliamentary candidate in the hope that national leaders might change their minds about a no show.

Eventually they towed their party’s line but the damage was already done.

While Lowassa’s resignation as prime minister in 2007 stunned many in the august House in Dodoma and around the country; it was his refusal to go into details of the scandal that led to his resignation that frustrated his political allies as his political foes drew their own conclusions. He stayed quiet, leaving his allies to defend him. As what he said caused a huge political storm in his party and online, the man at the center of it all was quiet.

On the few occasions he offers an explanation, details are sketchy or instead of answering questions lead to more questions. His latest explanation of what transpired between him and President Magufuli was another stunner. His statement not only was it in line with the political views of his political allies but very much mirrored, almost verbatim, what they had lamented after he heaped praise on President Magufuli. It added that President Magufuli tried to convince the most famous CCM’s prodigal son to return home.

The statement did not refute Lowassa’s praise of President Magufuli or the explanation that it was Lowassa who had asked to meet the president and was very much a PR attempt at calming nerves within the opposition, trying to repair the political damage done and projecting a united front. One cannot help but wonder whether these apparently contradictory positions of Lowassa consider the dynamics of 2020 politics. It seems 2018 will be another rocky year for the opposition.     

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Flawed UDSM -Mlimani City pact no new can of worms

By TheCitizen

        In 2004, Dar es Salaam University (UDSM) enteredIinto a contract with the Botswana-based Turnstar Holdings Ltd (THL) creating the joint venture Mlimani Holdings Ltd (MHL), tasked with developing ‘Mlimani City’ on the fringes of Dar es Salaam City.

Under the 50-year land-lease and performance contract, MHL has to pay 10 per cent of its gross income as rent to the ‘owner’ of the land, UDSM.

Among the contracted obligations are for MHL to construct a 100-room, three-star hotel in Mlimani City by December 2019; expand Mlimani to include basement parking (342 parking bays); additions to the conference center; a retail shopping mall – in effect adding up to 14,000 square metres of commercial space.

Other developments are fencing and upgrading UDSM’s botanical gardens in the area – complete with walkways, demarcated picnic areas and an admin block with ablutions, as well as a gym in the residential villas…

All that sounds hunky-dory, doesn’t it? That it’s all fine, as everything is going well, like Swiss clockwork, right?

Well; ‘wrong’ is the right answer to that!

Indeed, last Thursday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) summoned the UDSM officials who were involved in formulating the contract to appear before the Parliamentary Committee in Dodoma “for a facts-finding session!”

In the preliminary session between PAC, UDSM and MHL held in Dar es Salaam on January 18, PAC reportedly unearthed several serious irregularities that virtually reduce the contract to a cruel joke for the University and Tanzanians in general.

For all practical purposes, the MHL/Turnstar Holdings alliance has been ‘exploiting’ the contract, converting Mlimani City into a modern-day ‘promised land’ flowing with milk and honey!

Contract seriously violated on payment

For, example: while the contract requires the ‘investor’ to pay 10 per cent rent based on its gross income, that hasn’t been happening, as the rent that’s paid is based on NET income!

As if that weren’t bad enough, the investor is in rent arrears amounting to some $304,103 (roughly Sh680 million).

Furthermore, the investor hasn’t been paying rent on the leased land that’s yet to be developed as per the contract.

But, perhaps the most ludicrous part is that the foreign investor successfully clambered aboard such a lucrative ‘bandwagon’ with a measly $75 in investment capital a baker’s dozen years ago!

How, did he do that, pray – virtually achieving the impossible overnight?

Equally unamusing is that the government controller-and-auditor-general (CAG), Prof Musa Assad, queried more-or-less the same irregularities in his audit findings for year-2015 – and “urged UDSM to revisit the Mlimani City contract with Turnstar Holdings…”

Noting that “the irregularities deny the Hill (UDSM) appropriate revenues,” the CAG counselled the University management “to revisit the contract to fast-track completion of the delayed projects…”

The 64,000-dollar question then arises: why were no remedial steps taken that early – thus forcing PAC to tread the same ground again years later?

Indeed, the seriously-flawed UDSM/Mlimani Holdings contract is no new can of worms that must be opened and reopened – with nary cure in sight but more socio-economic agony for Tanzanians!

Finally, we must do everything possible to always avoid such socio-economically crippling operating arrangements.     

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Friday, January 19, 2018

A CHAT FROM LONDON: Louise, her cruel stepmother and a story of forgiveness



Freddy Macha

Freddy Macha 

By Freddy Macha , kilimanjaro1967@hotmail.com

Last week I read an article by correspondent Frances Hardy. I did not anticipate finishing the amazing double-page piece in London’s Daily Mail. It was late, I was tired; about to go to bed but, kept on to the end and lo and behold, magic....

The brilliant narrative was about a 50 year old woman who suffered an extremely torturous childhood. Torturous, yes. You hear such tales and wonder: what is in the horrible minds of us humans?

One evil video is currently circulating on Facebook Messenger. The language spoken is English Patois from probably one of the Caribbean islands. A less than seven-year-old child is being whipped (with a belt), to hell. The sadism goes on for at least six minutes. The woman is lashing this poor girl, pinching her ears, shaking the head, hitting it with fists, pulling her hair, probably her own daughter (as another older child films while a baby can be heard crying chillingly from a nearby bed).

But, this is a monster!

Unfortunately, these incidents happen all the time.

Like what journalist Frances Hardy was describing.

Louise was born in 1968 to a teenage mother. Those days, pregnant European girls (like in parts of our Africa right now) were treated like insects. Worse. At least an insect is wiped off. Forgotten. Louise’s youthful mum was relieved of the baby. Louise was handed to foster parents.

Globally, we have incidents of cruel stepparents and foster parents. In Swahili Wazazi wa Kambo is synonymous with the worst nightmare. I know a Tanzanian chap, now in his fifties (married and a father), whose childhood with a stepmother, included him being sexually molested by a male in “the family.”

Everyone knows such tales.

Louise, in other words, jumped from the frying pan and into the fire. A nightmare stepmother, called Barbara.

Frances Hardy quotes her ordeal:

“The terrifying bit was the anticipation; trying to read Barbara’s face, to gouge her mood. I’d look for clues in the sound she made as she walked upstairs. I’d watch every muscle to try to predict whether I would be whacked or ignored.”

Psychological torture.

Those who have been around a sadistic powerful person (boss, teacher, etc) understand the unspoken language of terror. Louise would urinate in her bed from fear. Once she was left alone in the woods, at dusk. Luckily, she was picked up by two female strangers and taken home to her tormentor. There is another brutal incident. An attempted rape during early teens. She nonetheless escaped because her dog bit the man’s leg. Escaped? Oh no. Barbara the stepmother took her precious animal to the veterinarian and had it killed.

Legally.

We cannot copy and paste the whole report, as it will be plagiarism. Good news is, Louise Allen, has just released a book, Thrown Away Child, published last month by Simon and Schuster.

Ms Allen’s aim is to throw light on the fostered and orphan’s world.

What else?

Later in life Louise Allen did not harbour grudges against the cold hearted stepmother, who had apparently suffered abuse as a child and consequently, mentally ill. Taking care of her in old age, she claims hatred was useless.

She has built her own life, studied art, and is now happily married with lovely children. Journalist Hardy reminds us this lady is a very friendly, emphatic person. In other words despite being horribly treated, she is not bitter, nor vindictive (i.e. wanting revenge).

There are various angles to this sad and happy ending story.

Out of the madness, Louise wants her book to shed light on how the “system of adoption” might go wrong.

Some readers of this column might know someone or similar feats. We need stories to be published and told. We Africans, especially, do not have a habit of documenting our lives, and telling episodes that have caused extreme discomfort.

Pity.

Another angle is forgiveness.

The Bible says in Luke 6: 35: “...Love your enemies, do well to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back...”

Religious matters aside, what exactly does giving achieve?

Psychologists believe it is “a road” to self recovery. Not a solution...

In 2014, American scholar Dr Thomas G Plante gave seven rules of forgiveness. Number one: forgiving does not mean forgetting.

Number two: forgiveness is not about belittling a bad experience, three; forgiving is not a weakness, and four: the other person might not admit they were wrong, so you do not depend on their opinion. Five and six: your process of recovery results in self healing and moving on. Lastly: to let off anger and resentment allows the body to physically surpass health traumas.

Oh, there is a very high profile, historical case.

The Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa, in the 1990s.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Export trade needs to be revisited and diversified

According to the Bank of Tanzania’s Economic and Operations Annual Report for 2016/2017 released last week, gold accounted for 98 per cent of the country’s exports to Switzerland in 2016, valued at $753 million.

Also, exports to Switzerland accounted for 16.2 per cent of all the goods which Tanzania sold abroad in 2016. Other major buyers from Tanzania that year included India (14.8 per cent), South Africa (13 per cent), China (7.5 per cent), Kenya (6.6 per cent), DR Congo (6.2 per cent) and Belgium (6.0 per cent).

Gold was Tanzania’s most sought-after export item. Others were mainly agricultural goods such as cotton yarn, coffee, vegetable oil, legumes, onions, soybeans and tea.

One crucial fact screaming for attention here is that there is too much dependence on gold when it comes to Tanzania’s exports.

This calls for urgent and bold steps that could enable the country to further diversify its export items.

In that regard, our experts in commerce and related fields need to work harder to ensure that Tanzania earns more from assorted exports on a sustainable basis.

Key areas that the country needs to focus on for starters are Agriculture and Education. Given the country’s great potential in agriculture, it is past high time that our experts revisited the sector to identify where improvements can be made in terms of good practice farming to boost agro-productivity.

We should also identify crops that show promise in terms of global demand – and consider focusing on them accordingly.

Tanzania also needs to invest more in the right kind of education that produces highly competent experts in economic production, and in stimulating high-potential but little-tapped potential exports such as services, knowledge and skills.

With commitment and a clear vision, Tanzania stands huge chances of putting right its trade balance – and other socio-economic imbalances that still plague the people.

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