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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Saturday, June 24, 2017

PROTECTIONISM UNHEALTHY

Tanzania seems to be reverting to mercantilism of yore that failed. It is vigorously promoting the role of parastatals in a mixed economy. During socialism, a huge amount of money was wasted on propping up ailing state-owned entities to no avail, prompting the government to privatise them.

But the divestiture itself has been a subject of intense criticism because it was carried out haphazardly.

Now they are being revived with verve. It is difficult to tell how they will work in the modern era. But Tanzania also appears to be adopting a protectionist approach, which may stifle competition and compromise product quality and in a small market.

As the industrialisation drive is gaining tempo, products are being manufactured and import duties of some of them being raised, while some East African Community (EAC) member states are zero-rating duties on similar products.

EAC members appear to be inward-looking and the implementation of the bloc’s common external tariff is seriously inconsistent.

Moreover, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda risk being shut out of the lucrative African Growth and Opportunity Act in the US after imposing a ban on imports of second hand clothes and shoes.

We call on EAC states to allow business competition and grab opportunities of larger markets.     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

OPINION: Obamacare repeal is one big lie

 

By Steven Pearlstein

The Senate health-care bill is a blatantly cynical and political plan to reward the rich, squeeze the poor and give Republicans the chance to claim they protected the middle class — or at least those in the middle class who aren’t too sick.

The Republican campaign to repeal Obamacare was always based on a false promise (okay, a lie): that it was possible for all Americans to have better, cheaper medical care without raising taxes or reducing the incomes of doctors and the profits of hospitals and drug companies.

The reality, as the Senate’s Republican caucus came to understand, is something quite different: You can’t lower health-care costs or extend coverage for some people without raising the taxes or premiums of everyone else. It’s a zero-sum game.

Actually, that statement is not exactly true. In a country that spends roughly twice as much as other advanced countries for mediocre results, it would be possible to restructure the system to give most people more for less. But, alas, the Senate bill does almost nothing to restructure the way medical care is delivered, how much is consumed and how it is priced, because to do so would have meant taking on the business interests that the Republicans are counting on to finance their reelection. Instead, what we get is a financial shell game.

Take, for example, the centerpiece of the Republican effort, transforming Medicaid from a guarantee of free health insurance for the poor and disabled into a block grant to states to finance health care for whomever they want in whatever ways they see fit.

States, which now pay about a third of the cost of the program, have long had the flexibility to propose different ways of covering the poor, and the federal government has approved a variety of such experiments. But the way most states have been found to restrain Medicaid costs is to pay doctors and hospitals less than all other insurers pay. The result is that hospitals charge other insurers and patients higher rates to make up the difference, while the number of doctors who are willing to take Medicaid patients has shrunk.

So what will happen if Republicans succeed in turning Medicaid from an open-ended individual entitlement program for the poor into a slowly diminishing block grant to the states? There are three options:

*States could raise taxes on everyone else to increase their own spending on Medicaid.

* States could further cut reimbursement to doctors and hospitals and drug companies, resulting in yet even more cost shifting.

* States could cut more people from Medicaid coverage, or reduce the range of services covered, which will only send more poor people to hospital emergency rooms for free medical care, resulting in still more cost shifting.

In other words, there is no real saving — some portion of the cost of providing free medical care to the poor is merely shifted from all federal taxpayers to state taxpayers, and higher premiums for everyone else. Zero-sum game.

Another feature of Republican plan gives states the right to opt out of Affordable Care Act regulations that limit how much more insurance companies can charge older customers, who on average consume a lot more health care, than younger ones who tend to use relatively little. Existing regulations say insurers can charge only three times as much. Senate Republicans would increase that to five times as much. The rationale is that the lower premiums will induce more young people to buy insurance without having to resort to a government mandate, which will have the effect of stabilizing insurance markets.

But there is no magic here. In a regulated insurance market, every dollar of reduced premiums for the young will be offset by an increase in premiums for the old. Some will pay it (those will tend to be the ones with chronic illness), but some of the healthier and less affluent ones will decide they cannot afford it and go without insurance. And if they are unlucky and they do get a serious illness, they too will wind up in hospital emergency rooms, where the cost of their care will be shifted to everyone else. Again, the zero-sum game. A third big change will be the form and size of the subsidies provided by the federal government to those working-class families without employer-provided health insurance who buy policies on the Obamacare exchanges. Republicans would replace the current premium subsidies with tax credits, the size of which would be adjusted for income and age but in total will be significantly less than Obamacare’s premium subsidies. So working-class people will pay higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health insurance that is less comprehensive — or they will go uninsured — while the people who financed Obamacare through higher taxes will be paying less by about the same amount.

And who are these lucky taxpayers? According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, around 90 percent of the benefit would go to households with more than $700,000 in annual income.     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

EDITORIAL: TFF aspirants should avoid dirty campaigns



TFF president Jamal Malinzi

TFF president Jamal Malinzi 

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) will conduct its general election on August 12 in Dodoma and 74 have picked up forms to vie for 15 posts

Ten of them are vying for the TFF presidency, six for vice presidency and remaining want to become executive committee members.

TFF has 13 executive committee members, who together with the organisation’s president and vice president serve for four years.

For the past four years, TFF has been struggling to promote soccer. It has drawn up plans to develop the sport to enable Tanzanian teams to compete internationally and win titles.

However, challenges abound and voters are scrutinising the aspirants to see who are capable for various positions.

Some members of the outgoing TFF executive committee worked hard while others performed miserably as they simply tantalised voters with their were colourful curriculum vitae.

We all know how Tanzania has been striving to develop the game for years without much success. It featured in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) only once — in 1980. Since then, we are yet to qualify for the finals.

It tried when it qualifying for the 2017 African Youths Championships in Gabon.

It is time for voters to elect the best leaders who will take the game to the next level.

Voters have to know that they are sole deciders to propel Tanzania’s soccer to acme.

We also call on aspirants to avoid dirty campaigns ahead of the general election.

They have to avoid character assassination. What they should do is to articulate their plans to persuade voters to elect them to revolutionise the sport.     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

HOMES & PROPERTY: Tenant rights in lease transfers



Dakila Alloyce

Dakila Alloyce 

By Dakila Alloyce

Leases, like many other agreements, which confer certain rights, are capable of transfer and assignment. However, before taking any action relating to transfer or assignment of a lease, a lessee is required to seek consent of the lessor.

Section 93(1) of the Land Act (Cap 113) interprets the lessee’s obligation not to take action without the consent of the lessor to be construed as requiring the lessor not to unreasonably withhold the consent.

Section 93(2) states: “Where an application is made by a lessee to a lessor for consent to take one or more of the following action, that is to say –

(a) transfer or assign the lease;

(b) enter into a sublease;

(c) part with possession of the leased land or buildings;

(d) change the use of the land or buildings from a use which is permitted under the lease;

(e) extend, improve, add on to or in any other way develop any building beyond what is permitted in the lease;

(f) create a mortgage over the lease;

(g) take any of the actions referred to in subparagraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) or (f) in relation to any part of the leased land or buildings, or for any part of the term of the lease, the lessor must, on receiving the application and within a reasonable time thereafter–

(i) give that consent; or

(ii) withhold that consent, and in either case must inform the lessee in writing of his decision on the application.”

The lessor will unreasonably withhold the consent if, for example, he demands the lessee to pay additional rent, premium or fine in consideration for the consent or if the lessor imposes on the lessee any unreasonable condition or precondition or, where the lessor objects to the gender or nationality or other personal characteristics of the transferee or assignee as the case may be.

The law permits, however, payment of the lessor’s expenses incurred in connection with giving the consent, even these expenses must be reasonable as well. It may also happen that during the subsistence of a lease, the landlord or lessor may transfer his interest to another person.

Such a transfer does not extinguish the lease, obligations the lessor has under the lease will move with his interest to the new holder of interest and the lessee will enforce those obligations as against the new owner. Therefore, if you are a tenant and the property you have rented has been sold, do not worry, you can enforce your lease agreement against the new owner of the property as per Section 95 of the Land Act, 1999.

Where the property has been sold, and you, unknowingly that it has been sold, pay rent to the previous land owner, you will be released from the obligation of paying that rent. This is provided under Section 96(1) of the Land Act, 1999, which discharges the lessee or tenant to the extent of the payment made provided the lessee or tenant did not have the actual notice of the transfer or assignment as the case may be.

The Act goes further to provide to the effect that even the registration of the transfer does not amount to actual notice to the tenant, regardless of any other provision, which provides to the contrary in any other written law.

The implication of this provision is that once the transfer is done, the tenant or lessee must be notified expressly by the responsible persons, if the tenant is not notified and he proceed to pay the rent to the previous owner, it follows that the lessee will be discharged of the obligation to pay to the extent of the amount paid to the previous owner or landlord.

We have looked at the situation, where the landlord transfers or assigns his interest to another person; now let’s shift our focus on what happens when the lessee or tenant transfers his lease.

It must be known from the onset that the common law rule that the transferor or assignor of the lease remains liable for the personal covenants to the landlord for the payment of rent and for all other breaches of the covenants, even though he/she is no longer in occupation of the premises has been abolished under the provision of Section 97(1) of the Land Act, 1999.

Therefore, the effect of transfer or assignment of the lease is to discharge absolutely the transferor from any and all obligations as of the date of the transfer or assignment.

However, the transfer of a lease does not discharge the transferor from those obligations which accrued before the transfer, thus the landlord may enforce all obligations against the transferor as long as they accrued before the date of the transfer or assignment.

In a situation, where a lease has been transferred but the transferor remains in occupation of the leased property, he will remain liable to pay rent and observe all other obligations as long as he remains in occupation of the property. Thus, this is an exception to the rule mentioned earlier that he will be absolutely discharged from all obligations under the lease.

Additionally, if the lessee vacates the leased property before the date of termination of the lease, the Land Act, 1999 provides that he will be liable to pay rent and observe all other covenants in the lease for the period of one year from the date on which he vacates the property unless the lease agreement provides expressly for the lesser period or if the landlord leases the property to another person before the expiration of one year, in which case the obligations will cease from the date of execution of that lease.

The above position of the law abolished the application of a common law rule in Tanzania that the lessee will remain liable to comply with all the covenants, including the covenant to pay rent, even if one has vacated the leased property with the agreement with the landlord     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

THIS IS LIVING: Population to hit 9bn by 2050

 

New York. The world population is now nearly 7.6 billion, up from 7.4 billion in 2015, spurred by the relatively high levels of fertility in developing countries – despite an overall drop in the number of children people have around the globe – the United Nations reported on Wednesday.

The concentration of global population growth is in poorest countries, according to World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, presenting a challenge as the international community seeks to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which seeks to end poverty and preserve the planet.

“With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline,” said the report’s authors at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

At this rate, the world population is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and surpass 11.2 billion in 2100.

The growth is expected to come, in part, from the 47 least developed countries, where the fertility rate is around 4.3 births per woman, and whose population is expected to reach 1.9 billion people in 2050 from the current estimate of one billion.

In addition, the populations in 26 African countries are likely to “at least double” by 2050, according to the report.

That trend comes despite lower fertility rates in nearly all regions of the world, including in Africa, where rates fell from 5.1 births per woman from 2000-2005 to 4.7 births from 2010-2015. In contrast, the birth rate in Europe was 1.6 births per woman in 2010-2015, up from 1.4 births in 2010-2015.

“During 2010-2015, fertility was below the replacement level in 83 countries comprising 46 per cent of the world’s population,” according to the report.

The lower fertility rates are resulting in an ageing population, with the number of people aged 60 or over expected to more than double by 2050 and triple by 2100, from the current 962 million to 3.1 billion.

Africa, which has the youngest age distribution of any region, is projected to experience a rapid ageing of its population, the report noted.

“Although the African population will remain relatively young for several more decades, the percentage of its population aged 60 or over is expected to rise from five per cent in 2017 to around nine per cent in 2050, and then to nearly 20 per cent by the end of the century,” the authors wrote.

In terms of other population trends depicted in the report, the population of India, which currently ranks as the second most populous country with 1.3 billion inhabitants, will surpass China’s 1.4 billion citizens, by 2024.

By 2050, the third most populous country will be Nigeria, which currently ranks seventh, and which is poised to replace the United States.

The report also noted the impacts of the flows of migrants and refugees between countries, in particular noting the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis and the estimated outflow of 4.2 million people in 2010-2015.

In terms of migration, “although international migration at or around current levels will be insufficient to compensate fully for the expected loss of population tied to low levels of fertility, especially in the European region, the movement of people between countries can help attenuate some of the adverse consequences of population ageing,” the authors wrote.

Meanwhile, with hundreds of millions of people around the globe directly affected by desertification – the degradation of land ecosystems due to unsustainable farming or mining practices, or climate change – United Nations agencies have called for better management of land so that it can provide a place where individuals and communities “can build a future.”

“Population growth means demand for food and water is set to double by 2050, but crop yields are projected to fall precipitously on drought affected, degraded land. More than 1.3 billion people, mostly in the rural areas of developing countries, are in this situation,” said Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat, in her message on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

“So this year, the Convention is calling for a focus on making the land and life in rural communities viable for young people […] let us give them better choices and options.”

According to estimates, nearly 500 million hectares of once fertile land – close to two million square miles – have now been abandoned.

The UNCCD believes that with access to new technologies and to the knowledge, these lands can build resilience to extreme weather-elements like drought and with the right, feed a hungry planet and develop new green sectors of the economy.

“Let us give young people the chance to bring that natural capital back to life and into production [which can then] develop markets for rural products and revitalize communities.” added Ms. Barbut, calling for increased and relevant investments in land, rural infrastructure and skills development so that “the future can be bright.”

The role of environment change is also increasingly clear in motivating or compelling people to migrate or become displaced.

With more land getting lost to desertification, rural populations – relying on pastoral livelihoods, agriculture and natural resources – will face additional vulnerabilities, compounding poverty, poor levels of education, lack of investment and isolation, voiced Irina Bokova, the head of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

To address this growing threat, Ms. Bokova called for a two pronged approach: first, better land management to arrest desertification as well as for preserving its productivity; and second, strengthening resilience of vulnerable populations by supporting alternative livelihoods. “We must recognise that desertification is a global phenomenon that threatens everyone and we must start to act globally to build a sustainable and stable future for all,” she underscored.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) also highlighted the challenges noted by Ms. Bokova. Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP, added: “[Desertification and land degradation] drives human displacement by threatening lives over the short term and making people’s livelihoods untenable over the long term, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.”

Given the significant challenges that loss in arable land and their impact in overall socio-economic conditions of affected populations, the subject also features prominently in the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 15, in particular, calls for combatting desertification, and undertaking efforts to halt and reverse land degradation.

In August this year, countries from the Latin American region will be meeting in Bolivia’s in Santa Cruz de la Sierra where they will discuss better drought management and preparedness.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) – the UN agency that closely monitors global weather and climate patterns and provides member States with climate information to make effective decisions – is one of the organizers of the meeting along with UNCCD.

(UN News Centre)     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Liberation from tribal bondage



Danford Mpumilwa

Danford Mpumilwa 

By Danford Mpumilwa

Election fever has gripped Nairobi. Everywhere you go the talk is about forthcoming elections. The question on everybody’s mind is who is going to win the presidency. Is it Raila Odinga and his National Super Alliance (Nasa) Party or Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party?

This was the question I was asked as I checked into my favourite budget hotel Comfort, straddling the Jivanjee gardens in central Nairobi. Naturally, I did not have an answer to that for the simple reason that I am not very conversant with Kenyan politics and in particular their internal dynamics.

After checking into my hotel room, I took a cold shower and a few minutes later walked past the adjacent Nakumatt Lifestyle Shopping Mall and entered my favourite restaurant along Koinange Street, Safari Restaurant formerly Kengeles.

I sat at my favourite corner, near the washroom as I watched white collar Nairobians walk in for their afternoon snacks and cocktails. I could tell that most of them were middle class lawyers.

I ordered my Tusker malt beer and sipped slowly as the crowd grew bigger and arguments grew louder and more political. The issue at hand was political rivalry between Raila and Uhuru. But also at hand was the issue of an acute shortage of maize flower, the rising cost of several consumer goods, big time corruption and tribalism.

The patrons at that restaurant knew each other very well as well their political and tribal affiliations. I was the odd man out. No wonder at one stage some of the patrons wanted to know, who I was.

The rescue came from none other than a barman, who for obvious reasons, knows me and my favourite drink and food. “He is a Tanzanian,” he told the counter group.

Suddenly, the whole crowd became silent and all eyes were focussed on me. “Oh! You are from the land of Magufuli,” they asked. As I answered in the affirmative, they immediately announced that all my drink and food bills would be paid by them. Thanks Magufuli!

They were delighted that I indeed came from the land of Magufuli. A man they admired for his tough stand against corruption, among others. How did we discover him and where did he come from, his tribe, his education etc? They asked.

I tried to answer all their questions, though I was not very sure about his tribe. This was a shock to them. How could he be elected without a strong tribal background? They wondered.

That is when it dawned on me that Bongolanders do not care much about one’s tribe. For example, I always find it difficult to even describe my tribe. My father is half Bena and half Wanji, while my mother is half Sangu and Nyika. So, who am I? And it gets worse - the mother of my first daughter is half Kerewe and half Sukuma. So, what is the tribe of my daughter?

Actually I have come to think that not many Tanzanians even know the tribe of our former presidents.

Apart from Julius Nyerere, whose tribe was published in history text books for obvious reasons, not many Bongolanders know the tribes of the second President Ali Hassan Mwinyi or the third Benjamin Mkapa and even the fourth Jakaya Kikwete. It is not a big deal.

Narrating this to my Nairobi booze benefactors was a pleasure. I could see that they were feeling sorry for themselves for being so tribal in their approach to politics and life. As a teacher of mine at my former Mkwawa High School stated “success can only come after one liberates oneself from the tribal bondage”.

Are we ready for this major leap to success?

The author is a veteran journalist and media consultant based in Arusha     

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

PROPERTY GUIDE: FROM ABC ATTORNEYS

 

Hello ABC Attorneys, I am Leah. I live in a rented apartment. Unfortunately, I have been transferred to another region, yet there is still 9 months remaining on my lease. I have talked to my landlord about the possibility of refunding the rent for the remaining months, but he has refused, what are my options?

Well Leah, the law regulating lease transaction in Tanzania the Land Act (Cap 113) provides for the transfer or assignment or subleasing. These are options that you may consider given the circumstances facing you.

The law requires you to obtain consent of your landlord before you can take any of the actions above. This flows from the obligations you have as a lessee, which are provided for under Section 89(1)(i) of the Land Act, which stipulates that:

“Not to transfer, mortgage, charge, sublease or otherwise part with possession of the leased land or buildings or any part of it without the previous consent of the lessor”.

However, the law has construed this obligation to seek consent from your landlord as requiring your landlord not to unreasonably withhold consent to your taking of any of the actions above, that is, transferring, assignment or subleasing.

Where your landlord unreasonably withholds his consent thereby leading you to suffer any loss in connection with his refusal or any unreasonable precondition given by him, you may recover your loss and seek damages for the loss suffered from your landlord.

Although the law allows such measures, it does not, however, prevent the inclusion in a lease agreement a term binding a lessee absolutely not to take any of the actions you may wish to take. It is important, therefore, to look into your agreement to see if there are any terms, which may limit your taking any of the actions mentioned above.

Hi, ABC Attorneys, I’m Ali. I have troublesome tenants, they do not honour the terms of our agreements and I wish to terminate their leases. What are the legal procedure for terminating the leases and getting them off my property?

Hello Ali, a lease is an agreement like any other agreement. However, the procedure for its termination is provided for under the Land Act (Cap 113). The procedure depends on whether their breach is related to payment of rent or breach of other terms and covenants contained in the lease.

If the breach is related to arrears in payment of lease, Section 114 of the Land Act provides for a procedure, which requires you to provide them with a notice of your intention. The notice must not be less than 30 days and it must clearly inform your tenants of the nature and extent of breach complained of, the amount, which must be paid to remedy the breach, the period within which to remedy the breach (which must not be less than thirty days) and the notice must include a statement that if the breach is not remedied within 30 days from the service of the notice the lease shall terminate.

If the breach is related to some other conditions, Section 105 of the Land Act, 1999 provides for a procedure. The first thing is you must serve them with a notice of your intention to terminate the lease. The notice must clearly inform them of the nature and extent of breach complained of and if you think it can be remedied you must also include in your notice the action(s) that your tenants should take or refrain from taking to remedy the breach, the amount of compensation, if any, which your tenants must pay to remedy the breach or to reimburse you for the expenses you incurred in connection with the breach, however, that amount must be reasonable and you should also afford them reasonable time, that is, not less than thirty days to do what you have asked them to do in your notice. You must also include that failure to do the required actions within 30 days from the date of service, the lease shall terminate.

After the expiry of the notice period without their compliance, you may seek a court order for termination if they do not want to leave out of their own free will. The court then will consider the matter and may grant the order of termination or any other order that the court deems fit in the circumstance of your case. Courts have wide powers as they may extend the time for your tenants to comply or vary the amount to be paid as compensation or substitute the action, which you required your tenants to take or refrain from taking with another action that the court deems feet.

You must also be aware that your tenants are empowered by the law to seek reliefs from the court from any and all of your demands. Alternatively, you can just notify them that you will not renew their current leases after their expiry, however, you should notify them earlier so that they make arrangement to look for other accommodation.

For further assistance please contact your real estate lawyer.     

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Friday, June 23, 2017

A CHAT FROM LONDON: Mwanyika: Prize-winning Tanzanian with Down syndrome



Freddy Macha

Freddy Macha 

By By Freddy Macha

Lately, London has been overflowing with dramatic events. The London Bridge attacks, the Grenfell Tower blocks fires and Finsbury Park mosque assault. Add national elections on Thursday, June 6, 2017.

Constant queries equally slither down WhatsApp and text from home. Are you guys okay? And then, in hops an 18-year-old Tanzanian winner.

Winner in the sense of not just Africa but, hold on, worldwide.

There were 18 entrants, so proudly, chimed High Commissioner Asha-Rose Migiro, congratulating the young man in her office last Friday. Could you be getting fed up with our Embassy in London as we reported something from there in the most recent past edition of the Chat—June 16?

This is special nevertheless. Listen. Samuel Mwanyika has Down syndrome, which most of us teases and calls “utaahira” in Kiswahili. A word with Arabic origins signifying “retarded”. How cruel!

Down syndrome is a condition that affects functions of the brain. Slows things down. Children with DS will have certain physical characteristics. Shapes of their eyes (smaller and identical, “sura mfanano”, in Kiswahili), head, fingers and feet equally with certain texture and form i. e. shorter and speaking slowly.

Some like our winner might stutter as well. I personally used to think DS is the mother’s fault. That she was smoking during pregnancy. I was told by some Europeans and believed it because, simple. Ignorance. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere once said there is a difference between an ignorant and a stupid person. “If one is stupid, that is it. But if one is ignorant, one can be taught and learn...”

So, on meeting Samuel Mwanyika at the London High Commission I learnt basics. That DS is called “mtindio wa ubongo” in standard Kiswahili.

It should be noted that not only is the actual condition a problem, but also our perception and the way we use language to describe it.

Caused by an extra “chromosome in a baby cell...not inherited but a result of genetic change in the egg or cell” according to the National Health Service (NHS) UK definition, the condition happens rarely.

Sam used to be beaten, pinched and punched at school. His mother Sophia Mshangama told how her son would return home with swellings and bruises.

Philip Edward Mwanyika, the father, narrated how they persevered.

Tanzania has not developed formal equipment and institutions for, not only disabled (in general), but places for young children.

The Mwanyikas soon learnt that Sam was a talented artist. Could easily play music instruments like the guitar and the piano. Very well.

A gifted child, subsequently.

He was also a keen photographer and that is where horns really blow.

They were in Ngorongoro during holidays and Sam snapped photos of animals, which according to Baba Sam, is nothing extraordinary. We live around these creatures. The zebra picture was just one of them. Not necessarily for a competition. Just a snap.

And this is where we learn of another exceptional Tanzanian. The community worker, mother of a child with DS as well. Mony Teri Pettite. Mony’s daughter, Penina Teri Haika has been at the root of her mum’s straggles. Mother started a Foundation which (to date) boosts at least active 25 members in Tanzania.

Mony is a diligent, tireless campaigner for the rights and progress of children and people with DS in Tanzania.

Although she is based in Kent, UK, she shuttles between home and second home, footing bills from her pockets, representing the nation in several international meetings as far as New York.

“People think I have money. No. I am just sacrificing...” Kilimanjaro-born Mony told Ms Migiro last week.

And it was Mony who mentioned the international competition to the Mwanyikas. Sam entered the Zebra picture, and the rest is history. The prize is called Stefan Thomas, in memory of the Down syndrome exceptional, cameraman, who died tragically in Canada, 2014.

Sam Mwanyika’s journey to London was however, not easy.

The visa took a while. But thanks to patience and the assistance of Ambassador Celestine Mushi, Director of International Development, Foreign Affairs in East Africa, they managed to beat the time and make it to London. The sermon went well and Sam Mwanyika has his award, which he proudly brought to the High Commission.

Apart from congratulations, the winner did hang out with a DS pal, Penina Teri Haika, and were both presented with the national flag badge by Dr Migiro. Pictures taken, water and fruits eaten, the brief ceremony did prove that it is not huge things that pump our morale. Simple, well done tasks, do.

This is also a promising journey for persons with disabilities, not just in Tanzania, but in Africa too.

Well done to the Mwanyikas and the High Commission for turning this into a unique event.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

LOVE LETTERS TO TANZANIA: Love your father? Drag him to the doctor’s



SABINE BARBARA_ sabinebarbara@yahoo.co.au

SABINE BARBARA_ sabinebarbara@yahoo.co.au 

By Sabine Barbara

Families around the world celebrated Father’s Day last weekend, and an increasing number of Tanzanians are now also embracing this special day.

Multiple theories exist about where Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June, originated.

Some believe a Washington woman, whose mother died in childbirth, decided to honour her father who raised her and her siblings as a single parent.

Others think the tradition was born after a mine explosion in West Virginia, when a day was set aside to honour the men who died, many of whom were fathers.

Since its inception a century ago, the commemorative day has grown. As family men around the world began to evolve from once somewhat distant providers into loving fathers, increasingly sharing domestic and parenting duties, the annual ritual began to gain popularity.

Some Tanzanian organisations use this relatively new trend to annually remind men of their responsibilities towards their families – to warn that they should be true partners of women in all matters related to the welfare of their families.

For me, Father’s Day brings back memories of my own dad. He passed away much too young: in his fifties, after years of health issues typical of men of his generation. He will be sorely missed until the day I die. The man whose flaws and strengths I have inherited was neither rich nor famous, but left a dad-shaped hole in my heart.

Like for many of his unassuming working-class contemporaries, the world view with which my father had grown up was radically changed by the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Women’s lives slowly but surely began to improve as they fought for equality. There is still a long road ahead though, especially as the progress made has not reached all women equally and females are still underrepresented in the top levels of corporate and political governance.

However, while initiatives to improve women’s health have become top priorities in civilised societies, the fate of many men of my father’s generation suggests that men’s health initiatives are lagging behind. We want men to accept responsibility for the welfare of their families, but what about their own wellbeing?

Global statistics paint a worrying picture about the state of men’s health. Men are more likely to develop serious health problems than women and have a much higher death rate from the most common causes of death. This gender health gap exists in developing as well as industrialised countries.

Men outnumber women in non-gender-related deaths like lung cancer, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, colon cancer, HIV/AIDS, strokes and suicide. They seek medical help less frequently and often do not consult a doctor until their illness is in its later stages. Expected to be resilient, they tend to worry that admitting to feeling unwell undermines their masculinity. Especially when experiencing emotional problems, men often hide their vulnerabilities, numbing pain with alcohol rather than disclosing their worries to friends.

The “stronger sex” are traditionally the ones in high-risk jobs which pose dangers to their health in mining, charcoal production, logging or construction, but part of the gender health gap also reflects lifestyle choices, including diet, alcohol and exercise. Especially amongst young men, risk-taking and destructive behaviours further contribute to high rates of trauma, serious injury and death.

It is time we talk about men’s health. In order to take care of their families, many men need to learn to look after themselves first. They need safe and healthy workplaces and healthy attitudes towards self-care. They need strong bonds with supportive friends in whom they can confide and with whom they can proudly eat vegetables without feeling emasculated. They need education about sexual health and male role models who visit the doctor instead of minimizing symptoms.

Let us not wait for the next Father’s Day to talk about the health and wellbeing of Tanzania’s fathers.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

LET’S SAVE HUMANITY BY PLANTING MORE TREES

Desertification—that process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture—is real in Tanzania.

According to Natural Resources and Tourism deputy minister Ramo Makani, Tanzania loses over 372,000ha of forest land annually due to wanton tree felling.

This is bad news, because land that was once productive gets ruined. It means our very survival is under threat.

Desertification leads to loss of farmland, water sources, increased human and wildlife migration, loss of value systems and in some instances, civil disorder.

However, the deputy minister told Parliament that it was possible to reverse this trend by organised tree planting. If Tanzanians were to plant 280 million trees annually for 17 years consecutively, then the danger of desertification would be reversed.

In short, as a country, we have been presented with two options—plant trees and survive or continue with deforestation and perish. It is as simple as that.

The question is: do we have what it takes to reverse the trend? Of course we have. Of the country’s population of 50 million, there are at least 30 million grown-up citizens. That is, if we are to leave aside children and the old.

It means, if every grown citizen were to plant 20 trees annually, then we would surpass the target by far. And, looking closely, it is easy to note that this goal is achievable.

Education is another key factor in this campaign. Tanzanians must be educated on the importance of planting trees. At the same time, tree felling should be controlled so that it is done when it is absolutely necessary.

Law enforcers must play their role properly. Civic leaders must engage the populations. Students should be taught about why the environment must be protected and how it is protected.

We can save humanity if we take up tree planting as a do-or-die undertaking.

WIDEN CHILD ABUSE FIGHT

We have tended to associate child abuse only with parents who beat up, lock up and deny their young ones food. However, abuse that entails physical maltreatment and denial of essentials such as food just is one side of the story.

There has been a tendency to associate child abuse with lower-class families where material deprivation leads to blatant cruelty, forgetting that even children in affluent families are abused too, albeit in a different way.

When parents, more so those of the professional class, spare no quality time to spend with their children, even on rest-days, that is a form of child abuse. Many of us have relegated in total, the task of child upbringing to the house help.

On page 8 of the Tuesday, June 20 edition of The Citizen, editorial illustrator King Kinya had a cartoon showing three little children crawling to a boarding school! The cartoon captures our situation in many middle class Tanzanian families today. There many cases of children as young as two who are sent to school to “attend” the so-called baby class.

By denying children the chance to enjoying parental closeness, besides feeding them with junk food bought from takeaway outlets for failure to prepare them simple, nutritious meals, we are, in effect, subjecting them to child abuse. We ought to stop that.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

THINKING ALOUD: Are slogans, declarations and SDGs the key to development?



Professor Zulfiqarali Premji

Professor Zulfiqarali Premji 

By Prof Zulfiqarali Premji

Tanzania is not poor, but it was poorly managed and that’s the main reason for the prevailing poverty. The rich and developed nations did not have MDGs and SDGs yet they developed and more recently, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) neither did they have these global slogans and declaration yet they are now recognised as middle-income countries.

These global declarations are nothing but semantics, something like a high school wish list for how to save the world. They are meant to keep busy and pay high salaries to so-called aid experts.

For example, the structural adjustment programs imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were the greatest single cause of poverty since colonialism and these are never mentioned in any of these slogans.

I think this is the period of renaissance in Tanzania and we should be focused and concentrate on good governance, political stability, invest in human resource, exploit the full potential of agriculture, create a better business environment, institute social reforms to improve equity, improve infrastructure, energy sector and regulatory concerns. The over arching theme is work hard to earn your living.

None of these slogans talk about tax evasion and tax avoidance, which drain developing countries of $1.7 trillion each year. Then there’s debt service, which drains another $700 billion per year; instead of demanding cancellation, the SDGs call for “debt financing, debt relief, and debt restructuring, as appropriate,” which specifically means that debts will not be cancelled

Western countries have promised to double aid to Africa, but have not been keeping this promise. Also, African countries suffer form Western protectionism. European cows receive subsidies of $2 a day, while Japanese cows receive subsidies of $4 a day in both cases more than African GDP.

Notwithstanding the blame game with the label of eternal hope, and hoping and praying for a renaissance, Tanzania is indeed now seeing a renaissance in the horizon. To some extent, Africa is still considered the continent of lost hope and while Asia exceeded all expectations, Africa dashed its hope. Despite this concern there is a rekindled hope for Tanzania.

There are still many challenges and the process of development is at times painful. One biggest challenge is to recognise and be aware that mass impoverishment is the product of extreme wealth accumulation and overconsumption by a few, which entails processes of enclosure, extraction, and exploitation along the way. You can’t solve the problem of poverty without challenging the pathologies of accumulation. While Tanzania moves forward, the benefits of development should not be skewed and despite our diversity and heterogeneity, which is our strength, everyone who works hard should taste the fruits of progress.

The indications are positive and we see that some serious engagement has started with the private sector and hopefully the private sector entrepreneurship will improve. Many challenges lay ahead, for example there are about 27 acts implemented by 19 Agencies to directly regulate interface with SMEs, this creates a negative environment for start up businesses. According to surveys, African countries are the most difficult in the world in which to do business. Access to finance, infrastructure, institutions and skills are the most severe constraints cited by entrepreneurs. African countries have the highest levels of corruption and Tanzania is no exception. Currently corruption in the country seems to have gone down but there is still significant corruption and the dynamics may have changed. At the Immigration department if you apply for a passport you are told that the passport books are out of stock but at Sh200,000 the book is immediately available. Thus by changing work stations of civil workers corruption will not go down-more needs to be done.

Eliminating poverty will require more than charity, it will require reducing inequality, combating climate change, strengthening labor rights, and above all serious hard work, going beyond the required routine.

These global slogans do not mention about the unfair trade regime of the World Trade Organisation, and the bilateral trade deals like the one Tanzania has refused to endorse a regional trade pact with the European Union, saying the deal stood in its way to industrialisation. The Economist recently called the 169 SDG proposed targets “sprawling and misconceived,” “unfeasibly expensive” at $2–3 trillion per year, and so unlikely to be realised that they amount to “worse than useless” a betrayal of the world’s poorest people.”

Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you will be doing the impossible.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

WHAT OTHERS SAY: ‘Eating’ Kenya’s standard gauge railway

 

By Charles Onyango -Obbo

As the stories on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) recently launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta continued to bubble – the glory it will bring, the cost, which pocketed what and didn’t – I have been intrigued by a less glamorous part of the tale.

These are the fellows who, in many ways, are all but “eating the SGR”: the vandals who are stealing metal bits presumably to sell them as scrap.

You get this image of them watching the SGR as it was being built, and working out what parts they would steal, and budgeting how much they would make off it.

It also didn’t come as a surprise. After the Thika Superhighway opened, the thieves went about stealing as much guard railings and lighting as they could.

The conventional argument is that the small people “eat” the railway, streetlights, and guardrails off the side of highways, as part of the wider social infestation caused by the grand corruption of the Big People.

The Big People eat tenders, steal votes, fleece the Treasury, and so the folks learn from them and make do with skimming off the “government” things pass near their village. So apart from vandalising SGR, they will take off with the windows, sockets, electric wires, and bulbs from the neighbouring public schools. As evidence of this, during the 2013 elections, if you remember, people were quite shocked by the state of some of the Kenya schools and public places where polling stations were located.

But there has to be something bigger going on, a new contestation over, to use the cliché, the public [goods] space.

You see it all over Africa actually. Many times people take these things not to sell for a little change, but to fill a void created by the absence of a state service.

A famous highway was redone in western Uganda some years ago, a section of it passing not far from President Yoweri Museveni’s country home.

The contractors went over the top, and pepper the road with reflective studs – very many of them. But slowly, the studs started disappearing. However they were not showing up in the second hand scrap markets, and it was a puzzle.

Soon the puzzle was solved. Being Museveni backyard and stronghold and backyard, he reportedly visited one of his staunch supporters in a nearby village. And there, on the edges of the man’s house, were some of the studs that had disappeared from the highway. The family acted without any awareness of how awkward it looked.

The picture became clear. People didn’t think they were stealing the reflective studs. They considered that they were putting them to better use than the government that was “just wasting them on the driver”. They could take that position because they didn’t own cars and therefore didn’t drive at night.

They didn’t have electricity, or flush toilets inside, in their houses. The reflective studs helped them see their way to the door at night when they woke up to go and pee, or allowed the man of the house not to run into walls when he returned late at night from the local bar and is groping his way to the bedroom.

If they had electricity, they would not have plucked out the studs. It is a complicated push and pull going on.

One notices though that the thieves usually don’t steal many guardrails or streetlights during the construction of these projects.

In fact if you think of it, there is more valuable stuff to steal during the building stage. If you are ambitious, you could steal a tractor. There is fuel for the machines, cement, and pipes and metals piled up.

But people don’t for two reasons. First, until the road is handed over to the government and “unveiled” by the president or a minister, the people still see mostly see it as the private property of the contractor. And respect for private property runs deeper than for the public ones.

Secondly, it helps that private property is likely to be guarded. If you want to steal glass from a school, the public school is easier because it won’t have a guard. The private one will likely have both a fence and guard.

African governments generally don’t effectively occupy the public spaces that are supposed to be the state’s charge. Other than for coercive purposes (e.g. keeping protestors away from the gates of parliament), they tend to be absent landlords.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

TAP THE POTENTIAL OF ICT INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE

The government of Tanzania constructed the national fibre optic cable network named as National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) with a view to achieving its ICT vision.

The backbone is managed and operated by the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) on behalf of the government.

The infrastructure was meant to enhance usage of ICT applications for sustainable socio-economic development including implementation of e-government, e-learning, e-health, e-commerce and much more.

The NICTBB is operated as a wholesale business that is engaged in lease of capacity to Tanzania’s licensed operators like mobile network operators, Internet service providers (ISPs), local television and radio stations, fixed network, fixed wireless voice and Data Service Providers.

Already the neighbouring countries are connected to the infrastructure through Tanzania’s eight border points.

However, over 70 per cent of the infrastructure’s business potential is not in use, according to experts who raise queries over the role of the national ICT policy and corresponding regulations to the development ICT businesses in the country.

They point out that in countries like Rwanda business entities and government institutions are legally bound to communicate electronically. They think NICTBB is still a white elephant due to a number of factors, including among others affordability, spread of technology and low level of ICT skills development.

Although there is a programme of e-government in Tanzania, it is little used.

All in all, existence of over 70 per cent unutilised potential of the ICT infrastructure is an opportunity for the Tanzania private sector by designing different applications which may be used to address social and economic problems.

The rise in crime, including the recent senseless killings is one of the issues which need the use of modern technology to combat them.

Let us use the potential of available ICT infrastructure for development.

GIVE WOMEN RIGHT TO LAND

The Land Act, 1999 provides for adult men and women the right to acquire, hold, use and deal in land to the same extent and subject to the same restrictions. But it is not so in many parts of the country as most of the land is in the hands of men.

A study conducted by ActionAid in Singida Urban District recently shows that only 21 per cent of women there, most of whom are single, own land. Even the size of land owned by the few women is not all that much, for it just ranges between 0.5 and 2.5 acres.

Although the number of women surpasses that of men, as far as land ownership is concerned, they still lag behind even, much as the law provides for equality in land ownership.

This situation can be attributed to the domination of men over women in such a way that women are considered inferior.

As Tanzania is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw), 1976, and as it strives for 50:50 gender representation in Parliament it is time we put into practice what we have undertaken to fulfil as a nation. So, let women access land right in the same way as men.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TALKING POINT : Processes of electing Eala members devoid of democracy



President Salva Kiir Mayardit

President Salva Kiir Mayardit 

I have written in the past on shortcomings in the election by East African Community (EAC) member states of their representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala). The focus of my previous analyses was on the scope of public participation in the process of each EAC member nominating and electing its nine representatives to the assembly.

Having received feedback on my articles and following continuous monitoring of the recent election of representatives to the 54-member legislative organ of the regional bloc, I am of the view that processes in various member states leave a lot to be desired.

One only needs to recall the chaotic processes in Kenya and South Sudan to conclude that there is a need for urgent measures to address shortcomings in electing Eala members.

South Sudan, in particular, violated the principle of election of Eala members alongside two other rules. South Sudan’s nine representatives were not elected by that country’s parliament, but were appointed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit (pictured) in violation of Article 50 of the EAC Treaty.

Consequently, the act of confirming the members was equally flawed as it was ultra vires.

Thanks to South Sudanese citizen Wani Santino Jada, who challenged the infraction at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the appointments were invalidated and consequently revoked by the National Transitional Legislature in Juba.

A motion has been moved to withdraw parliamentary approval as a gesture of invalidating the entire process. What a mess!

By allowing the President to nominate the nine members instead of parliament electing them, South Sudan was in flagrant violation of Article 50 of the EAC Treaty. This is not to mention the fact that the presidential appointments breached the principle of gender parity as envisaged in the Treaty and Eala’s standing regulations.

At least four of each country’s Eala members are supposed to be women, but President Kiir nominated only two. How could the President’s advisors have overlooked such an important requirement? After bungling of epic proportions on the part of the Head of State, how on earth did the South Sudanese parliament go ahead and rubber-stamp the decision? Is the legislature in Juba performing its oversight role properly?

Furthermore, the appointments were at variance with several other principles. According to the EAC Treaty, Eala members must be broadly representative of the various political and social interests of partner states, including the opposition, women, people living with HIV/Aids and people with disability.

In contrast, the list submitted by President Kiir was composed mainly of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) apparatchiks and war veterans. There was hardly any member from the civil society or the private sector in the delegation.

It thus came as no surprise when the speaker of the South Sudanese parliament, Mr Antony Lino Makama, granted permission for the revocation of President Kiir’s appointments. Instead, a six-member committee has been constituted to educate South Sudanese lawmakers on Eala election rules and regulations, something that should have been done right from the outset.

If Juba prefers perfection, I recommend Tanzania’s Centre for Foreign Relations for civic literacy on Eala election rules as well as the workings of the EAC in general.

There were problems in Kenya too. The country had until very recently been unable to elect its nine members to the regional assembly, thanks to political infighting and back-and-forth scuffling between the ruling Jubilee and opposition Nasa coalitions. The nomination of the son of Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, a key figure in the opposition, led to allegations of nepotism. On the other hand, Jubilee presented a list of 15 candidates for the coalition’s five seats. In another development, the opposition looked poised to present only four candidates for the four positions they are required to fill.

It did not help matters when the speaker of Kenya’s parliament, Mr Justin Muturi, issued a misleading clarification that there was no problem with sitting MPs vying for Eala seats without having to vacate their parliamentary seats.

This is a clear violation of the EAC Treaty. Unfortunately, Mr Muturi’s misleading advice inspired Mandera North MP Mohammed Noor to seek election to Eala, contrary to Article 50 (1).

This led to queries as to whether there was democracy in the process of electing Eala members in Kenya and elsewhere.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WORLD VIEW : There are alternatives to war; let’s think



Jonathan Power  jonatpower@aol.com

Jonathan Power  jonatpower@aol.com 

By Jonathan Power jonatpower@aol.com

Frederick the Great of Prussia was a friend of Voltaire and enjoyed ribald evenings with the philosopher discussing the intricacies of life’s dos and don’ts. Before becoming king he was persuaded by Voltaire to become a pacifist.

But on ascending to the throne he became the most ferocious and successful of Europe’s warrior leaders. He said of himself that he was “doomed to make war just as an ox must plow, a nightingale sing and a dolphin swim in the sea.”

So far the twenty first century has been far more peaceful than the twentieth. No world war and none are there likely to be, even though the great powers might have the occasional confrontation. Some say we are overwhelmed by small wars, understandably so since the media, especially the fickle eye of television, picks up on every altercation.

As Francis Bacon wrote, there has never been, nor will there ever be, a shortage of “seditions and troubles”. But in fact this century there have been no interstate wars and civil wars are down in number, way below their Cold War total when the big powers stoked their fires.

Perhaps war is sometimes necessary and just. Most people will say that of the American civil war when President Abraham Lincoln led the northern states of the USA against the slave-holding South and of the Second World War when Hitler, the most evil man on earth, apart from Mao Zedong, killed millions and attempted to exterminate the Jews, homosexuals and gypsies.

But a closer look at history can raise a question mark there. Yes, slavery would have continued without the north’s victory. But most slaves simply became serfs. The vote and other advances that Lincoln gave them were whittled away by southern legislatures and courts. Not until Martin Luther King arrived on the scene was true freedom realised in the 1960s and the US, for the first time in its history, could claim to be a democracy. Lincoln didn’t do half as much for black people as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

As for the Second World War was it necessary? Hitler never wanted to fight Britain or Poland. He wanted the Polish-occupied port of German-speaking Danzig. He also wanted a free route to East Prussia through the Polish “corridor”. It would have been politically cheaper for Britain if it had pushed Poland to make that concession than to go to war, which Britain decided to do after Hitler, frustrated over his modest demand not being met, invaded Poland. Before World War 2 there were times when Hitler thought Germany would fight the Soviet Union one day, but not Britain or Poland.

Most people abhor war but there has always been a minority who like it. In Europe in the nineteenth century it was regarded as a right of passage for upper class young men to go out and captain wars and to duel.

The well-regarded English poet Siegfried Sasoon described the opening days of the murderous Battle of the Somme as “great fun”. “The act of slowly walking forward, showing ourselves openly” resulted in “extraordinary exultation”. The great American novelist Ernest Hemingway, who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War, wrote that he revelled in the “dry-mouthed, fear-purging ecstasy”. On the eve of World War 1 Winston Churchill told his wife how much the gathering storm excited him. According to the Israeli academic Martin Van Creveld, in his seminal book More On War, “Many warriors of all ages have compared killing with having sex”.

There are always alternatives to war if we think ahead and are prepared in some cases to spend time, money and political capital on pre-emptive action as we are on war. A good example is the way the US has helped North Korea. It has built half of a peaceful nuclear reactor. For a time North Korea was America’s biggest aid receiver in East Asia. In return North Korea was prepared to suspend its nuclear bomb research. Why has this not worked? It is because every time the Republicans in Congress have sabotaged the political deals that were meant to compliment the aid-giving.

Failure in diplomacy means the “hounds of hell are unleashed”. In the last century hundreds of millions died unnecessarily and if President Donald Trump misplays his hand with North Korea millions more may soon die. Western countries throughout their long history have fought more wars and killed more people than the world’s other nations.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Close Vodacom IPO to end markert anxiety

 

By TheCitizen

For the second time this week, Vodacom Tanzania Ltd delayed the announcement of results of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) through a listing at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE).

It was the second time that the telecommunications firm was skipping a planned release of the sale of its shares to the public in what is seen as a historic fit for the country.

According to the telecoms firm, the prolonged delay after the sale ended on May 11 is due to awaited approval of the final register by Capital Markets and Securities Authority.

The authority’s approval is important and is a legal requirement. However, there is more than meets the eye in this delay. The fact is that the capital market authority is on record too saying it was only waiting for the green light from Vodacom to give the nod for the shares listing.

Therefore, we believe the announcement of the results has everything to do with the results itself. While the sale of shares worth Sh476 billion is the largest in the history of the bourse, it undeniable that the listing happened at a challenging time when the country’s financial market faced a liquidity crunch.

Matters were not helped by the legal restriction placed on members of the East Africa Community and other foreigners from participating in the purchase of the shares.

For those who bought shares, the wait is now leading to anxiety as it is not known when Vodacom will finally list for business.

Many short term investors would wish the matter closed as soon as possible. The market too, is growing restless as the listing of Vodacom is expected to reinvigorate trading at the DSE.

With more than a dozen other firms lining up for respective IPOs, any more delays if the Vodacom listing won’t send out positive signals to potential investors.

UPHOLD STANDARD KISWAHILI

We are not party to those who questioned the significance of launch at the National Assembly the landmark comprehensive Kiswahili wordbook, titled ‘Kamusi Kuu ya Kiswahili’ on Monday. Besides musicians, politicians are arguably the most visible and widely heard people in anywhere, which means, their speech performance can be widely infectious.

By launching the important 45,000 word dictionary at the august House, we believe, the message has sunk into the minds of our politicians, that we all count on them to spearhead the development of good Kiswahili.

As Premier Kassim Majaliwa said during the launch, the government acknowledges the importance of Kiswahili as a unifying factor of our people; it is a national gem that we all should protect and promote.”

Well said, Mr PM. Members of media, especially those on radio and TV, he said, should mind their language lest they mislead their large audiences who consider them linguistic role models. Members in print press, we add, bear the same responsibility too.

And now, our politicians. Being leaders in a country considered the cradle one of the world’s 10 most spoken languages, MPs must always strive not to dilute Kiswahili by mixing it with an English word here, and English there, during their contributions. They owe it to the world to be at the forefront of promoting standard Kiswahili.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

OPINION: It’s time Africa acted over its wealth

 

By Kasera Nick Oyoo

That Africa needs to redress the huge gulf between its wealth and its poverty is a foregone conclusion.

Statistics of outflows from Africa against inflows in everything from aid, foreign direct investment to remittances will boggle the mind.

But you already know that.

What Africa needs to do about it is another matter altogether. President John Magufuli seems to agree with the view that there is outright robbery which must come to an end.

Others, and especially so if they are beneficiaries, feel foreign investment shall be destabilised if radical adjustments are made.

There needs to be common ground because radical approaches will do more harm than good. However, we must begin by establishing some hard truths as to where the rain began to beat Africa.

Not so much as to the timing, although that too is of significance, but to the complicity of a combination of factors that have enabled Africa’s wealth to continue to make Western capitals glitter in diamonds, gold and silver while Africans remain basket cases worth of pity.

Back in the old continent, we are our worst enemy. Africans are hopelessly divided on the basis of nations and our friends in the richer world exploit these divisions to the maximum to the detriment of Africa.

Take the on and off case of common external tariff in the East African Community (EAC). We have everything in common that includes natural resources. Many of the people in this region share common ancestry, traditions and languages. Unfortunately, our politics, which drives decision making, are also shared in their naivety. None of which convinces us that tourists visit our regions not because of our common borders, but to enjoy flora and fauna that do not share such a myopic view of national borders.

Year after year in schools and colleges, our curriculum still takes the view that each of our nations is self-sufficient and that its worst enemy is the sister nation next door. We continue to exhort the war across the River Kagera to remove Iddi Amin as if it was a war between Tanzania and Uganda. It wasn’t.

Recently no debate has dominated headlines more than the ban on mineral concentrates and its ramifications.

Last week, at the Annual Mwalimu Nyerere convention at the University of Dar es Salaam, Professors Bathily of Senegal and Lumumba of Kenya spoke very passionately about African unity.

This war that Dr Magufuli has started has been waiting for someone to start it. It needs one to be bold, daring and willing to face the consequences for consequences shall be there.

But in the bigger context, the two professors are right that for this war to be won the approach must be Afrocentric. That means this is really not about Acacia versus the government of Tanzania. Our friends, if you notice showed up with the Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania. It tells you this matter goes beyond Acacia. It’s an economic war.

There is a chance now for us to engage as a region and get the best of us to prepare in advance for negotiations. There will be conditions ahead of negotiations. This is a hurdle we must be prepared for.

International diplomatic stakes are in high gear. Lobbying is going on out there; we cannot afford to wait to get EAC, South African Development Community and African Union on our side.

Individual countries too, for after all, the same North Mara Gold Mine belt stretches into Macalder Mines in Kenya and Acacia have an interest there as well.

We should remain firm and focused, unleash the best for this country and the continent to have a win-win deal. That will depend on how well we are prepared to face this onerous task.     

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DEAL WITH THESE FRAUDSTERS

 

The main story in yesterday’s edition of The Citizen under the headline ‘Fake gold syndicate busted during city drugs operation’ sounds stranger than fiction. Why? It is hard to comprehend the audacity of some of our compatriots who see nothing in enriching themselves through outright cheating!

It is revealed that numerous syndicates in Dar es Salaam, exploiting the fact that Tanzania is renowned for its gold, have over the years been making money from foreigners who come to this country for the precious metal.

It is noteworthy that the fake gold “manufacturers” and their contraband were seized by officers from the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority by chance, for the narcotics team was actually pursuing illicit drugs processors following a tip-off.

We believe gemstone and precious metal conmen become hard to nail, prosecute and convict because their victims, for their part, are not that much clean either. Trying to acquire gold from people you meet in street corners cannot be the correct way of acquiring the merchandise. Or could it be that some foreigners naively believe ours is a “land of gold” where one can purchase the precious metal from just about anybody, anywhere?

We believe our undercover police operatives and members of the intelligence, if they take the matter seriously enough, can identify the conmen, expose them and ensure they are jailed.     

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

OPINION AND ANALYSIS: Child ‘marriage’ is not marriage at all; it is child labour

 

By RUTH MESSINGER AND SETH EARN

Countless underage girls around the world are being forced to work long, punishing hours. They’re cooking, cleaning, and caring for young children. They’re being denied education, access to future employment, and agency over their own bodies and lives. Every day, older men are raping these children, enslaving them, and violating their fundamental human rights.

The plight of these girls is known. They are trapped in illegal child “marriages”. Yet they and their work are being ignored – cast aside by the very organisation that has the political clout and powerful reach required to help them.

We’re talking about the International Labour Organisation. As a UN agency that operates the world’s largest global programme to end child labour, the ILO is uniquely positioned to attack the problem by marshalling the resources of not just member governments, but also the private sector and unions.

According to the ILO’s statistics, there are 168 million child labourersworldwide. The number of girls and boys engaged in child labour under the age of 11 is fairly equal. But by their mid-teens, about four times as many boys as girls are trapped in child labour.

Sounds like relatively good news for the girls of the world, right? Wrong.

These girls haven’t escaped child labour. They haven’t returned to their families and enrolled in school. They aren’t free. They’re still captive and they’re still working, but they’ve become invisible – erased from the ILO’s statistics because they’ve become underage, illegal “wives”.

Why does the ILO leave these girls out of its tallies, and the associated funding, programming, and support? Aids-Free World pressed the ILO for an answer.

“Child marriage may not be interpreted as constituting a worst form of child labour for girls, given definitional primacies,” the ILO said in a letter to Aids-Free World. In essence, the ILO claims that the labour performed by girls in illegal child “marriages” does not qualify as “work”.

“Prostitution and pornography are considered among [the worst forms of child labour] as there is a work-related aspect,” the ILO wrote. “On the other hand, incest and early child marriage, although encompassing forms of sexual exploitation, do not constitute [worst forms of child labour].”

The ILO also makes this distinction: chores performed by a child in a third-party household, whether paid or unpaid, qualify as work; household chores performed in one’s own household do not. The agency says illegal child “wives” are doing household chores in their own homes.

But to treat the home of her “spouse” as the child’s own home is indefensible. She can’t consent to the illegal “marriage” or the nature of her living arrangement. Calling the household her legal home is akin to calling a kidnapper’s household his victim’s valid home.

Look at other criteria the ILO uses for child labour — as well as hazardous work and the worst forms of child labour – and you’ll see it matches up with the conditions of child “marriage”. Does the work done by the child in the “marriage” interfere with her schooling? Yes. Does it unreasonably confine the child to the premises of her employer? Yes. Could the work result in the child’s injury, illness, or death? Yes. Does the work expose the child to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse? Yes, yes, and yes.

Yet every year, millions of girls are excluded from the ILO tallies because the men who robbed them of their childhoods – and put them to work – first married them.

These girls are used as round-the-clock domestic servants, habitually raped, and deprived of their childhoods, their potential, and their dignity. They face serious dangers, including an increased likelihood of contracting HIV because they don’t have access to contraception or they fear asking their older, more sexually experienced “husbands” to use it. These girls face an elevated risk of early childbirth that can lead to death. Men are breaking the law, and the United Nations is breaking its promise to fight all forms of discrimination against women and girls.

Child “marriage” is not merely a harmful tradition, nor a ritual that simply happens too early. It is not a condition, like abject poverty. It is a violation, a crime perpetrated by a man against a child. It is a complete violation of a girl’s human rights. And it is child labour in its worst form. To turn a blind eye is to endorse the practice.

The UN has called for ending all forms of child labour by 2025. But that’s not possible unless all child labourers are counted. The statistics matter; they indicate who needs help and who should and will get it. And the ILO is enormously powerful. Bringing together member states, trade unions, and the private sector to work on the issue of child “marriage” would provide an entirely new perspective from which to combat this scourge. So now, as we observe the World Day Against Child Labour, it’s time for the ILO to include illegal child “wives” in its data — and to use the agency’s considerable power to find funding, offer support, hold perpetrators accountable, and ensure the labour of millions of girls is no longer ignored.

Ruth Messinger is special advisor for Aids-Free World and Seth Earn is legal advisor for global advocacy at Aids-Free World     

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

MARKET DATA REVIEW: Wealth and income redistribution via share ownership

Vodacom managing director Ian Ferrao speaks at

Vodacom managing director Ian Ferrao speaks at a past event. The company has issued an initial public offer-ing in line with the Electronic and Postal Communications Act to redistribute wealth. PHOTO | FILE 

By Moremi Marwa

This article is neither meant to advocate for a welfare society nor does it argue for a free market competitive society where winner-takes-all. The article doesn’t either provide a panacea to address socioeconomic inequalities or take a position in the right-left wing political economy policy proposals. What is it then? Read on:

There are different types of economic systems that feature varying degrees of interventionism aimed at redistribution of income and wealth, depending on how unequal the society is and how does it feel about such inequality. Free market capitalist economies for example tend to feature high degrees of income redistribution while centrally planned economies feature very little income redistribution mainly because private capital, land income, wage rates and enterprise profits – the major drivers of income inequality in capitalist systems – are virtually nonexistence in such economies.

Undesirable as it may sound for the right-leaning conservative, today, wealth or income redistribution occurs in some form in most democratic countries through economic policies, some distributive policies attempt to take wealth, income and other resources from the wealthy and share them with the poor, or taking resources from the relatively unorganised sections of the society to the more organised – these redistributive policies and actions are normally pursued either in the form of political influence or for the purpose of poverty eradication and/or economic empowerment among many.

Fiscal policies are the most common used tools of wealth and income redistribution – for instance under the progressive income tax system, different persons pay different rates of taxes for different income – in the process the rich are required to pay taxes at higher rates, then within such system some of the tax revenue goes to finance social programs such as social welfare, decent housing, health services, education, water and sanitation, etc or other social programmes that benefits the poor.

The other most common form of wealth and income redistribution is via subsidies – this tool enables redistribution of national income and wealth through subsidizing consumptions on things that improve the future earnings power of citizens, such as education, good health, etc. However, such subsidies are somehow funded by way of fiscal policy actions i.e. through general taxation, fundamentally these subsidies are meant to benefits the poor.

The other admittedly uncommon but a sustainable wealth redistributive mechanism (and which is the focus of this piece) is by way of assets ownership, especially financial assets such as shares or stocks or bonds as well as non-financial assets such as property. Ownership of financial assets as a tool of wealth redistribution in the society, can be achieved by way of pursuing policies that encourages wider share ownership of entities operating within the economy so that the GDP growth or the increase in value of financial assets and their profits would go back to the citizens, or specific special interest groups within the society such as employees or consumers of goods and services of specific companies. This can take a direct form of investment by individuals or via savings in mutual funds, or collective investment schemes or statutory pensions schemes where investments can be made in commercial and industrial assets.

Therefore, in our case, privatisation policies that encourage flotation of shares of state-owned entities to a wider population, or legislative actions such as Electronic and Postal Communications Act (Epoca) and Mining Act that have specific provisions for flotation of shares to the public and list those shares into the stock exchange are targeted measures towards, among other core objectives, wealth redistribution and income enhancement for the solidarity of the society that is pursuing a feeling that the society is made by one people sharing a common destiny – i.e. prosperity for many.

Floatation of shares by way of privatisation or other such policy and legislative actions enable redistribution of part of the surpluses that the government and corporates operating in specific targeted strategic sectors have accumulated over the years of their growth to the people so as to enable the people hold shares in key sectors or companies operating in the country and therefore have tangible stake in the country’s economic growth and other successes. Opposite of this, distribution of financial assets within the economy remains highly skewed towards the few, and in such situations, even if there are increases in financial assets as part of the overall economic growth, such increase as normally reflected in the stock market – doesn’t benefit many, in the process jeopardising the intended social and economic justice.

In whatever form or design (either by way of progressive tax systems, or subsidies on welfare and spending, or an opportunity for assets ownership), the fundamental objective of wealth and income redistribution are to increase economic stability, social justice and opportunity for the less wealthy members of society and thus usually include the funding of public services. After all, it is only fair that a society should pursue policies that enables the creation of a larger middle class. A fair society is the one organised in a manner that also benefits the least advantaged, and where any inequality would be permissible only to the extent that it benefits the least advantaged -- a good society have the moral obligation to help the poor among them.

Using statistics from 23 developed countries and the 50 states of the US, British researchers Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett show a correlation between income inequality and higher rates of social problems and social goods (i.e. mental illness, teenage births, low life expectancy, educational performance, women’s status, social mobility, etc). The authors argue that inequality leads to social ills through psychological stress, and the status anxiety that it creates. Furthermore, a 2011 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found a strong association between lower levels of inequality and sustained periods of economic growth. These kinds of arguments can be accepted or rejected – depends on the political and social economic policy option that one stands for (right vs. left wing). I would choose to stand for what-makes-sense platform.

In this kind of arguments there are some for justifies the opposite by saying, but poor people would not hold into the financial assets that are afforded an opportunity to own, i.e. ownership in companies that float shares as part of implementing privatisation policies or some specific legislative actions -- the response to that is: with clear and beneficial intents, there can be many ways and means to discourage the immediate sale of financial assets (shares) for speculative cash gains. But I will also add, after all, economic empowerment doesn’t end with assets ownership, the intent should accommodate situations where selling of some assets (shares) for spending on socioeconomic needs is a necessary hindrance.     



****** Mr Marwa is the CEO of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange Plc. Email: moremi@dse.co.tz ******

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