Mwananchi Communications Limited vehemently condemns the recent unjustified acts against street newspaper vendors in Dar es Salaam, which include being forcefully evicted from their workstations and their property confiscated by local security enforcers (rangers).
Newspaper vendors have spoken out against the mistreatment and our reporters have witnessed firsthand how heavy-handed the rangers can get when evicting and confiscating rightful property such as tables belonging to the newspaper retailers.
It is from such unfair incidents that we call upon district and regional authorities to address the matter in order to put an end to the barbarism that is fast rising.
The directive by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to regional commissioners to clean up city streets by relocating petty traders from the roadside to designated areas in efforts to decongest urban spaces should not be used as a pretext to carry out chaotic and forceful evictions.
Newspaper vendors by the mere nature of the service they offer, which is selling print publications that inform the nation on current affairs have been granted permission to continue with their business under specific circumstances, some of which include not carrying out any other business unrelated to selling newspapers.
What comes as an alarm is that even despite adhering to such rules, newspaper vendors are still subjected to constant harassment which not only threatens their livelihood but their safety is also put to the test. It is for this reason and others highlighted, that owners of newspaper companies under the Tanzania Editors Forum convened a meeting to discuss the welfare of newspaper vendors and how the current situation affects the circulation of print products, consequently limiting access to information.
MCL as publishers of three print products – The Citizen, Mwananchi and Mwanaspoti – feels strongly about this subject and we stand with our counterparts in the media fraternity to unequivocally condemn the mistreatment and unlawful actions being perpetrated against newspaper vendors.
FIGHT CHILD LABOUR SCOURGE
The liberation of thousands of minors from child labour across the country in recent years is both good and bad news. Good because child labour is vile, and thus it is heart-warming for young citizens of a country that has been independent for 60 years to be free from dehumanising occupations.
It is bad because it reminds us that despite being free for more than six decades, Tanzania can still be host to practices that render our claim of being part of the modern world meaningless. The agency dedicated to ending child labour deserves praise for rescuing the children, whose schooling had been interrupted, but are now back in the fold.
It also deserves praise for sensitising parents against forcing their children to engage in backbreaking work in order to supplement meagre family incomes.
Poverty is the root of the problem, and must thus be addressed critically. No parent in their right senses would subordinate education, which carries the potential for long-term economic and social benefits, to paltry wages earned under slave-like conditions for short-term gains.