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Tanzanian president directs army to
build wall to curb tanzanite smuggling

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Wednesday directed the country’s army to build a perimeter wall around tanzanite mine site in northern part of the east African nation to control theft and smuggling of the precious gemstones.

The Tanzanian leader made the directive when speaking at the inauguration of a 26km road linking the mine site and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

He directed the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) and the income generating arm of the national service (SUMA-JKT) to build a 13-square-kilometer fence surrounding tanzanite mining area in Mirerani area, Simanjiro District in Manyara Region.

“Construction work should start immediately, we have to protect our natural resources so that it benefit all Tanzanians,” said Magufuli.

The Tanzanian President also suggested the need for the wall to be installed with electrical wire and fixed with surveillance cameras on its four corners, and have single entrance gate. The move, according to him, will monitor all suspicious activities within the site’s block A and D, areas believed to house a huge amount of the minerals.

The president’s move is aimed at controlling all tanzanite minerals explored in the area, as for years Tanzania has been losing millions of foreign currencies due to smuggling.

“I suggest that the gate should be installed with a modern detector machine that can spotlight any hidden substance,” he said.

The mining site is jointly owned and managed by a private firm Sky Associates Limited and the State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), a wholly-owned government enterprise under the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, each commanding a 50-percent share in the gemstones’ exploration in the area.

President Magufuli also ordered a review of all Tanzanite mine contracts that would enable an increase in the government’s royalty hence speed up country’s socio-economic development.

According to President Magufuli, from now on all tanzanite sales would be conducted at the mining site (Mererani).

“I want to see buyers come directly here in Mererani to buy the gemstone...this will make the government have the record on the exported minerals,” he said.

Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania, in the Mererani Hills of the Manyara Region in the north of the country. Tanzanite is mined from a single source in an area that is 2-kilometer wide and 4-kilometer long and divided into 4 blocks (A, B, C, and D) near Mount Kilimanjaro.



Aerial wildlife census starts in Tanzania Selous-Mikumi ecosystem

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Field work for a new aerial wildlife dry season census in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem in Tanzania began on Wednesday, said a joint statement from organizers of the census.

The joint statement was made on Wednesday by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), the Tanzania National Parks, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dar es Salaam, the German KfW Development Bank, and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).

The statement said the census was led by TAWIRI and will be carried out in collaboration with the other afforementioned organizations.

The aerial census was being implemented as part of the Selous Ecosystem Conservation and Development Program, which was funded by the German government through KfW Development Bank, said the statement.

“The count targets large mammals and signs of illegal human activities in the area of the Selous Game Reserve, the Mikumi National Park, the Selous-Niassa corridor and the buffer zones,” said the statement, adding that the data will be used to inform management decisions.

“The Selous Game Reserve management team is pleased to host TAWIRI for the 2017 large mammal census and looks forward to the information it will provide to further guide protection within the game reserve,” said Henock Msocha, the Selous Project Manager for TAWA.

“We hope the 2017 Selous-Mikumi large mammal census will give clarity about the development of the elephant population in Selous,” said Kathryn Doody, project manager of the FZS.

“We sincerely hope the census will show that the elephant population has stabilized after the dramatic declines caused by poaching,” added Doody.

The 2013 and 2014 Selous aerial surveys had revealed a drastic decline of the Selous elephant population from about 45,000 in 2009 to approximately 15,000 animals in 2014.

The surge in poaching had been driven by soaring demand for ivory in southeast Asia. As a result, in 2014, the Selous Game Reserve was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

In order to take appropriate action on the ground to protect the ecosystem, it is essential that managers are equipped with accurate information about the large mammals’ population status, said the statement.

The government of Tanzania will report the wildlife census data to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee through its “state of conservation report” in February 2018, according to the statement.

It is therefore important that the data are accurately collected, analyzed and reported in time, said the statement.


Tanzanian government bans weekly tabloid over publication of seditious new

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania on Tuesday banned weekly tabloid Mwanahalisi for two years for publishing seditious news and failure to adhere to professionalism.

Hassan Abbas, Director General of Information Services and the Chief Government Spokesperson, said that the ban extended to the tabloid’s online publications.

In its Monday, September 18, 2017 publication, the tabloid carried a story with the headline, “Tumuombee nani, Magufuli au Tundu Lissu?” It literally means “Whom should we pray for Magufuli or Tundu Lissu?” and when they were given a chance to defend themselves, they had no strong arguments, Abbas told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Magufuli is the country’s president and Lissu is an opposition Member of Parliament who was recently wounded after he was shot by gunmen in Dodoma.

Abbas said the tabloid had on several occasions been publishing stories that were unethical, despite the fact that his office had tried to talk to the editors several times, but nothing was taken seriously.

In addition said Abbas, on January 30, this year, the weekly tabloid published a story with a Kiswahili headline: “Ufisadi ndani ya Ofisi ya JPM”, literally meaning Corruption within JPM office. JPM is a popular acronym for John Pombe Magufuli but the story was about Kibaha education institution.

The spokesperson said the ban was in accordance with section 12 of the new Information Services Act.

This was not the first time the government had attempted to ban Mwanahalisi. In 2012, the government also tried to shut down the tabloid, but the editors went to court and the ban was ruled illegal.

Another Mwanahalisi publication, Mawio, was banned earlier this year.

Reporters Without Borders, which monitors press freedom, ranked Tanzania 83rd out of 180 countries in their 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

“Abuses against journalists and media outlets - including suspensions and closures, threats, attacks, and arrests are frequent,” the group said in their overview of Tanzania.


Tanzania mulls building African liberation heritage center

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A Tanzanian official said Wednesday that Tanzania has been selected to house the center of African Liberation Heritage Programme that seeks to celebrate Africa’s recent past in which Africans achieved their freedom through struggle and sacrifice.

Tanzania and South Africa agreed the center should be located in the East African nation’s political capital Dodoma after bilateral talks between held there, Tanzanian Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, told a news conference.

Mwakyembe said the two countries appointed a special committee to explain the creation of the center to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in accordance with the African Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“The program will enable Tanzanians and Africans at large to preserve the liberation heritage and write their own history,” said the minister.

“Currently stories on the liberation struggle are still in people’s heads. We need them to tell us of what happened and put them in writing and other format such as videos and audio recordings for future generations to understand our past.”

He said his ministry has already conducted interviews with at least 100 liberation struggle veterans in efforts to preserve the history.

Mwakyembe said the education ministry has also started reviewing its curriculum to include a subject on the liberation struggle in schools.


Bodies of 14 Tanzanians killed in road accident in central Uganda sent home

KAMPALA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The bodies of 14 Tanzanian nationals killed in a Sunday night road accident in the central Uganda district of Mpigi were on Tuesday transported home, a government spokesperson said.

Col. Shaban Bantariza, Uganda’s deputy government spokesperson, said that Uganda and Tanzania police worked together for the repatriation of the bodies for burial.

The 14 died on spot and 17 others were injured after a Kampala bound lorry rammed into a Coaster bus at Katonga, along the Kampala-Masaka highway.

The incident happened as the deceased and injured were returning to Tanzania after attending a Saturday wedding ceremony of a relative in the capital, Kampala.

“This was a tragic incident...our two sister police agencies worked together for the transportation of their bodies back home,” said Bantariza.

The bodies were airlifted to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The police attributed the cause of the fatal road accident to careless and reckless driving.

Uganda registers at least 20,000 road accidents with over 2,000 deaths each year, making it one of the countries with the highest road accident fatality rates in the world, according to police figures.



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