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Tanzania law enforcers seize 36 kg gemstones on Kenya border

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian law enforcers have seized 36 kilograms of gemstones, including Tanzanite, at a border entry town with Kenya, an official said on Thursday.

Frank Mwaisumbe, Longido District Commissioner in Arusha region, said the gemstones were being smuggled out of the country through neighboring Kenya.

Mwaisumbe said the value of the gemstones were yet to be established by officers.

He said the gemstones were seized by a special team of law enforcers who received a tip off on an attempt to smuggle the gemstones using a bus plying between Tanzania’s safari capital Arusha and Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Mwaisumbe said another type of the seized gemstones was ruby, adding that the gems were found mixed with a consignment of rice.

"After receiving information on the attempt to smuggle the gemstones out of the country, we dispatched policemen and security officers who used sniffer dogs to locate where the gemstones were hidden in the bus," said the district official.

He said both the bus driver and conductor were being held by police for questioning after claiming that they have had no idea of the owner of the consignment.

Arusha regional minerals officers said they expected to establish the actual commercial value of the seized consignment later in the day.


Tanzania to double coverage of irrigated farming by 2025: PM

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Friday told parliament that plans by the government were underway to double coverage of irrigated farming from the current 475,056 hectares to 1 million hectares by 2025.

Majaliwa said the expansion is aimed at lessening dependence on rains that were erratic because of climate cliamte, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Adjourning a three-month marathon parliamentary budget session in the capital, Dodoma, Majaliwa directed the Ministry of Agriculture to oversee 22 irrigation projects being implemented across the country and new ones to be put in place in the 2019/2020 financial year, the statement said.

Majaliwa said other measures undertaken included the overhauling of the Tanzania Commission for Irrigation to enable it to diligently oversee irrigation projects.

In May, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Omary Mgumba told parliament that plans were afoot to inspect all constructed irrigation projects in the nation.

"The inspection of irrigation projects constructed across the country is aimed at assessing their standard and whether funds released by the government for their construction were spent accordingly," Mgumba said.

He made the statement one day after Majaliwa suspended seven directors of irrigation from the Tanzania Commission for Irrigation for negligence, following reports of corruption, office abuse and embezzlement of public funds.

Tanzania government official denies banning genetically modified crop trials

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has not banned trials on genetically modified (GM) crops but has warned against unauthorized publication of results on genetically modified organism (GMO) trials, a government official said on Friday.

Fred Tairo, a principal agricultural research officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, denied reports that the government intends to destroy genetically modified crops.

"What the government has done is to stop releasing results of GMO trials without following proper procedures," he told a one-day conference on the political economy of GM crops in Tanzania, held in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Tairo said two government institutions are conducting trials, one on GM cassava and the other on GM maize.

The government has not yet authorized commercialization, he said.

Tairo assured attendents at the conference that the government has put in place measures aimed at protecting the environment during the GMO trials, including bio-safety guidelines.


Kenyan president sending message to Tanzanian
counterpart over xenophobic remarks by politician

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday wrote to his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli, expressing his disappointment over recent xenophobic remarks by the country’s politician.

Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa received the message on behalf of President Magufuli who is on a short vacation in his native village of Chato in the country’s northwest region of Geita.

Last week, Charles Njagua Kanyi, a Kenyan Member of Parliament, made xenophobic utterances against foreigners, including Tanzanians, operating businesses in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Speaking shortly after he had received the message, Majaliwa said Tanzanians were pleased by various measures taken by the Kenyan government following the Kenyan politician’s racist remarks.

Majaliwa said in a statement issued by his office in the business capital Dar es Salaam that Tanzanians and Kenyans have been friends since time immemorial and when conflicts arose between them the two governments resolved them amicably.

The premier appealed to leaders and peoples from the East African Community (EAC) partner states of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan to avoid making statements that were likely to ignite misunderstandings amongst them.

"Trade and business in the EAC partner states will be undertaken smoothly if there was peace and tranquility in the region," Majaliwa said in the statement.

Following the xenophobic remarks, Tanzanian authorities summoned Kenyan ambassador to Tanzania Kazungu to explain the MP’s remarks in which he threatened to attack foreign traders operating in the capital Nairobi.

In a clip that went viral on social media, Njagua was seen talking about traders from Tanzania, Uganda, Pakistan and China, accusing them of dominating markets in Nairobi and harassing local traders.

After the comments went viral, Speaker of Tanzanian Parliament Job Ndugai ordered his government to issue a statement on the safety of Tanzanians living and working in Kenya.

The politician was arrested by Kenyan police and he was taken in custody for questioning.

Last week, the East African Business Council (EABC) based in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha condemned the xenophobic comments made by the Kenyan politician.

Peter Mathuki, the EABC Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement that the xenophobic comments were unfortunate and unwarranted as they negated the spirit and gains of the East African Community (EAC) regional integration.

Kenyan lawmaker arrested over incitement against foreign workers

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police on Wednesday arrested a lawmaker over inciteful remarks against foreign traders in the capital, Nairobi.

Charles Kanyi was picked up by the police outside Parliament buildings and driven off to criminal investigations department (CID) for grilling ahead of possible arraignment.

Kanyi’s arrest follows remarks he made while visiting traders in Nairobi where he condemned foreign traders from running businesses in Nairobi.

He was captured in a video that has since gone viral, telling foreigners engaged in business in his constituency to shut down and vacate the country failure to which they will be forcefully evicted.

"If you assess our markets, Ugandans and Tanzanians have taken over our businesses...

"Now we are saying enough is enough.

"If a 24-hour ultimatum is not enough for them to be deported, we will remove them and we’ll beat them up and we will not fear anyone," the lawmaker said.

The remarks caused a diplomatic spat with Tanzania which on Tuesday summoned Kenyan ambassador to Dar es Salaam to explain ‘xenophobic’ remarks made by the legislator threatening to have their traders kicked out of city markets.

Kenya’s foreign ministry however reassured foreign investors in the country of their security and that of their properties.

"This aggressive and ill-tempered language goes against the letter and spirit of Kenya’s welcoming ethos, as well as the progressive nature of the Constitution of our Republic," said the ministry.

"We wish to take this opportunity to reassure all foreign nationals living and working in Kenya of their personal safety and also offer a firm guarantee of the security of their investments in Kenya," the ministry added.

It said Kenya in turn expects that all her neighbors and the international community at large will continue to welcome Kenyans around the world, where their valuable contributions and entrepreneurial spirit continues to be a source of pride for all Kenyans.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna also denounced the lawmaker’s remarks adding that "mitigating measures have since been instituted against them".

"We wish to state that this is not the position of the Government of the Republic of Kenya, and we denounce the comments carried in the video in the strongest terms possible," Oguna said.

"Such comments are unfortunate and have no place in today’s globalized environment. Kenyans are peace-loving people who have over the years coexisted with others of different nationalities," he added.

The legislator had issued Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i with a 24-hour ultimatum to deport all foreigners carrying out businesses in Gikomba, an open air market in Nairobi.

Nairobi’s Starehe Constituency, which Kanyi represents in the National Assembly, includes the expansive Gikomba market popular in Kenya for second-hand clothes and construction materials.


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