Zanzibar — Call to improve disaster management
THE Zanzibar government said here on Friday that the disaster management and rescue department has been under-performing due to unskilled labour and lack of equipment.
"We still have a problem in disaster management including rescue operations. We need to improve, but we are hampered by lack of funds," said Mr Mohammed Aboud Mohammed, State Minister while responding to questions from legislators.
Referring to last year's marine accident, lawmakers: Mr Jaku Hashim Ayoub (CCMMuyuni), Makame Mshimba Mbarouk, Mr Mr Ismail Jussa Ladu (CUF-Mjimkongwe) and Mr Ussi Jecha Simai (CCM - Chaani) said the government needs to improve the department.
Simai also asked why rescuers during the last July boat accident had not been paid for their work and Mohammed replied, "most of the men who turned up to help just volunteered. We paid them between 10,000/- and 20,000/- because it was voluntary."
Uproar over dressing rocks House
SOME members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives were uncomfortable on Friday seeing their colleague, Mr Abdi Mossi Kombo (CCMMatemwe), dressed in a green suit. Mr Saleh Nassor Juma (CUF-Wawi) was the first to complain by quoting a section of the House regulations, arguing that such dressing (green suit) was contrary to the acceptable dress code.
Mr Salima Abdallah Hamad (CUF-Mtambwe) also tried to seek clarification from the deputy speaker over the issue. But as the Deputy Speaker, Mr Abdalla Ali reacted by playing down the dispute over the dress, the Zanzibar Minister for Finance, Mr Omar Yussuf Mzee pointed out that the House regulations do not prohibit certain colours.
"Please, deputy speaker, ignore the argument because the dress code is clear. Most of the clothes have colours of our political parties, we should avoid such issues in the House," Mzee said, sparking an uproar and laughter from both members of CCM and CUF.
Ambulances on Isles face fuel shortage
SOME legislators called for investigations into the theft of fuel meant for ambulances, following a confirmation by the ministry of health of adequate allocations.
"In most cases, drivers fail to go and pick up patients because of lack of fuel at Vitongoji Cottage Hospital in Pemba. But, the ministry says it provides enough fuel, this indicates theft or some sort of corruption going on," legislators said.
Mr Makame Mshimba Mbarouk (CCM-Kitope), Mr Saleh Nassor Juma (CUF-Wawi) and Mr Hija Hassan Hija (CUFKiwani), asked why the ministry is not providing enough fuel for ambulances. Hija also said that there were reports that one of the donors in Zanzibar has threatened to stop supplying fuel because of increased allegations of theft.
In response to the complaints, the deputy minister for health, Dr Sira Ubwa Mamboya, said her ministry was providing enough fuel to Vitongoji Cottage Hospital, "But I cannot rule out corruption. However, I appeal to legislators to help buy fuel for ambulances in your respective constituencies."
Power tariff hikes irk law makers AS legislators complain over the rise of electricity tariffs, the government says the increase is unavoidable due to increasing running costs. Mr Suleiman Hemed Khamis (CUF-Konde) said the tariff increase was a burden to people particularly the poor, urging the government to make a review.
Ms Asha Bakar Makame (CCM-Women) and Mr Ismail Jussa Ladu (CUF-Mjimkongwe) also raised concern over dubious circumstances surrounding payment of electricity bills and change of meters. In response to the questions, the deputy minister for energy, Mr Haji Makame Mwadini, said "the government loves its people, but currently the only option is to increase prices to meet rising costs of operation and paying for power from mainland."
Cloves farming declines in Zanzibar
Despite government's efforts to revive cloves farming, through offering good buying prices, some members of the House are worried that the number of clove trees has been decreasing at an alarming rate.
Mr Suleiman Hemed Khamis (CUF-Konde) said that the rate of clove trees decrease in some parts of Pemba was worrying, asking the government to come-up with strategies to improve cloves farming. In her reply to the concerns, the deputy minister responsible for cloves business, Ms Thuwaiba Kissassi said the government has set-up workable plans aimed at reviving cloves.