22 January 2013

Tanzania: Zanzibar House of Reps

Power cuts disrupt House business

PROCEEDINGS in the Zanzibar House of Representatives were on Monday disrupted due to repeated power cuts in the debate chamber. "We have to adjourn our business prematurely because of power disruptions," said House Speaker, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho.

It was during the question and answer session when electricity started going off and on, causing inconveniences to the public address system, prompting the speaker to postpone the session before 11 am.

Before the session was adjourned, however, representatives were informed that the government distanced itself from conducting civic education prior to people giving their views on the new constitution to avoid bias. "Both governments opted not to get involved directly in the process to avoid influencing public views.

The government could not have avoided influencing some individuals if it had provided civic education," said Mr Abubakar Khamis Bakar, the Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

He was responding to questions from Representatives, Mr Hamza Hassan Juma (CCM-Kwamtipura) and Mr Hija Hassan Hija (CUF-Kiwani), who asked why the government did not prepare people by conducting civic education before the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) started to collect views.

The legislators also raised concern over delays in case hearing particularly cases of women and children abuse and murder, while courts have been swift in hearing trivial cases such as theft of farm produce like coconut. In response to case delays, Mr Abubakar blamed people for being reluctant when asked to be witnesses in cases of rape and murder.

Census was marred with challenges

POPULATION records from community leaders were useful when section of people decided to boycott last year's National Population and Housing Census, Minister of State (Finance, Development Planning and Economy), Mr Omar Yussuf Mzee has said.

In some parts of Zanzibar statisticians managed to compile population data by relying on records obtained from community leaders in areas where the boycott was high. He informed the house that the exercise was successful despite a considerable number of households mainly in North A district in Unguja and Wete district in Pemba shunning to be counted and provide information.

"Following the boycott, enumerators had to work closely with community leaders to get the number of people in each house. Each Sheha is supposed to know the number of people in his ward," Mzee said.

He said that although boycotting of the census is contrary to statistics law of 2007, no one had been arrested or roughed up by security organs. "Unfortunately, some of the enumerators were attacked, vehicles damaged and properties destroyed by boycotters," he said.

The minister's statements were in response to Mr Hija Hassan Hija (CUF-Kiwani), who asked why security officers beat up people and if Zanzibar was fully involved in preparation for the census and if boycotting census was an offence. Omar replied by saying that Zanzibar was fully involved in planning and carrying out the census and that the Union government was responsible for the costs of the exercise which ended on August 26, last year.

Petty traders asked to stay off sidewalks

THE minister responsible for municipal development, Dr Mwinyihaji Makame Mwadini, has said that the government is irked by some traders who display their commodities on streets causing inconveniences for pedestrians and drivers.

"We avoid applying force to keep the petty traders away from roads, but we ask leaders including legislators to educate people about keeping streets clear from goods," Mr Makame said when answering questions from Mr Ussi Jecha Simai (CCM-Chaani).

Mr Simai, Ms Shadya Mohammed and other lawmakers wanted to know the government's plans in developing main markets such as Kinyasini in the north, Darajani and Mwanakwerekwe and government strategies to keep the markets clean and streets clear.

"We are determined to improve our markets including having enough toilets. Let us discourage traders who invade roadsides to put up their business. We should also encourage proper disposal of garbage," the minister said.

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