25 January 2013

Tanzania: From the House of Representatives

Zanzibar — FARMERS in Pemba will soon benefit economically, after a US-based business group promised to buy farm products from them.

Famously known as Amero World Financial business Network, the business unit has promised to buy 10,000 metric tons of sugarcane from Pemba farmers effectively from next month. According to Mr Shawali Pilati who is the Project's coordinator, Zanzibar produces quality sugarcane. "We are going to buy sugarcane from Pemba for one year.

We also intend to help farmers produce the crop profitably, " Pilati informed the 'Daily News'. He said that the farmers are under the Gando Farmers' Association (GAFA), which will be responsible for collecting and transporting sugarcane from buying centres, before packing and shipping the produce to Mauritius.

GAFA, a private association, was incorporated in 2005 with 350 members. It has more than 3,000 active members. GAFA owns 15,000 acres of land that is used to produce vegetables, fruits, spices, aromatic herbs and sugarcane. "We expect to start buying the crop in February.

More than 200 farmers will benefit from this project. This project will definitely encourage farmers to grow sugarcane," GAFA chairman Mr Omar Mussa Othman said. The project includes trading, improving farmers' skills, and transporting the crop to the port ready for shipment.

He said the company will pay farmers 12,000/- for 60 kilogrammes of sugarcane. "We thank State Minister Dr Mwinyihaji Makame and Ms Asha Abdallah, Principal Secretary in the Ministry responsible for economic empowerment for their support", he added.

GAFA deals directly with farmers through the association in Wete, north Pemba Island. The project will soon be extended to Unguja Island.

Uamsho leaders ask court to review bail conditions

LEADERS of Uamsho group, including seven Muslim clerics who are accused of incitement and causing chaos in Zanzibar last year have asked the court to review their bail conditions. The defence counsels Salum Tawfiq and Abdallah Juma prayed to the presiding district magistrate, Ame Msaraka Pinja, to review the bail conditions.

They also complained that relatives of the accused were being barred by security forces to enter courtroom to follow court proceedings.

"We ask the court to review the bail conditions because the accused have failed to meet the demands and even the community leaders (Shehas) are refusing to give them letters of introduction", the advocates asked the Court as the magistrate set February 6 this year when he will respond to that application.

The accused have remained in jail after failing to meet bail conditions which include depositing one-million shillings each, and bring three sureties who are civil servants who should also deposit one million shillings each.

Bail conditions also call for the accused to submit their travelling documents or resident Identity cards (ZanID), and identification letter from their respective community leaders (Shehas) before the court allows them to grant them bail.

The accused are Msellem Ally Msellem, Farid Hadi Ahmed, Mussa Juma Issa, Azzan Khalid Hamad, Suleiman Juma Suleiman, Khamis Ali Suleiman, and Hassan Bakar Suleiman. All have also been charged in the Regional Court, where bail has been blocked indefinitely for national security reason.

Isles' State media journos promised better pay

JOURNALISTS working with Zanzibar State media are posed to enjoy better pay, if their employer will keep the promise of improving their well-being, and also provide them with modern working tools.

The acting Minister for Information, Mr Abdullahi Jihadi Hassan, promised major changes in the media sector before members of the House of Representatives approved Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) establishment Bill".

"The government will make sure that all problems facing journalists and other staffs in the state media are solved as soon as possible," said Jihadi.

Debating the Bill before endorsement, legislators complained of media's unprofessionalism, poor media management, and bad working conditions for reporters employed by state TV and Radio.

House of Reps reveals grand corruption at ZECO

HOUSE of Representatives' Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has revealed massive fraud and corruption at the state owned Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO).

The PAC chairperson, Mr Omar Ali Shehe, said that his committee discovered unaccounted for millions of money, deceits, and unclear statements concerning purchase of equipment, and power connections charges.

"It is very sad that the government has lost a lot of money due to dishonesty. We want explanation from the authorities, and disciplinary measures should be taken against all involved in this scam", said Shehe when he was presenting the Report's summary.

He said that there are doubts even in the untendered purchase of the 32 standby generators in 2009 when Zanzibar had power blackout for months.

Members of the house will discuss the report next Monday, as the PAC chairman emphasized that it was a thorough investigation and that government of National Unity (GNU) should act by holding the people accountable.

Call to arrest youths carrying guns in Zanzibar

THE Minister of State (Police Affairs), Mr Mohammed Aboud Mohamed, has promised to consult with the Commissioner of Police - Zanzibar, to find out claims that there are some youths in the Isles who possess guns.

The claims were made in the Zanzibar House of the representatives by Mr Saleh Nassor Juma (CUF-Wawi), that during the unrest in Bububu many youths were seen holding SMG guns and sometime firing in the air to scare people.

"We want to know about these unidentified youths who have been seen around carrying guns. The police have been reluctant to approach them," Juma said as the minister said that police are supposed to know and take action.

"I will talk to the commissioner of police to find out the claims because we want people to live in peace at all times. No one is above the law, even the police are not allowed to beat people," he added.

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