THERE is an ongoing exercise code named Operation Kimbunga which is aimed at identifying and repatriating non-Tanzanians staying illegally in the country.
The Operation started in the regions of Kagera and Kigoma but has since spread to other parts of the country. Given that there are many people especially from neighbouring countries who are resident in Tanzania without the necessary legal status, there have been claims of mistreatment of these people in the ongoing operation.
Recently a Malawian Daily complained that Malawians living in Tanzania were living in fear of their lives and have been victims of violent attacks.
The Tanzanian government quickly refuted these claims and went further to say: "Legal action will be 'sort' against the publishers of the article but meanwhile reassured Malawians in the country to report any incidents to the authorities".
This is to be found in a front page story titled "Malawians turn up to legalise stay: To be issued with temporary permits" (Custodian 17 September).
The Government of Tanzania may want to sort out matters with the Malawian publishers of the alleged mistreatment story, in which case, legal action may be "sought" (and not 'sort') against them. Malawians are being encouraged to report "any incidents" to the authorities.
It was necessary to qualify the type of incidents that they are to report otherwise it is impractical for them to report "any incident." So a re-write would be along these lines: "Legal action will be 'sought' against the publishers of the article but meanwhile the Government reassured Malawians in the country to report any incidents of harassment to the authorities."
We can also point out that it is inadequate to say that Malawians will be issued with temporary permits. There could be so many types of temporary permits. In this case the permits being contemplated are resident permits. We urge the Government to be as careful and as humane as possible when dealing with illegal residents.
We should remember that there are thousands of Tanzanians living irregularly in neighbouring countries. These countries may too contemplate taking the action against Tanzanians living in their countries that we are taking against their people.
The Swahili saying: "Mkuki kwa nguruwe mtamu lakini kwa binadamu mchungu" is actually not true. Even the pig suffers. In other words let us adhere to the saying "Do unto others what you want them to do unto you".
***** We now turn to a humanitarian event that took place recently in a village near Dar es Salaam, reported in the Custodian (17 September, p. 4) under the title: "Kelege Villagers in Bagamoyo press for construction of Village Dispensary".
Here we go" "Residents of Kelege (sic! Kerege) village in Bagamoyo District have asked the government to build them a village dispensary to help them 'access health services' in their area as of now they are forced to walk three to seven kilometers to 'access the health services'".
A noble request indeed, but the writer did not have to repeat "access to health services" twice in the same short sentence. The villagers expressed their request when benefitting from free health services provided by the Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam Oysterbay.
The village Chairman is reported to have further said: "Currently the village has no any health facility despite having a 'number of residents' in that area. As a result most of the women in the village sometimes are forced to deliver in their households something that is 'very risk' to 'the health and lives'.
The Chairman is reported to have gone on pleading: "We 'real' need health services as we have got 'reasonable number of patients' in our homes who lack health services, mothers are giving births at homes, we always suffer from stomach diseases, as many of us are not aware of health education; so we beg the government to bring health service closer to us."
We will pick up only a few observations from the Chairman's request. One, you do not need to say a village has a number of residents. This is assumed, otherwise you are creating the impression that you can have a village but without people. The Chairman wanted to point out that there are many people in that village who need health services.
Two, you do not "'real' need health services" because you "have a reasonable number of patients". You really need health services since you have people. They do not have to be patients. In other words, most of those needing health services are not patients.
These can benefit from preventive medical services, health education, medical examinations and so on. The Chairman is right. Lack of medical services creates a risky (not risk) situation for mother and child. Hopefully, his plea will fall on a sympathetic ear.