Tanzania: Villagers in Desperate Need of Phone Services

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Kakonko — Residents of some isolated villages here have requested the government to connect them to telecommunication networks.

Some Kiga village in Kasuga Ward said they had been facing communication hitches, making it difficult for them to reach their relatives during emergencies like sickness, deaths or financial problems.

Revocatus Rukanura and Maria Mukabukoba told reporters yesterday that the only network available in the locality was from Burundi, to which they didn't have access.

"For many years, we have been facing communication difficulties that make us live in isolation.

To make it worse, we cannot make any mobile money transactions, unless we do so from tree tops, " Mr Lukanura lamented.

They appeared to the CCM candidate, Eng. Christopher Chiza, to give the issue top priority if he makes it to Parliament.

In his response, Eng. Chiza said even before the election day on Sunday, he would immediately contact the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications or personally discuss the matter with the Deputy Minister, Atashasta Nditiye.

He said the areas bordering Burundi had been facing troublesome communication networks, asking them to remain calm as he was set to address the matter if he were elected to represent them in Parliament. Kakonko District largely borders Burundi and one is normally greeted with communication signals from Burunditel. T

he standard response to attempts to make local phone calls is 'Inyumelo nihaba' , meaning 'the phone you are trying to call does not exist'.

Communication woes in the area were also a matter of concern to MPs who campaigned for Eng. Chiza yesterday, with Mr Peter Serukamba (Kigoma North), Joseph Musukuma (Geita) and Nape Nnauye (Mtama) , all from CCM promising to address it.

Another area of concentration for the CCM candidate was tobacco farming, the growers expressing disappointment over low prices. Sources from the Kakonko District Council told the 'Daily News' that tobacco farming was slow-paced during the current and next seasons due to the growers perceiving the undertaking not being very beneficial.

"We are actually looking forward to embarking on beekeeping for modern honey production and in doing so we want to discourage the farmers from cultivating tobacco," said an official who sought anonymity.

On Monday and Tuesday, all agents from the parties taking part in the Buyungu by-election were busy taking oaths ready to represent their parties in vote casting and counting exercise on Sunday and yesterday the papers bearing voters list were distributed for them to verify their names.

Ballot boxes, ballot papers and other materials are expected to be supplied to around 176 polling stations by Saturday evening, ahead of the Sunday election.

The Buyungu by-election has been prompted by the death of the former legislator, Kasuku Bilago and ten candidates are vying for the post.

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