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November 26 2013

Collection of Articles on the Sacking of Popular Tanzanian Opposition MP

Ben Taylor shares a collection of articles on the sacking of Zitto Kabwe, a popular young Member of Parliament with the main Tanzanian opposition party, Chadema. Zitto was:

[...] was stripped of his official positions by party leaders in the early hours of Friday morning. He will no longer be the party’s deputy secretary, nor deputy leader of the opposition in parliament.

The reason? Party Chairman, Freeman Mbowe, explained that Zitto had been discovered to be part of a plot to overthrow the party leader and take over the position of party chair (and likely Presidential candidate), along with other related transgressions.

August 14 2013

UK Press Coverage of Zanzibar Acid Attack Risks Inflaming Religious Tensions

The UK press coverage of the acid attack on two British teens, Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both aged 18, is misleading and risks inflaming religious tensions in Tanzania, says Ben Taylor, who blogs about development, politics, the media and Tanzania.

Currently, there are simmering political and religious tensions in Zanzibar. Early this year, a Catholic priest was shot dead and a church set on fire during the Sounds of Wisdom festival, which promotes religious tolerance. Political tensions on the Island mainly revolve around the issues of the Union between Tanganyika (Mainland Tanzania) and Zanzibar. Some people want the Union to be dissolved.

The two teens were attacked in Zanzibar on August 7, 2013, while they were on a volunteering holiday. It is not yet clear if the attack is connected to political and religious tensions on the island.

Ben Taylor's criticism of the UK press centres on reports of the shooting and arrest of radical cleric Sheikh Issa Ponda. Sheikh Ponda, the Secretary of the Council of Islamic Organisation, was injured by a tear gas canister while running away from the police. He is currently at the main hospital in Tanzania, Muhimbili, in Dar Es Salaam.

Almost all leading UK media houses, including The Sun, the Mirror, The Times, Sky News, and The Telegraph, have connected his arrest to the attack on the two teens.

However, a press statement [sw] from the Tanzanian police says that Sheikh Ponda was arrested for inciting violence in his fiery speeches.

A screen shot of Mail Online on Ben Taylor's post.

A screen shot of Mail Online on Ben Taylor's post.

Taylor begins his post by criticising the UK press and giving credit to the Tanzanian press:

The UK media is unsurprisingly following up closely on the story of the two teenage British girls who suffered a horrific attack in Stone Town, Zanzibar. But in their haste to get a good story, and in a situation where the known facts are few, they are making some serious errors.

Yesterday, according to some reports in the Tanzanian media, Sheikh Ponda, a radical Zanzibari cleric, was shot and injured in the town of Morogoro. Some are saying it was the police who shot him, some that unsuccessful attempts were made by the police to arrest him. Other media outlets dispute these “facts”, claiming that he is now in hospital. Overall, and to their credit, the Tanzanian press appears to be responding to uncertainty with caution: being noticeably transparent about facts that are unclear.

What’s more, none (that I have seen) has linked Sheikh Ponda or this reported shooting / attempted arrest to the Zanzibar acid attack.

But look at how the UK media has covered the same story.

He goes on to identify significant errors in the UK press coverage and concludes that:

If I am right, this is pretty disgraceful on the part of the UK press. First, it misleads the families of these two girls by suggesting that progress is being made in tracking down their attackers. Second, and more worryingly, it risks inflaming religious tensions in Tanzania further, on the flimsiest of evidence.

I have seen no evidence that this attack was religiously or politically motivated, and none that it was connected to Sheikh Ponda [an extremist cleric]. It may be that it was, but equally, it may be that it was motivated by something else entirely. Much of the UK press seems to have decided the matter for itself already. They’re not letting the (absence of) facts get in the way of a good story, irrespective of the damage it might do.

He notes that the Director of Public Prosecutions in Tanzania called for Sheikh Ponda's arrest for reasons apparently unrelated to the acid attacks. The DPP said that Ponda disobeyed a lawful court order.

A market stall in Stone Town, Zanzibar, which is one of the most popular sites for tourists. Photo released under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) by Wikipedia user Esculapio.

A market stall in Stone Town, Zanzibar, which is one of the most popular sites for tourists. Photo released under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) by Wikipedia user Esculapio.

Taylor posted an update in the same post the following day August 12, 2013:

The Mirror and Mail have substantially and significantly revised their stories, both posted at the same URL web address as the stories I linked to yesterday. In other words, the previous stories are no longer available.

In the update, he notes that the Mirror withdrew all suggestion that Sheikh Ponda is wanted in connection with the acid attack while the Mail did the same but went as far as to suggest a second possible motive for the attack.

He writes:

Times and Telegraph (twice) have posted new articles that repeat the claim that Ponda is wanted in connection with the attack.

And finally, the Guardian has come in on the story. Their star media commentator, Roy Greenslade, cites this blogpost in questioning whether other UK media may have got it wrong.

A Kenya-based correspondent covering East, West and Central Africa for The Daily Telegraph and East Africa for the Christian Science Monitor, Mike Pflanz (@MikePflanz) spoke to Sheikh Ponda in hospital. He refuted the allegations of inspiring the attack:

One of the two teenagers injured in the attack, Kirstie Trup, has been discharged from hospital. Both will require skin grafts to repair the damage.

Jaf Shah, the executive director of Acid Survivors Trust International is quoted by the New York Times saying that the acid attack appears to be the first such assault on a Western tourist or aid worker in Zanzibar.

According to the Acid Survivors Trust International, there 1,500 cases recorded around the world every year, although the actual figures might be higher. Women and girls are victims in 75-80% of cases. Of the female victims, about 30% are under 18.

This post was proofread in English by Georgi McCarthy.

July 03 2013

Tanzanians Review Highly Anticipated Obama Visit

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's commercial capital, is getting back to normal after two days in which the city found itself playing host to arguably the most powerful man on earth: President Barack Obama of the United States. The city's streets were inundated with posters of the man.

Image of President Barack Obama on a billboard in Dar Es Salaam. Photo courtesy of Sandy Temu.

Image of President Barack Obama on a billboard in Dar Es Salaam. Photo courtesy of Sandy Temu.


This instagrammer captured an image on one of the billboards and seemed quite pleased about the prospect of Obama's visit:

Obama in Tanzania

Folks lined up the streets to welcome the first African-American president to their shores, as the image posted with the tweet below demonstrates:

@shurufu: Tanzanians along Sokoine Drive waiting to welcome @barackobama to #Tanzania. #ObamainTanzania #ObamainAfrica pic.twitter.com/yXMtpDE9KO

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 2.00.23 PM

Obama was visiting Tanzania, as part of a week long, three-nation tour of Africa, his first comprehensive visit to the continent of his ancestral roots since he was first elected President in 2008. On the back of his arrival to Tanzania, Obama announced a $7 billion plan to invest in electricity initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. This, it was said, was at the core of the relationship the US President was trying to cultivate, one that is built on investment and partnership:

@whitehouse: “Ultimately, the goal here is for Africa to build Africa for Africans.” —Obama in Tanzania: http://at.wh.gov/mz2hT , pic.twitter.com/pnBCU7bSCQ

And upon landing, Obama received an especially warm reception, as photo-blogger Issa Michuzi was able to capture in this photograph the mood at Julius Nyerere International Airport:

President Obama arriving at Julius Nyerere International Airport. Photo courtesy of Issa Michuzi.

President Obama arriving at Julius Nyerere International Airport. Photo courtesy of Issa Michuzi.

Such images prompted one tweep to say this:

@bkyeyune: By the looks of the online images/photos, Obama had more fun in Tanzania than he had in South Africa.

The interest in Obama's visit extended farther than the streets of Dar es Salaam. Gaure Mdee (@Profesy) tweeted this image from Stone Town, Zanzibar showing people watching his visit on local television:

Zanzibaris watching Obama's visit on local television station. Photo courtesy of

Zanzibaris watching Obama's visit on local television station. Photo courtesy of @Profesy.


Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 3.07.49 PM

However, not everyone in the country was as enthused about Mr. Obama's visit. The gentleman in the YouTube video below, who was working just a street away from where the presidential motorcade eventually passed through, suggested that Obama was in Tanzania purely for self-interested motives and that his time in Tanzania had nothing to do with helping the country or its people.

This view seemed to be shared by blogger Elsie Eyakuze of The Mikocheni Report who, a week ago, conjured up the word ‘neocolonialism’ in describing the relevance of Mr. Obama's visit:

Now there's going to be a delegation of hundreds of businessmen in the Obama entourage looking to explore opportunities in Tanzania. There is something disconcerting about being considered a sweet little morsel by America on the planet…Gas, Africom, the Millenium Challenge Corporation, businessmen – what are these in the face of our current situation? Yes, Barack Obama is coming to Tanzania. If he could bring along plane-load of respect for civil rights and inject it directly into my government's veins I would be happier. But I understand POTUS has a few problems of his own respecting the freedoms of Americans- like, say, freedom from state surveillance? *shrug.*

Over at Vijana.FM, they were complaints about why there was more brouhaha for this Head of State than usually afforded to other visiting Presidents:

I can understand the vast security preparations for him, but should we only clean up when we have a high profile guest? I understand that he comes to visit our country and maybe he has good things in store, but our reaction to his visit is absurd. What message are we sending to our fellow African states, and most importantly, to the world? What message are we passing along to the young generation, the leaders in the making?

Elsewhere, January Makamba, who also happens to be the Deputy Minister for Science and Technology, blogging at Taifa Letu, argued that it is not Tanzania, and in extension Africa, that needs the US. Rather, it was America that needed Africa more:

America’s global leadership remains robust – at least for now. One way to retain and strengthen it in the face of insecure world and a deepening economic and cultural competition is to project it for the good of humanity. And this is the expectation of most Africans – that America shouldn’t befriend a country just for security or strategic concerns but because of advancement of shared values – of freedom, equality, tolerance and human progress.

Some Tanzanians seemed just glad to have Obama visit their country, a view encapsulated by the gentleman in the video below, speaking after seeing the US President's motorcade pass through on its way to State House:

As Obama departed, Ahmed Salim (@asalim86) captured what the country felt yesterday evening:

@asalim86: …and POTUS [President of the United States] is gone, back to our regularly scheduled program in #Tanzania

And while the significance of his visit continues to be a point of contention, it seems like Mr. Obama is already entrenching the legacy of his visit into Dar es Salaam's identity:

@shurufu: #ObamainTanzania: The newly christened Barabara ya Barack Obama. Cc: @barackobama pic.twitter.com/IuSXycqsL7

The newly christened Barabara [Road] ya Barack Obama. Image courtesy of @shurufu.

The newly christened Barabara [Road] ya Barack Obama. Image courtesy of @shurufu.

May 07 2013

The Team Tanzania TV Drama Series

The Team Tanzania is a TV drama series about:

[...] Ms. Wito, a dynamic civics teacher, who turns the world of 3 teenagers upside down when she challenges them with controversial questions like “Who are you”? The three 16-year olds, who have known each other all their lives. On the edge of adulthood, they are searching for their own identities while facing family and cultural pressures.

March 25 2013

24 Steps to Improve Your Reporting

24 hours in the life of a news room shares great ideas and resources with journalists working in print, TV, radio or on the web. It is available in five languages. For online journalism, it covers topics from news monitoring and HTML basics to traffic analysis tools and comments moderation.

December 14 2012

#Nimeregister Campaign to Promote Voter Registration in Kenya

Kenya's general elections will be held on March 4, 2013 under the new constitution, which was passed during the 2010 national referendum.

According to Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, as of Monday December 9, 2012 only 8.6 million people had registered, out of 18 million eligible voters. The deadline for voter registration is 18 December, 2012.

@Cleobor showing his voter registration card on Twitter. Photo courtesy of @Cleobor.

As the deadline approaches, Kenyans on Twitter are using the #nimeregister hashtag to encourage each other to vote and share voter registration information, experiences and photos. Nimeregister is a combination of Swahili and English (Sheng) which means “I have registered.”

#Nimeregister and proud:

@samdemic: I am a registered voter of Nakuru East constituency. #Nimeregister

@BeateWN: #Nimeregister two weeks ago,waiting kutoa #mavulture on #March4 [waiting to remove the vultures (corrupt politicians)]

@shikohtwit: “@MikeMachariaSST: I am now a registered voter . Process was quick and efficient . pic.twitter.com/iWAi2P0H” #nimeregister

@Kamaley: In record 5 mins, i am a Registered Voter. March 2013 needs to come soon.#nimeregister.

#Nimeregister advice:

@kenyanpundit: Good to see the #nimeregister hashtag picking up - registered to vote? Share your picture and tag it #nimeregister

@kenyanpundit: Registered as a voter? Get your #nimeregister badge here: http://www.picswitch.com/s/gzwgj

@OleMartinezM: RT @waithash: If you don't register this time round, you lose any right to complain about poor leadership #KOT #nimeregister

@kenyanpundit: RT @zestex: Find a polling station near you at http://vote.iebc.or.ke/ then register. Be the change you want #Nimeregister

@NiKuvuka: @shecyclesnbi The card you got is the confirmation slip. Take a pic of yourself with it and post it #nimeregister

@mwasjd: “@Chiefkariuki: Please let us all register as voters. it is the only way to participate in the elections.” #Nimeregister

@NiKuvuka: Have you registered?? Take a photo of yourself holding your voter registration confirmation slip and upload it to our page! #nimeregister

@J_Njeri: Dear Kenyans, remember to give your employees time off so that they can register as voters! Their voice counts too! #Nimeregister

Responsible citizenship:

@dimoz: Am a true kenyan #nimeregister @bellelinde @nyachio_b @makodingo @fokango @ClanSewe http://via.me/-7pguk3o

@waithash: The Voter's card is the best weapon you can use to bring the change that you've so desired for your country. #KOT #nimeregister

@Alan_Wachira: Its My Duty,My Responsibility #NimeRegister pic.twitter.com/vnRfcnUC

@cmukabana: #nimeregister kura yangu sauti yangu [my vote, my voice]

Registration is simple:

@brendawambui: I have to give it up to the IEBC [Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission]. The whole registration process was less than 2 minutes! :) #nimeregister #gottovote

@abuokari: Am registered.Kilimani Primary.less than 3 mins. #NimeRegister

@njorogekui: “@kenyanpundit: Well done! RT @njorogekui: So registration took me less than a minute. #nimeregister” there we go!! pic.twitter.com/23b35DIG

Finally, David Wanjiru adds:

@DavidWanjiru: Between now and Dec 18, the most important thing to do is register, get others to. Me #nimeregister. Baadaye tuanalyse mavu? [We will analyze the vultures (corrupt policians) later]

December 04 2012

Have M23 Rebels Really Left Goma, DRC?

Recurrent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent decades has eroded the political, social and economic foundations of society. The Eastern region is even more weakened by the periodic fighting between armed rebels and the Congolese army that has flaired up again in 2012.

The conflict in the Kivus region this year is a continuation of a war between M23 rebels, essentially composed of mutineer Tutsi soldiers against the majority-Hutu Congolese army. Backed by the Rwandan government, the M23 rebels seized control of the city of Goma in the Kivu region, near the Rwandan border.

Despite reports that the rebellion have agreed to pull out of Goma, it seems that there is still a great deal of uncertainty over when they will effectively do so, and whether they might return. Melanie Gouby of the Associated Press reports on the extremely fluid timeline for the withdrawal:

The delay raises the possibility that the M23 rebels don't intend to leave the city they seized last week, giving credence to a U.N. expert report that says neighboring Rwanda is using the rebels as a proxy to annex territory in mineral-rich eastern Congo. An M23 spokesman said Friday morning that for “logistical reasons” the rebels needed 48 more hours to complete their withdrawal, promising that the fighters would leave Goma by Sunday.

M23 rebels on a truck in the streets of Goma, after they captured it in November 2012

M23 rebels on a truck in the streets of Goma, after they captured it (November 29, 2012) Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

A follow-up report states that the rebels have begun to pull out and that the retreat is near completion:

Ugandan Brig. Jeffrey Muheesi, who is part of a mission sent by regional leaders to oversee the rebel retreat, said the rebels' pullout from Goma was complete. ”They have pulled out of Sake and Goma, and now Congolese government policemen are controlling the central bank, the governor's office and the border post,” he said from the outskirts of Goma.

Eyewitnesses say that while in Goma, M23 rebels looted the city, entering homes and shops and stealing cars, cell phones and cash. Radio Okapi reports [fr]:

Les rebelles du M23 ont pillé plusieurs habitations et bâtiments de Goma le jeudi 29 novembre dans la journée. Ce butin aurait été acheminé vers Kibumba, futur quartier général du M23, à près de 30 Km de Goma. Ce sont notamment les quartiers Katindo, Katoyi et Keshero qui ont été pillés par ces hommes en uniforme. La plupart des édifices publics, par contre, ont été épargnés puisque gardés par les forces de la Mission des Nations unies en RDC (Monusco) à Goma.

The M23 rebels broke into several homes and buildings in Goma on Thursday, November 29. Their loot was transported to Kibumba, their next HQ, 30km from Goma. The looting was carried out by men in uniform mostly in the borough of Katindo, Katoyi and Keshero. The administrative offices were left alone mostly because the UN MONUSCO forces were protecting them.

A sustainable solution to the conflict is evidently wanting. For now, the International Crisis Group recommends the following measures including these initiatives:

  • the reactivation of an effective and permanent joint verification mechanism for the DRC and Rwandan border, as envisaged by the ICGLR, which should be provided with the necessary technical and human resources;
  • the addition of the individuals and entities that supported the M23 and other armed groups to the UN sanctions list and the consideration of an embargo on weapons sales to Rwanda
  • the launch of local peace initiatives in Walikale, Masisi, Shabunda and Kalehe areas where ethnic tension is high by MONUSCO and the government

Given the Rwandan support of M23 and despite the UN recommendation that M23 pulls out of Goma, it is unclear whether M23 will ever fully withdraw from the city.

Meanwhile, the M23 were evicted from Facebook last week. Before then Gabriella Mulligan on Humanipo wondered how long a rebel group would be allowed to recruit and tease the Congolese government on the social network, and Trésor Kibungula on Jeune Afrique illustrated their social media evolution [fr].

September 06 2012

Oscar Pistorius and the Paralympic #Bladegate Controversy

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

South African double amputee and the first athlete to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics Games in the same year, Oscar Pistorius, attracted attention after being beaten to second place in the T44 200 metre men’s final. He had previously set a new world record in the men's T44 200 metre heats.

Ten Percent or Less blog explains how afterwards the athlete, a specialist in the 100 metre, 200 metre and the one-lap 400 metre, stated this of the winner Brazilian Alan Oliveira:

I can't compete with Alan's stride length……it's very clear that the guys have got very long strides

Oscar Pistorius congratulates Brazil's Alan Oliveira after he won the Paralympic T44 200 metres at the London Paralympic games. The favourite Oscar Pistorius came in only second after the world record in the qualification heat. Image by Mauro Ujetto, copyright Demotix (02/09/12).

Oscar Pistorius congratulates Brazil's Alan Oliveira after he won the Paralympic T44 200 metres at the London Paralympic games. The favourite Oscar Pistorius came in only second after the world record in the qualification heat. Image by Mauro Ujetto, copyright Demotix (02/09/12).

The blogger earlier gave an introduction of what Oscar Pistorius had previously achieved:

So much of the Olympic and Paralympic coverage has been centered around the ‘Blade Runner', Oscar Pistorius. He was the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics and in no way was he just making up the numbers, reaching the 400m semi-finals and 4×400m final. Considering the fact he competes with, and beats able-bodied athletes it's understandable that he's always a favourite for any race he enters limited to athletes with below knee amputations.

Going on to give a detailed breakdown of why Pistorius was wrong in making that statement against Oliveira:

Firstly this just isn't the case. Pistorius took 92 strides (49 in the first 100m, 43 in the second), Oliveira took 98 (52 in the first 100m, 46 in the second). Pistorius' stides are actually longer than Oliveira's, it's Oliveira who can't compete with Pistorius' stride length.

Secondly Pistorius stated “the guys' legs are unbelievably long”, an issue Pistorius says he brought up with the IPC weeks before the games. The IPC has a formula to limit the length of blades based on what they estimate the athlete's height would be if they had both legs. Oliveira's blades are completely legal, falling within the measurements allowed by the IPC. Pistorius could actually lengthen his blades if he wished so I'm not entirely sure why he believes Oliveira's blade length is unfair.

Another point to consider is how 'slow' Pistorius ran rather than how ‘fast' Oliveira did. Pistorius covered the 200m distance 0.28 seconds slower than he did the previous day, 21.30 seconds (a new world record) compared to 21.58. Were the comments following the race a result of disappointment from a tired athlete? It's entirely possible, Pistorius running a much slower final would certainly suggest that. Let's not forget Oliveira has been able to prepare specifically for the Paralympics while Pistorius has been competing far more over the last month as well as dealing with substantially more media commitments.

MakeMeaDiva Blog in a post titled “Oscar Pistorius #Bladegate” states:

In case you’ve been on Mars for the last 24 hours, #Bladegate refers to the T44 category 200m final at the Paralympics last night, where Pistorius was narrowly beaten into second place by the Brazilian athlete Alan Oliveira. Pistorius was not expecting to be beaten. Once into the home straight he was in splendid isolation with only the wind for company… until the last 10 metres. Oliveira came roaring up the outside to take the gold medal on the line.”

In case you’ve been on Mars for the last 24 hours, #Bladegate refers to the T44 category 200m final at the Paralympics last night, where Pistorius was narrowly beaten into second place by the Brazilian athlete Alan Oliveira.

Pistorius was not expecting to be beaten. Once into the home straight he was in splendid isolation with only the wind for company… until the last 10 metres. Oliveira came roaring up the outside to take the gold medal on the line.

Still, Pistorius’s remarks were clearly mistimed and made in the heat of the moment; by this morning his head was in back in charge and he made a more measured statement. He still maintained his concern about the fairness of the blades used by his conqueror in the race in his conclusion, saying:

I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong. I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC who obviously share these aims.

There are more details explaining why Oliveira beat Pistorius:

The longer blades do cause athletes to have a slower start, Oliveira was left standing when the gun went off last night and was racing well in arrears, but down the straight the longer blades store more elastic energy allowing the athlete to maintain speed whilst using less energy than someone on shorter ones, like Pistorius… This is probably because the longer blades do give you an advantage in the straight, but this offset by running more slowly at the start and whilst runnning the bend. It’s down to the athlete which tactics they want to employ. Oliveira and his team, by switching to the longer blades only three weeks ago, took a gamble. It paid off, just. Pistorius’s gamble was running a very fast half of the race, he then paid for attacking the first 100m by having to slow down a bit in the closing stages. His gamble did not pay off, but again, it was so close. This would have only made it worse from his point of view.

Pistorius raced on the blades he ran on in the Olympics. Under the rule book he too could go for longer blades – his maximum permitted height on racing blades, as things stand, would take him to 193 cm tall. His current blades means he stands 184 cm. He could add an extra 9 cm to his height and this would mean if Oliveira stuck with his current prostheses at 181 cm, Pistorius could gain a 12 cm height advantage over his rival. Of course, it is not standing taller that necessarily gives the advantage, it is the longer blade being used, and that advantage has to be traded off against the slower start.

The current rules also seem to allow for a huge differential in blade lengths – after all Pistorius could legally add up to 9 cm to his racing blades. He might regret not switching to longer blades in the Paralympics now, but as an athlete who has battled so hard to prove that his blades do not give him a mechanical advantage over a non-Paralympic athlete you can see why he stuck with his Olympic-approved ones.

Oscar Pistorius will be humbled by the defeat and rue the missed chances of holding both the world record and a Paralympics Games gold. But as a Swahili saying puts it, “Asiyekubali kushindwa si mshindani” (Whoever refuses to accept defeat is no worthy competitor).

And on Wednesday 5 September, Pistorius bounced back to help the 4 x 100 metre relay team win gold and break the world record in the T42/46 final. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter on their performance:

@kingsleyhead : Great relay run, no excuses, Pistorius both expected and saw the opposition this time round #oscarpistorius

@montgomeryotter : Personally I no longer care what #OscarPistorius does. He is only sporting when he wins. He could learn a lot from losing more often.

@AlUtaHitchcock : @ESPNUK how can you cast the same dark shadow that was casted on you, on a fellow fighter of adversaries#OscarPistorius

@ABiVanWykSep : @Paralympic Go #OscarPistorius we are proud of u in SA#Paralympics

@WARRIORCHAMPION : Congratulations #OscarPistorius and the South African relay team for winning Gold in the 4×100m relay at the London… fb.me/1yYa5ws8T

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

April 12 2012

Tanzania: Farewell to a Film Star

Tanzania bid farewell to one of its most popular film stars, Steven Kanumba, with an emotionally-charged funeral on 11 April, 2012. He died early on Saturday morning, aged 28, after an altercation with his girlfriend Elizabeth ‘Lulu’ Michael.

That more than 30,000 people including Tanzania’s Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Tanzania’s First Lady Mama Salma Kikwete, other senior government officials, artists and people from all walks of life gathered to pay their last respects at the capital Dar Es Salaam's Leader’s Club, is a testimony to Kanumba's immense popularity at such an early age and to his contribution to Tanzania’s film industry (popularly known as Bongo Movies).

More than 30,000 people gathered to pay their last respects. Photo courtesy of @BongoCelebrity.

More than 30,000 people gathered to pay their last respects. Photo courtesy of @BongoCelebrity.

Some mourners took photos and tweeted live as people grieved, fainted [sw] and demanded to carry the coffin of the much-loved iconic actor to the cemetery.

@BongoCelebrity tweeted [sw]:

@BongoCelebrity: Wananchi wanaimba kwa nguvu wakisema wanataka wamshushe kwenye gari wambebe wenyewe!

@BongoCelebrity: People are chanting heartily saying they want to take him from the car and carry him themselves!

News of Kanumba’s death broke out on early Saturday morning via social media. Blogger Pretty Sintah wrote [sw]:

Dear Wadauzz
nasikitika kutangaza kifo cha Steven kanumba ambaye amefariki leo saa saba ya usiku,maiti ipo Muhimbili hospital.
chanzo cha kifo,inasemekana Lulu na Kanumba were dating secretly,na walikuwa pamoja wakati wa kifo chake,Lulu alimsukuma Kanumba wakiwa katika ugomvi na kanumba akadondoka na kutoa damu na ndipo mauti ilimshika
kwa sasa Lulu yupo Osterbay police.
nitawaletea more updates
ila tusimlaumu Lulu kwani ugomvi katika mapenzi unatokea.
Angalizo
uki comment naomba ujue nilikuwepo eneo la tukio kuanzia Home kupeleka maiti hosp na kurudi kwake Sinza,kwa ujumla sijalala,
ni hilo tuu

Dear people,
I am saddened to inform you of the death of Steven Kanumba who died at one o'clock in the morning, his body is at the Muhimbili hospital.
Cause of death, it is alleged that Lulu [his girlfriend] and Kanumba were dating secretly, and were together when he died, Lulu pushed Kanumba when they were arguing and Kanumba fell, bled and met his death.
Now Lulu is at Oysterbay police station.
I will bring you more updates
But let us not blame Lulu because sometimes arguments arise in a relationship
NB:
When you write a comment know that I was at the scene, from his home and when we took his body to the hospital and back to his house in Sinza. I have not slept.
That is all

Much has been written about the death of Steven Kanumba and the alleged role that his girlfriend Lulu played, but probably one comment on Pretty Sintah’s blog sums up [sw] the mood on social media regarding this tragedy:

It’s so painful to lose you our Hero and the only existed Steven Kanumba ‘the great'. Tanzanians gonna really miss you our best friend. Am sending my condolence to your lovely mom, your young bro, your family members, our bongo movie friends and the entire TZ community.
Its not good to judge anyone on this issue, only God can judge a person, Imagine if you are the one judged by everyone as what is happening to lulu now!! I am very sure that Lulu was not intending to do any bad thing to Kanumba, and am also sure that Lulu was not involved in this matter in any way, may be there was something else concerning Kanumba's health, but let us wait for the Doctors and Lawyers to play their part.
R.I.P our beloved Kanumba. It’s a high time for our guys like Vincent Kigosi and others to go on with this good thing Kanumba started; we still have good actors and actresses who can take us to the next level. I really believe in you Ray.

Wavuti has a curated commentary from social media [sw] including Kanumba’s [sw] last tweets as well as tweets by his fans after his death.

December 23 2011

Tanzania: Dar Youth Mobilise Online to Assist Flood Victims

Dar es Salaam’s young social media users are mobilising volunteers to assist in relief efforts following the floods that inundated vast areas of Dar es Salaam causing deaths and damage to infrastructure. Using the hashtag #Darfloods, Twitter users have been in the forefront informing the public and mobilising relief efforts.

The floods were unleashed by heavy rains that poured continuously for two days caused at least 13 deaths and huge damage to infrastructure. Floods inundated office buildings and residential areas leaving hundreds of people homeless. According to Daily News, Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) said these are the heaviest rains Tanzania has experienced in 57 years.

Dar es Salaam youths rescuing children. Photo courtesy of http://issamichuzi.blogspot.com/.

Dar es Salaam youths rescuing children. Photo courtesy of http://issamichuzi.blogspot.com/.

In the past three days, bloggers and social network users used the social media platforms to send their condolences as well as important updates.

Altaz Premji wrote:

@altazpremji: step in right direction RT @ihelptz: All willing to lend a helping hand in the #DarFloods response can reach out at +255 222181117

Amor Mtage posted a contact number for those who would like to volunteer their time to help the victims:

@AmorMtage: The chairperson UN youth association can be reached thru 0718104565 for anyone hu wants to contribute or volunteer #darfloods

Bongo 5 Media Group posted the locations of emergency relief centres:

@bongofive: Vituo vya waathirika wa #DarFloods ni Sekondari za Azania, Msimbazi, Mchikichini, Kibasila, Mzambaraoni. Sh. msingi Mchikichini, Muhimbili

@bongofive: Relief centres for #Darfloods are Azania, Msimbazi, Mchikichini, Kibasila, Mzambaraoni secondary schools. Mchikichini and Muhimbili primary schools

So far due to ordinary people’s efforts thousands of victims are receiving assistance. Luca in Dar Es Salaam writes:

@simplyluca: We hv seen over 3000 #DarFloods victims, efforts continue kesho (tomorrow)and thereafter. This is real..not for PR! They need help now, acheni majungu (stop witch-hunting)

Acknowledging that more needs to be done at the relief centres, Lusajo L.M tweeted:

@sajjo: @DarFloods kindly concentrate on coordinating relief efforts and disseminating information about #DarFloods leave Politics to Politicians.

President Jakaya Kikwete’s Twitter account (@jmkikwete) posted the following message:

@jmkikwete: My sympathy to all affected by the disaster caused by continuous heavy rains especially in Dar Es Salaam

And Singida Member of Parliament Mohammed Dewji posted a statement from the president on his blog:

Nimepokea kwa masikitiko habari za vifo vya wenzetu 13 vilivyotokana na mafuriko yaliyosababishwa na mvua kubwa ambayo sote tumeishuhudia katika mkoa wa Dar Es Salaam tokea jana.

I am saddened by the news of 13 deaths due to the floods caused by heavy rains in Dar Es Salaam since yesterday.

While massive rescue efforts continued, several bloggers in Dar Es Salaam including Issa Michuzi and Bongo5 posted photos showing the severity of the floods.

Dar Es Salaam based tweeps, Rakesh Rajani and Mikie Mckee, explained the extent of flooding in some office buildings:

@rakeshrajani: #Twaweza Dar closed until further notice due to severe flooding (chest high inside the office!). Extensive damage, will take days to fix

@MikieMckee: Diplomatic offices and international organization Including UN Tanzania, Swiss Embassy, Twaweza, India Embassy zimejaa majii #DarFloods

Other tweeps posted much needed real time status of roads using #Darfloods hashtag. EATV 5 twitter account @Number1youthchannel tweeted:

@Number1youthchannel: Lugalo /Tangi Bovu Bridge collapses. NO cars allowed to PASS over it. Picture Courtesy of Jimmy Blanks.

Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete visited the affected areas showing his government's commitment in leading the relief efforts.

June 05 2011

Tanzania: Opposition MP Tweets His Arrest

Zitto Kabwe, a Tanzanian Member of Parliament from the opposition party Chadema was arrested on June 4 in Central Tanzania soon after holding a public rally. The rally was one of the series of big rallies across the country that Chadema has organised since the beginning of 2011 and sometimes at risk of violence from the police.

Tanzanian Member of Parliament, Zitto Kabwe.

Tanzanian Member of Parliament, Zitto Kabwe. Photo source: bongocelebrity.com

As he was taken into police custody, the MP used his mobile phone to tweet the arrest to his 1,640 followers who retweeted, sympathised and tweeted back messages of encouragement. Here are of some of Zitto's tweets following his arrest:

 

@zittokabwe: Have just been arrested by police in Singida for ‘ holding a rally after 6pm' @JamiiForums @Udadisi @Semkae @MariaSTsehai @jjmnyika


@zittokabwe
: I finished a rally exactly at 6pm, police came with 2 defenders full of FFU [anti-riot police] ready for chaos. Sensed and call off the meeting. Arrested @ htl

@zittokabwe: I think there is a plan to frustrate our participation during budget session. My arrest is so awkward that these police can't even explain


@zittokabwe
: I have been arrested at the Hotel Acqua around 6.35, police ordered the meeting end, heeded. Asked if they hv Clerk's clearance, hawana! [They don't have]

@zittokabwe: I am being locked up

Twitter user @SwahiliStreet asked:


@SwahiliStreet
: @zittokabwe pole sana [I sympathise]. do cops need permission of the clerk to arrest an MP?

@zittokabwe: @SwahiliStreet according to PPPA, no 3 of 1988 they must get clearance from the Clerk

The MP was soon released:


@zittokabwe
: RCO just got an order from his RPC [Regional Police Commander] to let me off and report tomorrow. Self-bail.

Still shocked after being released, Zitto tweeted:

@zittokabwe: I am still shocked of the arrest, questioning and release! No justification. This is to a legislator, normal citizens must be suffering

A string of tweets sympathising with Zitto followed:

Nathan Chiume wrote:

@chiume: @zittokabwe Dah, pole sana kaka![Oh, I sympathise with you brother] I hope cool heads prevail & all is resolved sooner than later

George Ruhago also wrote:

@GRuhago: @zittokabwe, dont give up “long walk to freedom”

And Pernille Bærendtsen tweeted a link to her blog offering her thoughts on the arrest and how instant communication will affect Tanzanian politics in a longer term:

Back to my interest in how social media is applied in Tanzania, and how this is perceived in i.e. Europe, I have to conclude that to me this is no longer about the fascination of the raw facts that a Tanzanian MP tweets and facebooks straight from custody.

That is in fact the surprisingly easy part.

To me the real challenge lies in adressing the issues of why he ended up there, what will happen after and how the instant communication affects politics in a longer term perspective. Another, may be to keep focus on how the government goes about its cyberspace policies in the long term.

If interested in the Tanzanian government's take on the Internet, read along here.

Zitto Kabwe is a Tanzanian MP from the opposition party Chadema [Sw], a blogger and an active twitter user. He usually tweets about political and economic issues that he encounters in parliament and on his political tours around the country. He often uses twitter for conversations with his followers.

Last year Danish blogger Pernille Bærendtsen looked at the use of traditional elements and social media in Tanzania election campaigns focusing on Zitto Kabwe.

March 14 2011

Japan: Earthquake, “how to protect yourself” in 30 languages

Written by Scilla Alecci

TUFS students launched a website with advices on risk management translated in more than 30 languages.
The website provides “a basic guide in several languages to what to do when you have to evacuate because of the earthquake.”

February 20 2011

Tanzania: Bomb Explosions: Bloggers and Twitterers Speak Out

Written by J. Nambiza Tungaraza

Bomb explosions at a Tanzanian army base in Dar es Salaam’s Gongo la Mboto suburb killed at least 30 peoplethis Thursday. In April 2009 a similar accident occurred at Mbagala Army depot and killed at least 26 people. Tanzanian bloggers and twitterers react.

In a post titled Gongo la Mboto Blasts – A Glimpse, blogger Deogratias Simba posts photographs of fleeing masses, bomb shells and shattered buildings taken on the streets. He writes:

[…]
2. The country’s disaster preparedness programme is very weak (if not absent) … handling proved to be REACTIVE rather than PROACTIVE … the photos will tell you why.

3. It is important to ensure that there is a single commanding voice when it comes to giving instructions of what people should do and when … the media has to be used effectively to convey one central message … not contradictory ones … important for commanding authority and receive the desired outcome.

4. While this incident is being handled and everyone recovering from the shock, our attention on key national issues (Dowans, the new constitution) should be kept very much vivid.

5. TANESCO should improve their efficiency during such incidents … once it takes place … they have to undertake a close inspection of their distribution grids to ensure that they are in order … electricity should be restored the soonest … no reason for people to wait longer than five (5) hours …

6. This should never repeat … pleeease!
[…]

Classroom hit by bomb at Pugu Secondary School. Photo by Deogratias Simba

Blogger Issa Michuzi also posted photos of the mayhem that followed the blasts. Several readers send condolences and demand answers from the government [sw]. One reader, Mohammed Bilal says:

We are very sorry for the ones who are directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy!!
I think ministerial responsibility must take place now… we expected that, after the Mbagala bombing, the army would have taken steps forward to ensure they counter-check the rest of the camps country-wide… but the recent bombing it is evident they did not do so…!! We expect the resignation of the minister responsible!!!

Another reader remembers arms depot explosion two years ago and wonders why no lessons were learned [sw]:

Inasikitisha sana yaliotokea mbagala haikuwa fundisho, na pia hata yaliyotokea mbagala yalikuwa ni uzembe, sasa kwa haya ya Gongo la Mboto sijui hata tuseme nini, maana ni zaidi ya uzembe, kutojali maisha ya watu,kupuuzia kila kitu, ubinafsi, kutowajibika, kutoipenda nchi na pia kutojali wananchi. Maafa ni makubwa sana ingawa si rahisi kusema ukweli. Wakipoteza maisha 200 tunaambiwa 20. Uongo kila sehemu…

It is very sad, nothing was learned from what happened in Mbagala [the explosion in 2009], and also what happened in Mbagala was negligence, now I do not know what we can say about Gongo la Mboto [the 2011 incident], because it is more than negligence, disregarding people’s lives, ignoring everything, selfishness, irresponsibility, lack of patriotism and ignoring citizens. The tragedy is massive even though it is not easy to speak the truth. When 200 lives are lost, we are told it is only 20. Lies everywhere…

As explosions rocked the city, Twitter users reported about the incident using the hashtag #bombsindar:

@jamiiforums reported:

Breaking News: Ghala la silaha Gongo la Mboto lalipuka!

Breaking News: Gongo la Mboto arms depot explodes!

@katebomz retweeted a photograph of the explosion.

Frustrated and hungry for an explanation or an official response on national television, Twitter users decided to organize relief efforts for the victims:


@tzshafiq
compared the current government’s response to that of 1996 government:

Mwaka 1996 wakati inatokea ajali ya MV Bukoba nakumbuka Mh. Mkapa hakuchukua muda mrefu kutoa taarifa kwa wananchi kueleza chanzo cha ajali

In 1996 when MV Bukoba capsized I remember Hon. Mkapa did not take a long time to announce to the people the cause of the accident

@JMakamba criticizes Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation:

On TBC [Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation] now: Boda2Boda music show. I thought it is public broadcaster, and should be on the streets helping out. #bombsindar

@SubiFace is speechless:

re #bombsinDar “There is much better coverage on KTN (Kenya TV) than on TZ channels. Speechless.”

Twitter users coordinating relief efforts

@Tandile announced:

We are setting up a help centre and Mzambarauni Primary school, Gongolamboto (near the sight of the bombs) for people who are looking for missing persons and for children that are lost

@Shurufu retweeted:

via @Sashaissa:,At Muhimbili, they need blood ASAP. The number to call: 0713-777595. Ask for Mrs. Maya Hilda all types required #bombsindar

@tisjane2 wrote:

Urging people in Dar to go to muhimbili to donate blood. Severe shortage #bombsindar

@mtage:

@iUwesu @Mbergsma #bombsindar go to national stadium, tazara or unicef offices..food,water,blankets,tents, clothes needed

Along with relief efforts, calls for resignation continued

@JamiiForums wrote:

“JK sacks Defence Minister” The head line that you won't see! ~ http://bit.ly/gbH7yj #BombsInDar

@AfricanGenesis:

Increasing calls for the heads of CDF and MoD. Will they be held accountable? Or accountability will falter at the hands of Govt?#BombsinDar

November 02 2010

Tanzania: Zanzibar has a new president, suspense in mainland

By J. Nambiza Tungaraza

Zanzibar Electoral Commission announced late yesterday that Dr Ali Mohamed Shein of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (revolutionary party) won the presidential race in Zanzibar to become the seventh Zanzibar president. Dr Shein won 50.1 percent of votes while Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, the leader of the main opposition The Civic United Front, got 49 percent. Dr Shein and Maalim Seif are expected to form a unity government that will include a President from the winning CCM, first Vice President from CUF and second Vice President from CCM.

The announcement came amidst tension caused by the delay in announcing the final results by Electoral Commissions in Zanzibar and in mainland Tanzania. During that tense situation bloggers and twitter users kept readers updated with the latest events by the minute.

Bashir Nkoromo of Chachandu Daily posted the Zanzibar presidential results in his blog:

MWENYEKITI wa Tume ya Uchaguzi ya Zanzibar (ZEC) Khatib Mwinyichande, amemtangaza Dk. Ali Mohamed Sheni kuwa rais mteule wa Zanzibar wa awamu ya saba kwa kupata asilimia 50.1 dhidi ya mpizani wake Seif Sharif Hamad aliyepata asilimia 49.1.
[…]
Seif alimpongeza Dk. Sheni kwa kupata ushindi huo na alimsifu kuwa ana uwezo, uzoefu na mahaba ya kuiongoza nchi yake. Alisema ushindi wa Dk. Sheni ni uametokana na uamuzi wa wazanzibari.

Chairman of Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Khatib Mwinyichande, declared Dr Ali Mohamed Sheni to be Zanzibar's seventh elected president after winning 50.1 percent of votes against his rival Seif Sharif Hamad who got 49.1 percent.
[…]
Seif congratulated Dr Sheni for the victory and said that (Dr Sheni) has the ability, experience and passion for leading the country. He said that Dr Sheni's victory is the choice of Zanzibaris.

Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad (right) congratulating Dr Ali Shein (courtesy of Bashir Nkoromo)

In a post announcing similar news, a reader of Wavuti congratulated Dr Shein and reminded others of the fact that Dr Shein will be the first president hailing from Pemba:

Kwa mambo ya kwetu Zenji huyo Mpemba mwenzetu Dr Shein ndiye anakuwa Rais wa kwanza kutoka kisiwa cha Pemba tangu 1964. Na amepata ushindi mnono ukilinganisha na waliomtangulia…

In Zanzibar our fellow Pemba Dr Shein is to become the first president from Pemba island since 1964. And he got a comfortable victory compared to his predecessors…

Election Results Delayed
On Monday bloggers were busy posting photos of chaos and a demonstration in Dar Es Salaam. Blogger Lukwangule posted photographs of a violent events in Dar Es Salaam with the following text:

POLISI imelazimika kutumia mabomu ya machozi na maji ya pilipili baada ya kutokea vurugu katika eneo la Tandika Ngamano na kuwakamata zaidi ya watu 25 waliohusika na vurugu hizo…

Police had to use tear gas and water canons after violence erupted in Tandika Ngamano and they arrested more than 25 people who were involved in the violence….

And from Zanzibar Bashir Nkoromo posted photographs of people who gathered at Bwawani hotel, where the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) set its office for announcing the election results.

Crowds outside Bwawani Hotel (photo courtesy of Bashir Nkoromo)

Meanwhile twitter users including @jamiiforums, @hakingowi, @issamwamba, and @shurufu kept the elections twitter marathon alive from Sunday night to Monday through hashtags: #UchaguziTZ, #uchaguzi, and #TZelect.

The final Tanzania Elections results are expected by the end of this week and online updates are likely to continue to play a crucial role in relieving suspense caused by the delay in the announcement of final results and the slow pace of mainstream media as twitter user @Fotobaraza wrote:

Fotobaraza Nimegundua Twitter is more reliable kuliko TBC, jamaa wanachelewa mno bwana

FotobarazaI have realised that Twitter is more reliable than TBC [Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation], these guys (updates) are very late

Here are some of the twitter users updating and discussing Tanzania Elections 2010 results by the minute:
@zittokabwe
@Subinukta
@Fotobaraza
@humanrightstz

You can also follow Mwananchi Live 2010 Election Results.

October 27 2010

Tanzania: Bloggers Analyse Tanzania 2010 Election Campaigns

By Deogratias Simba · Translated by J. Nambiza Tungaraza · View original post [sw]

On 31 October 2010, more than 19.6 million Tanzanians will make an important decision for the future of their country. They will take part in the fourth general election since the introduction of multiparty democracy. With only a few days left before the polls, Tanzanian blogosphere is following closely election campaigns conducted by various political parties.

One of the controversial issues in this year’s campaigns, it seems, is that most of university students will not be able to vote. Senior Journalist Ndimara Tegambwage who blogs at Uhuru Hauna Kikomo [SW] writes about the issue:

…Maelfu ya wanafunzi wa vyuo vikuu vya serikali walijiandikisha kupiga kura pale vyuoni kwao. Wizara ilijua hilo. Tume ya Uchaguzi ilijua na kupanga hivyo. Wanafunzi walijua watakuwa vyuoni (kwa kawaida vyuo hufunguliwa mwishoni mwa mwezi wa Septemba au mwanzoni mwa mwezi wa Oktoba,lakini mwaka huu serikali imeamua kwamba vyuo vifunguliwe mwezi Novemba). Serikali kwa ujumla ilijua hilo …

…Thousands of students at state owned universities registered to vote at their universities. The Ministry knew that. Election Commission knew and organised it. Students thought that they would be at their universities (normally colleges open towards the end of September or early October, but this year the government has decided that colleges will start the semester in November). In general the government knew…

He goes on to explain what happens in other countries:

.. Katika baadhi ya nchi duniani, kuna mifumo ya kuhakikisha raia wake waishio ughaibuni, wanashiriki zoezi la uchaguzi huko watokako. Serikali huhakikisha kila kura inakusanywa.

.. in some other countries, there are systems to ensure that their citizens living abroad participate in elections taking place in their countries of origin. Governments collect all the votes.

And the he gives an advice to the students:

…Kuna kazi moja ambayo wanafunzi wanaweza kuifanya iwapo serikali haitabadili msimamo. Wabaki walipo. Wahimize wananchi kuamka mapema na kupiga kura. Wafanye uwakala wa vyama vyao…

… Students can do something if the government will not change its position. They should remain where they are. They should urge citizens to wake up early and vote. They should promote their parties…

Opinion Polls

Another interesting issue in these campaigns is how opinion polls were conducted. Three institutions conducted the polls. These are Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania (REDET), Synovate as well as Tanzania Citizens Information Bureau (TCIB) (More information at Wavuti blog) [SW].

Results from REDET and Synovate were met with mixed reactions. Christian Bwaya blogging at Jielewe posted an article by Evarist Chahali who blogs at Kulikoni Ughaibuni. The article expresses suspicion that there might be rigging of the final vote and that REDET’s opinion poll results were preparing the ground for the impending vote-rigging:

…Wapiga kura wasianze kukata tamaa kuwa CCM wataiba kura … kwa mfano Dkt Slaa akipata asilimia 51 na Kikwete asilimia 49. Hapo watarejea uchakachuaji kama ule wa Zanzibar … Ni muhimu kutovunjwa moyo na hujuma hizi. Yatupasa kufahamu kuwa Kikwete na CCM yake ni kama mgonjwa mahututi ambaye yuko tayari hata kuning'inia kwenye uzi ili asalimike. Tutashuhudia vituko zaidi ya huo uchakachuaji wa REDET …

…Voters should not resign to the notion that CCM [Tanzania's ruling party] will steal their votes… for example if Dr. Slaa gets 51 perscent and Kikwete 41 percent. They will then resort to the vote-rigging similar to the one in Zanzibar… It is important that not to give up hope in the face of this sabotage. We should understand that Kikwete and his CCM are like a terminally ill patient who is ready to commit suicide to escape (the pain). We will witness more bizarre incidents than REDET’s…

There are those who have lost trust in REDET like Markus Mpangala who left a comment at Bwaya'sblog:

… ilipoanzishwa REDET sijawahi kusoma wala sitarajii kusoma tafiti zao … samahani mimi huwa siamini maoni hususani tafiti za namna hii … REDET wanatumia pesa kibao kutafiti eti fulani anaongoza … REDET ni mchezo wa rede au kombolela tu.

… Since REDET started I have never and do not anticipate reading their research… sorry I am an opinion polls sceptic especially opinion polls of this kind… REDET spend a lot of money to research who is leading… REDET is just a game like hide and seek.

Ansbert Ngurumo blogging at Utakapojua Hujui Ndipo Utakapojua [SW] writes about the Synovate opinion polls:

… Baada ya hapo alionyesha vielelezo vya utafiti uliofanywa na Synovate, ambao katika kipengele GPO 6 liliulizwa swali: “Kama uchaguzi ungefanyika leo, nani ungempigia kura ya urais?” - Synovate walikanusha kwamba swali hilo halikuwemo katika utafiti wao … ukweli ni uwa walifanya utafiti lakini CCM iliingiza ‘mkono' wake baada ya kubaini kuwa matokeo hayo yalikuwa yanaonyesha Kikwete yuko nyuma ya Dkt Slaa …

… and then he [Dr. Wilbroad Slaa, the main opposition presidential candidate] produced data from Synovate’s research, in which there is a question in GPO 6: “if the election were held today, who would you vote to become the president?” – Synovate denied that there was not such a question in their survey… the truth is they conducted the survey but CCM interfered after realising that results showed that Kikwete was lagging behind Dr. Slaa…

Meanwhile, Haki writing for a blog called Food for Thought posted photos showing a famous businessman and CCM supporter, Mustapha Jaffar Sabodo with the following explanation:

Mfanyabiashara na mkereketwa wa CCM nchini, Mustapha Jaffar Sabodo, ametoa hundi ya shilingi milioni 100 na kumkabidhi Mwenyekiti wa Taifa wa Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), Freeman Mbowe. Fedha hizo zimelenga kusaidia chama hicho ili kukamilisha kampeni.

A businessmana and CCM supporter Mustapha Jaffar Sabodo has donated a check worth 100 million Shillings and handed it to the National Chairman of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), Freeman Mbowe. The money is to assist the party to finalise the campaign.

Election Debates

One week before the general elections, there was a Q&A session broadcast through ITV. In that session Dr. Wilbrod Slaa, CHADEMA’s presidential candidate responded to questions direct from the people. Maggid Mjengwa, a journalist and blogger, wondered about the presidential ‘debate’:

… Kama ni mdahalo, basi ingekuwa ni vema na busara kwa wagombea wengine wa urais kushiriki. Bila shaka, wagombea wengine nao wana haki za msingi za kupewa nafasi kuelezea sera zao na kujibu maswali ya wapiga kura.

…If it was a debate, then it would have been wise and prudent for other presidential candidates to participate. Without a doubt, other candidates have a fundamental right to be given a chance to explain their policies and to respond to voter’s questions.

And then he informs us that CCM barred their candidates from participating in election debates:

…Hata kama chama tawala, CCM, kimeweka wazi kuwa mgombea wao hatashiriki mdahalo …

…Although the ruling party, CCM, has stated clearly that their candidate will not participate in the debate…

Photo journalist, Issa Michuzi, who runs one of the most read Swahili blogs both within and outside the country, follows the incumbent and CCM’s presidential candidate Mh Jakaya Kikwete campaign as well as his supporters. A title in one of his posts (with photos) says: JK Afunika Bovu Mlimba, Mahenge na Ifakara (meaning: JK conquers Mlimba, Mahenge and Ifakara).

UDADISI notices that one presidential candidate from the opposition seems to trouble CCM:

…It is quite clear that Dr Wilbrod Slaa's decision to run as a presidential candidate has tilted the balance of power. Now the debate is no longer about whether the ruling party's candidate [Jakay Kikwete] will get a landslide victory - as in the previous election. rather, it is about how much that victory will be cut.

In Zanzibar, there are signs that there will be peaceful elections especially after the agreement to form a Government of National Unity in the Isles. However, there are some nagging issues as described by Salma Said:

…SERIKALI ya Mapinduzi Zanzibar (SMZ) imekiri kwamba imeandikisha watu katika daftari la kudumu la wapiga kura wasiokuwa na sifa za kuandikishwa katika daftari hilo kutokana na sababu mbali mbali.

… The Government of Zanzibar (SMZ) has admitted that it has registered unqualified people in the voters register due to various reasons.

Apart from admitting that, the government also has admitted that Zanzibar Election Commission (ZEC) has employed ineligible electoral officers.

Kauli hiyo imetolewa na Mkuu wa Mkoa wa Kaskazini Pemba, Dadi Faki Dadi katika semina ya wakuu wa mikoa, makamanda, maafisa wadhamini, kamati za ulinzi na masheikh iliyofanyika kwenye ukumbi wa Elimu Mbadala Vitongoji Mkoa wa Kusini Kisiwani Pemba….

That statement has been issued by North Pemba Regional Commisioner, Dadi Faki Dadi during a seminar for regional commissioners, commanders, senior officers, security committees and Sheikhs that was held at Alternative Education Conference Hall in Vitongoji, South Pemba…

She goes on to caution Zanzibaris (and all Tanzanians in general):

…Waswahili wana msemo wanasema kwamba yashayopita sio ndwele tugange yanayokuja. Naam, nakubaliana na msemo huo lakini tukumbuke katika kuganga kunahitajika umahiri, ubunifu, ujuzi, uzoefu na busara za kutosha ili ndwele ile iliotokea nyuma isije ikajirejea tena…

Swahili people have a saying ‘what happened in the past is in the past, let us prevent the looming disease’. Yes, I agree with that saying but let us remember that it needs skills, creativity, knowledge, experience and enough wisdom to make sure that the disease we suffered in the past shall not inflict us again…

Fierce contest for the (Union) presidential seat is between Jakaya Kikwete from CCM, Wilbrod Slaa from CHADEMA and Ibrahim Lipumba from CUF. In Zanzibar, the contest is between Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein from CCM and Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad from CUF.

As a famous Swahili saying goes: Will Tanzanians decide to plait or to shave? We will find out after the elections.

October 07 2010

October 04 2010

Tanzania: The Use of Social Media in Tanzania General Election 2010

By J. Nambiza Tungaraza

Tanzania will go to the polls on October 30, 2010 and the general election campaign is well underway. As the campaigns heat up, presidential candidates and other candidates fighting for parliamentary seats are using new media tools to communicate with potential voters. Along with campaign rallies, which target the majority of the population, a small number of politicians have started to use social media tools such as blogs, online videos, Facebook and twitter to create deeper engagement with voters.

It is hard to accurately comment on the impact of the ongoing online campaigns because of lack of up-to-date statistics on usage of social media tools in Tanzania. The number of Tanzanians using the Internet is still small in comparison to the total population. In a country of 41 million people there are only 676,000 Internet users representing 1.6% of the total population. Among those with access to the internet there are only 141,580 Facebook users, with 74% of them aged between 18-34 years.

Whether created by fans or formal campaign officials, there are a few websites, blogs, facebook pages and twitter accounts running campaigns for presidential candidates and those fighting for parliamentary seats from the ruling CCM party. The official website of the current president and the ruling CCM party candidate, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, has a link to a facebook page with more than 4,500 followers. There is also another facebook page dedicated to Mr Kikwete with more than 13,500 fans.

Kikwete’s running mate who is also the candidate for the Vice President's post, Dr. Gharib Bilal, has more than one campaign websites. One site is linked to Mr Kikwete’s website and Dr. Bilal’s twitter account, while the other website has a link to a facebook page dedicated to his campaign.

One of the opposition parties presidential candidates Dr. Wilbrod Slaa from CHADEMA party has a facebook page linked from his official website with about 910 fans. Likewise there are more than two facebook pages dedicated to Dr. Slaa’s campaign with about 9000 people who ‘like’ Dr. Slaa. He also has a twitter account with very few tweets.

Similar to Tanzania Mainland, election manifestos, pictures and videos of the campaign rallies are on display on the websites of the Zanzibar’s CCM presidential candidate Dr Ali Mohamed Shein as well as on his main opposition contender Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad from the Civic United Front (CUF).

Announced mostly through twitter and blogs, online campaign videos with clips from election rallies have so far received a little more than 12,000 views in total at the time of writing this post. Some of the videos appear to have been uploaded directly from the rallies, like this one from CHADEMA’s Kigoma North candidate, Hon. Zitto Kabwe:

While other videos like this one from the January2010zaidi Youtube channel appears to have been professionally produced:

The use social media platforms have made it possible for the campaign teams to interact directly with voters and to respond to their concerns. These tools have also enabled Tanzanians leaving abroad to follow events happening back home.

When CCM refused to participate in elections debate, as explained here by blogger Shurufu Anasema, a twitter user Issa Mwamba challenged Kikwete:

Where Kikwete2010 replied:

I personally think CCM as an independent party has a right to select and choose the debate it can participate or not participate

Although there are doubts as to whether online campaigns will influence voters in a country with such low internet penetration, some bloggers such as Spotistarehe are hopeful:

Je Vijijini wanasoma facebook?

Asilimia kubwa ya watumiaji wa mitandao hii wako jijini Dar Es Salaam na mikoa mikubwa kama Arusha, Morogoro, Tanga, Mwanza na kwa siku hizi mitandao inafika kote.

Jiji hili la Dar wakazi wengi ni wakuja wanatoka vijijini ambako wabunge wengi hutoka huko. Mathalani mi ni mtu wa Morogoro Kilombero, bila vyombo vya habari siwezi kujua mgombea wa Ubunge wa jimbo langu ana sera gani, lakini kama nitakuwa nasoma mawazo yake kupitia updates za mara kwa mara kwenye mitandao hii naweza nikawa mpiga debe mzuri… nikibahatika naweza washauri ninawafikia kuwa Bwana Kibonde ni mtu safi na nia ya kutukwamua anayo tumachagueni

Do people in rural areas read (use) facebook?

Big percentage of internet users are in Dar-Es-Salaam and in other big cities like Arusha, Morogoro, Tanga, Mwanza and these days internet is accessible everywhere.

In Dar many residents are from rural areas where MPs are hailing from. For instance I am from Morogoro Kilombero, without access to media I will not be able to know what my parliamentary candidate’s policies are, but if I read his/her updates regularly on the internet then I may become a good supporter… and therefore if I am lucky I can advise people that Mr. Kibonde is a good man and he intends to save us therefore let’s elect him.

June 03 2010

Tanzania: Will Tanzania benefit from playing Brazil?

By J. Nambiza Tungaraza

Football fans in Tanzania are eagerly waiting to see FIFA world Cup five times winners Brazil taking on Tanzania national Team on June 7, 2010 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. The international friendly between the five times world champions and Tanzania national team is part of Brazil’s World Cup preparations before the opening match of the World Cup on June 11th in South Africa.

The match will be broadcasted live in over 160 countries and some anticipate that the 90 minutes attention will promote Tanzania’s image abroad. As well as generating publicity for the country, it will also be a lifetime opportunity for local football fans to see the Brazilians play on Tanzanian soil.

A debate is brewing in the Tanzanian blogosphere over the amount of money involved in the deal and the benefits to Tanzania. Chahali started with a post titled Taifa Stars vs Brazil on Metro But for all the wrong reasons where he pasted a paragraph from the UK Metro saying:

Tanzania Football Federation admits paying several million dollars to persuade brazil to play the Taifa Stars but president Leodgar tenga insists it will be worth every penny

Although Tanzania Football Federation has refused to disclose the amount of money paid to the Brazilians for the opportunity to play in Tanzania, readers in Michuzi’s blog have seized upon the story. ankal kamau who claims to be from Kenya writes:

After reading this piece, “Tanzania Pay Brazil Price” from BBC, I decided to write something for my neighbours Tanzanians. A country in the bottom of the poorest in the world, I was shocked on the rationale and thinking of these people. How could Tanzania pay such a price for Brazil to come and play soccer in Tanzania, while women giving birth are dying in hospitals because they cant get medicine. The could have used the money to modernize their Airport to be the Best in East Africa.

Some readers seem to agree with Ankal Kamau:

Let's be serious, the money is too much, the govt should at least invest in building schools and hospitals rather than bringing Brazil. It's a shame seeing students sitting on the floor in schools while our govt is wasting money…

While Kamau’s post has evoked negative reaction, in another post [SW] readers are more positive about the match citing benefits to Tanzania’s tourism urging the government to seize the opportunity and promote Tanzania:

Kwa upande mwingine, vipi kuhusu utalii. Tafadhali, wahusika (nawanyooshea vidole watu wa Wizara ya Utalii) mtumie hii fursa ipasavyo. Brazil itakuja na wanahabari kutoka kila kona ya dunia.

On the other hand, what about tourism. Please, (I am pointing to those in Tourism Department) use this opportunity accordingly. Brazil will come with journalists from all corners of the world.

Another reader in Ankal Kamau’s post questions the use of tourism promotion to justify the spending:

I'm sick and tired of people using tourism as the justification for such a disgraceful act on the part of our government. We still do not have the basic necessities of water and electricity let alone decent schools and hospitals. Personally I am very disturbed. How are we promoting tourism by hosting the Brazilian football team? Someone please explain the rationale to me. When will we realise that enough is enough and that we are being taken for a ride? Lets wake up guys. Seriously…

Despite local football fans whinging about the highest entrance fee to watch the match on Monday (200,000TShillings, about 140USD while the lowest fee is equivalent to a monthly minimum wage (30,000TShillings, about 21USD), tickets are expected to be sold out as philanthropists, companies and institution have already started to buy giveaway tickets for the fans.

Posting from South Africa Faustine’s Baraza has more world cup related posts in Kiswahili and English here and here.

World Cup 2010 remains one of the main subjects in Vijana FM blog. More posts here [SW] and here [SW].

January 25 2010

Kenya: Abdullah al-Faisal stirs confrontation

As on Thursday 21st Jan, the government of Kenya was at its nerves end trying to raise over US$,400,000 in a bid to deport Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal to his home country, Jamaica using a hired plane. This was one of the many failed attempts to get al-Faisal out of the country due to his terrorist nature which was deemed a risk to the East African Country, Kenya.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal a Jamaican Born Muslim Cleric

Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal a Jamaican Born Muslim Cleric


Just who is Sheikh al –Faisal and why has his stay in Kenya caused the death of a police officer, a protester with several others nursing injuries and countless losses to business owners in a recent protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi?

Born Trevor William Forest to a evangelical family in 1964, al-Faisal left Jaimaica for the UK in the 1980s.
According to Wikipedia, he is a radical Muslim cleric who preached in the United Kingdom until he was convicted of stirring up racial hatred and urging his followers to murder Jews, Hindus, Christians, and Americans.

El-Faisal was sentenced to nine years in prison while in Britain, of which he served four years before being deported to Jamaica in 2007.

On the New Years Eve to the year 2010 al-Faisal was arrested by the Kenya Police at a mosque in the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa for preaching contrary to his tourist visa.

It is due to his “unjustified’ arrest that Muslims in Nairobi held violent demonstrations last week, Friday 15th January just outside the Jamia Mosque at the heart of the capital city. The demonstrations led to a bloody confrontation between the Muslims, the police and civilians who were opposed to al-Faisal’s presence in Kenya. A policeman and a protester were both shot. They both later succumbed to injuries while in hospital.

The news of the bloody protest first appeared online via twitter with many twitters in the Central Business District(CBD) giving updates and warnings on the chaos that had taken over the CBD as well as the amount of tear gas that had covered the city like a cloud of smoke.

A screenshot of tweets by http://twitter.com/Mwanikih. The tweets start from the bottom up giving a chronology of how the protests unfolded.

RT @robertalai: Checking out “Its Kenyans against Terror and fundamentalists” on Bidii Afrika: http://ning.it/5hIsIB ~ nice n truthful read!
10:24 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

RT @hilum: AL Shabaab is in control of Nairobi now ama? ~ not for long i can assure u!
6:18 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

RT @robertalai: @mwanikih a policeman was shot from the mosque. We were there. Its religious bigotry helped by akina Al Amin Kimathi #fb
6:16 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

@soleaddict1 Trust me. And they are not a day older than 18 from what i can see. Radicalisation at its worst my friend!
5:55 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu in reply to soleaddict1

Guys chanting ”Kenya yetu”.
5:53 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

Police are just standing by watching with their guns n dogs as 10 kids bring city to a standstill! Shameful!
5:47 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

I see a start of Somali intolerance by Kenyans. Kimathi Street looks like Mogadishu!
5:30 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

This is getting serious, a hooded guy just stabbed some guy n ran into the mosque. This madness needs to stop!
5:16 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

Methinks the muslims protesting are Al Shabab. Teargas is doing nothing for them! Looks like they've been thru some training…#scary!
4:15 PM Jan 15th from web
4

How can my nose be running faster than my legs?
2:49 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

With all due respect, u dont migrate from Somalia to come n start messing with my life. Just saying!
2:23 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

Kwani where's the GSU?
2:16 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

All this for the illegal Jamaican cleric? Surely!
2:11 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

City Market traders have now joined the cops and fighting the demonstrating muslims!
2:05 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

Stay away from CBD, muslims n police in runnin battles. Tear gas in plenty
1:51 PM Jan 15th from Snaptu

The BBC website first broke the story of al-Faisal deportation from Kenya on the 7th of January with information that he(al-Faisal) was being deported to Gambia upon request after his arrest.

Since then, it has been a diplomatic charade that has left the Kenyan Immigration Minister, Otieno Kajwang’ between a rock and a hard surface.

Demonstrations by Muslim demanding the release of al_Faisal in Nairobi,Kenya

Demonstrations by Muslim demanding the release of al_Faisal in Nairobi,Kenya


Abu Nihla who runs a Muslim blog, Muslims In Kenya posted the news of al-Faisal’s arrest on 6th January under the headline Sh Abdullah el-Feisal is being held by the Kenyan police. He has since written 4 other posts giving updates on the story with the latest being a video calling out to all Muslims to join together in defending the rights of al-Faisal.

Some of the responses that he received regarding the Kenyan Muslims protest for al-Faisal’s release were:-

Munir on January 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm | ReplyMunir
50Rate This
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Fasal is a convicted terrorist. Why would peace loving Muslims protest his expulsion from Kenya?

on January 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm | ReplyAlmanurar
00Rate This
That proves that Muslims are not peace loving. They need to change their mindsets so that we can have a peaceful world

on January 11, 2010 at 12:24 am | ReplyTruth Detector
40Rate This
A person who incites others to murder should be locked up. Deportation is too good of punishment for a murderer.

Potash, a Kenyan writer and blogger wrote an open letter to Kenyan Muslims on Monday 18th January in his blog ‘A Kenyan Urban Narrative’

On Friday last, a section of you took to the streets of Nairobi to protest against the deportation of a fellow Muslim, the Jamaican born cleric Abdullah al-Faisal. The Kenyan media, which many of you have accused of fuelling Islamophobia and I am with you on that one, informs me that six police men were wounded in that protest. One of them has since succumbed to his injuries. That policeman was shot, isn’t that strange?
Read the rest of his letter here.

The TERROR FREE SOMALIA FOUNDATION in its blog, revealed
that Somalia released a song whose lyrics said it would march to Nairobi to make the calculation for what cops do to the Muslims in Kenya there.

“We will cross the border and into Kenya, Insha Allah we are able to be in Nairobi,” said the six-minute duration of the song backed by a gunshot weapons. “When we've got there, we will kill, we have the guns, just guns. Army of God was in the street, slowly but surely, Insha Allah we will soon be there,” the lyrics go.

This is on their latest post Al-Shabaab Terrorist Threatens Attack on Nairobi.

Alex Thurston in his blog Sahelblog gave a rundown of the personalities that shaped the week with the story of al-Faisal and the Kenyan Muslim protest being among them.

A nairobian’s perspective gave his personal take on the protest in his post Muslims Protest the detention of Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal in Kenya on 16th January

Other blogs that broke the story were, Musoma Tanzania, BrandKemistry and Tea and politics

Onyango Oloo gives a personal account of the his experience during the protests, in the blog San Oo Aung’s Blog
As at 6pm yesterday (21st) a Kenyan tweeter broke the news that al-Faisal had just been deported out of the country.

http://twitter.com/TerryanneC

Ok..Abdulah Al Faizal has finally been deported
about 1 hour ago from web

apparently he left abroad a gulf stream jet according to govt reports..council of Imams have called off planned demo's for tomorrow
about 1 hour ago from web

Kenyan newspapers confirmed that today(Friday 22nd ) in their various headlines although details of his flight ticket, as well as plane he took, are yet to be revealed.

It is also yet to be confirmed that he did indeed, leave the country.

December 04 2009

Congo: Doctors without Borders tell people's stories through web video

conditioncriticalCondition Critical is a website showcasing the stories of victims of the violence in Eastern Congo coordinated and launched by Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF).

Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing asked Pete Masters of MSF for some more information on the project and then posted his reply:

Condition: Critical was launched one year ago by Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to bring to the world's attention the plight of the people living through the war in Eastern Congo (DRC). BUT, rather than MSF at the focal point, it is the people and their stories that take centre stage. In this, the last chapter of the Condition: Critical project, listen to the stories of four people telling how the conflict has affected their lives.

A year ago we wrote about the project “Condition: Critical” and their call for action:

A campaign by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to raise awareness on the stark state of the DRC will start on November 20th. The Condition:Critical project will collect voices from the war in Eastern DRC, starting off with a documentary to be published on the launch date. The trailer is extremely moving, starting with the poignant testimony of a child born and raised during the war, who perceives his future as a bleak path leading only unto death.

This is the same story that begins this next video telling the story of the war in the Congo and how it is affecting the people who live there. It also tells of the work MSF are doing in the area, trying to save as many people as they possibly can:

The following story has the pictures drawn by a former child soldier who tells of how he was kidnapped as a child and forced to commit terrible acts:

Francoise was locked in her home when it was set on fire. She was gravely burned and lost both children due to that event: one died inside the burning house, the other in the hospital. Even through her physical pain, she confesses that the hardest pain to deal with is the one in her heart.

Bahati tells how he saw his wife, mother, father and brothers die in the war and then he fled to a refugee camp, where they are still afraid due to the insecurity there. Since he is alone, he has to work to eat, and he teaches anyone who asks him how to be a lumberjack, so they don't starve to death, and hoping they in turn will also help anyone else in need.

Mishoka's brother was killed, and he was left to flee with his own family as well as his brother's widow and young daughter. He fled with all his village, carrying only a mat and a blanket, and now has to provide for all his extended family in a war situation.

You can visit Condition: Critical and leave a message of support to the People of Eastern Congo by clicking on the map filled with green squares and leaving your own. MSF will then share some of the messages with the people in Eastern Congo. To read about MSF activities and the current medical situation in the Congo, please read here. And for more eyewitness accounts on the violence and critical situation in the DRC, here.

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