Global Health

Covid Has Now Killed 150,000 People in UK

The UK’s official Covid death toll has passed 150,000 in a tragic milestone after the virus claimed a further 313 lives on Saturday.

The heartbreaking figure, the highest daily number since February last year, means 150,057 people have died of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The UK is just the seventh country to pass the devastating landmark, following the USA, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Peru.

Tanzanian News

Zanzibar/Tanzania: Nine People Killed in Boat Accident in Pemba

Nine people are reported to have lost their lives and six others rescued while 10 are still missing after a boat accident in Pemba yesterday.

The tragedy happened while the boat which is said to be carrying around 30-40 people on their way to a funeral capsized mid-voyage.

Pemba South police commander Richard Thadei confirmed the tragic incident saying the boat which was on its way to Panza island from Chekacheka did not reach its destination.

He, however, said the cause of the accident is yet to be known, ruling out bad weather. The boat’s captain is yet to be located.

“So far nine bodies have been recovered and taken to the Regional Hospital for medical examination so that the process of handing over their families can go ahead,” he said.

“So for now the rescue efforts are being handled by KMKM (Anti-Smuggling Force) and the people but due to the bad weather and darkness we have postponed the work we will continue with it very early in the morning to see if there are any other bodies or survivors,” he said.


African Politics

Sudan: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok Resigns

NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan’s prime minister, who was ousted in a military coup but reinstated over a month ago, resigned on Sunday, in the latest upheaval to disrupt the country’s shaky transition to democracy from dictatorship.

The decision by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok came as widespread protests gripped the northeast African nation.

Protesters denounced not just the coup that unseated Mr. Hamdok in October but also the deal that returned him to power in November. Opposition political groups and other major political forces rejected it as an unacceptable concession to the military, which has controlled Sudan for most of its history since it became an independent state more than six decades ago.

In a televised address on Sunday evening, Mr. Hamdok said that repeated mediation attempts had failed in recent days and that the country needed to engage in a new dialogue to to chart a path toward a democratic, civilian state.


African Politics

Kenya Decides 2022: Raila 33%, Ruto 32%, “Undecided” 21% according to Infotrak Poll


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

African Politics Diplomacy

The 18th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State Agrees to Integrate DRC into the EAC


Global Health

COVID-19: Only 2.11 Percent Vaccinated in Tanzania as Fourth Wave Rages

Dar es Salaam. Achieving the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s target of vaccinating 40 percent of the population by the end of the year is still a tall order for Tanzania which has now covered 2.11 percent only.

Tanzania, which has received nearly 4.4 million Covid-19 doses from Covax facility and other development partners over the period of four months since July 2021, has only been able to administer 1.2 million doses.

According to the manager in-charge of the National Vaccination Programme at the ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Florian Tinuga, this is only 2.11 percent over 57 million people in the country.

“We are continuing to push the national agenda for people to vaccinate because the science of vaccines and global evidence shows that the Covid-19 vaccines can protect against severe disease as well as limit the transmission of the virus,” he said.

Speaking yesterday during a briefing session involving editors and media owners, Dr Tinuga said Tanzania has three situations when it comes to Covid-19 patients; those who do not seek medical help, those who went to the hospital and those who only went when they reached a critical stage.

He said: “The majority (80 percent) of the people with Covid-19 do not seek medical help and some do not even know if they have the disease because they are not showing, only 15 percent reach to the health centres while 5 percent wait until they are critical,”

Dr Tinuga said this is why the government has been increasing efforts to influence people to vaccinate and especially those considered in vulnerable situations such as health workers, military, teachers and even media.

One of the challenges on the vaccination rollout in Tanzania include the spread out of incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable facts on Covid-19 vaccines, says an expert on Public Health from the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas), Prof Deodatus Kakoko.

Prof Kakoko said: “In the first few weeks, the roll out was slow because people were not informed and there was a lot of myths and wrong facts about the vaccines, but now many people are aware on its significance during this pandemic,”

For his part, Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) chairman Deodatus Balile said media personnel have a key role in the vaccination campaign, saying it is in their power to educate and provide the public with correct info on how to protect themselves from Covid-19.

“When the first case was announced in Tanzania, the media played a good role in influencing people to wash hands and wear masks, so if we use the same efforts to influence vaccines we can succeed even more,” said Balile.

According to WHO, only nine African countries have met a target of vaccinating 10 percent of their populations against Covid-19 by the end of September, a statistic that illustrates how far the continent is lagging behind global vaccination rates.


Economy | Business Tanzanian News

Commercialization of Natural Gas Reserves in Mozambique and Tanzania Will Remain Central to Public Safety, National Security, and Political Power in Both Countries in Coming Years.

In November, Tanzania started a new round of talks with Equinor and Shell to agree a framework for the mooted liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Lindi Region. Also in November, a floating LNG facility started its voyage from South Korea to Mozambique’s offshore Area 4. Total’s Senior Vice-President Africa Henry-Max Ndong Nzues expressed guarded satisfaction with operations against the insurgents in Cabo Delgado, though stopped short of resuming project development. On 25 November, Mozambique launched its Sixth Licensing Round, with five of 16 offshore blocks being off Cabo Delgado province. All these projects have varying timelines but will inevitably affect the security situation on both sides of the border for years to come.

On 8 November, talks concerning a host government agreement for Tanzania’s LNG project officially re-commenced with energy companies. Though the aim of completing the talks by May 2022 is unlikely to be met and a final investment decision is likely a long way off — and may never come — heightened activity can be expected in Lindi town, the future site of the LNG plant, and Mtwara town, a base for any future offshore developments of the southerly Shell operated fields. Much of this will be positive, particularly for Tanzanian private sector investment. Yet, recent history has some lessons for how such activity may be received locally, and its potential impact on political violence. 

In January and May 2013, in Mtwara, Tanzania experienced its greatest outbreak of civil unrest since the Majimaji rebellion over 100 years before. In December 2012 and January 2013, mass demonstrations were held to protest a proposed natural gas pipeline, under the slogan “Gesi Haitoki Mtwara” (the gas is not leaving Mtwara). The demonstrations were led by some Mtwara NGOs, local branches of opposition political parties, and religious leaders both Christian and Muslim. The demonstrations were followed by seemingly organized violence across Mtwara Region.

Clashes in January saw politicians’ homes, a prison, government and ruling party offices, and government vehicles attacked. Mtwara town, Tandahimba, and Masasi were all affected. Clashes occurred again in May after the presentation in parliament of the budget for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. This led to the deployment of troops in Mtwara town.

Current state concerns about security in the region stem from the violence of that period. The government believed that the 2013 violence was instigated for political reasons, and reacted accordingly. The then-member of parliament for Mtwara Urban was charged with incitement, while a Tanzania People’s Defence Force commander pointed the finger at religious leaders, motorcycle taxi drivers, and city businessmen, accusing them of organizing the violence. Less publicly, informants in Mtwara town have spoken of Salafist elements having had a hand in the violence.

The lesson for 2021 and beyond is that the use of violence in response to LNG development is not restricted to extremists. Shell’s natural gas reserves lie close to Mtwara town. Shell and its subcontractors will need to expand their presence in order to develop the reserves, which requires significant infrastructure development. The impact in Lindi will of course be greater if the LNG plant goes ahead. Project benefits will need to be cannily distributed, and rents will need to be managed in politically sensitive ways. 

The security risks in Cabo Delgado are of course more acute. Total suspended operations on its Mozambique LNG project in April 2021 following the attack in March on Palma town by the insurgents, a decision that has contributed to further delays to the ExxonMobil-led Rovuma LNG project. This followed the withdrawal of staff from the project in the face of an insurgent attack in January on Quitunda, which is beside the project site. The attack highlighted France’s strategic interests in at least containing the insurgency to allow the project to go ahead. Rwanda’s success in securing the enclave of Palma town and the neighboring LNG site, while fighting continues across Cabo Delgado and Niassa provinces, confirms for some Rwanda’s role as a proxy for French interests.

The January and March attacks on Quitunda and Palma saw IS propagandists cite France as exploiting Muslim communities, in one case comparing Mozambican gas to West African gold. If Rwandan and Mozambican forces are successful in securing Palma and the Afungi peninsula as an enclave, and resume Mozambique LNG, France may find itself increasingly tied to the project’s security risks. Given Total’s interests in Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania, France will undoubtedly continue to exert its influence on security matters across the region.

In the longer term, Mozambique’s 6th Licensing Round too has the potential to drive extremist narratives for years to come, if it is successful. The round, launched in November, will close in October 2022. Three offshore blocks lie off Chiure, Pemba, Quissanga, Ibo, and Macomia districts. Their development will depend on the province’s long term security, or failing that, the development of an expanded coastal enclave. The model that Mozambique pursues to manage the security risks around LNG development — and the success of that model — will have major economic and governance implications on both sides of the Ruvuma. If Mozambique LNG development cannot survive the political upheaval that has grown in its wake, Tanzania is likely to take a much more repressive approach to its own LNG projects.


African Music

Congolese Singer Koffi Olomidé Sentenced in France for Kidnapping

The Congolese singer was, however, acquitted of sexual assault charges he had earlier on been charged with on the same dancers– the former members of his Quartier Latin band.
The sexual assault on the dancers had allegedly been perpetrated between 2002 and 2006 in the singer’s villa in Asnières, a town in the Paris region.
Koffi Olomide, 65, is a successful star of romantic rumba and has a stellar reputation.

Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomidé has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for the kidnapping of his former dancers.

The Versailles Court in France pronounced the verdict on December 13. The Congolese singer was, however, acquitted of sexual assault charges he had earlier on been charged with on the same dancers– the former members of his Quartier Latin band.

The sexual assault on the dancers had allegedly been perpetrated between 2002 and 2006 in the singer’s villa in Asnières, a town in the Paris region.

The acquittal on the sexual assaults is “given for the benefit of the doubt,” explained the president of the 7th Correctional Chamber of the Versailles Court of Appeal, referring in particular to the “evolving, sometimes contradictory statements” of the complainants.

The singer’s judicial record is heavy and includes a conviction in 2019 in France, for rape of a minor under 15 years old and sequestration of four of his dancers. At first instance, the Nanterre court gave him a two-year suspended sentence instead of the seven-year prison sentence requested by the prosecution.

The star had appealed against the sentence.

The Versailles court’s verdict on his 18-month sentence came after the Congolese star had left France.

The singer denied the accusations by his former dancers. He said that “the dream of the young women who accuse me was to live in France and obtain papers from associations.”

Koffi Olomide said that “women are very well protected, we must also listen to our point of view”.

Koffi Olomide has been performing live in different locations. Recently, the singer caused a buzz after going to the war-torn areas in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo dressed in military fatigue.

In early November, after he returned from Paris where he had gone to attend his first trial session, Koffi Olomide went to seek solace at the large Kimbanguiste church in Nkamba in the western province of Kongo-Central, where he confessed to the spiritual leader of the church that he was “overwhelmed by problems”.

Koffi Olomide, 65, is a successful star of romantic rumba and has a stellar reputation.

In 2016, he was expelled from Kenya following a public assault on one of his dancers. The singer apologised, acknowledging “a little moment of distraction”.

In 2018, Zambia issued a warrant of arrest against him for assaulting a photographer- being one of the incidences that have created a particularly heavy past for the boss of the Quartier Latin band.


African Politics

Zambia: Businessman who Bought President Hichilema’s Jacket for ZK2.5m (appr USD 138k) Awarded Tender to Supply Oil by Government

Businessman who bought President Hakainde Hichilema’s jacket for 2.5 million awarded a tender to supply oil by Government

This is under tender no MOE PSU/0B/G/03/B/2021 to bring in 531,000 million diesel and 267,000 million of petrol.

A 34 years businessman, Jonathan Kondowe popularity known Mr kays the owner of PG Farms in Mutanda Kalumbila district is a shareholder in Harvest Group of Companies which has been single sourced to supply oils in Zambia.

He bought Hakainde Hichilema’s jacket at K2.5 million, the red jacket that was alllegedly worn by President Hakainde Hichilema during his 127 days treason imprisonment in 2017.

Kondowe is a share holder in this company contracting the Minister’s company.