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Tanzanian bloggers virtual election, Taifa Stars African Cup of Nations victory and a backflip in the parliament

It is official, Tanzania bloggers are going to hold a virtual election on June 30, 2007. There are eight candidates for different positions listed on the Jumuiya ya Wanablogu Tanzania (the community of Tanzanian bloggers) blog.

Candidates photos are on the right hand side of the blog for easy viewing. In what is likely to be a very close election, the chairperson and secretary positions have attracted three candidates each while the treasure's position has attracted only two contestants.

Alleged Bank of Tanzania embezzlement and a backflip in the parliament

Maggid Mjengwa has posted an article written by one of his readers looking at the performance of Tanzania's parliament current speaker, Hon. Samwel Sitta. The article applauds how the speaker challenged unsubstantiated claims in the house by Members of Parliament, especially during the current controversy surrounding the disappearance of Bank of Tanzania‘s Shs.250bn/- from external debt account and the controversial BoT Twin Towers project in Dar Es Salaam. During the discussions, the once staunch critic of the government, Hon. Chrisant Mzindakaya from the ruling party CCM, did a backflip by praising the BoT as one of the top 10 banks in Africa, implying that the Bank has done nothing wrong. And a surprising change of attitude from the house speaker followed – this time the house speaker did not ask the MP to either substantiate his claims or to produce the names of the other top 10 banks in Africa on the list:

Si Mheshimiwa Spika, naibu wake wala Waheshimiwa wabunge wengine walimhoji Mheshimiwa Dk Chrisant Majiyatanga Mzindakaya kuwaorodheshea safu ya benki kuu kumi bora barani Afrika. Kwa taarifa zilizoandikwa magazetini kama nilivyozinukuu hapo chini ningekuwa miongoni mwa Waheshimiwa wabunge ningemuomba Spika na Naibu wake wamtake Mheshimiwa Dk Chrisant Majiyatanga Mzindakaya athibitishe kauli yake.

Neither the Speaker, his deputy nor the other members of parliament dared to ask Hon. Chrisant Majiyatanga Mzindakaya to produce the list of top 10 banks in Africa. According to newspaper reports as quoted below, If I were one of the MPs I would have asked the speaker to ask Hon. Dr. Chrisant Majiyatanga Mzindakaya to substantiate his claim.

VIP treatment in the House of Parliament for Taifa Stars after African Cup of Nations victory

Various Swahili blogs followed closely the African Cup of Nations qualifiers. And yes, Tanzanians are jubilant after their national football team Taifa Stars won 1-0 in an away game against Burkina Faso during the 2008 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in Ouagadougou. The win briefly put Taifa Stars at the top of Group Seven ahead of Senegal.

As the nation watched the match live on their TVs, bloggers kept on posting updates of the match. What happened after the match shows how much Tanzanians love soccer and their national team. Immediately after the winning goal, Saidi Yakubu broke the news:

Habari za hivi punde kutoka Burkina Fasso ni kuwa Taifa Stars wameshinda kwa bao moja bila licha ya kukuru kakara za hapa na pale zilizosababisha kocha Maximo kutolewa na mchezaji Shadrack Nsajigwa kutolewa lakini hii ni habari njema kabisa kwa vile sasa tunaongoza KUNDI NAMBA SABA! KILA LA KHERI STARS!!!!!!!!!!

The latest from Burkina Faso is that Taifa Stars has won one nil despite tense situations here and there that caused Coach Maximo (Tanzania) and his player Shadrack Nsajigwa to be sent out, the good news is we are leaders of GROUP SEVEN, ALL THE BEST STARS!!!!!!!!!

Along with Saidi Yakubu's blog, Muhidin Issa Michuzi kept on posting photos of Dar Es Salaam streets immediately after the match. He received an update from one of his readers:

Kaka michuzi nipo baclays house ghorofa ya pili dirishani, hivi nnavoandika ni kwamba mamia ya wananchi wanaandama kwa furaha kwenda ikulu, nadhani labda kwenda kumpongeza JK…

I'm here at Barclays [Bank], second floor, as I am writing this, hundreds of people are marching joyfully towards the state house, I think they are going to congratulate JK [Tanzania's president, Jakaya Kikwete]…

Upon arrival in Tanzania, the team was greeted with a heroes welcome in the Parliament where the 2007-2008 budget was being debated.

Amidst the joy Ngurumo probes government's motive behind National team's invitation to the National Assembly during the budget debate. He posts a link to his article, which appeared in one of the local newspapers In the article, he wonders whether the decision to welcome the team in the Parliament was meant to distract public attention from “painful reality of the budget”:

Watawala wetu wanataka kufunika machungu ya bajeti ya serikali kwa chereko za ushindi wa Taifa Stars dhidi ya Burkinafaso? Katika tukio la hivi karibuni, ni juzi tu ilipoamua kuathiri mwenendo wa mjadala wa bajeti ya bungeni Dodoma kwa kisingizo cha kuipongeza timu ya soka ya taifa (Taifa Stars) kwa ushindi dhidi ya timu ya taifa ya Burkina Faso.
Iliamua kuwapangia nafasi ya kuwapongeza “mashujaa” katika sehemu ya muda ambao ulipangwa kwa ajili ya wapinzani kuwasilisha bajeti mbadala, ambayo ilikuwa inakosoa bajeti ya serikali na kuweka mapendekezo mbadala.
Haikutokea hivi hivi. Inaeleweka kuwa timu hiyo haikuwa imepanga kufika Dodoma, juzi. Ilikuwa imepangiwa kulakiwa kwa kishindo Dar es Salaam ikitokea Burkina Faso kupitia Mwanza.
Viongozi wa serikali wakapata wazo. Baada ya kuwa wamesikia malalamiko ya wananchi kuhusu bajeti ya serikali, na baada ya uongozi wa serikali bungeni kuwaita na kuwapa somo wabunge wa Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) na waandishi na baadhi ya wahariri Dodoma, ulisukwa mkakati wa kupunguza makali ya wapinzani, na hasa kuzuia hoja zao zisitangazwe kama za serikali.

Is our government intending to cover up the painful reality of the budget with a Taifa Stars win against Burkina Faso?
The have decided to divert attention from the budget discussions with a guise of congratulating the national soccer team, Taifa Stars. They decided to congratulate “our heroes” at a time slotted for the opposition to table their alternative budget and their critical response to the government's one.
All of this did not happen by chance. It is understood that the team was not scheduled to go to Dodoma (where the national Assembly sits). It was to be welcomed in Dar Es Salaam from Burkina faso via Mwanza.
But the government got an idea. After they heard people's complaints against the budget and after the leaders of the government's side in the parliament debriefed members of parliament from ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and some journalists, they set up a strategy to lessen the effect of the opposition's criticism especially to deny the opposition's proposals equal publicity like that given to the government.

Higher education woes

The issue of higher education loan scheme has reappeared in the Swahili blogosphere. This time it is about 300 university students in danger of being barred from sitting for their exams. Maggid Mjengwa and Muhidin Michuzi post a scanned letter issued by the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania threatening to prevent students who have not paid their fees in full from siting for their end of the semester exams.

Also on the same issue of higher education, Egidio Ndabagoye asks the minister of higher education to resign from his post and urge other bloggers to sign a petition demanding the ministers resignation.

Traffic congestion and reversible lanes in Dar Es Salaam

Elsewhere in the Swahili blogosphere, Charahani talks about introduction of reversible lanes as a solution to the problem of traffic congestion in Dar Es Salaam . He does not think that the plan will ease Dar Es Salaam traffic congestion:

Mpango huu umesababisha abiria wengi waenda kwa miguu wagongwe na magari na wengine kujeruhiwa vibaya na au kuwa na hofu wawapo barabarani kwenda wanakohangaikia maisha yao.

Binafsi, sina budi kusema kwamba sijaridhishwa na uharakishwaji huu wa utekelezaji wa uamuzi huu kwani athari zake zimeshaonekana. Tayari, maisha ya watembea kwa miguu yamo hatarini na mpango huu hautaweza kumaliza tatizo la msongamamno kama inavyodhaniwa.

The measure has caused many pedestrians to get hit by cars and resulting in bad injuries to some. Personally, I have to say that I am not happy with the ad hoc implementation of the solution for the effects are already evident. Pedestrians lives are in danger and this solution will not be able to solve the traffic congestion problem as previously thought.

And, from TED Global conference in Arusha Tanzania, as he was blogging live at the conference Ndesanjo announces the birth of a new Swahili blogge by Bob Sankofa, who was one of the TEDGlobal2007 fellows, and anticipates that his film and photography skills will add value and excitement to the steadily expanding Swahili blogosphere. Bob Sankofa started blogging live at the conference.

Also Ras Luihamu urges readers to have respect and not to use offensive language as they post comments in blogs. He gets discouraged when blog moderators have to approve comments before publishing.

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