Saturday, August 27, 2016

The truth has no price - visiting @Verdade in Maputo

The truth has no price - visiting @Verdade in Maputo
Daraja's Simon Mkina, Managing Editor of our Kwanza Jamii local newspapers visited Mozambique recently. He was there to learn from the experiences of the @Verdade newspaper, a weekly newspaper that like Kwanza Jamii, puts the community first. Unlike Kwanza Jamii, however, @Verdade is distributed free of charge. In this post, Simon Mkina tells us what he found. Please read the full article at -
Muda unasonga na mambo yanakwenda. Tuendelee kuomba Mungu

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Online publications tested in Tanzania

Online publications tested in Tanzania. Read here

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Time for journalists to minimize harm

By Simon Mkina

Mass media has a well-known role to play in modern society. It can bring about radical changes and improve social circumstances as it influences our social, civil, cultural, political, economic and aesthetic outlook.

It is rightly said that media use is an index of development. The greater the use, the higher will be the level of education. As social beings, humans are sustained by mutual interactions, exchange of ideas, information and views with the fellow beings. 

Illiteracy, which is nothing but absence of education and information is a stumbling obstruct for any aspect of development-social, economic, political, cultural and even spiritual. Media has become the harbinger of development through the removal of these roadblocks and the provision of information and knowledge.

Apart from being the force of changes and knowledge, media is a vehicle of exposing various scams, scandals, frauds, embezzlements and many other cases of corruption leading to initiation of enquiries and other processes of prosecution against the perpetrators of these crimes. 

However, media too suffers from some pitfalls; growing consumerism and materialism have adversely impacted our media. The partisan attitude, sectarian outlook and biased individualism in some sections of media are a testimony that media too is susceptible to harmful influences. 

Often, in fierce rivalries, ethics of journalism are thrown out of the window to settle old scores. Running after opportunistic gains is another problem our media suffers from. The incidents of throwing are against the ethics of media. 

So, in order for avoid chaos that media can bring about in the society, Journalists are supposed to obey their profession ethics when posting their articles or comments in their respective newspapers, television, radios, or on social forums.

Currently in Tanzania, there are some journalists who are going against journalism ethics by posting articles that are bias and that ethically they were not needed to be posted by professionals.

Such social forums have been created so that to enable people to present challenges that facing them whereby journalists have to use them as a tip of striker.

The Executive Secretary of Union of Press Clubs in Tanzania, Mr Aboubakar Karsan said recently that it was not wrong for journalists to comment or to post articles on their media or on social  sites,  but they have to make sure that they follow ethics of their professional by posting truth and well balanced posts.

He adds that instead journalists have to use those social sites to get tips for investigation stories so that to help people on challenges facing them, they use their platforms to write very cheap stories.

 Furthermore, in asking journalists to adhere to their ethics, senior official  from Media Council of Tanzania, John Mireny, recently was quoted saying that his council has noted a story in a mainstream paper of wide circulation that openly identified a victim of rape.

The story from the court, filed from Tarime District, in Tanzania gave explicit detailed information about the victim, including her name, age, and her residential details.
Mr Mireny said the article was identified by the MCT’s rapid response print media monitoring team.

Rape, he said, has recently become something of a human interest story-of-choice for the mainstream media in Tanzania. But more coverage has usually not meant better coverage, he added.

This has, once again, forced the MCT to immediately respond and remind reporters and editors of the necessity of adhering to ethical reportage.

In particular, the monitored reporting style, Mireny said, has directly violated the Code of Ethics for Media Professionals in Tanzania. On page 25, sub-section 1.9 regarding reporting victims of sexual offences, journalists are directed to “avoid identifying victims of sexual assaults”.

Mireny said that prejudiced and insensitive reporting is like 'second rape', causing the victim to feel violated all over again.

”The press wields a lot of power, owing to its wide reach. But through irresponsible reporting, it condemns to permanent stigmatisation even those who are victims of such inhumane acts, making them suffer double tragedy”, he said.

While it is necessary to expose such inhumane acts, professional ethics hold that it is important to minimise the harm by not identifying rape victims, he added.
Rape is coerced sex, a crime, and only perpetrators can be held responsible for the crimes they commit – not victims. Naming and shaming should be of perpetrators, not victims.

Reporting of a heinous crime like rape and sodomy in mainstream media does not have to be voyeuristic, insensitive, sensational, speculative and thus unethical, he cautioned.

These are some of the practice in journalism that has been painting badly the professional and now must be addressed to stop them so that Tanzania journalism become more responsible and respected.

Monday, February 18, 2013

U.S condems killing of Tanzania Roman Catholic Leader

The United States of America strongly condemns the senseless murder of Father Evaristus Mushi in Zanzibar on February 17. We offer sincere condolences to his family, parishioners, and friends.
This vicious and cowardly act is the third directed against a religious leader in Zanzibar since November 2012 and goes against the long held values and culture of peace in Zanzibar, a land known for its cultural richness, tolerance, and diversity, where many peoples and cultures have lived and worked side by side for centuries.

Religious based violence is crime that has no place in Tanzania or anywhere else. In fact, it goes against the very character that Tanzania has been known for since its founding and the three national pillars carefully nurtured by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, which are also forever enshrined in the national anthem of this land: Hekima, Umoja, na Amani - Wisdom, Unity, and Peace.

The people of Zanzibar and all Tanzanians should reject the violent hatred spread by a very few individuals whose actions threaten to tarnish the peace, security, and image of this wonderful land.

The United States stands as a committed partner to all citizens of this land and we urge them to continue to denounce violence committed by those who threaten and undermine the security of their fellow citizens. We also stand ready to assist the Tanzanian justice system as needed, and call for the arrest, prosecution and conviction of those responsible for these heinous crimes against religious leaders in Zanzibar.

Finally, we call on all citizens to build on the values of tolerance, wisdom, unity, and peace that are so cherished by all Tanzanians and civilized people of the world.

Press statement by U.S. Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt in Tanzania

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kukionea aibu Kiswahili ni kujidharau wenyewe

MWALIMU  Julius Nyerere aliwahi kueleza Taifa lisilojivunia lugha yake halina uhai, lakini pia Wachina wakaenda mbali kidogo kwa kusema nchi isiyotumia lugha yake kujiletea maendeleo makubwa, kwanza ya wananchi wake na baadaye ya wengine, ni sawa na maji yaliyooshewa maiti.

Kwamba maji yakioshewa maiti yanakosa faida kubwa inayoweza kuelezwa. Yakitumika, basi yametumika.

Wachina kama ilivyo kwa Mwalimu Nyerere (sasa marehemu) wote wana maana kubwa katika dunia ya sasa inayohitaji mwenye nguvu au anayetumia ubunifu zaidi kuhakikisha maendeleo makubwa na ya haraka ya familia na taifa kwa jumla yake yanapatikana.

Kwa kiasi kikubwa, dhana ya Mwalimu Nyerere imejikita mno Tanzania na watu wake wameielewa na wameendelea kujivunia lugha ya Kiswahili. Lugha hiyo, mbali na kuwaunganisha wananchi wetu kupigania uhuru wao na baadaye maendeleo yao kidogo yanayoonekana sasa, bado haijaweza kumea na haina mizizi ya kuhakikisha inakuwa  rasilimali nyingine kubwa ya kuingiza fedha katika Hazina ya Tanzania.

Hali hiyo ya kushindwa kukisambaza Kiswahili na kukifanya mtaji wa kuleta fedha nyingi kutoka nje ya nchini, kunatufanya tusiwe mbali sana na falsafa ya Kichina kwamba lugha yetu, mbali na faida kidogo inayopatikana,  inaonekana kuwa baada ya kazi ya kutuunganisha na kuendelea kutuweka sawa katika mawasiliano na kuleta maendeleo kidogo, hakuna anayeipigania ili iwe mtaji.

Kila mmoja wetu; iwe serikali yenyewe, taasisi zake, mashirika, watu binafsi na hasa wasomi, anajipiga kifua tu ndani ya maeneo ya nchi yetu mbele ya umati akipiga ‘kelele’ za kuhimiza ukuzaji wa Kiswahili.

Wapo waliopanda majukwaani, tena wakizungumza na povu likiwatoka midomoni mwao; kwamba Kiswahili lazima kipiganiwe kwa nguvu zote ili kuhakikisha kinapasua anga na kuwafikia watu wengi zaidi nje ya nchi.

Hao walifanya hivyo kwa nia njema kabisa, lakini nguvu zao zikakatishwa na Waswahili wenzao, tena ajabu Watanzania wakidai lugha hiyo haina lolote na wala siyo chochote nje ya mipaka ya Tanzania. Hawa baadhi yao ni wasomi, waandishi wa habari na hata viongozi wa siasa.

Kukatishwa kwao tamaa na ndugu zao kukawavunja moyo na wakaamua kuacha na kuendelea na shughuli zao. Ingawa hivi karibuni baadhi ya wasomi wa lugha hiyo adhimu wameanza kukipigania Kiswahili kwa nguvu, kwa maelezo ya kuwa ni mtaji mkubwa na rasilimali yenye mwanga wa kuleta fedha nyingi kutoka nje.

Jitihada za wataalamu hao zinaonesha jinsi wanavyopenda, kuona Kiswahili kinakuwa chanzo kingine kikubwa, siyo cha mtaji tu, bali ajira kwa Watanzania, ambao dunia inaamini ni walimu wazuri wa lugha hiyo kuliko eneo jingine lolote.

Ikiwa jitihada hizo zitafanikiwa, kwa kuweka mikakati ambayo itahakikisha mafanikio yanapatikana, uhakika ni kuwepo kwa madarasa na taasisi za ukuzaji wa lugha hiyo katika nchi nyingi duniani.

Wenzetu Wakenya, ambao historia inawataja kuwa ‘wanafunzi’ wetu katika lugha, wao wanaonekana kuwa walimu zaidi katika taasisi na vyuo vya nje, tena wakiwa na ‘spidi’ kubwa ya kuhimiza ufundishwaji wa lugha hiyo adhimu ya Afrika.

Kama ilivyo katika utalii, Wakenya ndiyo wanaotangaza kuwa magwiji wa Kiswahili na kwamba ni lugha inayokua na kuzungumzwa na idadi kubwa ya Waafrika. Katika matangazo yao wanasema; -unataka kufanya kazi au biashara Afrika, basi jua kuzungumza lugha ya Afrika- Kiswahili.

Sisi inavyoonekana jitihada zetu zimo ndani ya nchi tu.Tumelala. Tunaonekana mno katika vipindi vya televisheni tukikizungumza na kukichambua Kiswahili, lakini nguvu ya kukitangaza na kukipeleka nje haionekani.

Haitoshi tu kuwaona wataalamu wakikichambua Kiswahili kwenye televisheni wakieleza tu kwamba ni lugha inayoweza kuwa mtaji, bila kuitaja mikakati thabiti ya kukikuza na kukitangaza nje ili kupata wanafunzi wengi zaidi na hivyo fedha zaidi.

Mara nyingine nimekuwa nikisita kuamini usemi huu; Muua nchi ni mwananchi mwenyewe, lakini linapokuja suala la Kiswahili ninaamini – Muua Kiswahili ni Mswahili mwenyewe, tena Mtanzania.

Wenyewe kwa wenyewe tumeshindwa kabisa kukubali Kiswahili kinaweza kuwa lugha ya kufundishia hata elimu ya juu, kwa maelezo ya kizandiki- kuwa tutakuwa mbali na dunia ya sasa ya utandawazi au hatutaweza kuwa na hatua kubwa za maendeleo. Ebo!

Ni sisi wenyewe hadi leo, pamoja na kuwa mimba zetu zinatungwa kwa Kiswahili, zinalelewa kwa Kiswahili, watoto wanazaliwa wakilia kwa Kiswahili na wanalelewa na kukua kwa Kiswahili, lakini  ‘kinapondwa’ na kuoneshwa dhalili dhidi ya lugha nyingine.

Eti hadi leo sheria zetu zinatungwa na kupitishwa na waheshimiwa sana wabunge kwa Kiingereza. Taratibu nyingi  za kuendesha vikao hata vya Waswahili wenyewe kwa wenyewe zinafanywa kwa Kiingereza. Sisi hatuna maneno stahiki ya sheria, sayansi na kada zingine, hadi tuweke lugha za kukopa kwa wengine. Makubwa haya!

Mbona Wachina, Wajerumani na wengine wanatumia lugha zao, tena wakikiona Kiingereza au lugha zingine kuwa za ‘kitumwa’ na wana maendeleo makubwa kuliko sisi tunaojifaragua? Ni nani katuroga katika hili? Hata tunalala usingizi wa pono bila kushtuka kwa kuiponda lugha yetu wenyewe!

Wajerumani, Wafaransa na sasa Wachina, kwa kutambua lugha ni mtaji, wamekuwa na taasisi ama vyuo nje ya nchi zao, wakifundisha lugha zao za taifa na kuwa chanzo kikubwa cha mapato na ajira kwa vijana wao. Sisi wenyewe lugha yetu, tunajifanya hatuwaoni. Tumelala fofofo na kuendelea kudai Kiswahili ni lugha adhimu. Adhimu ya nini endapo hakisaidii ajira wala kipato kwa idadi kubwa ya Watanzania wanaokifahamu na wanaokizungumza!

Kweli Kiswahili hakina mwenyewe. Hata wanaokipigania na hawapati kuungwa mkono, wanaonekana ni abiria tu, tena waliosimama ndani ya basi lisilokuwa na dereva wa kutufikisha salama.

Kila la heri Kiswahili na inawezekana kukilea na kukigeuza rasilimali.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

...And the poaching continues in Tanzania

Herd of elephant killed recently in Tanzania
Bryan Christy, author of the excellent investigative report Blood Ivory in the current issue of National Geographic, has just posted on his personal website a hunter's first-hand testimony of the reality of elephant poaching in Tanzania.

The hunter, Paul Lavender, reported: "... we heard sustained automatic weapons fire not more than a km away. We could hear several weapons and there was initial fire of 80-100 rounds ...

"We were ... horrified to find 11 dead elephants; mothers, babies, immature males. The poachers had clearly killed the whole herd irrespective of whether they had ivory or not."

He paints a pictures of carnage and chaos, worsened by official incompetence and misdirection.

It's a particularly pertinent account as Tanzania has just applied to CITES for approval to reduce the protection afforded its elephant populations and to sell 101 tonnes of stockpiled ivory ...

Read the testimony in full on Bryan's website at

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mawaziri na usongo wa kuingia ikulu, sasa kazi zero

SIKU  chache baada ya Raia Jakaya Mrisho KIkwete kuingia madarakani, mwaka 2005, alipata fursa ya kunukuliwa na vyombo kadhaa vya habari vya ndani na nje, kuhusu namna anavyojipanga kuendesha serikali na anataka kuwafikisha wapi Watanzania.
Katika vyombo hivyo, Kikwete alizungumza mengi na hasa matarajio ya serikali yake kuhakikisha kuwa kila Mtanzania anakuwa na maisha bora. Akaeleza maana pana ya kauli mbiu ya uongozi wake – Maisha Bora kwa Kila Mtanzania na njia za kufika huko.
Sifahamu kama maisha hayo yamepatikana kwa kila Mtanzania kwa kiasi gani, lakini uhakika ni kwamba matarajio makubwa ya rais wetu yamekwama na hakuna njia za kuyahuisha, angalau kwa sasa na kwa muda mfupi wa uongozi wake uliobaki, yakawawezesha Watanzania, kila mmoja wao, kuwa na maisha aliyoyatarajia.
Sababu za hali hiyo ni nyingi, na sijamsikia akizisema, au hata wasaidizi wake wakieleza wazi juu ya mkwamo wa mafanikio ya kauli mbiu hiyo iliyokuwa ikizungumzwa sana miaka kadhaa iliyopita, ingawa sasa imekoma, haipigiwi mbinja zaidi.
Lengo la makala haya mafupi siyo kuchanganua kushindwa ama kufaulu kwa kauli hiyo na uongozi wa Kikwete- la hasha, lakini nimeona vyema tu kuigusia ili kuweka mtiririko mzuri wa hiki ninachokusudia kukieleza; juu ya kuingia madarakani kwa Rais Kikwete na mbio za sasa za baadhi ya viongozi wa juu wa serikali kupigana vikumbo kumrithi hapo muda utakapofika. Muda wa Kikwete kuondoka Ikulu kikatiba ni mwaka 2015.
Nakumbuka moja ya maelezo ya Kikwete aliponukuliwa na vyombo hivyo vya habari ni muda alioutumia ‘kupambana’ kuhakikisha anaukwaa uongozi wa juu wa Tanzania.
“Nimeupigania urais kwa miaka 10, kumalizika tu kwa uchaguzi wa mwaka 1995, ambapo kura hazikutosha, nikaanza mbio hizo kwa kushirikiana na marafiki zangu,” nukuu isiyo rasmi ya Kikwete mwenyewe.
Hiyo ni kauli ya Kikwete, hata kama haitakuwa katika mpangilio, lakini alichokizungumza kinabeba maana hiyo hiyo na hakika kauli hiyo ilionesha namna alivyojipanga kuingia Ikulu pamoja na marafiki zake na watu wengine wa karibu.
Kikwete alitumia miaka 10 kuusaka urais, wenzake, hasa wasaidizi aliowachagua- wengi wakiwa mawaziri, huenda walianza miaka 10 iliyopita, mara baada a yeye  kuapishwa. Na wengine walianza baadaye kidogo, huku wengine wakisubiri kuoteshwa ili waanze mbio hizo za kuingia Ikulu, lakini ieleweke tu kuwa minyukano imekuwa ikishika kasi, tena kubwa kadri siku zinavyokwenda.
Ninachokiona sasa, idadi kubwa ya hao mawaziri, wameshindwa kuwatumikia wananchi. Hawakai maeneo yao ya kazi. Wamekalia siasa. Wamekalia vikao vya mara kwa mara na marafiki zao na watu wengine wa karibu kuunda timu za ushindi.
Watanzania wameshindwa kuona ubunifu wa viongozi wao katika kuwatumikia. Haieleweki kama wameshindwa au wengi wamezoea mkuu aseme – awaongoze kwa kila kitu kata katika maeneo waliyobobea! Inashangaza kuona waziri tangu aingie kwenye nafasi yake hajawahi kufanya jambo la maana na hiyo inaonesha namna wanavyomuangusha hata aliyewachagua.
Au labda wanashindwa ‘ku-deliver’ kwa kuwa mkuu wao anawagomea au wanadhani hatapendezwa na kile watakachoamua? Kwa kifupi haieleweki.
Lakini, angalau linaloeleweka ni kwamba wengi wako bize na kutengeneza mitandao yao ya kuwaingiza Ikulu, ili wakale, na ni wachache sana, miongoni mwa hao wanaoutafuta urais kwa udi na uvumba , wana dhamira ya kweli ya kuwatumikia Watanzania zaidi ya kuwa wachumia tumbo tu kama wengine ambao tumewashuhudia.
Nadhani, ingekuwa  vyema sana wanaohangaikia urais wakaacha mara moja na kujikita zaidi kuwatumikia Watanzania kwa nafasi zao za sasa na kama wanaonekana wanafaa, chama chao kitawaweka juu ili kugombea nafasi ya kuingia Ikulu.
Wakati umefika sasa, kwa vyama vya siasa kuona umuhimu wa kuwa na utaratibu wa kuwapa nafasi wanachama wao kugombea urais kutokana na uchapakazi wao, uzalendo wao, uwezo wao, utayari wao na mengine mazuri yanayofanana na hayo na kuwakataa kabisa wooote wanaounda makundi ya kuwaingiza Ikulu.
Madhara ya viongozi kuunda mitandao ya mbeleko za kuwaingiza Ikulu tumeyaona na ni vyema sasa kuwakana hao wachumia tumbo, ili mwisho wa siku apatikane anayefaa na tusiwe na shaka na utendaji wake.
Mungu ibariki Tanzania.