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Friday, November 16, 2018

Denmark & World Bank stop aid to Tanzania questioning Govt policies !!

Every day you see visitors of various countries thronging historical places – and times, they may not be treated well by locals .. .. sadly,  global opinion on Nations is formed by perceptions and by some agencies, which can mar the reputation of a place, though actually could be lot untrue – remember, India was painted as land of mystics and snake-charmers !-  Can a Country take a call on ‘gay marriage’ .. .. banning ‘pregnant girls from schools’ and would they have International ramifications ? – and what is freedom of Press ?? – can media publish anything but Govt cannot take any action in tune with popular sentiments and relevance in local conditions !!!
 Pic credit :

Tanzania is a country in eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda, Kenya, Indian Ocean to the east, Mozambique and Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Mount Kilimanjaro, (yes that song in Enthiran / Robot)  Africa's highest mountain, is in north-eastern Tanzania.  The name "Tanzania" was created as a clipped compound of the names of the two states that unified to create the country: Tanganyika and Zanzibar.  The name "Tanganyika" is from the Swahili words tanga ("sail") and nyika ("uninhabited plain", "wilderness"), creating the phrase "sail in the wilderness". Zanzibar comes from "zenji", the name for a local people (said to mean "black"), and the Arabic word "barr", which means coast or shore.

Some prehistoric population migrations into Tanzania include Southern Cushitic speakers who moved south from Ethiopia;  these movements took place at about the same time as the settlement of the Mashariki Bantu from West Africa in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas.  European colonialism began in mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.  The sovereign state of Tanzania is a presidential constitutional republic and since 1996 its official capital city has been Dodoma where the president's office, the National Assembly, and some government ministries are located.  Dar es Salaam, the former capital, retains most government offices and is the country's largest city, principal port, and leading commercial centre.

Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa's Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish. The Kalambo Falls, located on the Kalambo River at the Zambian border, is the second highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa. Over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa.

It is not all about the history and geography of the Nation, but the way Western countries are treating it – and the reasons for the same !!

Denmark is cutting about $10 million in aid to the government of Tanzania over what it called "negative developments" in human rights in the East African country. Ulla Tornaes, Denmark's minister for development cooperation, said on Twitter she is "deeply concerned" by developments such as a Tanzanian official's "completely unacceptable homophobic statements." Tanzania is increasingly under the spotlight over its human rights record. Denmark is one of the largest donors to Tanzania, whose government depends substantially on foreign benefactors to run many of its programs.

Most recently the commissioner for the country's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, urged Tanzanians to "report" suspected homosexuals, comments widely criticized by rights groups and disavowed by Tanzania's federal government. Although the government distanced itself from the commissioner's statement, there are fears of a crackdown against gays in a country where authorities are known to break up events organized by people believed to be homosexuals. Ten men were arrested in Zanzibar earlier this month for allegedly attending a gay marriage.

Human Rights Watch says Tanzania's government under President John Magufuli "has restricted basic rights through repressive laws and decrees" targeting journalists, activists and perceived opponents. Magufuli, a former public works minister who was voted into the presidency in 2015, has appeared to personally drive his government's controversial policies on everything from fighting corruption to birth control, pleasing many of his people but also alarming some who see an authoritarian streak. He has feuded with big companies accused of tax fraud, leading to concerns about flight of foreign capital, and the recent suspension of family planning commercials on TV and radio followed Magufuli's remarks about "lazy" people who use contraceptives. At least three newspapers have been banned over stories critical of the president.

~ and there is another bad news for Tanzania. .. .. the The World Bank has withdrawn a $300m (£232m) loan to Tanzania amid concerns about the nation’s policy of expelling pregnant girls from school.  The money, a significant proportion of funding totalling $500m awarded to Tanzania by the bank in 2018, was scheduled for approval last month. It was intended to help Tanzania’s education ministry to improve access to secondary education.

Tanzanian schools routinely expel girls who become pregnant, who are thought to number about 8,000 a year. The practice dates back several decades but has intensified since President John Magufuli took office in 2015. Some schools have imposed compulsory pregnancy tests on girls. The president went a step further in June, announcing that students would not be allowed to return to school after giving birth. In January, campaigners condemned the arrest of five pregnant pupils in the Tandahimba district, on the Mozambique border, saying that the men who impregnated them should be arrested instead.  A source within the World Bank told the Guardian that the government’s policy of expelling pregnant girls was among the reasons for the loan withdrawal. In an official statement, a bank spokesman said: “The World Bank supports policies that encourage girls’ education and make it possible for young girls to study in schools until they reach their full potential. The economic and social returns for girls finishing their education are very high in every society for both current and future generations.

“Working with our partners, the World Bank will continue to advocate girls’ access to education through our dialogue with the Tanzanian government.” In 2017, a Human Rights Watch report concluded that the discriminatory policy contributed to 1.5 million children being out of school in the country.  The source said other factors in the bank’s decision to withdraw the loan included misgivings over a new law, approved in September, that would make it a crime to question official statistics. Last month, the World Bank said it was “deeply concerned” about the amendment to the statistics law – which would impose a fine, at least three years in jail, or both – on those who questioned the accuracy of government figures. In addition, the World Bank has suspended all visiting missions to Tanzania, because of “threats, harassment and discrimination against the LGBT community”. Visits would not resume “until we can secure the safety and security of all employees”, the source said.

 “Most of the young girls who get pregnant come from a background of poverty. The implication of the ban is to deny these girls a basic education and relegate them to a cycle of poverty. The system endorses the view that girls are not as worthy as boys.” Tanzania has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world, with widespread sexual violence and girls exchanging sex for school fees, food and shelter, according to the UN.  Last December, Magufuli pardoned two child rapists who raped 10 primary school children, after serving 13 years of their life sentences.

It would appear that the World Body and a rich Nation are trying to impose their views on a weaker recipient instructing on what they want rather than allowing what is right for the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Nov. 2018.

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