Tanzanian press takes government to task

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- The government in Tanzania this week came under resonating criticism from the media in relation to a number of issues regarding corruption, drug abuse and child and maternal mortality.
Although coverage has been divergent and some of the comments stinging, the state-owned Daily News had some kind words on the homecoming of hundreds of Tanzanian refugees who fled to Mombasa, Kenya in January, following clashes between police and demonstrators on the federated islands of Zanzibar.
The paper also commented positively on the visit to the country by a high level UN Security Council delegation, but was up in arms against a wave of drug and substance abuse in Zanzibar.
It said Tanzania's failure to deal decisively with the problem had turned the country into a conduit for drugs destined for South Africa and other Sub-Saharan countries.
Carrying forward the tough stance on a different footing, 'The African' blasted the government over corruption claims in high places following revelations this week that a certain ruling party sympathiser and benefactor has been under-declaring his income in order to cheat on his taxable earnings.
Coming from no less a personage than Vice President Omar Ali Juma, there can be no doubt on the veracity of the claims, the paper added, calling for the immediate prosecution of the unnamed suspect and others of his inkling.
In other editorials, the paper harangues the government to pay teachers their salaries now in arrears for years, and bemoans the high mortality and maternal deaths in Tanzania's maternity hospitals.
This later point is dwelt on differently by the Guardian, which relates the deaths to the problem of child motherhood exacerbated by child abuse and child labour.
Quoting a senior gynaecologist at the country's largest referral hospital in Dar es Salaam, the Muhimbili Medical Centre, the paper said children as young as 12 have been admitted to give birth.
It said last year alone, 99 girls aged 13 delivered at the maternity wing of the hospital.
The paper also exclaimed at a pledge by the Japanese government to construct toilets along Tanzania's 77 km Makuyuni- Ngorongoro road, making it the first road in the country to boast of such a facility.
It wondered why the country had to wait for years for the Japanese to pioneer the concept in a country where bus passengers help themselves in the bush.
The state-owned Radio Tanzania was the only media that commented on the country's likelihood to qualify for extensive debt reduction under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
This was encouraging, the radio said, following an announcement to that effect by a senior IMF official who had been in the country to take the pulse of Tanzania's economic progress.

25 may 2001 08:25:00




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