The Tanzania authorities have clarified that the lifting of a media ban announced by the country’s new president only applies to online television.

Recall that, President Samia Suluhu Hassan had on Tuesday directed authorities to lift a ban on media outlets, imposed under the previous president John Magufuli’s regime. She also asked the information ministry to ensure that the concerned media follow the law.

However, on Wednesday, the newly appointed government spokesman, Gerson Msigwa, explained in a tweet that the president had given instructions to lift the ban on online television only and not other media, including newspapers that were banned according to the laws.

The Reuters news agency reports that Information Minister Innocent Bashungwa has said the government will first consult the laws involved in banning newspapers

Tanzania’s new president has announced the lift of bans placed on a number of media outlets by her predecessor who died last month.

“I understand that there are media organizations that have been closed, let them open and ensure they follow the law,” President Samia instructed national authorities.

She made this known while speaking at the swearing-in of new ministers and permanent secretaries. She said media rules, regulations, and penalties should be transparent so that everyone knows what to expect should they do wrong – and so that the punishment is proportionate.

President Samia said the government must not be seen to curtail media freedoms.

Fourteen days of national mourning have been declared in Tanzania to mark the death of President John Magufuli, who died on  March 17.

Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Magufuli, 61, had died from complications related to a heart condition and had been receiving treatment at Mezena Hospital in Dar es Salaam since March 6.

Commemorative events and associated road closures are also possible nationwide during the mourning period, especially in Dodoma, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Mwanza. Unofficial events and gatherings are also possible. A heightened security force presence is likely near official events. Certain businesses and government offices could close for all or part of the mourning period. Public transport disruptions are possible through March 19, as are disruptions to government services.

The Tanzania Police Force has arrested four people on suspicion of spreading rumors on social media that President John Magufuli is ill.

Opposition politicians have said the president who hasn’t been seen in public for more than two weeks was in a serious condition after contracting Covid-19 and has been flown abroad for treatment.

However, Government officials have denied this.

Tanzania’s Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the president was working hard and advised people not to listen to rumors and urged Tanzanians to remain united.

Local media has reported that unknown thieves in Tanzania have stolen silverware used to store sacramental bread (Eucharist) from a Catholic church.

The theft of the cup known as a ciborium, worth $2,150. It was gathered that it happened last Sunday at Mkoka Catholic parish in the capital Dodoma.

Police are currently investigating how the cup disappeared from the church premises. Nothing else was stolen from the church.

The head of the security team in the region also mentioned that no person has been arrested so far.

Chief Secretary John Kijazi, a top aide of Tanzania’s president died on Tuesday night in the capital, Dodoma.

According to a statement released by the president’s office, Kijazi was said to have died while receiving treatment at the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital. Although the cause of his death wasn’t disclosed. 

He was also the head of the civil service. 

3D ballot box with a flag – great for topics like ellection/ voting etc.

Local media has reported that Tanzania’s electoral commission has slated the 28th of October as the date for general elections.

Justice Semistocles Kaijage, the commission’s chairman disclosed in a media briefing that the election campaigns will start on the 26th of August and end a day before the election.

Adding that presidential and parliamentary candidates are to submit their names to the commission on the 25th of August.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Tanzanian President, John Magufuli has announced that the general elections slated for October, where he is expected to seek re-election, will still take place.

He also stated that there is no reason for citizens to stop working.

President Magufuli had also recently said that gatherings in churches and mosques had not been banned in the country yet despite the coronavirus outbreak because he believes that is where there is true healing.

The country has so far recorded 13 cases of coronavirus.

Reports have it that Tanzania has overtaken Nigeria as the African leader in rural electrification projects. This is due to the fact that the electrification programme being implemented through Rural Energy Agency (REA), in the East African country has yielded sub substantial achievements.

Placing Tanzania in the top slot in the African continent in 2016, the World Bank approves a $209 million financing program to enable the implementation of a six-year Rural Electrification Expansion Program in Tanzania. (WB)

Dr Medard Kalemani, the Minister for Energy, made this known while addressing Masasi District defense and security committee members during his official visit to inspect power projects in the area.

“Initially, Nigeria was the leading country by 72 per cent, but we are now leading in the continent, as we have reached more than 74 per cent now,” said the minister.

Dr Kaleman stated that a total of 9,001 villages in the country have been connected; of these 3,559 villages were connected through the first round of Phase Three Rural Electrification Project (REA III-1), which is ongoing.

He further stated that REA III1 will be completed in June 2020 but the government has agreed with the contractors executing the project across the country to finish the relevant work two months earlier, so they are expected to hand over the project to Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), by April 31, 2020.

Dr Kaleman said the government has decided to review the action plan that enabled them to increase the number of villages that will benefit from the project in the Masasi District.

“In the original design, only a few villages were to benefit from this project. This is because other villages fall under the jurisdiction of councils or cities and not districts and thus did not meet the criteria since they had the status of streets and not villages,” he explained.

On Monday, the Tanzania government is expected to switch off about 10 million unregistered sim cards in order to lessen rising crimes in the country.Officials say the move is aimed at  reducing cybercrime, which jumped by 82% in Tanzania in 2017.

The biometric registration will link SIM cards to identification cards or foreign passports and fingerprints. Nowadays, phones are like banks, said Fredrick Ntobi, of Tanzania’s Communication Regulatory Authority.

“Sometimes, you might mistakenly send money to various places. Because the details of the one who received the money will be known, it will be easier for your money to be returned.”

Expectedly, long queues have formed in several centres across the country as people try to beat Monday’s deadline to register their Sim cards.

Officials say only 20 million Sim cards have been registered, leaving more than half of active cards at risk of being switched off.

Many Tanzanians have criticised the government for not allowing enough time to complete the registration .But Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority has blamed people for waiting until the last minute to complete the registration.

The government said the registration was intended to deal with cybercrime and fraud but critics fear it would allow the authorities to eavesdrop on citizens, particularly during elections.