DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities said on Saturday plans were afoot to open soil analysis laboratories in all districts in the country to enable farmers to make informed decisions.

The laboratories will be fitted in agricultural centers to be established in the districts during the 2021-2022 financial year that starts on July 1, Hussein Bashe, the deputy minister for agriculture told parliament in the capital Dodoma.

Bashe was responding to Members of Parliament who wanted to know efforts by the government aimed at enabling farmers to know the status of soil before they cultivate different types of crops.

The lawmakers raised the soil testing issue during a week-long debate on the 2021/2022 National Development Plan that was presented by Philip Mpango, the minister for finance and planning, last week.

"Soil analysis is used to determine the level of nutrients found in soil samples and this enables farmers make informed decisions," Bashe told the House.

He said the creation of the soil testing laboratories will go in tandem with the distribution of 7,400 motorcycles fitted with the global positioning systems and tablets to extension officers that will be involved in the soil testing.

"The motorcycles will enable extension officers to reach as many farmers as possible in remote rural areas of the country," said Bashe. - Xinhua

Armed security guards at Kakuzi, a farm north of Nairobi which is the size of Manchester, are accused of committing human rights abuses between 2009 and January 2020 

  • Guards at Kenyan avocado farm Kakuzi faced claims of human rights abuses
  • Allegations include rape of 10 women and beating 28-year-old man to death
  • Farm owner Camellia has settled with alleged victims for up to £4.6million  

The Kent-based owner of a massive Kenyan avocado farm which supplied British supermarkets until last year has settled claims of human rights abuses with 85 alleged victims for up to £4.6million.

Armed security guards working at Kakuzi, a 54-square mile farm north of Nairobi, are accused of committing abuses between 2009 and January 2020.

The allegations include that farm guards beat a 28-year-old man accused of stealing avocados to death, raped 10 women and committed dozens of brutal attacks on people in nearby villages.

Camellia, which is valued at £180million and has a majority stake in Kakuzi, will spend up to £4.6million on the settlement, including compensation, legal costs and funding schemes for the community.  

The original claim, lodged in the High Court in London by British law firm Leigh Day, was for 79 alleged victims of human rights abuses. However, Camellia expanded the payout to include those who came forward after the initial lawsuit, including a man maimed by guards. 

One of the barristers instructed in the case was Amal Clooney, the wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney.  

Leigh Day believe that guards intentionally and systematically mistreated members of the surrounding communities and physically punished local community members for crossing Kakuzi property.

Camellia, which is valued at £180million and has a majority stake in Kakuzi, will spend up to £4.6million on the settlement, including compensation, legal costs and funding schemes for the community. Pictured, workers on the farm north of Nairobi
Camellia, which is valued at £180million and has a majority stake in Kakuzi, will spend up to £4.6million on the settlement, including compensation, legal costs and funding schemes for the community. Pictured, workers on the farm north of Nairobi

Alleged cases of human rights abuses on Kenyan avocado farm

Leigh Day brought a claim alleging human rights abuses committed by Kakuzi, including: 

  • Ten women allegedly raped by Kakuzi's security guards, including a 16-17 year-old girl after being caught collecting firewood on the company's land. 
  • Another was allegedly violently raped after being caught collecting wood, by two guards. 
  • Some became pregnant and contracted HIV as a result of the alleged sex crime;
  • A young man was allegedly beaten to death by Kakuzi's security guards in May 2018 for allegedly stealing avocados;
  • Men and women were allegedly beaten, injured or unlawfully detained by Kakuzi's security guards, including a man who sustained serious long-term injuries after being allegedly kicked in the head by a guard wearing heavy boots;
  • Thirty-four men and women involved in a protest on September 2, 2014 were allegedly violently attacked by Kakuzi's security guards, including with a rungu (wooden club);
  • A journalist and cameraman reporting on a protest led by children at Gitutu Secondary School in September 2016 were allegedly violently assaulted by Kakuzi's security guards. 

The agriculture and engineering firm opened talks with Leigh Day after British supermarkets stopped selling Kakuzi's avocados following an investigation by the Sunday Times.

Swaleth Githinji, who runs human rights organisation Ndula Resource Centre, told the paper: 'For the victims of human rights abuses this is a big win.'

But he added: 'The lack of a public apology shows that Camellia and Kakuzi are not committed to the long-term resolution of these issues.' 

Daniel Leader, a partner at Leigh Day, told MailOnline: 'The settlement the parties have reached provides individual compensation for the claimants, who have claimed damages as victims of human rights abuses, but also guarantees a substantial package of additional measures which will help the numerous communities which surround the Kakuzi farm.

'Most importantly, Kakuzi has agreed to construct three new roads which will significantly improve the ability of local residents to access local public services and amenities. 

'Kakuzi has also agreed to put in place a comprehensive grievance mechanism which will deal with any other human rights complaints in the future and will be subject to independent oversight. 

'The Claimants hope and anticipate that this settlement will lay the foundation for an improved dialogue and relationship between Kakuzi and their communities in the future.' 

Camellia pointed to a statement made by Kakuzi last year where it said it was apologising 'to all the stakeholders about the current circumstances'.  

A spokesperson told MailOnline that Kakuzi guards are armed with sticks, not guns - as original reports said. They also said that security guards in that part of Africa are frequently killed as they go about their job.  

The company added that Leigh Day has agreed 'not to begin or support' any other claims over Camellia's Kenya operations 'for a substantial period'. 

In a statement, Camellia said: 'The settlement is intended not only to resolve the claims themselves, but also to help Kakuzi to strengthen its relations with the local communities and to continue to support the thousands of smallholder farmers who rely on Kakuzi to get their avocados to market. 

'In particular, Kakuzi's Operational-level Grievance Mechanism ('OGM') (which was announced in October 2020) will be developed and implemented, with wide-ranging stakeholder consultation.

'The companies have reached this resolution because it is the best way of supporting Kakuzi in continuing its long-standing and important work with the communities on and around the Kakuzi farm, which includes comprehensive outreach, CSR and engagement initiatives such as maintaining and supporting local schools, and providing medical facilities for employees and their families, and medical outreach programmes to the local communities.'   By JACK WRIGHT FOR MAILONLINE

By FLEVIAN MUTIE

In the African context today, almost everyone hopes to be rewarded for doing good. This is something we learn since childhood where we are encouraged to do good for that can always be rewarded. In other cases especially in religion, people are encouraged to do good expecting nothing in return for it. 

Whichever way they learned this great lesson of life, Kenyan Police Officers, Amina Mutio and Ibrahim Wamitilla were happy for their good deeds being recognized. During the curfews brought by Covid-19, these two officers based in Baringo were praised by Kenyans for promoting humanity. 

Amina, in a viral video that has circulated online and reached millions of viewers, is seen at nightfall, helping a lady cross the road and helping her children scamper to safety, despite the prevailing curfew where any other officer would have either beaten them or detained them. However, this officer chose to help them and not beat them.

While the night curfews were characterized by police brutality, Baringo AP, Commandant Ibrahim Wamitilla chose a different way to handle curfew offenders. He was seen persuading Kenyans to observe the curfew and stay safe, rather than using force or beating them up, which made him stand out as extra-ordinary officer.

In Kenya, the disciplined forces also ensure order by helping put everything and everyone in their place as required. A few of them have however made their day’s duty harder for the uniformed officers as they have always been associated with all sorts of misconduct and malpractices in their line of duty.

The police especially in Kenya have always had their image painted with drab colours, owing to vices and felonies committed by their colleagues including brutality, bribery, innocent executions, murder, rape, shooting or clobbering of innocent Kenyans even to death with no known apparent reason and justification.

This has happened in the Kenyan marketplaces especially on residents returning home from a busy day, even before the onset of the curfew, put in place by the Kenya government and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to contain the COVID-19.

This matter had gotten totally out of control early last year, when President Kenyatta apologized to the wananchi on March 30, following complaints raised by different groups and bodies promoting human rights, over police brutality and abuse before, during and after curfew hours. However, there are the ‘remnant’ who have vowed to stand doing the right thing, with no fear or favour, and with no expectation of either a single reward, as it is their calling and duty. 

Whoever said that a little courtesy goes a long way did not mince words as two police officers broke this norm in Nairobi after they got the attention of Kenyans, especially in social media and consequently bagged magnanimous awards after their display of exemplary actions that attracted a sense of good faith from the Kenyan community. The Kenyans on social media commented them during the award ceremony, recently held in Nairobi, at the Embakasi Police Station grounds.

Amina has been highly congratulated by masses especially Kenyans in social media, following her kindheartedness, especially in a time when police brutality was the order of the day during the curfew hours. The officer flagged down drivers, not to ask for a bribe but to sanitize them and ensure their safety. As she worked the night long, she could also sanitize drivers who stopped at nearby filling stations to refuel, especially in Nairobi’s Utawala area where she is assigned to control traffic. 

Speaking to IEA News, Amina says small gestures go a very long way, beginning from just giving a lift to a needy or trekking wananchi without necessarily incriminating them. “Doing well to someone else, even when they do not deserve it, feels like a magical tonic that makes a wound disappear. When torn in between two situations, especially when both duty and humanity call both at ago, you have to do the right thing, otherwise you never know how you may end up impacting someone else, whether they revert to appreciate you or not, you never know the result thereof, and for decisions, we do not make them because they are either easy or simple, we make them simply because it is the right thing to do.”  she adds.

Amina thanks two entities, Naivas Supermarket, and a media personality and a media houses based in Nairobi, and thanking her followers as well, says  that all played a vital role towards her recognition. She adds that the latter have helped her attain the award, says and promised that she can only become better, as the highest reward comes from the most toil, and it is not all about what they get from it, but who they become after doing a simple action that lifts someone else or helps them in a way. It does not matter who one is in the society, whether senior or junior, I encourage people to work not for recognition but to do actions that are worthy recognizing. 

Alex Kimina, a resident of Nairobi says that the police are humans too, and ought to be treated as humans. He congratulates the good deeds done by Amina and Wamitilla, adding that he runs an annual campaign dubbed Pikia Karao (cook for the police) geared towards providing food and soft drinks for the police from one station to the other.

Alex also comments a team of three women, who came together to feed police who were manning roadblocks. “It is not what we always see or think, as there are a few like Amina and Wamitilla, who make a difference and eventually stand out. Such always toil hard to show that the police have a sense of humanity in them too” says Alex.    “If more Kenyans could volunteer and follow our lead, of interacting freely with the police, and if more officers could follow the example laid by the two, then definitely, we would have a smooth relationship between with the police. I believe that this would clean the image of the police and Kenyans would look at them from a different angle.” He adds.  

 

 

By FREDDY MACHA 

 And there it was. A WhatsApp  invitation sent by  Sophia Egan-Cork.

 A request to perform my music. Such “call outs” are common during these Covid-19 times.  If you are a musician you know the deal. It is going to be Microsoft Teams, Facebook Live streaming, Skype, or Zoom. 

In 2019 - “Corona” was not part of our daily vocabulary (few knew the  Mexican  beer, Corona Extra); subsequently,  such summons were different. Your phone would ring. Then a long conversation about costs : journey to the venue, equipment and sound (PA, in music jargon) and the general fee. 

The “figure” would be fixed, as events have budgets.  For us professional artists, it is take or leave it. They are paying £120 per musician for the one – two hour performance. When you, John and Mary, hears that kind of money for an hour, thinks it is a lot. 

Yes it can be someone's monthly salary - ...around 375 Tanzanian shillings  (or 17, 500 Kenyan shillings  or half a million Ugandan shillings)...but hey!!! Freelance musicians do not play every day. You get this gig on such a such weekend, then wait ages for another one. Meantime, bills have to be paid, no fixed time scale. 

In between you enjoy your life, rehearsing, create, posting music videos smiling while people envy your “glamorous life.”

Then March 2020, Covid-19 strikes, Tsunami-like. But, alas, Tsunamis, normally, kick our guts once and vanish.  

Coronavirus punched and headbutted us continuously in 2020, live music has almost been forgotten in early 2021. To perform you need audiences. But how do you sing with a mask on? Musicians have been stuck indoors, harbouring exploding emotions, debts and more debts.

 The only solution are videos and these internet Apps ....

And here comes Sophia Egan-Cork.

She is cooking a line up for the 59th anniversary of Tanganyika's Independence. Theme is Unsung heroes of Uhuru.  Stars like Lucy Lameck and Bibi Titi Mohammed mentioned. Do we know them?

 Last time Bibi Titi Mohamed was on national news was early 1970s as part of a large group accused of plotting to overthrow Mwalimu Nyerere's TANU. Afterwards, legendary Bibi Titi was in prison. Few years later, Mwalimu Nyerere pardoned her (and others) and she died quietly, no autobiography, no memoirs, no TV interviews; in November 2000.

 Bibi Titi was the founder and leader of the powerful Tanzania Women Union -UWT (Umoja wa Wanawake wa Tanzania) – for those present in the 1950s and 1960s she was a gargantuan personality- as massive as Mwalimu Nyerere, Rashid Kawawa, Oscar Kambona (another huge story), a heroine. 

When TANU was being formed in early 1950s , Bibi Titi was the one to look up to. Writing in Rai Mwema, December 2020, Abdul Mtemvu informs us it was actually Bibi Titi, “who initiated the “Mwalimu” tag on Nyerere and it stuck forever.”

 Want to hear more? Respected historian, Mohammed Saidi writes in his blog:

“Bi Titi Mohamed used to address Uhuru meetings before even she had met Julius Nyerere. How come Bibi Titi addressed TANU gatherings before even she had met Nyerere – and even before Nyerere himself was known  to people of Dar es Salaam?” 

Mohamed's then elaborates that Bibi Titi would warm up crowds before  TANU leader, Nyerere, spoke. And there were more heroes. The Sykes brothers. Or Zuberi Mtemvu, with a totally different ideology – as charismatic and a good orator as Mwalimu. 

Furthermore, Mohamed Said continues, Mtemvu created the African Peoples Congress Party, advocating Tanzania -just for Africans. Unlike Mwalimu's more unifying TANU line.

 And well...

Historian Mohamed Said is scheduled to be part of this Zoom performance-but doesn't make it. Chief guest is our London High Commissioner, Dr Asha Rose Migiro. Opening the ceremony, after the national anthem, she reiterates on Umoja- Unity- which has seen Tanzanians enduring peaceful prosperity. 

Unsung heroes is the theme but it does not mean what TANU (and eventually CCM) has done and achieved in the last 59 years is of no significance. It is just a different angle- steered by Ireland based Tanzanians. Ireland is hardly mentioned in our media reports.  Their community is called ATAI, i.e.  Association of Tanzanians in Ireland.

Sophia Egan -Cork explains:

ATAI was formerly established in 2017 with the objective of creating a vibrant society of Tanzanian diaspora in Ireland....”

That is one angle.

Other is participants. We have musician Kiruu. Half English half-  Tanzanian, kicking off Zoom with an excellent rendition of the National Anthem on his guitar. Then poets (Joyce Materego, EdnaLyatuu Hogan, Euxodia, Abubakar Kassim) more musicians (Ticha Vibes and this author) plus speakers, ie Cian Murphy.

All co-ordinated by Sophia herself- Tanzanian mum, Irish- dad.  Sophia is involved in several Swahili projects - teaching and translation while promoting Tanzania overseas. Hopefully, we shall keep hearing more from this part of the world in the near future.

-Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-Web: www.makalazangu.blogspot.com

 

 

Photo by APA

By PHOEBE RUGURU

At the age of four, Reni asked her mother when she would become white; it is a moment too saddening, but all too common to startle. As young black girls, we are taught to endeavour for many things, among those, the aspiration of whiteness. In our lifetime, we are constantly reminded of this expectation, and when we fail to achieve it, we are punished with misrepresentation.

When Reni is reliving her childhood, observing the media’s portrayal of whiteness as good and that of blacks as not, when dismissing the possibility of a black Hermione because only whiteness can be associated with intelligence, it is in these chapters that we can surely nod to the depictions which we feel have at some point in our lives, exhausted us and our relationship to race.

As an in-depth follow-up to her viral blog of the same name, 'I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race' is an informative reflection of the trajectory in which racism in Britain has transpired. Despite the ironic title, Reni Eddo-Lodge pertinently sifts through key historical moments that impacted race relations in Britain, trailing the racial discrimination of black people from the inhumane trade in black bodies (in which over 11 million Africans were enslaved) to the criminalisation of blackness in the media and politics.

In addressing historical crimes and current ones, Reni does so in a way that doesn't separate the history from the present, but rather challenges racism as a systemic vice that curls and embeds itself deeply in the personal and nationalistic character of Britain.

To black readers, the personal experiences in much of the book may not be as surprising, but they situate the book comfortably as a testament of our lived experiences in Britain, to which we can appreciate.

The historical accounts and some stories, such as the tormenting murder of Charles Wootton in Liverpool who was drowned and lynched, reveal some of the dark and gruelling parts of British history not taught in schools.

To White readers, it is compulsory to understand why a black person might not want to talk to you about race. Though the book provides a balance of personal and historical facts, it is a necessary read even though it does not satisfy the entirety of information necessary to dismantle the posture of a racist society.

Chapters such as 'The Feminism Question' are paramount. In this chapter, Reni acknowledges the strength of feminism in fuelling her fight against racism, whilst still addressing its weaknesses: the passive and dismissive attitude towards racism and the experiences of black women.

These are observations that also echo of the strong impact and influence of some of the most remarkable feminists, such as Audre Lorde, who also stressed the importance and necessity of a feminism that intentionally and actively engages women of all classes and races in the book `The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’.

In the enduring fight against racism and all its cognitive and structural manifestations, Reni Eddo-Lodge's 'Why I'm No longer Talking to White People About Race' is a must-have for all part of this fight.

The book is among those illuminating the lack of progress in British society; a progress stifled not only by ignorance and contempt, but also by the deliberate whitewashing and forging of history. Which is why, through this fight, we have to note that, "faced with our collective forgetting, we must fight to remember."

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