By Godwin Semunyu.

When Joseph Mbilinyi alias Mr. Two, or Too Proud and now Sugu, was sworn in as Member of Parliament for Mbeya urban in 2010, he sent buzzing vibes to the Tanzania music industry. It was surreal to imagine that a Bongo Flava artist barred its reputation at the time, making it to its most potent legislative organ. Sugu, known for his strong lyrical messages, is regarded as an epitome of Bongo Fleva entrance into politics by being brave enough to challenge the status quo of the “elite” class of politicians, old enough to be his own parents. He actually ousted his secondary school class teacher.

Five years later,2015, another Bongofleva legend Joseph Haule aka Professor Jay, whose hit single ‘Chemsha Bongo’ in the 90’s convinced the entire nation that Bongo Flava was more than just “kufokafoka,” joined the honorable wagon, after winning the Mikumi constituency. The wheels were set in motion. Several other artists would then follow suit by running for various political offices. Baba Levo from Kigoma opted for a ward executive position.

As the election 2020 is nearing, we already are hearing of Bongo Fleva artists expressing their desire to run for the public offices. Rajabu Mgaya, aka “Harmonize,” is highly touted to ran for Tandahimba constituency in Mtwara after being publicly tipped by President John Magufuli as good enough for the job. Kigoma based Baba Levo is also ready to upgrade to Parliamentarian from his current post as ward executive. Meanwhile, the famous Iringa son, Mike Mwakatundu, aka Mike Tee “Mnyalu,” has announced his quest for Iringa urban seat via CCM.

In another turn of event, Ukonga Bilingual lyrical genius Webiro Noel Wassira alias “Wakazi” has recently announced joining ACT Wazalendo, he is yet to announce his intentions, but the writings on the wall are as panoramic as the Eiffel tower. If it looks like a bird, it is a bird.

With more than 75% of Tanzanians being below 45 years of age, the sky is the limit to Bongo Fleva artists to turn their fans base into votes. They can easily relate to the new wave of first-time voters who turned 18 and became eligible in the last five years. According to data from National Electro Commission, over 30 million Tanzanians out of a population of 55 million are registered to vote in the coming October 2020 general elections, from 23,161,440 who were recorded for the 2015 general elections. Whereas 7,043,247 are newly registered voters. These numbers present a bright light at the end of the tunnel for Bongo Flava political aspirants.

When addressing the final session of the parliamentary meeting in Dodoma yesterday, President Magufuli praised the sports and entertainment sector for being on the forefront in pushing the branding Tanzania agenda worldwide. President Magufuli narrated that the industry has contributed immensely to the national economy. “I would like to recommend all Bongo Flava artists, actors, and athletes for a tremendous job in the last five years, “said President Magufuli.

Gone are the days when artists were only used as curtain-raisers and crowd-pullers at campaign rallies, now they are the big boys rivaling the status quo. They want a seat at the decision-making tables; they want a more significant piece of the cake; they are past being only entertainers. The tables done changed.

One thing is certain; the political game is unforgiving, artists have to prove that they are more than just hitmakers, they will be judged like any other politician, they will be judged by what they bring to the table. They will be expected to present their visions, their realistic targets, and attainable action plans. Much as they adore them, the current generation of voters is too exposed to call a spade by any other name.

So far, so good for the music once regarded as “muziki wa wahuni.”

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Human beings are social beings, meaning they thrive in a communal environment where their different skill sets are brought together to achieve a common purpose. Human beings are also affectionate in nature, so physical touches such as handshakes, hugs, kisses, and cuddles are used to send various nonverbal communication.

Over the years, a handshake has transformed from a social greeting to a social instinct as we inadvertently reach out to shake hands whenever we spot an acquaintance or lean-in for a quick hug in case of closer relations. For many of us, especially people from the motherland of Africa, shaking hands is taught at the early stages of life.

My mother, Odilia, taught me to touch elders’ heads as a greeting when I was little, by my teenage years, she insisted that I shake hands with everyone she introduced me to, along with a “Shikamoo.” Handshakes are viewed as a gesture of respect, and in many instances, such as business meetings, to initiate positive communication.

Hugs, though viewed as “western” to some, it is a common thing among many tribes such as Nyakyusa, Ngoni, Hehe in their greetings. Nyakyusas hugs a lot, “ofwa” is a greeting that goes along a warm, embraced hug to an acquaintance. These physical gestures are as old as mankind.

However, with Coronavirus pandemic looming, countries across the world continue to implement strict social distancing measures in a bid to contain the spread of the COVID-19, the epidemic also seems to threaten the entire face of normalcy including the concept of personal greetings. Signaling an end to hugging and handshakes norms.

US Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, was once quoted saying “ I Don’t think We should ever Shake hands again, why are we doing it to start with? To be honest with you, not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease, it probably would dramatically decrease instances of influenza.”

“ I Don’t Think We Should Ever Shake Hands Again, why are we doing it to start with?
Quotes like this, from known experts, create fears which, in turn, leads to change of human behaviors, fears change human beings because it is a powerful motivator, and a desire for safety may trump one’s dedication to the handshake. The irony is, the innocent handshake has shifted to a potential carrier of a dangerous disease. This is because when your hands touch a surface, you may actually pick hundreds of bacteria and viruses.

So, even though a few years ago, refusing a handshake or a hug would have been seen as an obscene gesture, people may gradually learn that it is a way out of danger.

Where do we go from here?
Thankfully, though it will seem awkward at first, a human being can still greet without handshakes or hugs. Here are some few points as collected from various sources:

1. Namaste, Namaskar


This is a famous non-physical Hindu greeting that involves joining your hands and flashing your smile to greet someone. Namaste remains by far as one of the most popular ways of social greeting. It is hygienic, respectable, and does not include any gestures that you may have to learn from scratch.

2.The elbow bump

If namaste seems too formal to greet your friends and co-workers, may we suggest the part-fun and completely safe elbow bump? Top health officials across the globe are also recommending elbow bump as an informal means of greeting.

3.Wave:

Yes, the good, old waving of hands still seems a plausible way of greeting, especially when the greeting is not very close contact.

4. Wuhan shake (Foot shake):

The Wuhan shake (foot greeting or foot-tapping) seems to be an incredibly fun of greeting and has gone viral on social media platforms. It is vibrant and can cause humor or two, which is a gist of it all.

5. Hand on your heart

A standard greeting in the Arab world, used with the phrase asalaam aleikum, which translates to “peace be upon you,” accompanying gestures, vary from place to place, but mostly putting the right hand to the heart to demonstrates genuine happiness to meet someone.

@copyright @epicprtz

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Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA) has cried foul over the treatment of local drivers at the hands of Kenya and Rwanda’s immigration border points.

Speaking to Press in Dar es Salaam yesterday, TATOA Chairperson Angelina Ngalula explained that contrary to initial agreement between the East African Countries on dealing with cross border cargo during the Corona Virus pandemic, there are double standards as to how Tanzanian drivers are treated.

“Our drivers have been stuck at the border points of Namanga and Rusomo for bureaucracy reasons, this, in turn, increases operation costs as we are charged close to TZS120,000 per container per day, the costs that could be easily avoided. We are requesting immediate intervention so things can start moving,” she said.

“On top of that, most Tanzanian trucks, in exception to those categorized to transport “essential goods” are requested to offload at the border point of Rusumo, which is about 150 Kilometers from the City of Kigali, while our counterparts from Rwanda are allowed to cross more than 1,000 Kilometers to Dar es Salaam and hence conveniently deliver to their customers’ in Rwanda, at doorsteps.

This situation gives the Rwandese truck owners a comparative business advantage, as they are deemed convenient by most customers. We are calling for fair business grounds,” said Ms. Ngalula.

Ms. Ngalula also expounded that, initially it was agreed that drivers from and to Kenya and Tanzania will be scanned at home and show a Covid-19 free certificate at the border points, but now the Kenyan authorities are surprisingly rejecting the Tanzanian based certificates, causing an unnecessary delay at the border, which translate into loss to the owners, especially when it concerns perishable goods.

“in a very unprecedented manner, Kenyan authorities are now refuting our drivers’ Covid-19 free certificates, questioning their legitimacy. It should be known that those are governments’ endorsed documents, issued by the Ministry of Health. As truck owners, we are calling for a round table discussion between all relevant authorities to normalize the situation and set fair business grounds. We understand and acknowledge all the government’s efforts in putting cross-border businesses in perspective amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. We feel that these particular areas need immediate improvement,” concluded the Chairperson.

TATOA was established in 2005 as a voluntary business association for truck owners involved in cargo freighting business in and outside Tanzania. The association now has 962 members with over 15000 trucks.

Copyright@epicprtz

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Bernard Konga – Director-General, National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF

Dar es Salaam, Thursday 28th May 2020. The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Director-General  Bernard Konga has announced that the Fund is finalizing the digital payment system solution that will reduce the Medical Services Providers’ settlement claims from 45 to 14 days.

Speaking at an online CRDB Bank webinar branded  “Afya Forum,” that brought together all key players of the Tanzania Health sector, Konga who is an economist by trade, revealed that NHIF had embarked a digital transformation journey that will not only exterminate the delayed payment agonies but also increase efficiency through timely payments and subsequently maximize customer satisfaction.

“We understand your concerns on delayed payments for insurance claims”, said Konga who was speaking from his office in Dodoma, when answering a question from one of the participants,  “let me assure you that the Government is working tirelessly to get to the bottom of this setback. I am pleased to announce that we are finalizing an online claims settlement platform, that will allow us to reimburse all claims within ten to fourteen days,” said Konga.

NHIF, which now caters to more than 4 million members,  was established in year 2001 with the primary objective of ensuring that the majority of Tanzanians have access to health services through the provision of affordable and reliable health insurance services.

Despite the compulsory enrollment arrangement to public servants, the Fund also covers a big portion of private sectors from individuals’ traders and farmers, companies, education institutions, and organized groups such as Petty traders (Machinga and Bodaboda groups).

The digitalization move will likely attract applauses from all the quarters of the medical services providers who have long voiced their concerns. It is also another milestone for the Funds’ hierarchy who has worked tirelessly to increase efficiency and customer base through introduction of innovative products that cut across different demographics and income groups.

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A Swahili street slang that means ‘until we make it’ and/or ‘until it all makes sense’ and/or ‘keep your eye on the ball’. The slogan has been at the centre of my personal drive since I started my entrepreneurial journey back in 2016.

Through both steady and unprecedented times this slogan has been the driving force in facing challenges and pushing through hard times.

Our country is not unique in facing this COVID 19 global pandemic. As business owners, we are being hit with the same negative consequential economic effects as faced by those in fellow developing nations. Being a practising corporate lawyer and an inward investment advisor places me at the country’s entry gates exposing me head-on to investor challenges and strategies during this uncertain time.

The act of advising clients to send employees on unpaid leave, forced leave and outright closure of business tends to send a very grim picture on what is going on the ground.

Yet, being at the gateway exposes me to foreign investor interests, and new market entry propositions in the midst of all the economic and logistical challenges. From December 2019 to April 2020 we have set up investment vehicles on the lookout for opportunities in tourism, microfinance, manufacturing and some in relief efforts towards the effects of Covid-19.

The question that comes to mind is ‘What are foreign investors seeing that we as Tanzanians and local business owners are not seeing?’ Should we really be cowering in terror, depressed and paralyzed out of fear, waiting for the storm to settle (until when?) or should we use this time to not only take care of ourselves and those around us but to also re-strategize, seek new growth opportunities and better position ourselves for the brighter days?

The current situation took me back to my employed days when once I had gone three months without a salary during which time I realised I could actually survive running my own business, and thrive. In those months I improved on client relations and found ways to make money on the side by purposefully marketing the broad range of skill sets I had acquired over the years. That was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Therefore, this pandemic can be responded to with the same resilience. Why not innovate? Why not think out of the box? Why not tend to the untouched wish list? Why not now?

Should we keep dwelling on the unknown and that which we have no control over? I believe we should face what we do know and improve on what is within our means. That is the spirit of #Mpakakieleweke

With that being said, our firm is pushing our online employment law application www.kazibox.co.tz which allows employees and HR managers alike to easily access essential employment law related resources through a webapp. Since many companies have implemented social distancing policies there has been a huge increase in online communication and administration in the country. We trust we can capitalize on this.

In a more personal capacity, I am chasing my dream to enter the tourism and risk management industries. How crazy is that? Building a beach camp site when there are no tourists to be seen…yet.

Being involved with the risk management firm www.castorvali.com at a time when major projects are on a slowdown has also led to the opening of other opportunities like the issuance of reports and updates on COVID-19 and its impact on business within the East African region. These reports are proving to be of increased significance to corporates keeping an eye on their investments in East Africa.

This in my mind is what the ‘Mpaka Kieleweke’ slogan is all about: taking the bull by the horns and dealing with whatever comes our way as it comes. I honestly believe that in the end the sun will shine, and we will be better positioned to continue the transformation of our beautiful growing nation.

Let us be safe, and let’s keep chasing our dreams as they are all we got.

By Kamanga Wilbert Kapinga ~ Managing Partner at KW Kapinga & Partners

SOURCE: HERE

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