DAR GOVERNMENT & MINERS, YOU DON’T OWN THE MINERALS WE DO.

MR. TED BLOM HAS HAD A DISTINGUISHED CAREER WITH A VAST EXPERIENCE IN MINING

I for one I am still fighting a losing bettor together with my fellow Tanzania’s opposing the Dar Government decision on uranium mining.

Other stakeholders – mostly ordinary Tanzanians, environmentalists and other activists have joined the argument and counterarguments in defence opposing the decision of the government. However, their efforts are more like crying in the rain… Nobody notices!

Top government officials and transnational mining conglomerates possibly aided and abetted by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee have been stentorophonically defending the decision to allow uranium mining in Tanzania!

Even before the uranium mining saga emerged, the government in Dar had for years been at the receiving end of critical admonition. Everybody else outside the highest echelons in government criticised the mining regime which severely cut across  national interests!

While Tanzania is phenomenally-endowed with natural resources including especially minerals, ordinary Tanzanians are among the world’s ten poorest populations; absurdly anachronistic; inexplicable and inexcusable…

JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIA’S FIRST FEMALE PRIME MINISTER

After a decade of a mining regime which was virtually a bastard born of the equally bastard 1997 mining policy and 1998 mining legislation, the Dar government finally  bowed to pressure. It came out with a new mining policy and legislation in 2010 which ‘professes’ to favor Tanzanians more than the previous regime.

The fruit(s) of this is/are, of course, yet to be seen — and, still less, to be tasted by ordinary Tanzanians.

The general feeling today’s still that the changes haven’t gone far and deep enough… That they’re still cosmetic, designed to appease gullible Tanzanians even as they leave gaping loopholes to be exploited by alien investors colluding with officials of dubious probity!

In other words, Tanzanians are still not the actual owners of their (albeit potential) mineral wealth by a long chalk!

At this juncture, I remember reading one article from Mr Karl Lyimo who is a socioeconomic commentator based in Dar es Salaam who hard quot two stakeholders in mining, and who’re not Tanzanians. One is Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The other is Ted Blom, head of Independent Mining & Energy Advisory Consultancy.

Addressing the Minerals Council of Australia in Perth last July, Gillard bluntly “reminded” mining industry operators that they aren’t the owners of the country’s mineral wealth.

“We admire your success,” she told industry representatives. “But, here’s the rub: you don’t own the minerals. I don’t own the minerals.

Governments only sell you the right to mine the resources!” [See ‘You don’t own the minerals,’ PM Gillard tells Aussie miners’: May 31, 2012].

For his part, Blom told delegates to the Terrapinn Africa Mining Congress-2012 in Johannesburg July 17 that “African Governments adopting smart mining policies would move ahead of those that didn’t and improve the legacy of their people… We’re in the era of smart management, smart technology and smart Govt., and the governments that are smart will move ahead, improve the legacy of their people and economic benefits for everybody!” Further noting that “a country’s minerals didn’t belong to the Govt.,

But to the people and the country” — and that the Govt. of the Day was not the Govt. forever — Blom stressed that “the time had come for Governments to stop acting as if they owned the minerals. They’re merely custodians on our behalf, and it’s time for us to stand up, speak out and claim our rightful share of the minerals economy.

Governments do fall and others take over…!”

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UGANDA HAVE BEEN SELECTED BY EAC TO HOST FORENSIC REFERRAL CENTRE.

FROM R-L, DR. SEZIBERA EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY’S SECRETARY GENERAL.

Uganda has been selected to host the EAC regional forensic referral centre (RFRC) as part of on going efforts to revolutionize the fight against crime in the region by providing scientific information to investigators and to courts.

Uganda was chosen after partner States’ chiefs of Police unanimously agreed on Kampala as the most suitable location for the RFRC where forensic science (the practical application of science to matters of the law) will be carried out.

In criminal law, forensics can help prove the guilt or innocence of the defendant and in civil actions it can help resolve a broad spectrum of legal issues through the identification, analysis and evaluation of physical evidence.

The Police Chiefs expressed their support after considering a report from an EAC fact-finding mission, which visited all five Partner States in March this year. The Assessment Mission was conducted by an independent forensics consultant from the United Kingdom who worked with forensics experts from the Partner States together with technical staff from the EAC Secretariat.

L-R BEATRICE KONES OF KENYA, EAC SG AMB SEZIBERA, DEPUTY SG IN CHARGE OF POLITICAL FEDERATION AND INTERNAL SECURITY MINISTER

Information was gathered through physical site inspections and meetings coupled with face-to-face interviews with individuals who had a stake in the forensic facilities, the forensics staff and the Chief Government Chemists within the Partner States.

The Centre will have regional responsibilities but will not compromise national capabilities in the provision of forensic services. Nonetheless, East Africans hope for improved security as the regional integration process deepens.

“The expectation is that the threat of terrorism, trafficking of persons and narcotics as well as other transnational security threats will be better managed…” said Dr. Sezibera East African Community’s secretary general.

He praised the EAC Partner States Police chiefs for what he referred to as, ‘taking concrete steps to deter criminal activities in the region’ and pledged that his office will continue to support their endeavors.

Sezibera made the remarks, when opening the ministerial session of the Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, held on Monday where they underscored, the importance of regional peace and security.

The EAC has already initiated the harmonization process of peace and security initiatives, common policing standards, joint investigation, exchange of information and mutual legal assistance in the Partner States, among others.

Dr. Sezibera urged Partner States to reduce dependence on the various ‘Development Partners’ to fund regional security programmes and revealed that efforts were underway to create a Directorate of Peace and Security which will help to expedite peace and security issues in the EAC Partner States.

Article 124 of the EAC Treaty recognizes the need for peace and security within the Partner States and this is further elaborated through the Strategy for Regional Peace and Security adopted by the 13th Council of Ministers meeting. In an effort to formulate measures to combat terrorism, Goal 10 of the Regional Strategy for Peace and Security provides for enhancement of forensic services with establishment of an RFRC.