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School Girls in Kenya Are Asked To Take These Compulsory Tests and Women’s Rights Campaigners Are Outraged

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Girls in western Kenya returning to school after the Christmas break are undergoing compulsory tests for female genital mutilation in a move to crackdown against the illegal and harmful practice, a senior government official said on Friday.

They are also being tested to see if they are pregnant.

George Natembeya, commissioner for Narok County, said many girls were being forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) during the school vacation, and pregnancies following this traditional “rite of passage” were common.

“We have the highest rates of teen pregnancies in the country, and FGM is widespread in some communities in Narok, but it is difficult to detect these cases as it is all underground and secretive,” Natembeya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The tests will help us to better support girls who often have to hide their pregnancies and health complications after undergoing FGM. We will also be able to prosecute men who defile them, and go after their parents who force them to undergo FGM.”

The move has sparked outrage among women’s’ rights campaigners who said the compulsory tests are demeaning and would further victimize and traumatize girls.

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Reaching Out

Nigeria Makes This Touching Gesture To Help Alleviate Malawi’s Devastation From Cyclone Idai

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Nigeria is popular as the giant of Africa for the ‘big brother’ role the country play. The federal government of Nigeria on Monday 13th of May 2019 extended a brotherly hand to the government of Malawi by donating 30,000 tonnes of drugs, medical equipment, insecticide-treated nets as well as $500,000 cash. This was Nigeria’s way of sympathizing with the country which was recently hit by Cyclone Idai.

Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs led the Nigerian Government delegation that delivered the relief materials to Mr. Nicholas Dausi, the Malawi Minister of Homeland Security and Disaster Management Affairs. Speaking during the presentation, Onyeama said a misfortune to any African nation affects Nigeria.

“We share this burden and the loss with you in this country. When the hurricane happened, Nigeria was conducting the election. [However], President Buhari instructed us that as quickly as possible we had to mobilize resources to bring to this country. We mobilized over 8,000 medical items, equipment to assist and also cash donation of 500,000 U.S dollars.

Delivery of Nigeria’s donations will take a while

Onyeama further extended President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence to the people of Malawi. Cyclone Idai led to the death of many with an estimated 86,000 displaced from their homes. Apparently, 30,000 tonnes of items is a lot. However, according to Onyeama, it will take Nigeria a maximum of two weeks to deliver all the items.

“The amount is huge, 30,000 tonnes of items, which will be transported to Malawi in the next one or two weeks maximum. Some of our big transporters C130 will deliver the equipment may be in two trips but we sent some of the equipment with a small plane, for this occasion. Please, accept our deepest sympathy and the statistics are very disturbing…with some deaths and injuries.”

Malawi’s benefits beyond the material donation

Mr. Dausi thanked the government of Nigeria for assistance. According to him, the materials will go a long way to help the victims. Consequently, Mr. Dausi also said there were 67 camps housing the victims of the disaster.

“On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Malawi and the people… across 67 camps in the disaster and over 886,000 people affected, I want to sincerely express our deep thanks for your thoughtfulness.”

However, this is not the first time Nigeria will be assisting Malawi. According to the minister, Malawi has benefited from Nigeria in education as well as human support during the struggle to end apartheid. Consequently, the Malawian Minister congratulated President Buhari for his reelection. This is a gesture worth emulating by other African nations.

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Business and Development

Tanzania Electric Train Commence Trial In July

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Tanzania electric train

Tanzania is reaching for another economic milestone. The government announced that it was it will be testing its maiden self-funded electric train. The train which will run at 160 km/h will be one of Africa’s fastest high-speed trains. The train will also provide a cheaper means of transport to the citizens.

Further details show that the phase running from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro which has 6 in between stations and stretches 300 kilometers will commence operation in December. The trial trains in phase one will be three passenger trains. However, these trains will conduct daily round trips covering the two cities. Each passenger train will be making a minimum of 9 trips per day.

Difference between Tanzania electric train and regular train

The speed train will make use of concrete sleepers. This allows the railway network to carry as much as 35 tonnes of load per axle and increase its durability. Consequently, the rails should be able to last up to 40 years before any major repairs. However, the train bridge can last up to 100 years.

Speaking at the historic launch of the flash butt welding of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) at Soga, outside Dar es Salaam in Coastal region, Eng. Issac Kamwele, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications said the trial of the speedy electric train will happen in July. However, the trial will only cover a section of the SGR. In comparison to other country’s SGR, Tanzania’s will be fasters. Kenya and South Africa’s SGR can only reach a speed of 120 km/h

The impact this project will have on the economy

Tanzania government is making great strides to boost the economy of the nation. Recently, the government proposed plans to build cable cars for Mount Kilimanjaro. This is projected to double the current 50,000 annual tourists. However, not many think it is a good idea. A few groups think it will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.

ALSO READ: Tanzanian Government Considering Cable Car For Mount Kilimanjaro And Here Is How People Reacted

The $1.9 billion (Tshs 4.3 trillion) project has already created over 26,000 job opportunities. However, the government is optimistic that the second and subsequent phases will create more opportunities once fully functional.  The first railway lines in Tanganyika (previously German East Africa) were built after Zanzibar’s first tramway. The Ethio-Djibouti SGR project is currently the longest and first trans-boundary electric railway in Africa.

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Business and Development

Tanzanian Government Considering Cable Car For Mount Kilimanjaro And Here Is How People Reacted

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In a bid to boost the number of tourists visiting the East African nation, the Tanzanian government is considering putting cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro. Consequently, the government is currently in talks with a Western and Chinese company to actualize this project. Mount Kilimanjaro holds the record as Africa’s tallest mountain.

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According to the deputy minister for tourism, Constantine Kanyasu, the current 50,000 tourists that climb Mount Kilimanjaro could double with a cable car. This is because children and the physically challenged will have a chance to climb the mountain too. However, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) is carrying out a feasibility study on the possible routes. In a report on Reuters, Kanyasu said,

“We are still doing a feasibility study to see if this project works. There are two companies, one from China and another from a Western country that have shown interest. This won’t be the first time in the world, cable cars are there in Sweden, Italy, [and] the Himalayas.”

Impact of tourism to Tanzania’s economy

Tourism is Tanzania’s major source of foreign exchange earnings. Tanzania witnessed a 7.13% increase in tourism in 2018, particularly those visiting Mount Kilimanjaro. Consequently, Tanzania earned $2.43 billion in 2018. This is a boost from the country’s $2.19 billion earning in 2017. Mount Kilimanjaro is nearly 5,000 meters high and has three volcanic cones. Other tourist attractions in Tanzania are wildlife safaris and beaches.

The Tanzanian government is still reviewing business plans, profits and potential investors. There are lots of options for the routes and the length is yet to be finalized. The tourism mister said the government will also be looking at cost and engineering issues as well as environmental impact assessment.

Not everyone is happy with the idea of Mount Kilimanjaro cable car

Not everyone is in support of the idea of having a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro. Spearheading the anti-cable car idea is the Tanzania Porters’ Organization. Guide groups and porters who accompany tourists up the mountain fear that the building of a cable car will reduce the number of climbers. There are nearly 20,000 porters working between Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. Throwing more light to the harm this innovation would cause was the head of Tanzania Porters’ Organization, Lioshiye Mollel. Mollel said,

“One visitor from the U.S. can have a maximum of 15 people behind him, of which 13 are porters, cook and a guide. All these jobs will be affected by a cable car. We are of the view that the mountain should be left as it is.”

On Twitter, @AndyTraenkner said, “I’ve been fortunate to summit that amazing mountain twice, so far. Scarring its natural beauty with a cable car is a crime”

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