Monday, 19 September 2011

Zanzibar To Charge 5 In Deadly Ferry Capsizing

(CNN) -- Tanzanian authorities will charge five men with negligence after a ferry capsized in the island of Zanzibar this month, killing more than 200 people.

Four of the suspects have been arrested and will appear in court Monday, said Suleiman Haji Suleiman, a spokesman for the second vice president of Zanzibar.

They are two port officials, the owner of the ship and a transport official in charge of ensuring passengers' safety.

"All those people will pay for allowing the overloaded ferry to leave port," the spokesman said. "The captain of the ship is still missing, but there's a warrant out for his arrest. We are hearing that he fled to Kenya or another neighboring country."

The captain will be charged in absentia, he said, adding that a complete list of their charges will be presented Monday.

Government officials are investigating the source of the accident and will report their findings in about two weeks, the spokesman said.

It was unclear how many people were aboard the ship when it sank on September 10, but more than 600 people survived, according to authorities. It capsized in the predawn hours, sending passengers clinging to mattresses and objects from the cargo to avoid getting swallowed by the dark waves.

Authorities said the ferry -- MV Spice Islander --carries a maximum capacity of about 600 people and was traveling between the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba.

The two main islands on the Zanzibar archipelago are popular among tourists for their pristine sandy beaches on the Indian Ocean.
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Hope fades for ferry survivors...

Stone Town, Zanzibar - Divers searched on Sunday for any remaining survivors from the capsizing of an overcrowded ferry off the east African coast which killed nearly a quarter of the 800 passengers crammed onboard.

Zanzibar police said overloading probably caused the worst maritime disaster in the history of Zanzibar, Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago and a popular tourist destination.

“According to what we've heard so far from survivors, the ship was overloaded with cargo from Dar es Salaam, which included several vehicles, cement and iron rods,” Police Commissioner Mussa Alli Mussa told Reuters.

“Passengers who survived the accident told the police that the ship started taking in water from the cargo hold. That's when the vessel started to sink,” he said.

Zanzibat minister of state Mohamed Aboud Mohamed told a news conference on Sunday the latest death toll from Saturday's disaster was 197, with 619 survivors.

The MV Spice Islander began its voyage in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, where it was loaded with passengers, motor vehicles, bags of food and cement and other building materials.

When it reached Zanzibar, also known as Unguja, it took on more passengers and cargo for the trip to the archipelago's smaller island of Pemba.

Some passengers realised they were in danger as the ferry started to tilt while still in the port and tried to get off. A few succeeded before the crew pulled up the ladders so the ship could depart.

“First of all, the person to be blamed is the government, the whole government of Zanzibar ... they are still not serious, they need to resign now,” said Safia Juma, who lost relatives in the accident.

Rescue workers admit it is unlikely they will find anyone alive but expect to recover more bodies.

“Teams of divers are searching the area this morning to see if they can rescue more survivors or recover additional bodies from the submerged vessel,” said Mussa.

Crowds of relatives and onlookers gathered in Stone Town on Sunday morning to await news of passengers still missing.

“We lost eight relatives but my child survived ... and we haven't got any bodies and I have been here the whole night” said Yazid Amour.

Zanzibar residents said ships on the Unguja-Pemba route are notoriously overcrowded but few are inspected for safety.

“These ships are death traps, which have been brought here to finish us all,” said Nassoro Abdallah Nassoro, who said he lost five relatives in the accident.

Mussa said on Saturday more than 500 people were on the ship's manifest. According to the registrar of Zanzibar's seafaring vessels, the Spice Islander was licensed to carry 600 passengers.

Four hours after the ferry left on Friday, Abuu Masoud got a call from relatives as the ferry started to sink. They were among those who perished in the fast Indian Ocean currents.

“At around 3 a.m., they told us the vessel had tipped over and they were standing on its back waiting for assistance,” Masoud said.

“They told us there were about 25 to 30 of them who were left standing on the ship. At around 4am, their phones were not reachable and we haven't seen or heard from them since,” said Masoud, who lost seven relatives in the accident.

Tanzania's worst maritime disaster was in May, 1996. Eight officials were charged with the murders of 615 people after the ferry MV Bukoba sank in Lake Victoria. - Reuters

Salam za Rambirambi kutoka kwa Umoja wa Watanzania Ujerumani (UTU)

Watanzania tunaoishi ujerumani tumesikitishwa sana na habari mbaya ya ajali ya meli iliyotokea 10.09.11 katika bahari ya hindi katikati ya visiwa vya Pemba na Unguja nchini Tanzania. Ajali hii ni pigo na msiba mkubwa kwa Taifa letu. Salam za rambirambi ziwafikie Familia za wafiwa, Viongozi wa Tanzania, na watanzania wote kwa ujumla.

Umoja wa watanzania ujerumani (UTU) kwa masikitiko makubwa tunaungana na wanafamilia, na taifa zima katika kipindi hichi kigumu cha maombolezo.
Tunatanguliza shukrani zetu za dhati kwa vyombo mbali mbali kwa jitihada zake za kuokoa maisha na kusaidia kwa namna moja au nyingine katka janga hili kubwa kwa Taifa
Tunaomba kwa mwenyezimungu aziweke roho za marehemu mahali pema peponi amen

-- kny ya UTU

Mfundo Peter Mfundo

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Meli yazama huko Nungwi...

Picha kwa hisani kubwa ya George Kazi

Hadi muda huu zaidi ya maiti 50 zimeopolewa, kutoka kwenye ajali hiyo kwa juhudi za Waakazi na Wavuvi wa Nungwi.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Headington schoolgirls teach English in Zanzibar

SCHOOLGIRLS from Oxford helped teach African villagers English during a charity trip to Zanzibar.

The 12 Headington School pupils visited Zanzibar for two weeks to help the Zanzibar Action Project (ZAP), which provides support for a rural fishing community.

During their trip they helped villagers with extra IT and English lessons and taught at several nursery schools.

Seventeen-year-old Jessie Tucker, one of Headington’s International Baccalaureate students, said: “It has been an incredible experience and extremely eye-opening.

“Working with ZAP has been a rewarding and inspiring experience and I truly believe their cause is a worthwhile one.

“It was wonderful to meet students who have been sponsored by ZAP and get to know them. They all have such high hopes.”

Over the past three years Headington pupils have managed to raise nearly £10,000 for ZAP.

The IB and A-Level students spent nearly two weeks of July in Jambiani, a fishing community with a population of around 8,000 in south-east Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.

Vanessa Sinclair, the school’s community liaison officer, said: “The girls’ voluntary work in UK nursery schools before they left enabled them to teach some very creative and imaginative lessons in the village nurseries.

“During their visit the girls meet the students they have sponsored, who introduce them to their families and village life as well as supporting them to teach in the nursery schools.”

Oxford Mail

From heaven to hell: refugees flee Zanzibar for Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Sep 1 – It seems an unlikely choice: fleeing the palm-fringed beaches of tourist paradise Zanzibar for the bombed-out buildings of war-torn capital Mogadishu, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

And yet opposition supporters from the Tanzanian archipelago did just that when they fled post-election violence in 2000; they recount their epic journey into a violent city most people are desperate to leave.

“We feared prison and violence, being arrested if we stayed home,” said Hamis Mohammed, one of about a hundred Zanzibaris living in Mogadishu, where gunmen cruise the ruined city in heavily armed pickup trucks.

“First we ran to Kenya, but we did not feel safe there and could not make a living, so after many years, we are now here living in Mogadishu,” Mohammed added, a supporter of Zanzibar’s Civic United Front (CUF) party.

The refugees said police cracked down on supporters during post-election violence in which some 30 people died, forcing several to leave by boat to Kenya.

Over a decade since they left, many of the Zanzibari community here now cohabit in one crumbling and bullet-scarred building, a former government ministry abandoned during the two-decades of war in the city.

“The situation here in Somalia is not good, but we survive,” said Salim Ahmed, one of the leaders of Mogadishu’s Zanzibari community, as the crackle of rifle fire echoes in the distance.

“We get no support from aid agencies, so we find small jobs – barbers, beggars, fishermen, or as labourers,” he added.

The Zanzibari’s journey is the opposite of tens of thousands of Somalis, who have fled to neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia from drought, famine and conflict, while others have braved the dangerous sea-crossing to troubled Yemen.

The UN has described Somalia, where a civil war has been going on since 1991, as facing the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world, with several regions including Mogadishu declared to be in famine.

“God willing, we will go back home someday,” said Masud Rashid, who left the white-sand beaches of the Zanzibari island of Pemba in 2001.

A dream to go home
He spent over a year in Kenya’s giant Dadaab refugee camp, before leaving in frustration as refugees are barred from work and travelling to Mogadishu during a period of relative calm because he heard jobs were available.

“We have many problems here, but we are still fearful of going home,” added Rashid, who works as a barber, and is now married to a Somali woman.

“Coming to Mogadishu was not a choice, it was the only place we could a find a place to be left alone, and where we could work,” said Abdul Abdallah, a Zanzibari fisherman, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “make love, not war.”

“The Somalis treat us ok, we go to the mosque together, it is only that you can never tell when there will be fighting here.”

In the crowded market outside, sacks of grain from the UN World Food Programme are illegally sold, alongside a stall selling empty ammunition boxes.

Zanzibar and Mogadishu do share historical links: sea-faring Zanzibari sultans once ruled the Somali capital in the 19th century.

But modern similarities are few: tourism is the main foreign currency earner for Zanzibar, famed for its lush spice plantations and historical buildings, listed as a world heritage site by the United Nations cultural organization.

Mogadishu, meanwhile, has been at war ever since the toppling of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, with battles between rival warlords and militia groups devastating the once elegant city.

Battles break out almost daily, and visitors to Mogadishu are warned to wear flak jackets and hire armed guards to prevent kidnap.

Yet slogans daubed on walls around the refugees’ homes provide messages of hope amidst the violent city.

“Everyman got a right to decide his own destiny,” the graffiti reads, a line from reggae legend Bob Marley. “We will fight the little struggle.”

But Zanzibari leaders said the situation had changed since the refugees fled.
The semi-autonomous archipelago has since elected a new president and local legislature, and the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has formed a coalition with their former fierce rivals, the CUF.

“We welcome them back if they are still citizens of Tanzania – they should not be afraid of arrest if they did not commit any big offence,” said Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, a state minister.

“We have a new Zanzibari Government of National Unity comprising leaders from the main political parties,” he added.

The CUF leader also called for them to return.
“We need them back home to join hands in building our country after several years of political hatred and division,” said Seif Sharif Hamad in a statement, who is also Zanzibar’s vice president. “We are now working together.”

But the return remains a slim possibility at present, the refugees say, citing both security concerns and lack of funds.

“It would be a dream to go home if it is true that we can be safe there,” said Mohamed Said, another refugee. “But I don’t know how we would get back from our exile without help.”

Capital News