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Magufuli Reveals Kagame Advised Him On How To Revive AirTanzania

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In November 2015 when John Pombe Magufuli took over as President of the United Republic of Tanzania, he suspended all foreign travel by public officials and significantly chopped public spending.

All focus was on this educationist who is obsessed with figures and statistics – he literally knows every statistics that his eyes have glanced on.

Magufuli earned his bachelor of science in education degree majoring in chemistry and history as teaching subjects from The University of Dar es Salaam in 1988.

Prior to his Bachelors degree, he attained a Diploma in Education (Sc.) Chemistry, Mathematics and Education. This is where his obsession with statistics starts from.

Now going back to his first days as president, Magufuli made several phone calls to various leaders across the continent and the world for some, to express continued diplomatic ties while some he was seeking advice on important issues of development.

But one biggest challenge he had encountered was the shame that the government he was inheriting did not have its own national carrier yet literally every tourist has at least some knowledge on Tanzania but just a mere million tourists were visiting.

When Magufuli looked at the statistics of tourists that visit Tanzania, he was shocked that they were too small to boast about. He needed to do something about these shameful statistics.

A quick research and incquiry with his advisers led to something that would point to possible solution to fixing the national shame.

“We did an analysis and found that countries owning airlines also receive the highest numbers of tourists,” Magufuli said last week.

“We checked with Egypt, talked to Kenya and even Morocco- these are countries with large numbers of tourists flocking. Imagine Egypt has over 10 million tourists visiting and for us we just have only one million tourists,” Magufuli wondered how quick he would fix this challenge.

By April 2016, Magufuli had just spent a few months in office as head of state. He drove to the border with Rwanda to jointly inaugurate the Rusumo International Bridge and a one-stop border post. President Paul Kagame was there to meet his counterpart that later drove to meet at Kagame’s country home on the shores of Lake Muhazi.

This was Magufuli’s first foreign trip as president which several external and domestic analysts had not expected but keenly scrutinized as the new reformist leader spent two days in Rwanda.

His predecessor had strained relations with Rwanda thus Magufuli’s choice of Rwanda for his first foreign trip was treated with skepticism.

“I normally don’t like to travel because I am busy at work and I want to save on resources. I have been invited to go to many places, including Europe and I haven’t been able to make it. But when President Kagame invited me, I had to come.” Magufuli said in 2016.

President Kagame told Magufuli that all the two countries needed was “Friendship, we need brotherhood, and we need to do business together for mutual interests.”

There was not much revealed about their detailed conversations at the shores of Lake Muhazi but it was evident the two leaders explored several aspects.

It has now emerged that while in Rwanda, Magufuli tabled the challenge of how Tanzania would walk out of the ditch of shame for not owning her own national carrier and wanted Kagame to explain in details how he managed to build RwandAir from scratch to an enviable national carrier.

[We cannot confirm if the issue was discussed then, but the two presidents, according to Magufuli, talked about it at some point.]

Almost three years later, Magufuli is now revealing that President Kagame is a genuine friend that armed him with details of advice on how to revive Air Tanzania.

“Let me thank President Kagame. He told me, just do it. If you delay you may meet bigger challenges,” Magufuli said over the weekend adding that it’s when he realized that in Kagame he had a good friend.

“Kagame advised me to contact all the aircraft manufacturers at the same time to get good purchase deals. I did the same and actually bought seven planes,” Magufuli said amidst applause from Tanzanians gathered to receive the first Boeing aircraft at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA).

Magufuli has already handed four aircraft to state owned Air Tanzania Company limited (ATCL) and is to deliver two CS300 jetliners from Bombardier company in Canada by November.

President Kagame said while hosting Magufuli in 2016 that cooperation based on peace has potential to transform the two nations.

Tanzania’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. President John Pombe Magufuli says his government is determined to revive the Air Tanzania Company limited (ATCL).

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President Tshisekedi Orders Martial Law Rule In Kivu, Ituri

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President Felix Tshisekedi has ordered rule of martial law in DRCs North Kivu and Ituri provinces effective on Thursday, May 6.

The Congolese President called on the people of the two provinces “to cooperate closely with the military authorities deployed by denouncing enemies of the people and complicity at whatever level” with those perpetrating violence.

The shift in management of this part of the country is aimed at stemming the bloodshed and returning order to the region, the president said in an address on national television Monday.

During the period of martial law, Congo’s security forces will have the right to search homes, seize weapons and prohibit travel, Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Kasongo Mwema Yambab Yamba, said in a separate address.

The military and police authorities will also have the right to ban publications and meetings deemed contrary to public order and to prosecute those suspected of violating the peace, he said.

Eastern Congo with population of 20 million people, borders Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This region hosts at least 120 armed groups

Violence in eastern Congo includes numerous conflicts over control of land and resources, protection of local communities, and rebellions linked to neighboring countries.

Ituri and North Kivu are rich in metals like gold and coltan and armed groups including alleged criminal networks in the army sometimes profit from their trade.

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Rwanda Media Ranking Continues To Fall

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Rwandan Journalists have joined their colleagues around the world to celebrate the World Media day annually celebrated on May 3rd.

This is a day dedicated to reflecting on the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

In Rwanda’s capital Kigali, an event has been organized for Development Journalism Award 2021.  

Development Journalism Awards 2021 (DJA) is a flagship event organized by Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ) in partnership with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).

It is held annually to honor, among others, media practitioners’ general excellence, public service outreach, technical innovation, business reporting, people’s right reporting, visual digital storytelling, gender mainstreaming, engaged and investigative journalism and environment management reporting.

According to World Press Freedom Index, Rwanda continues to fall in media rankings for example this year the index put Rwanda at 156th position globally falling from 155th last year.

With a closer synthesis of the Rwanda Media code, critics argue that it is still an uphill task. Defamation may trigger penalties ranging from five to seven years in prison or fines approximately U$7213.

Rwanda has been near the bottom of Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s World Press Freedom Index for years and is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in the 2018 Index.

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150 Rwandan Students Graduate From U.S. Embassy’s Two-Year “English Access Microscholarship Program”

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The U.S. Embassy hosted a virtual graduation ceremony Saturday in honor of 150 students from Rwanda’s Southern Province who recently completed the Embassy’s two-year “English Access Microscholarship Program.”

The secondary school students began the English enrichment course in 2018 at three different sites: College Immaculee Conception, Save, in Gisagara District; Groupe Scolaire Mater Dei in Nyanza District; and Groupe Scolaire Mere du Verbe Kibeho in Nyaruguru District.

U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter H. Vrooman recognized the students’ hard work and their perseverance through a long delay in-class sessions because of Covid-19 restrictions.

“I congratulate all of the students who have successfully completed the intensive two-year English Access Microscholarship program,” Ambassador Vrooman said. “The United States has invested in you because we believe in you and because we believe in the power of education to open new doors for you and your families.”

The English Access Microscholarship Program is a two-year English enrichment program funded by the U.S. Embassy that provides students with 400 hours of supplementary English instruction and educational activities. The program helps develop the capacities of rural Rwandan youth through English teaching and educational, cultural, and personal development activities, providing talented youth with the English language skills they need to achieve academic and professional goals. Since 2015, the U.S. Embassy has partnered with Congrégation des Soeurs Benebikira to implement the program, focused primarily on rural students in the Southern Province.

Since its inception in 2004, over 110,000 students in more than 80 countries around the world have participated in the U.S. government-funded English Access Microscholarship Program. In Rwanda, the Access Program began in 2010 and more than 1,000 Rwandan students have participated in the program since then.

The U.S. Embassy hosted a virtual graduation ceremony this Saturday in honor of 150 students from Rwanda’s Southern Province who recently completed the Embassy’s two-year “English Access Microscholarship Program.”

The secondary school students began the English enrichment course in 2018 at three different sites: College Immaculee Conception, Save, in Gisagara District; Groupe Scolaire Mater Dei in Nyanza District; and Groupe Scolaire Mere du Verbe Kibeho in Nyaruguru District.

U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter H. Vrooman recognized the students’ hard work and their perseverance through a long delay in class sessions because of Covid-19 restrictions.

“I congratulate all of the students who have successfully completed the intensive two-year English Access Microscholarship program,” Ambassador Vrooman said. “The United States has invested in you because we believe in you and because we believe in the power of education to open new doors for you and your families.”

The English Access Microscholarship Program is a two-year English enrichment program funded by the U.S. Embassy that provides students with 400 hours of supplementary English instruction and educational activities.

The program helps develop the capacities of rural Rwandan youth through English teaching and educational, cultural, and personal development activities, providing talented youth with the English language skills they need to achieve academic and professional goals.

Since 2015, the U.S. Embassy has partnered with Congrégation des Soeurs Benebikira to implement the program, focused primarily on rural students in the Southern Province.

Since its inception in 2004, over 110,000 students in more than 80 countries around the world have participated in the U.S. government-funded English Access Microscholarship Program.

In Rwanda, the Access Program began in 2010 and more than 1,000 Rwandan students have participated in the program since then.

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