Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WEF, eh?

Apparently, it's all good. TUCTA didn't strike *big gasp* after Jay Kay told them not to. On the TBC news today, we got treated to the sights and sounds of opposition leaders telling us how undemocratic Jay Kay's threats were in juzi's speech. Right. When has the state ever allowed the unwashed masses to embarrass it in front of foreign dignitaries? Besides, the Tanzanian in me must ask, how did TUCTA appease its members after such a volte-face? Hmm.

In the same sweeping gesture that saw TUCTA muzzled, the police revoked march permits that had been previously issued. Which is how this story came about: spunky NGO gets ready to march and hand over a letter to the WEF- something about government keeping their healthcare promises, especially the ones pertaining to HIV treatment:

"Hi everyone,

Please see press statement from African civil society advocacy forum taking place in Dar Es Salaam, in lead-up to World Economic Forum on Africa that opens tomorrow. We held a press conference today that was well attended, tomorrow we'll protest at the WEF. Meeting docs will be uploaded onto the website soon...

Governments being callous and unwise about health commitments

African activists decry backtracking on health funding commitments at opening of World Economic Forum on Africa

4 May 2010, Dar Es Salaam – Donors and African governments are making callous and unwise decisions on funding commitments to HIV and global health, according to a group of African health and human rights activists gathered in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to carry out strategic planning and advocacy in the lead-up to the World Economic Forum on Africa from 5-7 May.

And then the police told them the march would be illegal:

"Dear all

We have just been informed that the march planned for tomorrow to the
venue of the World Economic Forum has been banned by the Government of
Tanzania. Apparently, a strike had been planned to coincide with the
Forum, and all demonstrations were subsequently banned. A call was
then received from the Police advising of the decision to cancel the
consent to the demonstration, even though it was planned as a peaceful
one."

Then they were told (and here is where things get murky) to go ahead. To the WEF, where they were promptly taken into custody, and a natural progression of things:

"hi everyone,
from what we have heard it was 10 activists arrested. Apparently the police thought they were sneaking into the Forum after agreeing that a small delegation would hand over the letters. They are at the police station but are expected to be released today."

There is in fact an alternative event being held at the Tanzania Gender Networking Progamme (TGNP) grounds during WEF where the weird kids are welcome- sorry, I don't have a link yet. And there's this going on. And this. Thus went some of day one.

8 comments:

  1. hey there, like the new profile picture and the backdrop. good on you. anyway back to the topic at hand, the WEF has been tragic comedy esp where media is concerned. was just reading the column by Lawi Joel (Daily news) and some of the others looks like they were on the fringes of the event, probably only able to stick their mic in amongst the rest but not one of them seems to have gotten an exclusive interview or even a few moments of fame...nada!

    Anyway back to Joel's article which is on the front page...he claims that there was a woman who came from the south pole and a man who regularly visits cyeberspace....only issue is that Merieme Chadid only spent sometime in south pole and is actually not from there...the man who lives in cyberspace...is the Professor in Portugal on comms and the internet. to read his article is to wonder about the sanity of the editor who allowed the article to run or maybe its mine that should be in question

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  2. oh btw found out that this year's registration fee was $5000 to be at the WEF, actually now as i think about it. it nothing esp if your flying in ur own jet. wonder what teh cost for the press accredidation cost was....especially those that wanted prime tiem slots

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  3. USD 5000 registration fee multiply that with 1000 delegates, it translates into a cool USD 5 million dollars...WEF lives on to see another meeting...

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  4. @Aida- so I'm guessing you didn't register :) ah, our intrepid press strikes again. that's your fourth estate, in action. accuracy? what's that?
    @SwahiliStreet: high five!
    @Faustine: these things are so well-oiled! with all that money rolling around, it is to be expected.
    @Kathleen: le sigh back.

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  5. As they say, the end justifies the means. Jay Kay's 'Mbayuwayu' pragmatism saved the WEF day. But will he - or TUCTA - have the last laugh?

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  6. Hi Chambi. TUCTA threatens to strike every second Mei Mosi or so. At this point, it's beginning to look like Jay Kay and TUCTA have more in common than not.

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