And in Other News, Kenya Held an Historic Election

I almost spit my coffee when I saw the front page of today’s Daily News.

Were goin to Mars


Ok, who give’s a shit about the Kenyan election … Tanzanians went to Mars … What??

I’m tempted to scan the whole article, but I’ll just excerpt the best bits. (You can find the original article online here. As always, I have typed the article verbatim, typos and all.)

The Tanzanian twins who have made record for being the first ‘astronauts’ from Africa to fly to outer space and orbiting round Mars, the red planet, have just jetted back into the country…

Salvanus and Sylvanus will be special guests at the State House in Dar es Salaam this week when they meet President Jakaya Kikwete.

“The identical twins, in their early twenties, are both geniuses. There talents were discovered since childhood while at their home village of Arash in Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District …

It is difficult to tel them apart, but one is taking engineering while the other studies medicine. And sure enough, during their stay in Arusha the medical doctor performed eight different surgical operations at Karatu District Designated Hospital within a day…

The Engineer reportedly can operate any piece of machinery after simply looking at it. He may not need its manual or directions. He can also take any complicated piece of technology apart and repair or reassemble it in a few minutes.

Their involvement in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s exploration of the red planet (Mars) became an icing on the cake of their great achievements.”

I know what you’re thinking and yes, from the perspective of Tanzany, this is the biggest technological breakthrough since those scientists came up with the idea of putting cameras on top of rats heads.

And the average Tanzany man on the street is showing some justifiable pride. Deep down, I think, they are enjoying stealing a bit of the media spotlight that has been focused on Kenya for the past few months because of the presidential election. A close friend, who tipped me off to the article and shall remain nameless, reports:

The truly worrisome thing is that I showed it to one my most trusted employees (a journalist hired as a researcher), and he had no issue with it.  I think he was pleased to see that a couple of Africans had made it to Mars (to be fair, they only orbited — they didn’t actually land on the red planet).”

Truly, this was one small step for some twins … but one giant leap for the Tanzany kind.

Ask the Attorneys … About Witchcraft

Harry Potter Poster

Photo: Harry Potter Wiki

Harry Potter, beware. You’re not wanted in Tanzany. From the Daily News weekly feature “Q&A with FB Attorneys”. 

I have financial difficulties which have made me miserable. Hoping to change things, I have turned to God and am now a born again. My best friend is however persuading me to visit his old mzee (old man) who is ready to change things for me his way. My friend keeps on insisting that if I don’t visit this old man, I will end up in more problems. This is now scaring me. Is this allowed?  – TD, Morogoro

The Witchcraft Act is a special legislation to provide for the punishment of witchcraft and of certain acts connected to it. In this Act, witchcraft is defined to include sorcery, enchantment, bewitching the use of instrument of witchcraft, the purported exercise of any occult power and the purported possession of any occult knowledge. In short witchcraft is illegal in Tanzania.

Under this Act, it is an offence for any person who advises any other person upon the use of witchcraft or any instrument of witchcraft … Hence what your friend is doing is illegal under the law and you may opt to report this to your local police station.

Withdrawls only, please

An alert reader pointed out this fantastic investigative journalism piece by no fewer than three reporters in yesterday’s The Guardian.

The piece ran as the above-the-fold front page story under a full 8-column headline, “Most banks without toilets.”

Interestingly the editors judged this piece more than ones on “65 percent of taxes disappear before reaching the government’ and the president’s speech inaugurating National Road Safety Week.

                                                                                          Photo by Zazzle

I’ll excerpt the best parts here:

“A cross-section of customers of finanical institutions, specifically banks, have expressed dismay at the lack of toilets for clients, saying it led to unnecessary inconveniences.

… A survey conducted by The Guardian in various banks in Dar es Salaam discovered that most of them lack washrooms for their customers and maintain toilets only for their staff.

…However [customer] Anne Koku disagreed with those who want banks to have public toilets, saying there was no need for them because most clients stayed for only a short time. ‘There is no need to toilets in banks. You just have to pee at home or pay for the service somewhere else,’ she said. According to Koku it often takes her about 10 minutes to complete her transactions in a bank hence there was no need for toilets.

… When contacted for comment, NMB communication manager Josephine Kulwa agree that his bank didn’t have toilets for customers. ‘Your survey is interesting, but there are no toilets for security reasons. That is why there are only staff toilets.

Efforts to reach top management officials to comment on the matter proved futile.”

Ask the Attorneys … About Your Boy Friend

From today’s “Q&A with FB Attorneys” Column in the Daily News.

Q. “I am a young, gorgeous and well educated girl. I have a boyfriend with whom I have been dating for three years. Recently I have been tipped off by someone that my best friend is also going out with my man … I want to teach my friend a lesson by suing her as she is interfering in my life. She is breaking my heard which is equivalent to a criminal activity. Can I not get an injunction to stop her from seeing him?”

A. “… Your friend’s behavior may be cruel, unethical and perhaps unacceptable; it is not illegal and hence not actionable …

Assuming your boyfriend and best friend are sexually involved, there is no law that stops her or anyone for that purpose in engaging in sexual activity, provided it is consensual, the parties are of the required age and there is nothing that is abnormal or unnatural about the sexual relation.”

And just in case you thought marriage is the issue here, the next correspondent in the column asked if there is anyway to stop men (specifically her husband) from seeing risque dance shows that cause them to “have different thoughts.”

Someone’s Been Watching “The Rescuers” Too Much

Rat and Camera

Photo: Indie By Heart

Remember “The Rescuers”, a 1977 Disney movie about two mice from The Rescue Society, an international mouse organization dedicated to helping abduction victims from around the world? 

Well an alert reader spotted this in today’s Daily News: “Use of rats in rescue operations on cards.” I’ll just excerpt my favorite parts. (If you want to read the whole article, you can find it here.)

The prospects of having rats help in rescue operations with the aid of a camera during times of disasters is slowly becoming a reality as researchers make headway in determining the most effective training procedures.

The Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikeling (APOPO) behavioral research leading the “Camera Rat” project, Ms. Amy Durgin, exclusively told the Daily News that they had not finished the design of the camera because they were only testing training methods…

Ms. Durgin said that the project initially started with 10 rats, but they were currently training only five because three failed early training states and two died of natural causes.

She said that the ‘loss’ of the five rats hadn’t been taken as a setback to the project because … the rats are known to be naturally very scared of novel stimuli and that they expected to lose a few rats … The researcher said that they had moved the rats that had failed the training to a different project where they may be more successful …”

I just hope that the failed rats didn’t get moved to a boa constrictor project … cause the definition of success for rats in that one is not happy.

Link: Watch Out for the Zimbabwean Sperm Hunters


Link: Watch Out for the Zimbabwean Sperm Hunters

Ask the Attorneys … About Your Bad Haircut

From Monday’s “Q&A with the FB Attorneys”:

I went to my barber and asked him to slightly trim my hair and moustache. He trimmed my hair too short and ended up cutting half of my moustache. I had no choice but to get the other half removed. When I threatened him with legal action he said I had no contract with him. I tried reporting it to the police who surprisingly refused to even record my statement. I am getting married soon and not sure if I should proceed with the ceremony. What should I do? – TP, Dar

Whilst we sympathise with you, we do not understand why you are unsure about getting married after this mishap at the barbershop; surely both your hair and moustache will grow back. We are also unclear as to what the connection is between your marriage and the haircut and cannot comment on whether you should or should not proceed with your marriage.

As for the police complaint, our opinion is that this is not a criminal matter … we believe that you can sue your barber under the law of contract … We did not find any local precedents on this and are unsure how far the Courts in Tanzania will entertain this matter.