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Monday, July 27, 2009

TweetThis! TanzaniteOne accused of ’stripping workers naked’

I liked Mr. Ole's statement, when he said that, "We are fed up...Tanzanians are very patient people, but one day our patience is going to run out". I am glad that one of their own warned them this time around. Time is moving really, really fast!

Managers of the South African-based gemstone mining company TanzaniteOne Ltd, working in Manyara Region, have been accused of racism and subjecting local workers to undue harassment and demeaning work conditions, Simanjiro legislator Christopher Ole Sendeka (MP) declared it in parliament.

The MP said,
...the local workers at the plant are forced to perform humiliating things like stripping naked, as part of security measures to prevent smuggling of gemstones from within the premises.

The MP said he has received complaints from workers extremely mortified at being asked, on a reportedly daily basis, to pass through X-ray machines while naked, so that they may be screened for possible thefts of tanzanite gems from inside the mine. He added that apart from the obvious humiliation, the workers are also apparently exposed to possible health hazards from the reportedly daily dosage of X-ray radiation. "Up to 30 workers at a time are asked to remove all their clothes, and then pass through a scanner. Afterwards, they are given a pair of shorts to wear. I have the evidence of photos...We must take action," Ole Sendeka implored his fellow law makers in the House.

He criticised the chairman of TanzaniteOne’s board of directors, Ambassador Ami Mpungwe - who is a Tanzanian of working in favour of the foreign investors and failing to defend the nation’s interests.

"Parliament must issue a firm statement on this matter...the minister will not be allowed to pass his budget proposals through parliament until he presents satisfactory explanations regarding this harassment and breach of privacy of local workers by TanzaniteOne".

He also accused the investor company of hiring foreign security guards from Nepal, while scores of Tanzanians capable of such work go without jobs. He furthermore hit at the government for turning a blind eye in incidents where TanzaniteOne security guards have been known to shoot local residents and set dogs on them.

"We are fed up...Tanzanians are very patient people, but one day our patience is going to run out".
Contributing to the same debate, Same East legislator Anne Kilango Malecela said it was a national shame that although the tanzanite gemstone is only obtainable in Tanzania, the country gets only a small fraction of proceeds from the global tanzanite trade. She asserted that Tanzania could be earning a fairer share of its own vast resources of mineral wealth if it rid itself of the foreign investors in the mining sector. The MP cited countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Madagascar that are reportedly doing okay in running their own mining sectors without the help of foreign investors. 
Read the uncut story from ThisDay via this link: http://www.thisday.co.tz/News/6117.html

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