Tuesday, 12 August 2008


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The Trumpet Newspaper Issue 216 (July 16 - 29 2008)


Landmark domestic trial victory as Tanzanian Domestic Worker in the UK is awarded £58,585.00 Miss Elizabeth Kawogo, a Tanzanian citizen was brought to London in July 2006 by her employer, Mrs Zainab Alibhai , a British citizen who is residing in Tanzania. She was led to understand that her key role would be to assist Mrs Alibhai through a post operative period after she underwent an operation on her leg.Upon arrival however, there was a sinister unexpected turn of events. Mrs Alibhai forcibly confined Miss Kawogo to her parent's home, namely Mr Ramdhan Dhanji and Mrs Kubra Dhanji. Her passport was withheld and she was forced to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week without a break. Elizabeth was a domestic slave in the United Kingdom. Mrs Alibhai remained in London for two weeks where she did not undergo any medical treatment; instead she attended her daughter's wedding. As she departed she informed Elizabeth that they would not be going back to Tanzania together, Elizabeth was to remain in the UK and work for her parents. Elizabeth who at this stage, was totally distressed begged Mrs Alibhai to send her back home to Tanzania in vain. Her life continued to be almost unbearable. Apart from working for Mr and Mrs Dhanji , Miss Kawogo was taken to the houses of other relations where once again she was required to work like a robot .Even when she was ill she was still expected to labour .On one occasion she had a fever and was given a painkiller and told to continue with her duties.Her days filled with seemingly endless chores, a daily flood of tears and severe depression. Her only consolation was her faith and comforting verses in her bible.For a whole year Elizabeth had to endure these slave like conditions. She slept on the kitchen floor even through the winter .She ate leftovers and food that had passed it expiry date. Her only toiletries were soap , toothpaste and a toothbrush .Psychologically and emotionally she was further traumatized, taunted and humiliated for being Black. She was told she should consider herself lucky for an opportunity to be in the UK. She was reminded that would be futile to seek help as she could not speak English, did not know anyone and whatever grievances she had would no doubt fall on deaf ears. When Elizabeth asked if she could attend church , her request was initially refused .Eventually one Sunday her prayers were answered and she given permission to go and worship . In time a member of her congregation befriended her and that is when she was able to confide in her, the gruesome horrors of her existence in the UK. Concerned and compelled to act, her friend masterminded her escape and together they approached the Tanzania Women Association (TAWA) .The then acting Tanzanian High Commissioner to London Mrs Msuya advised Miss Kawago with the support of TAWA to seek legal advice. TAWA took the matter forward to the Brent community Law centre which accepted to take on the case .The Tanzania High Commission ensured that Elizabeth's passport was returned to her.Meanhile Mr Dhanji now fearful of the outcome of his past abuses offered Elizabeth £380 to settle matters, which she rejected. The case of Miss Kawogo Vs Mr and Mrs Dhanji was heard on 7th and 8th of August 2008 at the Watford Employement Tribunal in the UK. Miss Kawago attended the tribunal with her barrister and a TAWA representative . After the evidence was heard from both sides , the judges came to the conclusion that a great injustice and had been committed against Miss Kawogo .The tribunal awarded Miss Kawogo £ 58,585 for unpaid wages, holidays, illegally long hours of work without breaks, racial discrimination and enslavement . This landmark victory brings hope to domestic workers who may be facing similar situations and is a wake up call to those employers who are under the illusion that they are above the law.
Tanzania Women's AssociationTAWA

Utilization of Nile water still unresolved
The 16th Nile Council of Ministers Meeting of the Countries of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) was held in Kinshasa , Democratic Republic of Congo, 21 – 22 July. The Meeting was attended by Ministers from Burundi , D.R. Congo, Egypt , Ethiopia , Rwanda , Sudan , Tanzania and Uganda . Kenya was represented by its Nile Technical Advisory Committee (Nile-TAC) member; unusually, Eritrea was an observer. Representatives from various other organizations involved in the Nile Basin also attended including the World Bank, representing NBI Development Partners, Nile-TAC, Nile Basin Discourse, Global Water Partnership Eastern Africa, and NBI staff. The Nile Technical Advisory Committee had earlier held its own meeting, 18 - 19 April, to adopt a whole series of technical matters agreed at previous Nile-TAC and Nile-COM meetings. These included the management and financial report, work plan and budget for 2008/2009 for the NBI, and a proposal on a regional network for climate change in the Nile basin. Maria Mutagamba, Minister for Water and Environment of Uganda, outgoing chair, presented the report of the previous year’s activities, noting that all except one issue in the proposed Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) have been resolved. Ato Asfaw Dingamo, Ethiopia ’s Minister of Water Resources noted NBI achievements in capacity building, including human resources and institutions, but said the NBI has raised expectations among the people of the Nile basin which had yet to be met. He underlined the need to address poverty, environment degradation, and inequities in the utilization of the Nile River , and called on all stakeholders to work together for the realization of NBI objectives while cautioning NBI stakeholders not to make statements raising expectations beyond capacity. Following the election of the Democratic Republic of Congo as chair, substantive discussions were held, among them the Report of the Nile-TAC and endorsement of its various recommendations, as well as administrative matters of the NBI management, implementation of NBI Program and projects, and consideration of the legal status of the NBI in member countries; many countries have yet to accord legal status to the NBI. The Ministers adopted mechanisms for the implementation of the Institutional Strengthening Project and the proposal on a Regional Network for Climate Change in the Nile Basin . An Ethiopian request for the NBI to make a study of the Baro-Akobo basin was agreed. Only one issue in the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework (with its 39 articles and 66 sub-articles) remains outstanding, Article 14b which involves the utilization of the Nile water on the basis of equity. A majority of the riparian countries have a similar view on this issue, but consultations will now be undertaken at Heads of State level to attempt to bridge the gap in reaching a consensus; a technical advisory committee has been set up, with instructions to reach a resolution within four months. The Ministers appointed Ms Henriette Ndombe as the Executive Director of the NBI Secretariat for a two year term, effective 1st September, 2008. The next Council of Ministers meeting will be held in Egypt .

Dialogue – the only answer
Last month, July 16-18, a World Conference on Dialogue was held in Madrid , organized by the Muslim World League and opened by King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The conference was largely devoted to a dialogue on civilizations, an inter-faith dialogue, but as a conference built on the need for peaceful dialogue it had far wider application. In a message to the Conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that many conflicts apparently rooted in religion actually have their origins elsewhere: “..political rivalries, territorial ambitions or competition for natural resources are fertile grounds for the emergence of violence”. He said that the conference's own dialogue must lead to commitment and to action: “It must be a dialogue that delivers”. The UN, of course, called for tolerance and the spread of the culture of peace in the Declaration of UN General Assembly in 1994, and declared 1995 as the Year of Tolerance and 2001 as the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.

The conference defined its four major themes as: the importance of dialogue in human society; the foundations of religious and civilizational dialogue; common human aspects in dialogue; and evaluation and promotion of dialogue. In its declaration of principles, it classified dialogue one of the essentials of life, identifying it as a vehicle for knowing each other, for cooperation and appreciation of interests and for the realization of truth, “which contributes to the happiness of mankind”. The conference, which thoroughly reviewed the process of dialogue and its obstacles, noted that terrorism was one of the most serious problems confronting dialogue and coexistence. It called for an international agreement to combat terrorism, arguing that terrorism was a universal phenomenon that required unified international efforts to combat it in a serious, responsible and just way. This, the conference argued, also necessitated an international agreement to define terrorism, to address its root causes and to achieve justice and stability in the world.

This raises one of the central facts about the concept of dialogue. An agreement to accept dialogue emphasizes and underlines the commitment to look for solutions. If there is no interest in a solution, there is no commitment or interest in dialogue. A peaceful solution is inconceivable without dialogue. If there is a refusal to hold a dialogue what else is there left on which to build the resolution of a problem? Eritrea ’s refusal to even consider opening a dialogue over its border issue with Ethiopia and the problems that the border communities face over demarcation, illustrates the point very clearly. There is no indication that Eritrea has any interest in actually solving the problem. All the evidence of its actions over the last three or four years underlines its lack of intent or interest in normalizing relations with Ethiopia . A similar pattern has been apparent in the last couple of years over its treatment of UNMEE. It might be recalled that under the UN Charter force can only be used in self-defense or with the approval of the Security Council. It is only then that its use is endorsed by international law. This underlines the importance, indeed the centrality, of dialogue.

Dialogue is the antithesis of violence. Properly defined it is a flow of meaning between parties. It is not one-sided. It is not easy to carry out. Meetings and forums are often referred to as dialogues when they are nothing of the sort, being no more than monologues in which speakers pontificate but seldom listen to each other. Conferences, seminars, consultations all too rarely provide dialogues in the real sense of the word. Even discussions or debates are often anything but a proper dialogue. There is a discipline of dialogue. Participants in a dialogue need to pay attention to its process and to the flow of meaning which can lead on to successful mediation. It is not, of course, something confined to levels of international mediation. It has equal relevance at individual levels as well as within political and internal organizational structures.

Dialogue entails tolerance; respect for the difference of others; awareness of one's own prejudices; preparedness to suspend judgment, the ability to listen actively, to investigate and to accept another party’s needs or requirements; and most of all, the search for a win-win outcome. This is particularly relevant for Ethiopia and Eritrea which face an apparently intractable problem along their border. The Security Council, as again this week, has repeatedly emphasized that we have a shared responsibility for the implementation of the Algiers Agreements. It has repeatedly called on us both to comply with our obligations under the Agreements that we both signed in 2000, and to move towards normalizing relations and laying the foundations for a comprehensive and lasting peace. Nobody can deny this is desirable and necessary. How can this be done without dialogue? It cannot, and it is all too obvious, given recent activities by Eritrea , that the alternative threatens to be violent.

In fact, Eritrea has consistently demonstrated a lack of interest in participating in dialogue. This is the problem Ethiopia faces. It has called again and again for dialogue now, to discuss the difficulties posed by physical demarcation and talk about normalizing relation. Eritrea persists in saying that it will only participate in dialogue after demarcation when much of the reason for dialogue has disappeared. As the Security Council underlined yet again this week, Ethiopia and Eritrea have the primary responsibility for reaching a lasting settlement. No one else can achieve this even the Security Council in its latest resolution has decided that it can do no more than have the Secretary General keep it informed. This highlights the necessity for the two parties to assume their responsibilities. Ethiopia and Eritrea drew up and signed the Algiers Agreements. They alone are the two countries which can produce an end to the impasse. If we fail, there must be a very real danger of a return to violence. Yet it is still very easy to move away from the prospect of conflict. We would repeat: dialogue is the antithesis of violence. It would allow us to demonstrate our common interests and offer the possibility of a win-win solution to the problem of the region.