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Jumbe Omari Jumbe - Swahili

Where did you travel for your programmes?
Kenya & Tanzania

How long were you away for in total?
27 days

Are you going back for this project?
Yes

When?
March/April

Were you moved or upset at any point on your recent trip?
Yes

What caused you to feel like this?
Generally, I was upset by the abject poverty which prevails in these countries particularly in the rural areas, where the margin of life and death is so subtle. 'The right to life' is denied to millions of people mainly by corrupt leaders. People, even those who have jobs, can no longer sustain their lives by meagre salaries. This at the time when people are asked to pay heavily for all social services, health, education and even for their rights.

I was also horrified by the large-scale and senseless tree-cutting and logging which contributes to environmental degradation. From the peak of Mount Tinet Forest in Kenya, where a small community of Ogiek live, I could see below me hundreds of fires which destroy their habitat, and the incessant movement of earth movers and tractors that clear the forest every day.

In Tanzania industrial pollution is the main concern. Hundreds of acres of sisal has been killed because of the dust emanating from Tanga Cement factory, as well as the health of workers and villagers damaged. They complain of an increase in respiratory illnesses.

Was there anything that gave you hope?
Yes

What was it?
The political scene is geared for changes and this will have an impact on human rights. Governments will have to please people in order to obtain their votes. Already, in Kenya and Tanzania there is a strong lobby for constitutional changes and other laws.

In Kenya the government has agreed to set up an independent commission for human rights, which will be answerable only to parliament. In Tanzania, the Ministry of Justice has set up a human rights section to see that human rights are observed in government dealings.

The mushrooming of human rights NGOs in these countries cannot be underestimated. In Kenya alone, there are thirteen human rights organisations that pressurise the government in issues ranging from torture to tree planting.

Describe one of the people you interviewed and what they said.
A young woman in Mwanza who is a domestic worker told me: 'slavery in Tanzania is still well and kicking'.

Has your trip made you think any differently about human rights?
Yes

How?
Human rights is a very complicated subject that requires sensitive handling. It's not enough just to point out violations. You've got to dig deep into the background, social set-up, even by-laws of the country concerned, to get a better understanding and to produce fair coverage.

Anything else you want to tell us?
I enjoyed making these programmes. They are very close to my heart. I've learnt a lot throughout my journey and I'm looking forward to Phase two when I'll return to East Africa.

 
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