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BBC Innovators: Inventing for Africa

Bernard Kiwia is the founder of Tanzania's innovator school Twende
Bernard Kiwia is the social entrepreneur behind Twende - an innovative incubation hub.
People who go to the school in Tanzania have come up with more than 100 inventions including avocado oil presses, soap cutters and a wheelbarrow which distributes fertilizer.

Tanzanian politician arrested for 'insulting' president

Sammy Awami

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

President John Magufuli
The president has come under criticism for his alleged attempts to curb the freedom of expression

A senior leader of a Tanzanian opposition party has been arrested for insulting President John Magufuli.

He’s the latest in a line of several citizens and politicians who have been detained on similar charges.

Posting a question “Who is the President, really?” on his Facebook page was enough to get Julius Mtatiro arrested.

Police detained him as they found this phrase offensive to the president. They went on to search Mr Mtatiro’s home for the device used to post on social media.

Mr Mtatiro had reposted in solidarity with a young man in North Western Tanzania, who originally raised the question on his Facebook page and himself got arrested three days ago.

Rights activists have been criticising the Tanzanian authorities for suppressing free speech.

But the government says unlimited freedom of expression may result into a breach of peace.

For more on concerns over free speech in Tanzania see:

Funeral held for Tanzania's conjoined twins

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam


The funeral of Tanzania's conjoined twins, Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti, who died on Saturday aged 21, has taken place at Ruaha Catholic University in the southern highlands.

The women had been studying education at the university - and teaching staff and students were among those who paid tribute to them.

They had been joined from the navel downwards and shared organs like the liver and lungs, had two hearts and separate heads and arms.

This handout photograph taken on September 13, 2017, and released by The Ruaha Catholic University (RUCU), shows conjoined twins Maria (L) and Consolata Mwakikuti as they react while looking at a computer in a computer laboratory of Ruaha Catholic University (RUCU) in Iringa, Tanzania, on their arrival day to attend the university
The Ruaha Catholic University
The women had hoped to marry one day

They were admitted to hospital in December due to issues relating to heart disease but died on Saturday after suffering respiratory complications.

In an interview with the BBC last year, the twins said that after they had completed their university education, they wanted to become teachers.

Maria and Consolata, who were against the idea of being surgically separated, also told the BBC that they hoped to get married to one husband someday.

The two, whose parents died while they were still infants, were raised by the Catholic charity Maria Consolata, which had adopted and named them.

Four arrested over poisoning of lions in Tanzania

A male lion yawns bareing its teeth
BSIP/Getty Images
Seven lions were killed in a similar manner at the same park in 2015

Four people have been arrested in Tanzania after nine lions were poisoned in the Serengeti National Park.

Wildlife officials had discovered the carcasses over the weekend.

The Serengeti is believed to be home to around 3,000 thousand lions.

Last month in neighbouring Uganda, eleven lions were found dead from suspected poisoning at Queen Elizabeth National Park.

It's thought people living in the area poisoned the lions after they had attacked and killed their cattle.

Lions die by poisoning in Tanzania

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

A Lion
Lions are a popular tourist attraction in game parks across Africa

Nine lions at the world famous Serengeti National Park have been poisoned, Tanzania National Parks spokesman Pascal Shelutete has told the BBC.

Wildlife officials discovered the carcasses of the lions over the weekend, media reports say.

The motive for the poisoning is unclear.

Seven lions were killed in a similar manner in the park in 2015.

In neighbouring Uganda, 11 lions were found dead from suspected poisoning at the Queen Elizabeth National Park in April.

Read update: Four arrested

Chimpanzee nests 'cleaner than human beds'

Oliver Conway

BBC World Service

chimpanzees (archive shot)
Chimpanzees move to a new nest every night

If you have a teenager at home, it may not come as a complete surprise to hear that chimpanzee beds are cleaner than human ones, at least according to a new study.

Scientists from North Carolina State University in the US found that nests built by chimps in Tanzania had fewer bacteria shed from bodies than mattresses in most people's homes.

The reason?

As humans moved indoors many thousands of years ago, we became increasingly separated from the outdoor environment - and all the organisms which live there.

In fact nowadays, more than a third of the bacteria in our beds comes from our own bodies.

To assess the impact of this indoor lifestyle, scientists looked at another mammal which builds structures for sleeping in - the chimpanzee - collecting samples from nests in the Issa Valley in Tanzania.

The researchers found they contained fewer faecal, oral or skin bacteria than beds in most human households - even though chimps go to the toilet over the side of their nests.

Part of the reason is that they move to a new nest every night.

And even though the chimps spend more than half the day in bed, the scientists also found hardly any fleas or lice in their nests - whereas our homes have been found to have hundreds of these parasites, including some specially adapted to living indoors with humans.

Megan Thoemmes, who carried out the research published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, says humans living indoors could learn from chimps.

"We definitely need to rethink the way that we design our homes and think about air movement and exposures to the environment," she told the BBC.