TANZANIAN journalists have elected a seven-member committee to revive the Tanzania Union of Journalists (TUJ), writes Dennis Itumbi for jocoza.

The new team has vowed to turn TUJ into a proactive labour union and to convene a congress as a way of re-building and promoting democracy in the union, ensuring better conditions of service and ethical journalism.

TUJ, which has for a long time suffered from severe membership apathy and lack of proper organizational structure, will receive crucial support from the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity (Solidarity Centre).

"This is a great move by our Tanzanian colleagues. At Eastern Africa Journalist Association (EAJA) we are very happy that finally Tanzanian journalists have demonstrated the full determination and capacity to express themselves fully within the journalism community in the region, and internationally," said Omar Faruk Osman, EAJA secretary-general who witnessed the election.

This fits very well in EAJA's plan of action to build and strengthen unions in countries where they are weak like has been the case of Tanzania, he added.

A total of nine officials were elected to spearhead the union's activities, affairs and business.
Samson Kamalamo was elected chairperson, Saphia Ngalapi, as vice chairperson, Songoro Mnyonge as Secretary General and Lulu George as Treasurer.

Five other officials were elected to represent the five main regional groupings of Tanzania – Northern, Southern, Lake Zone, Central and Coast, to be part of the committee which will spearhead the process of rebuilding and strengthening the union.

"The revival of the TUJ is good news and we are eager to see a strong and vocal TUJ speaking for journalists and media workers in Tanzania," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office.

"The media industry is booming in eastern Africa and the journalists in Tanzania deserve to take part in building a vibrant sector where the conditions of service are fair enough to boost ethical journalism in the region," he added.

They will also plan for and convene a fully-fledged, democratic and representative congress for the TUJ, manage and represent affairs and business of the union.

Also, the committee will have to form committees to address critical issues confronting the TUJ.