Featured Wrongfully jailed U.S. Black Panther dies at 63 Published 9 years ago on 04/06/2011 By Fikra Pevu Share Tweet Elmer G. Pratt, a Black Panther leader who was imprisoned for 27 years for murder and whose marathon fight to prove he had been framed attracted support from civil rights groups and led to the overturning of his conviction, died on Thursday in a village in Tanzania, where he was living. He was 63. Mr. Pratt, who was widely known by his Panther name, Geronimo ji-Jaga, had high blood pressure and other ailments, his longtime lawyer, Stuart Hanlon, said. Mr. Hanlon said he did not know the exact cause of death. To his supporters — among them Amnesty International, the N.A.A.C.P. and the American Civil Liberties Union — Mr. Pratt came to symbolize a politically motivated attack on the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and other radical groups. But from the start, the grisly facts of the murder of a 27-year-old teacher dominated discussions of the case, including those of the parole board that denied parole to Mr. Pratt 16 times. The teacher, Caroline Olsen, and her husband, Kenneth, were accosted by two young black men with guns on Dec. 18, 1968, in Santa Monica, Calif. They took $18 from Mrs. Olsen’s purse. “This ain’t enough,” one said, according to the police, and ordered the couple to “lie down and pray.” Shots were fired, hitting Mr. Olsen five times and his wife twice. Mrs. Olsen died 11 days later. Mr. Pratt was arrested. The case against Mr. Pratt included evidence that both the pistol used as the murder weapon and the red-and-white GTO convertible used as the getaway car belonged to him. An informant wrote an eight-page letter asserting Mr. Pratt had bragged to him that he committed the murder. Fellow Panthers did not support Mr. Pratt’s alibi that he was in Oakland, more than 300 miles away, at the time of the killing. A witness identified Mr. Pratt as one of two men who tried to rob a store shortly before the murder. And Mr. Olsen identified Mr. Pratt as the assailant. Mr. Pratt was convicted of first-degree murder on July 28, 1972, and sentenced to life imprisonment a month later. Information gradually surfaced that the jury had not known about when it reached its verdict. Mr. Olsen had identified someone else before he identified Mr. Pratt. Documents showed that the informant who said that Mr. Pratt had confessed to him had lied about himself. Wiretap evidence that might have supported Mr. Pratt’s alibi mysteriously vanished from F.B.I. files. A public debate erupted over the extent to which Mr. Pratt and the Black Panthers had been singled out by law enforcement agencies. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the F.B.I., called the Panthers a threat to national security, and an F.B.I. report spoke of “neutralizing” Mr. Pratt. Others saw the Panthers and their leaders as a voice of black empowerment and as a service group that provided free breakfasts to the poor. In an interview with The New York Times in 1997, John Mack, president of the Los Angeles Urban League, said, “The Geronimo Pratt case is one of the most compelling and painful examples of a political assassination on an African-American activist.” As Mr. Pratt languished in solitary confinement, his supporters shed light on his case by hanging a banner from the Statue of Liberty. His lawyers, led by Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. — famed for defending O.J. Simpson — assembled ammunition for an appeal. In 1997 a California Superior Court judge, Everett W. Dickey, vacated Mr. Pratt’s conviction on the grounds that the government informant, Julius C. Butler, had lied about being one. Moreover, it was learned that the Los Angeles Police Department, the F.B.I. and prosecutors had not shared with the defense their knowledge that Mr. Butler was an informant. A juror, Jeanne Rook Hamilton, told The Times: “If we had known about Butler’s background, there’s no way Pratt would have been convicted.” California lost its appeal to nullify Judge Dickey’s decision in 1999, and the Los Angeles County district attorney ruled out a new trial. In 2000, Mr. Pratt received $4.5 million from the federal and local governments as settlement in a wrongful-imprisonment suit. Mr. Pratt said he would have preferred to press the matter in a trial so he could air the government’s “evil scheme,” but decided to accept his lawyers’ advice and take the settlement. Elmer Gerard Pratt, the name he rejected at 20 as that of a “dirty dog” slave master, was born on Sept. 13, 1947, in Morgan City, La. His father was in the scrap-metal business. Elmer liked to shoot rabbits and sell them. He was a high school quarterback, then joined the Army, serving two tours in Vietnam, earning two Purple Hearts and emerging a sergeant. Mr. Pratt attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied political science and joined the Panthers. He rose to lead the Los Angeles branch. He moved to Tanzania because he had friends there and had always wanted to live in Africa. He is survived by a daughter, three sons, two sisters and two brothers. He was godfather to the slain rapper Tupac Shakur. More on Black Panther Party – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party More on – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geronimo_Pratt Related Topics: Up Next CHADEMA Yabeza Bajeti; yasema ni “Upotoshaji Mkubwa” Don't Miss Kesi ya Manji dhidi ya Mengi kuendelea Continue Reading You may like Click to comment Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Featured UJASUSI: Jinsi kijana wa kiume kutoka New Zealand alivyojaribu kumuua Malikia Elizabeth II Published 2 years ago on 01/03/2018 By Fikra Pevu Shirika la Ujasusi la New Zealand (SIS) limethibitisha kwa mara ya kwanza kwamba kulikuwa na jaribio la kumuua Malikia Elizabeth II wakati alipotembelea jiji la Kusini la Dunedin mwaka 1981. Jaribio hilo la kumuua Malikia linalodaiwa kutekelezwa na kijana wa kiume limechochea hamasa ya polisi kutaka kujua ni kwa kiasi gani wanausalama hao walifanikiwa kuzima njama hizo. Taarifa iliyotolewa na SIS zinaonesha kuwa kijana huyo, Christopher Lewis (17) alipiga risasi kuelekea kwa Malikia wakati akishuka kwenye gari lake ambapo alikuwa anaenda kushuhudia Maonyesho ya Sayansi yaliyofanyika Oktoba 14, 1981 katika jiji hilo. Tukio hilo lilitokea akiwa katika ziara ya siku 8 kutembelea nchi wanachama wa Jumuiya ya Madola. “Lewis alidhamiria kumuua Malikia, hata hivyo hakuwa katika nafasi nzuri ya kurusha risasi, hata silaha iliyotumia haikuwa katika umbali wa kuweza kumfikia mhusika,” imesema taarifa iliyotumwa SIS kwa vyombo vya habari. Lewis ambaye anatajwa kwenye taarifa ya ujasusi kama ‘kijana msumbufu’ hakuhukumiwa kwa jaribio la kutaka kuua au kosa la uhaini. Tukio hilo lilifanywa kuwa siri ili kuzuia sifa mbaya kwa nchi (New Zealand) ambayo ilitembelewa na mgeni wa heshima. Badala yake Lewis alihukumiwa kwa kumiliki silaha kinyume na sheria na kufyatua risasi. Malikia Elizabeth II akiwa ameambatana na walinzi wake alipotembelea New Zealand Inaelezwa kuwa watu waliohudhuria tukio la kuwasili kwa Malikia walisikia mlio wa risasi lakini Polisi waliokuwa wanasimamia usalama katika eneo hilo la Dunedin waliwaambia kuwa ilikuwa ni sauti ya kuanguka kwa kitu au magari kugongana. “Uchunguzi wa sasa wa polisi juu milio iliyosikika umefanywa kwa umakini na wawakilishi wa vyombo vya habari wamepata mrejesho kuwa kelele zilisababishwa na baruti”, inaeleza ripoti kutoka SIS iliyotolewa mwaka 1981 baada ya kutokea tukio hilo. Kulingana taarifa za ujasusi zinaeleza kuwa polisi wamekuwa wakifuatilia nyendo za Lewis tangu 1986 ambapo Malikia alitembelea tena New Zealand wakiogopa kuwa anaweza kutekeleza tena uhalifu huo. Kuwekwa wazi kwa siri hiyo kumewaibua polisi ambao wameanza kuchunguza upya kesi hiyo. Zaidi ya muongo mmoja uliopita, Lewis alihukumiwa kwa mauaji ya mwanamke mmoja katika mji wa Auckland na kumteka mtoto wa kike ambapo baadaye alimtupa karibu na kanisa. Kulingana na taarifa mbalimbali za wakati huo zinaeleza kuwa Lewis alijidhuru kwa umeme akiwa gerezani mnamo 1997 akisubiri hukumu ya kuua. Lakini alikana mashtaka ya kuua kwa ujumbe mfupi wa kifo (suicide note). New Zealand ilipata uhuru mwaka 1947 kutoka kwa Uingereza lakini inamuheshimu Malikia kama kiongozi wa taifa. Ameitembelea nchi hiyo kama Malikia mara 10 na mara ya mwisho ilikuwa 2002. Continue Reading Featured FREEDOM HOUSE: Tanzania ina uhuru kiasi, kufungiwa vyombo vya habari, kuzuia mikutano ya kisiasa kuididimiza kwenye nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa Published 2 years ago on 17/01/2018 By Fikra Pevu Ripoti mpya iliyotolewa na taasisi huru ya Freedom House imesema misingi ya demokrasia ikiwemo uhuru wa vyombo vya habari na haki ya kukusanyika imeendelea kudhoofika nchini Tanzania na hali hiyo isiporekebishwa itaingia kwenye kundi la nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa duniani. Kulingana na Freedom House ambao walichambua data katika nchi 195 za ulimwenguni katika mwaka 2017 wamebaini kuwa nchi 88 zina uhuru, 58 zimejumuishwa kwenye kundi la nchi zenye uhuru kiasi huku 48 zikiwekwa kwenye kundi la nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa. Ripoti hiyo imebainisha kuwa misingi ya demokrasia ikiwemo uchaguzi usio huru na haki, uhuru wa kujieleza umeendelea kushuka kwa mwaka wa 12 mfufululizo duniani kote. Miongoni mwa matokeo yaliyostaajabisha ni kudhoofika kwa Marekani ambayo ni mama wa demokrasia kutokana na uchunguzi unaofanywa na Mwendesha Mashtaka Maalumu kuhusu Urusi kuingilia uchaguzi mkuu wa mwaka 2016 ambao ulimpa ushindi Rais Donald Trump. Tanzania imewekwa kwenye nchi 88 ambazo zina uhuru kiasi lakini inatahadharishwa kuwa inaweza kuingia kwenye nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa. Tahadhari hiyo inatokana na mwenendo wa viongozi wa serikali kufungia vyombo vya habari, kuzuia mikutano ya hadhara ya vyama vya siasa, kushtakiwa kwa watumiaji wa mitandao ya kijamii kwa tuhuma za uchochezi na kukamatwa kwa wapinzani wa kisiasa ambao wanakosoa na kutoa mawazo yanayotofautiana na serikali. Pia utekelezaji wa Sheria ya Takwimu ya mwaka 2015, Sheria ya Huduma ya Habari ya mwaka 2016 na Sheria ya Makosa ya Mtandao ya mwaka 2015 umekuwa ukilalamikiwa na wadau wa maendeleo kuwa ni mkakati wa kudhoofisha uhuru wa kutoa maoni, uwazi na uwajibikaji. Kituo cha Sheria na Haki za Binadamu (LHRC) nchini hivi karibuni kilitoa tamko la tathmini ya uchaguzi mdogo wa marudio wa kuchagua madiwani uliofanyika katika kata 43 kwenye mikoa 19 ya Tanzania Novemba 24 mwaka jana ambapo kilibaini mambo mbalimbali ya ukiukwaji wa haki za binadamu. Tathmini hiyo iliibua mambo mbalimbali ikiwemo matumizi mabaya ya nguvu ya vyombo vya dola, matukio ya watu kutekwa na watu wasiojulikana, watu kupigwa, kujeruhiwa kwa lengo la kuharibu na kuvuruga uchaguzi na vilevile kuwatia hofu wapiga kura. Afrika Mashariki hali bado tete Tanzania inaungana nchi nyingine za Afrika Mashariki ikiwemo Kenya na Uganda ambazo nazo zimewekwa kwenye kundi la nchi zenye uhuru kiasi huku za Rwanda, Burundi na Sudan ya Kusini zimejumuishwa kwenye nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa. Awali Uganda ilikuwa kwenye nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa lakini imepanda hadi kwenye uhuru kiasi kwasababu ya kuimarika kwa tasnia ya habari na utashi wa wanahabari, blogu na uhuru wa wananchi kutoa maoni yao licha ya mazingira ya kisiasa kuminywa na utawala wa muda mrefu wa Rais Yoweri Museveni. Rais Museveni mwenye umri wa miaka 73 amekuwepo madarakani tangu 1986 amefanikiwa kubadilisha sheria ya ukomo wa umri wa miaka 75 wa kugombea urais ambapo atapata fursa ya kugombea tena mwaka 2021. Chaguzi nchini Uganda zimekuwa zikitawaliwa na vurugu za polisi na wananchi, kuzimwa kwa intaneti na kuwekwa kizuizini kwa viongozi wa upinzani ikiwemo Kizza Besigye wa chama cha Forum for Democratic Change. Kwa upande wa Kenya ambayo imekuwa ikisifika kwa kuimarisha misingi ya demokrasia katika ukanda wa Afrika Mashariki ambapo kwa mara ya kwanza mahakama ilifanikiwa kubatilisha matokeo ya uchaguzi wa Urais yaliyompa ushindi Rais Uhuru Kenyatta uliofanyika Agosti 2018. Uchaguzi ulirudiwa na Rais Kenyatta alichaguliwa tena. Marudio ya uchaguzi yalilamikiwa na baadhi ya wachambuzi wa masuala ya kisiasa kuwa hayakuzingatia haki za binadamu ambapo watu ambao walipinga uchaguzi huo walikumbana na mkono wa dola. Matendo hayo ndiyo yaliiweka Kenya kwenye kundi la nchi zilizo na uhuru kiasi. Burundi na Sudan Kusini zimewekwa kwenye kundi la nchi zisizo na uhuru kabisa kutokana na mapigano ya kikabila ambayo yamedhoofisha mfumo wa kisiasa wa kuongoza nchi. Vyombo vya habari na wananchi wanaotoa maoni tofauti na serikali wamekuwa wakiteswa, kufungwa na kuuwawa. Chanzo: Freedom House – Nchi zisizo na uhuru – Nchi zenye uhuru – nchi zenye uhuru kiasi Hali ilivyo Afrika Afrika kama zilivyo nchi za Afrika Mashariki hali ya demokrasia siyo ya kuridhisha ikizingatiwa kuwa asilimia 11 ya wakazi wapatao bilioni 1.02 wa bara hilo ndio wana uhuru wa kweli, huku 52% wana uhuru kiasi na 37% hawa uhuru kabisa. Ripoti ya Freedom House inaeleza kuwa waliangazia nchi 49 za Afrika na kugundua kuwa nchi 8 (18%) ndio zina uhuru wa kweli, nchi 22 (43%) zina uhuru kiasi na 19 (39%) hazina uhuru kabisa. Nchi zinazotajwa kuwa na uhuru ni Afrika Kusini, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Togo, Senegal na Kisiwa cha Sao Tome. Sababu ya nchi nyingi za Afrika kuwepo kwenye kundi la zisizo na uhuru ni matokeo ya viongozi kukaa madarakani muda mrefu, vurugu za kisiasa na kikabila ambazo zimekuwa zikihatarisha haki za binadamu. Demokrasia ya Dunia Demokrasia ya dunia inakabiliwa na mzozo mkubwa wa kisiasa kuliko wakati mwingine ambapo mwaka 2017 ulishuhudia ukiukwaji mkubwa wa haki za binadamu ikiwemo kuminywa kwa uchaguzi huru na kweli, haki za watu wachache, uhuru wa kujieleza, utawala wa sheria. Nchi 71 kati ya 195 zimeshuhudiwa zikiteteleka katika kulinda haki za kisiasa na jamii ambapo ni nchi 35 tu ndizo zimeweza kulinda haki hizo. Kudhoofika kwa demokrasia kunaendelea kushuka kwa miaka 12 mfululizo na hatua muhimu zisipochukuliwa amani ya dunia itawekwa rehani. Marekani ambayo ni bingwa wa demokrasia duniani nayo imeripotiwa na taasisi ya Freedom House kudhoofika katika kulinda haki za kisiasa na kijamii na kuzua mgongano wa mawazo miongoni mwa nchi zinazoibukia katika kujenga demokrasia ya dunia. Tangu kuisha kwa vita baridi, nchi nyingi ziliachana na utawala wa kiimla na kugeukia demokrasia ya vyama vingi lakini hali hiyo imeanza kujitokeza tena ambapo idadi ya viongozi wanaoongoza kwa udikteta inaongezeka. Uhuru wa nchi moja unategemea uhuru wa nchi zote Demokrasia itabaki kuwa tunu muhimu kwa jamii zilizostaarabika, ikifungua milango ya uwazi, mawazo na fursa mpya na zaidi ya yote kulinda uhuru wa mtu mmoja mmoja. Ikiwa watu duniani kote wanadai mazingira mazuri ya kisiasa ni dhahiri wanakumbatia misingi ya demokrasia: uchaguzi huru, uhuru wa kujieleza, uwazi na uwajibikaji wa serikali, utawala wa sheria ambao hauingiliwi na polisi, jeshi au taasisi nyingine za nchi. Hata hivyo, Karne ya 21 imeshuhudia ugumu wa kuifanya demokrasia kuwa endelevu ambapo baadhi ya nchi zinatekeleza lakini zingine zinapuuza. Utawala wa kidekteta wa Urusi na China unatambua wazi ili uendelee kuwepo unahitaji kuimarisha demokrasia katika nchi nyingine ili ziendelee kufaidika na mahusiano ya kidiplomasia. Ukuaji wa demokrasia ni kulinda haki za watu wote duniani kupitia utandawazi Continue Reading Afya Is Tanzania’s Adolescent Fertility Rate Three Times Higher Than Global Counterparts? Published 2 years ago on 09/11/2017 By FikraPevu The Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), an organization which works to provide affordable medical and rehabilitative services for mothers and newborns throughout Dar-es-Salaam, marked World Contraception Day on September 26 with a call for more efforts to meet the reproductive health needs of teens between 15 and 19 years old. The report highlights a worrying statistic — Tanzania’s adolescents are having almost three times as many children on average as their global counterparts, with 135 births per 1000 girls reported in the country, compared to an average of 44 per 1000 girls aged 15–19 worldwide in 2015. CCRBT attributes the high adolescent fertility rate to a lack of access to contraceptive services, with Technical Advisor for Nursing Bola Abbas saying, that only about 8 per cent of current family planning clients are between the ages of 15 to 19. On a national scale, Abbas explains, demand for family planning among adolescent girls is still very low, with only one out of every three of those who are sexually active within the 15 to 19 age group using modern contraceptive methods. So the question is, how does Tanzania’s adolescent fertility rate compare to that of the rest of the world? Pesacheck investigated the claim that Tanzanian adolescents are having three times as many children as their peers in the rest of the world and found that the statement is TRUE for the following reasons: Tanzania’s adolescent fertility numbers are rather high, with 4.4% of girls aged 15 having given birth according to the country’s Demographic and Health Survey. The Sustainable Development Goals call for countries to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes by 2030. The indicators for this goal are the proportion of women of reproductive age (15–49 years) who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods, and the adolescent birth rate (10–14 years and 15–19 years) per 1,000 women in that age group. For several sub-Saharan countries, Tanzania included, access to modern family planning methods is low for this particular age group, and as a result, the regional average is 105 births per 1,000, which is more than double the global average. Tanzania’s National Bureau of Statistics produced a national fertility and nuptiality report based on data from the 2012 national census, which shows that Adolescent Fertility Rate (AFR) was 81 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19. The report further shows that in 2012, 23.3% of adolescent girls in the country had given birth to at least one child. Additionally, 42.2% of girls who had never attended school had given birth, compared to just 9% of those who had reached university. This shows that there is a need for contraceptive access for teenage girls in Tanzania, especially for girls in rural areas and those with limited access to education. The Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey 2015–16 indicates that 27% of girls aged 15–19 have given birth. Crude birth rates for girls aged 15–19 show that there 135 births per 1,000 girls in Mainland Tanzania and 132 per 1,000 girls in Zanzibar, way above the global average of 44. The data also shows that contraceptive access for this age group is also quite low, with 10.4% of girls aged 15–49 using any form of contraception. It would therefore appear that the lack of access to contraceptives is contributing to the increased likelihood of adolescent girls getting pregnant. So the claim by CCBRT that Tanzania’s adolescent fertility rate is almost three times the global average is TRUE. This is driven largely by a lack of access to contraceptives for young people in the 15–19 age group, and the relatively high levels of poverty that have driven many out of school and into early marriage. As a result, the country is unlikely to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of overall good health and wellbeing of mothers unless it puts measures in place to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services for girls and women of all ages. Do you want us to fact-check something a politician or other public figure has said about public finances? Complete this form, or reach out to us on any of the contacts below, and we’ll help ensure you’re not getting bamboozled. This report was written by PesaCheck Fellow Belinda Japhet, a Communications Consultant, Online Editor based in Tanzania. The infographics are by PesaCheck Fellow Brian Wachanga, who is a Kenyan civic technologist interested in data visualisation. 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