INTRODUCTION

Tanzanian Affairs is a magazine with news and current affairs issued by the Britain-Tanzania Society. It is published three times a year. The views expressed or reported are those of the person concerned and do not necessarily represent the views of the Britain-Tanzania Society. All the information is copyright – please refer here for more details.

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TA ISSUE 113

TA 113 cover features President Magufuli at his inauguration

TA 113 cover features President Magufuli at his inauguration

2015 Elections & Results
Zanzibar – Votes annulled
Magufuli “Work & Nothing Else”
Trouble at Dar es Salaam Port

A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here

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2015 ELECTIONS & RESULTS

by David Brewin

Map showing the results of the Parliamentary Elections by district (Ben Taylor http://www.uchaguzitz.co.tz/)

Map showing the results of the Parliamentary Elections by district (Ben Taylor http://www.uchaguzitz.co.tz/)

The elections
The leaders of Tanzania’s ruling Chama cha Mageuzi (CCM) party must have been worried last October, in the face of what many expected to be a greatly strengthened opposition. There was the possibility that it might face defeat on election day – October 25. They must be happy with the results (which are given below).

The main opposition party CHADEMA had acquired a new and dynamic leader, Edward Lowassa, a former CCM Prime Minister under President Kikwete. Further, the party had joined with three other parties to form a coalition, called UKAWA (Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi) or ‘Coalition of Defenders of the People’s Constitution’, which promised to present a strong challenge, and which had access to sufficient resources to run a formidable campaign. UKAWA must have been disappointed by the results and Lowassa refused initially to accept them.

(Details of what happened in the period leading up to the elections were given in Tanzanian Affairs No 112).

In fact, the elections turned out to be peaceful and the management by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) was generally good. In Zanzibar, the elections were also well managed but, as is usual in the Isles, the actions of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) described below, raised many questions.

A leading article about the elections in The East African, which is still banned in Tanzania, described Tanzania as still the most stable and peaceful country in an otherwise turbulent region. The paper looked forward to a smooth transition of the kind that had been the hallmark of Tanzanian politics for many years.

Presidential Election results:
Candidate – Party – Votes (%)
John Magufuli – CCM – 8,882,935 (58.5%)
Edward Lowassa – CHADEMA – 6,072,848 (40.0%)
Anna Mghwira – ACT–Wazalendo – 98,763 (0.65%)
Lutalosa Yembe – ADC – 66,049 (0.43%)
Hashim Rungwe Spunda – CHAUMMA – 49,256 (0.32%)
Machmillan Lyimoo – TLP – 8,198 (0.05%)
Janken Kasambala – NRA – 8,028 (0.05%)
Fahmi Nassoro Dovutwa – UPDP – 7,785 (0.05%)
Total 15,193,862 (100%)
Registered electors 23,254,485 Source: NEC

Parliamentary elections
Here again the UKAWA coalition must have been disappointed – while the overall percentage of votes for CHADEMA rose from 24% (2010 election) to 32% (2015 election) and the vote for CCM fell from 60% to 55%, the coalition had been expecting to have many more of their candidates elected as MPs. The number of MPs elected (subject to change after some by-elections and legal challenges by some losing candidates) was as follows:

Party Votes (%) No. of seats* (change from 2010 Election)
CCM 8,021,427 (55.0%) 189 seats (+3 from 2010)
CHADEMA 4,627,923 (31.8%) 34 seats (+11 from 2010)
CUF 1,257,765 (8.6%) 32 seats (+8 from 2010)
ACT Wazalendo 323,112 (2.2%) 1 seat (+1 from 2010)
NCCR-Mageuzi 218,209 (1.5%) 1 seat (-3 from 2010)

*Based on data from http://www.parliament.go.tz/ and http://www.ipu.org/. Numbers do not include the 110 special seats (women) and MPs nominated by the President which brings the total number of MPs to over 370.

National trends and regional results
Senior Researcher in the Africa Research Institute Nick Branson has produced a paper, which first appeared on the Institute’s blog in November 2015. It analyses the results and gives details from the main cities and regions.

It also contains ideas on what the future of Tanzania might look like and expresses Branson’s opinions on some controversial issues. Extracts from his paper:

‘United behind a common cause, and boasting a harmonised list of candidates UKAWA was able to compete in urban constituencies where CCM had hitherto been able to profit from a divided opposition.

‘The opposition exceeded expectations in Dar es Salaam, where its MPs now outnumber those from CCM. CHADEMA retained its seats in Ubongo and Kawe, won the new constituency of Kibamba, and took Ukonga from CCM. CUF candidates ousted CCM incumbents in Kinondoni and Temeke. CCM won only four of the ten seats in the city: Ilala, Kigamboni, Segerea and Mbagala.

‘Uniting behind the opposition presidential candidate, Edward Lowassa, who is from the Northern Zone, enabled CHADEMA to win a swathe of seats across Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions. The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) a mainly Zanzibar party secured the constituency of Tanga Urban and control of Tanga District Council on the Tanzanian mainland.

‘Yet, opposition advances were cancelled out by Magufuli’s popularity in his native Lake Zone, limiting CHADEMA’s gains in Mara and Shinyanga regions. Mwanza, Tanzania’s second city, where he used to work as a chemist and teacher, remains in the hands of the ruling party.
‘The opposition failed to challenge CCM hegemony of the rural Central Zone, with the exception of one seat in Tabora, won by CUF, and two falling to the opposition in Kigoma.

‘However, remarkable progress was made in the Southern Highlands, where CHADEMA won four parliamentary seats in Mbeya and one in Iringa region, in addition to taking control of the Mbeya and Iringa town councils.

‘The Coast Zone also saw opposition gains: CHADEMA took five seats in Morogoro region; CUF took four in Lindi region; and both parties secured MPs in Mtwara.

‘Nationally, CCM’s Magufuli proved more effective at “getting out the vote”. Of the 6.5 million additional votes cast in 2015 compared with 2010, 3.6 million went to Magufuli.’

Some other significant results
In the hotly contested Bukoba Urban seat Wilfred Lawakatare (CHADEMA) beat the previous MP Khamis Kagasheki (CCM) by almost 10%.

The candidate for Vunjo, (Moshi) James Mbatia, leader of the small NCCR – Mageuzi party, won the seat easily with 60,187 votes. The CCM candidate obtained 16,617 and the one time very famous politician Augustine Mrema 6,416. In spite of this result Mrema filed a petition at the Moshi High Court to challenge the results. He said he ‘wanted justice’.

The result in the Serengeti constituency was an unexpected setback for CCM. Many observers felt that the previous MP Dr Stephen Kebwe ran a poor campaign. He got only 5,980 votes compared with the 9,268 for CHADEMA.

The ambitious leader of the new ACT – Wazalendo party, Zitto Kabwe MP, who was also Chairman of the influential Public Accounts Committee in the previous National Assembly and gained fame for his attacks on corruption, did well. He got 31,546 votes in his Kigoma Central constituency compared with 17,344 for CCM and 12,077 for CHADEMA. But he will be a lonely voice in parliament, as he was the only one of the ACT party candidates to win election. Kabwe said that he would support President Magufuli on the corruption issue. “Why should we oppose him?” he asked.

An opportunity for reconciliation
Branson’s paper goes on: ‘An influx of new legislators – with 40% female representation – will make the eleventh parliament the most representative and dynamic yet. This should provide constituents with a new opportunity to raise hitherto neglected grievances and ensure the proper scrutiny of legislation. However, an increased opposition presence in the chamber will also renew calls for debate over the country’s constitutional settlement’.

Technology
The election campaign was unlike earlier campaigns because of the widespread use of new technology.

All parties and their members have made great use of social media which has been a powerful influence to complement the traditional posters, newspapers, radio and television advertisements. All parties and their members were wooing voters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. A CHADEMA spokesman was quoted as saying that his party were employing every technology at its disposal to detect, stop or otherwise curtail vote-rigging.

About 75% of the 48 million population have access to mobile phones and it is estimated that Tanzania has about nine million internet users, thanks to the technological revolution fueled by fibre-optic cable and the substantial decline in the cost of using the internet.

Lowassa’s future
After the results were announced Lowassa refused to recognise the victory of Magufuli. He said: “I have lost the battle but not the war”. He added that he would remain in active politics after losing the elections which he said had been rigged. However, in view of the size of the victory of Dr Magufuli, most Tanzanians appeared to accept that he did win.

Promises
During the campaign the candidates promised many things. Among them that hawkers would be free to display their wares wherever they chose, small traders would have unlimited access to loans and education would be free. Lowassa promised that petty traders and motorcycle taxi operators would not be harassed by the police. Dr Magufuli added women food vendors to this list. He also promised TSh 50 million to every village for lending to entrepreneurs.

Lowassa would reduce income tax. He also promised to form a committee to resolve conflicts between pastoralists and farmers. He would have a removal of traffic jams in the capital and have electricity and piped water across the country.

The predominant word during the election was ‘CHANGE’, used by all parties. The opposition coalition of CHADEMA, CUF, NCCR – Mageuzi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) largely held together during the campaign as parties negotiated about the actual seats in which they would be allowed to stand.

Under new rules, the presidential results published by the Electoral Commissions on the mainland and Zanzibar would be final and no challenges would be allowed in the courts.

Defections
During the campaign several well-known members of the CCM party defected to the opposition group of parties in UKAWA. They included the party’s ideological guru Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru, former Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye, Hassan Moyo who was prominently involved in the 1964 Zanzibar revolution, Lawrence Masha, a former home affairs minister, and a former Secretary-General of the East African Commission, Juma Mwapachu. In most cases, these defections were seen as linked to Lowassa’s decision to leave CCM and join CHADEMA.

Police action
During the final stages of the election count the police raided and seized 24 computers from an office used by the ‘Tanzanian Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation’. They also arrested 36 data clerks at the centre. They suspected the centre was collecting, tallying and distributing election results to the public, contrary to a recently passed law. After five hours the personnel were released but the equipment remained in the possession of the Police.

The police also entered a CHADEMA election data centre and arrested 166 people, in connection with unlawful posting to the social media network of unverified election results’ contrary to new regulations. The police said that they were trying to establish the motivation behind their action, who the results were for, who paid for them and what they wanted to do with the results in future. The police said that, if mishandled, the figures could result in a breach of the peace if they were different from those published officially.

The inauguration
At a big ceremony in the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, former President Kikwete arrived in a State House open car, waving from right to left to applause across the stadium. He received a 21-gun salute before inspecting his last guard of honour as Head of State. Deafening cheers greeted him as he proceeded to the dais to witness the swearing in of Dr Magufuli and Vice President-elect Samia Hassan Suluhu from Zanzibar, both of whom took their oaths of office before Chief Justice Mohammed Othman. Dr Magufuli took the oath and was then presented with the country’s Constitution before sitting on a traditional stool and being presented with a shield and spear.

President Magufuli's inauguration

President Magufuli’s inauguration

Women
53% of all registered voters in the election were women compared with 48% in 2010. However, women made up only 19% of those nominated by their parties as candidates. This is one of the reasons why in Tanzania a number of special seats are allocated in parliament for persons nominated by their parties in numbers proportional to the number of seats they have won in parliament.

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ZANZIBAR – VOTES ANNULLED

by David Brewin

With elections in Tanzania, the ones which take place in Zanzibar are always problematic and the latest election turned out to be even more so than the previous three elections where the results were not accepted by the opposition CUF party.

ZEC Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha (left) making the announcement.

ZEC Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha (left) making the announcement.


Branson’s paper continued by advising on the Zanzibar situation: ‘Zanzibar’s House of Representatives did not return on 12 November, as required by the Isles’ constitution. Six cabinet ministers resigned from the Zanzibar’s government of national unity (GNU). The incumbent president of Zanzibar Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, a stalwart of the ruling CCM, party, still remains in office despite his term having elapsed on November 2, 2015.

‘This limbo follows an unprecedented declaration by ZEC Chairman, Jecha Salim Jecha, in which he unilaterally annulled the vote on the Isles without consulting his fellow commissioners. The Isles’ former Attorney General questioned the legality of Jecha’s decision.

‘The ZEC chairman cited unspecified irregularities on the northern island of Pemba, where CUF won all 18 seats in 2010. Tanzanian and international election observers challenged the announcement, regarding the polls in Pemba and said that they were fairly conducted, while the European Union and the US embassy called for Jecha to reverse his decision.

‘The farcical nature of the announcement did not escape the attention of those familiar with the voting process. Jecha may have prevented ZEC from completing the tally on Zanzibar, but votes cast at the same polling stations were counted by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for the purposes of determining the Union presidency and parliament.

CCM loyalists insist that a new round of elections must now be organised, regardless of the significant cost at a time of budget shortfalls, and potential disruption to the profitable tourist season. CUF maintains that the people have already spoken. After two decades of extremely close results, they have reason to question what appears to be a politically-motivated decision by the ZEC chairman, who is, after all, a presidential appointee and not a technocrat.

‘CUF also has good grounds to believe their candidate won. The party organised parallel vote tabulation (PVT) for these elections. Seif Sharif Hamad, CUF’s Secretary-General and presidential candidate for Zanzibar, announced the figures on the morning after polls closed. Although Hamad’s claim that he had won the presidency may have violated the electoral code, the results stand up to rigorous statistical analysis according to some experts.’

Prospects of power-sharing
Branson’s paper went on: ‘In the light of seemingly compelling evidence, many will question why CCM remains so reluctant to accept defeat on the Isles. The ruling party should have nothing to fear given that the Zanzibar constitution provides for a permanent Government of National Union (GNU) under which the runner-up becomes First Vice-President. Hamad has occupied that post for the past five years, spurring economic development in historically neglected Pemba. The former teacher and education minister has pledged to form a new GNU, with equal representation for CCM and CUF, once he is declared president.

‘Prior to the election, academics argued that Zanzibar’s GNU had brought to an end to “zero sum” politics. Yet, conversation with the author, ministers and MPs from the Isles revealed a lack of trust between the parties across both the executive and legislative branches. Incomparable loyalties to party and state meant that some cabinet ministers refused to be bound by collective responsibility, delaying the enactment of policies which they opposed.

‘Meanwhile, the Zanzibar House of Representatives has remained under the control of CCM, whose Second Vice-President led government business rather than CUF’s Hamad.’

Legacies of controlled competition
Branson’s paper continued: ‘CCM is the longest-serving ruling party on the continent, and the reluctance of its leadership to share power can be traced back to the single-party era. Tanzania’s founding president, Julius Nyerere, established a culture of political competition within the confines of the ruling party. This helped to “recycle” elites while ensuring debates took place within established parameters.

‘Three of Tanzania’s neighbours – Kenya, Malawi and Zambia – also held comparable elections during the single-party era. Unlike Tanzania, the three nations have subsequently passed the “two turnover test”, whereby a ruling party is voted out of office twice. Accordingly, Polity IV classifies the trio as a “democracy” while it regards Tanzania as a “closed autocracy” comparable with Uganda and Rwanda.

‘CCM supporters would argue that the party has not been voted out of office because it has maintained peace and security, provided good (enough) government, promoted inclusive growth, and pursued incremental reforms.

‘On the mainland at least, this is true. The ruling party has largely avoided confrontation with the opposition – with a few notable exceptions – and catered to its agrarian support base in the centre and south of the country. Politicians have also harnessed the grassroots network which was built during the single-party era, helping CCM to mobilise rural voters.

‘However, it is becoming increasingly clear that elements of the ruling party are unwilling to consider the prospect of ever relinquishing power or conceding long overdue reform in Zanzibar. Debates over a proposed Constitution exposed a stubborn commitment to a unique dual-government structure, a lopsided arrangement that falls short of being a fully-fledged federation. This constitutional fudge was rushed through during the Cold War.’

The campaign
Many Tanzanians found the 2015 campaign very exciting and they turned out in vast numbers wherever the main candidates appeared.
Billboards were put up all over the country. Outside the Kilimanjaro Airport a huge image of Magufuli was displayed with the Swahili words “Sitawaangusha” – Swahili for “I will not fail you”.

The Debates
The EU Observers mission of 140 observers had hoped that the eight leading candidates for the presidency would have taken part in at least one TV debate which would have reached nearly 25 million viewers. Media Council of Tanzania Secretary General Kajubi Mukajanga tried hard to get the parties together but the UKAWA presidential candidate apparently did not wish to take part. In the end, Dr Magufuli did not turn up either, and the debate took place with just three minor parties’ candidates.

The Election Observer mission of the Commonwealth, headed by former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, observed the voting and counting processes across Tanzania. The statement of the mission said: “We note with great concern the statement issued by the Chairman of the ZEC in which he nullified the Zanzibar elections. We issued an interim statement on 27 October, in which we all confirmed the credibility of the voting process in Zanzibar. We were pleased that the voting and counting took place in an atmosphere of peace, and that the people of Tanzania demonstrated a strong commitment to democracy”.

Zanzibar Electoral Commission Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha, insisted that the poll was filled with flaws. He said the election was not fair especially in Pemba. He said that he had faced many obstacles, noting that they were the ones that had earlier influenced his commission to delay releasing the results as stipulated in the law. Enumerating the nine points that had influenced their decision, he noted that the members of the Commission had started fighting within the ZEC office as the process was going on. He also said that there were many polling stations, especially in Pemba, whose numbers of voters had outnumbered the actual number of voters in the register. He added that there were youths who were prepared by some political parties to stop people from accessing polling stations. There were also complaints from various parties who were not content with the entire process. “I therefore nullify this election and a new one will be prepared in the next 90 days”, Jecha said.

Towards the end of the Zanzibar elections and their annulment by the ZEC Chairman, soldiers surrounded the hotel where the votes were being tallied and ejected journalists and election observers.

The secret negotiations
Eventually the Zanzibar government began a series of meetings of the interested parties plus several prominent leaders to try and reach a compromise solution. The meetings were still going on as this edition of TA went to press.

Nick Branson is a Senior Research Officer in the African Research Institute (ARI). During 2015 he published a series of articles on constitutional reform in Tanzania and on the elections. Between January 2009 and March 2013 he managed capacity building projects with the Civic United Front on behalf of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. He is currently studying for a PhD at SOAS.

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“WORK & NOTHING ELSE”

by David Brewin

Only three weeks after being sworn in the new President Magufuli made clear that when he preached “work and nothing else” in his campaign he meant it. The ‘business as usual’ syndrome would not be tolerated.

The new broom
The new President lost no time in exercising his authority and eliminated several elements of public expenditure by reducing the number of ministers in his cabinet from 60 to about 35.
The most dramatic measures were his attacks on persons alleged to be guilty of corruption.

Following two visits to the Tanzanian Ports Authority (TPA), its Director General and Board Chairman were sacked on the spot as was the Permanent Secretary for the Transport Ministry. The new Prime Minister (see later) said that the President had acted due to failure by certain officials to address deep-rooted administrative flaws within the TPA. In addition, four senior TPA officers and eight middle-level managers plus others were sent home.

This action on the TPA followed on the discovery earlier that some 3,000 cargo containers had not been cleared from the port before payment of taxes estimated at TSh 80 billion.

The Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) was also sacked together with seven TRA officials including the Commissioner for Customs and Excise Duty who was sent for trial. The President gave a seven-day grace period to businessmen who had evaded tax to go and voluntarily pay or face arrest. Records indicated that TSh 6 billion of the lost revenues was quickly collected.

In a visit to the Tanzanian Railways head office, the President said that he had learnt that TSh 13 billion had been misused and an investigation had been started.

As we go to press it has been announced that the President has sacked the Director of the Prevention of Corruption Bureau.

The new President also ordered the cancellation of the 2015 Independence Day celebrations in order to reduce unnecessary public expenditure. He intended to use the funds for a major clean-up campaign aimed at stemming the spread of cholera in the country. He was seen on the streets of Dar es Salaam wielding brushes, as were many senior party figures.

The government also banned the use of taxpayers’ money in printing and distributing festive Christmas and new year cards. People wanting cards should “dig into their own pockets” he said.

All this came on top of the President’s announced suspension of foreign travel for government officials, allowances for seminars and management meetings as well as lavish official cocktail and dinner parties. He also ordered that meetings and conferences in hotels for public servants should be cancelled and two way videos and audio conferencing should be adopted instead.

The new Prime Minister

Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa (left) talking to Permanent Secretary Dkr Florens Turuka shortly after his appointment as Prime Minister (photo Prime Minister’s Office)

Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa (left) talking to Permanent Secretary Dkr Florens Turuka shortly after his appointment as Prime Minister (photo Prime Minister’s Office)

The media in Dar es Salaam could not prevent themselves from speculating as to who would be the next Prime Minister of Tanzania. The President’s eventual choice – Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa – surprised many people including the man himself.

The media eventually found out more about Mr Majaliwa.
He had been apparently a late-comer to national politics and only joined the government in 1984 as a head teacher and then later as DC Urambo from 2006 to 2010. He was Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government from 2010 to 2015.

It then became known that he and the PM were contemporaries or age-mates. President Magufuli was born on 29 October 1959 and the new Prime Minister on 22 December 1960. The media suggested that it was Majaliwa’s strong work ethic and his aversion to working with indolent people that made him a good choice. The observers noted that Dr Magufuli intended to make many hard decisions and would need a tough man of high integrity as his PM. Other observer noticed that Majaliwa is the MP for Rungwe which is on the opposite side of the country from the President’s own constituency in Mwanza.

The new drastically reduced cabinet
The President took a long time in deciding who to appoint to his new cabinet. It was almost mid-December before they were published and appointments to four other key posts were expected later. As part of his economy drive he then cancelled the induction seminar which is normally provided for new ministers.

The new cabinet is very much smaller than the previous one. It has 34 ministers and deputies, compared with 60 in the previous cabinet. Six of the 34 were nominated as MPs by President Magufuli, who is allowed by the constitution to nominate up to 10 individuals to parliament.

The Cabinet List:
George Simbachawene and Angella Kairuki, Minister, President’s Office Regional Administration Local Governments, Public Services and Good Governance. Deputy Minister Suleiman Jaffo.

January Makamba, Minister, Vice President’s Office – Union and Environment. Deputy Luhaga Mpina.

Jenista Mhagama, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office – Policy, Parliament, Labour, Youth and Employment and PWD’s. Her Deputies: Dr Possy Abdallah and Anthony Mavunde.

Mwigulu Nchemba, Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Deputy William Ole Nasha.

Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Minister for Energy and Minerals. Deputy Medalled Karemaligo.

Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, Minister for Constitution and Justice.

Dr Augustino Mahiga, Minister for Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation. Deputy Dr Susan Kolimba.

Dr Hussein Mwinyi, Minister for Defence and National Service.

Charles Kitwanga, Minister for Home Affairs. Deputy Hamad Yusuf Masauni.

William Lukuvi, Minister for Lands, Human Settlement and Development. Deputy Angelina Mabula.

Charles Mwijage, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investments.

Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children. Deputy Dr Hamis Kigwangala.

Nape Nnauye, Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports. Deputy Anastasia Wambura.

Eng. Gerson Lwenge, Minister for Water and Irrigation. Deputy Eng Isack Kamwela.

Prof Jumanne Maghembe, Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources. Deputy Eng Ramol Makani.

Dr Joyce Ndalichako, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training. Deputy Eng Stella Manyanya.

Prof Makame Mbarawa, Ministry for Works, Transport and Communication. Deputy Eng Edwin Ambandusi Ngonyani.

Dr Philip Mpango, Ministry of Finance and Planning. Deputy Ashantu Kizachi.

The future
The people of Tanzania are obviously very happy with Dr Magufuli’s initial drive against corruption and waste of public money. They also say that they like his new ‘hard work’ ethic. Whether he will be able to maintain this popularity over time, and indeed how well he will be able to stand firm against the inevitable reaction that his actions will elicit from powerful vested interests, remains to be seen.
(Thank you Frederick Longino for help with parts of the above article – Editor)

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CONSTITUTION

by Enos Bukuku

New Katiba – Which way will Magufuli go?
The latest stage to be reached during the constitution making process was for a proposed draft of the proposed constitution to be presented to the people by way of a referendum. This was put on hold whilst the nation was preparing for the elections.

It is not yet clear how high this issue ranks on President Magufuli’s list of priorities as he continues to shake up the administration. During his inauguration speech he indicated that a middle ground would need to be found to continue the process of making a new constitution. He also acknowledged that the previous draft constitution created by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) should also be respected. The CRC, led by retired Judge Warioba, previously had many of its recommendations rejected after the current “proposed constitution” was written by the Constitutional Assembly (CA). The rejection of the CRC’s recommendations was the catalyst of the formation of UKAWA and the breakdown of relationships amongst the members of the CA.

If the President is serious about the success of a new constitution, then he has an opportunity and a mandate to decide against the proposed constitution. He could easily opt not to put it to a referendum, on the grounds that it is too divisive.

As he enjoys national and international praise for his early stance on corruption and maladministration, it would make some sense for the President to use this opportunity and goodwill to push for a new constitution which will enable him to better implement his plans and show how sincere he is.

For example, there has always been a criticism of the government that it has too much power, and that there should be more separation of power between the government and the national assembly. This would make holders of governmental office more accountable for their actions and is one more weapon in the fight against corruption. He has already reduced the size of his cabinet. Streamlining and reducing the size of the government and national assembly could be a massive costs saving for the country whilst allowing them to work more efficiently.

It would seem that the options open to President Magufuli are threefold:

First, he could continue where President Kikwete had left off. This would involve educating the public about the content of the proposed constitution and arranging a referendum. It would probably result in the president losing much of the goodwill he has built up since the election.

Second, a safer option would involve changes to the proposed constitution to remove some of the more controversial sections, making it more similar to the CRC’s original draft – an UKAWA-friendly “middle ground”.

A third, and unlikely option, would be to abandon the process altogether.
Whichever option the new administration chooses, action will need to be taken, as the Constitutional Review Act 2011 and Referendum, Act 2013 impose duties on those involved in the process to comply with various steps and deadlines.

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BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

by Ben Taylor

Stabilised shilling, but at a price
The decline in value of the Tanzanian shilling against the US dollar has been halted, with the shilling now stable at around TSh 2,150 to the dollar since the end of September. Previously, the shilling had hit a record low of just over TSh 2,300 to the dollar in late July, having declined by around 30% in the preceding six months.

The stabilisation has been at some cost, with a little over US $500m of Tanzanian foreign currency reserves spent on reversing the decline by the end of September. However, by mid-November, the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Benno Ndulo, was able to state that the central bank was no longer intervening in forex markets.

A strong dollar contributed to the trend, which was seen across many African countries’ currencies.

“Depreciation of the shilling against the US dollar is driven by external and internal factors,” noted the Bank of Tanzania in their Economic Bulletin. “In the second half of 2014, the US dollar strengthened against currencies across the world following improved economic performance in the US, which led to increased demand for US dollar as investors preferred investing in the US economy. From April 2015 onwards though, the depreciation of the shilling against the US dollar accelerated as it was compounded by domestic factors that included continued decline in receipts from some exports, particularly gold and cotton,”

IMF chief of Debt Policy, Hervé Joly, said other factors affecting the shilling were the high liquidity in the banking system, seasonally low export earnings, and high repatriation of corporate dividends. The situation was further compounded by delays by donors to disburse pledged funding of the budget during 2014/15, which fuelled a foreign exchange shortage psychology.

“The shilling, which was assessed to be somewhat overvalued in 2014, is now closer to equilibrium,” said the IMF in a statement following their regular assessment of the economy.

Dangote cement plant
Alhaj Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian billionaire described by Forbes magazine as “Africa’s richest man by far” with an estimated net worth of over US $16bn, has commissioned a cement plant 20km outside Mtwara town.
The plant, with a capacity of 3 million metric tonnes per annum, is the largest cement works in East Africa, and will represent half the total cement production in Tanzania. It reportedly cost around US $600m to construct.

Dangote explained the choice of Tanzania for investment, stating that the existing supply gap had been inadequate in meeting local demands, noting the need to boost export supply in the eastern Africa regional bloc.
“The construction sector is a major emergent component of the Tanzanian economy that has been receiving the attention of investors. This makes it an ideal market for cement production. The existing cement manufacturers have historically been unable to satisfy local demand, which has been filled by imports. As essential economy-driven infrastructure continues to be built to improve electricity supply and the transport network, additional demand for cement can be expected,” he said.

“Our strategy is to invest in countries that offer investors attractive returns on investment as well as provide them with an enabling environment to operate. It is our sincere belief that our $600million investment in Tanzania will further speed up infrastructural development and complement the government’s efforts in stimulating economic growth and creating jobs for the people. When in full production, this plant will make Tanzania self-sufficient in cement, with a lot of cement for export to neighbouring countries,” Dangote added.

President Kikwete, who was also present at the launch noted that the timing of the citing of the cement plant was very auspicious, coming at a time when the demand for cement is on the upsurge and increasing both locally and regionally.

Uchumi Supermarket woes
Kenya-based Uchumi Supermarkets Limited has closed its operations in both Tanzania and Uganda, after they had failed to turn a profit in five years of operations.

CEO of the company, Dr Julius Kipng’etich said the outlets in Uganda and Tanzania make up only 4.75% of the firm’s operations but over 25% per cent of operating costs. “The two subsidiaries have not made any profits over the last 5 years which means they have been draining the parent operations,” said Dr. Kipng’etich.

Earlier in the week of the announcement, around 50 staff of Uchumi Supermarkets at the Quality Centre in Dar es Salaam confined themselves behind doors for 20 hours to press their employer for clarifying on their fate of employment, following unofficial reports that business operations would be closed due to poor performance.

Uchumi Supermarket which had operated in the country for two years had six outlets. The firm had recently hired a firm of management consultants to investigate theft by staff in Uganda and Tanzania and identify the retailer’s prospects of surviving in both markets. The closures will result in around 900 job losses across the two countries.
The move makes Uchumi the second major supermarket firm to shut up shop in Tanzania in two years, after the departure of the South African chain, Shoprite, in 2014.

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ENERGY & MINERALS

by Roger Nellist

President Magufuli has reappointed Professor Sospeter Muhongo as Minister of Energy and Minerals. Muhongo had resigned from the position last January (see TA111).

Mining troubles
The big gold mining company Acacia Mining plc reported in October that it had suffered a US$13 million net loss in the third quarter and announced urgent cost-saving measures to avert further financial difficulties. Acacia – which is listed on the London and Tanzanian stock exchanges – operates the Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi and North Mara mines and employs a total workforce of more than 6,000 people in Tanzania.

Acacia’s CEO, Brad Gordon, told company staff that “these are challenging times, with gold prices dropping from US$1,800 per ounce three years ago to less than US$1,100 during the September quarter”. High operating costs and lower output also contributed to the loss. Its gold production in 2015 was likely to be only 720,000 ounces compared with the previous forecast of 750,000 – 800,000 ounces. The company warned of job losses, pay freezes/cuts and other efficiency measures by the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, in Manyara region in September the long-standing conflict between artisanal tanzanite miners and a large mining company, TanzaniteOne, led 500 artisanal miners to protest on the streets after the Government suspended tanzanite mining in some areas. The company is alleged to have encroached on the artisans’ mining areas and the regional miners’ association has called for the Government to hand over its 50% stake in TanzaniteOne to the artisans. The regional authorities warned the miners not to take the law into their own hands but await the outcome of an investigation into the issue.

Mining operations can be difficult and dangerous. On 5 October six small-scale miners were trapped and feared lost, and others killed, when a mine pit in which they were working collapsed and buried them at the Nyagalata gold mine in Kahama District. Incredibly, more than 40 days later, five of the six were discovered alive though in very bad condition under the pit, whilst the sixth had died. They had survived by eating tree roots and drinking water that that they collected in their helmets as it trickled through openings in the rocks. The Ministry of Energy and Minerals reiterated the need for small-scale miners to use modern mining equipment to prevent such disasters in the future.

In August the Geita gold mine became the first in Africa to enter into a Fair Trade gold sales agreement with the UK that, among other things, requires producers to abide by modern health and safety standards. The more than 200 miners at the mine are expecting this new deal to improve their working conditions and lives which, for many thousands of miners in Tanzania, are harsh.

Better energy news
In September, TANESCO switched on its Ubungo gas power plants to start generating electricity from the natural gas that is being transported to Dar from Madimba in Mtwara Region. The then Minister of Energy and Minerals, George Simbachawene, said that by end October gas would be contributing about 335 MW of electricity to the national grid – a big step forward to producing a permanent all-year-round solution to power shortages in the country. The Minister lauded this “huge achievement” and reminded that the project, which had cost US$1.225 billion, was fully funded by the Government and supervised by the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation.

Over the last decade smaller amounts of electricity have been generated using gas piped from Songo Songo island. In coming years, the government will invest in further gas-fired power plants, both to boost electricity supplies for a growing economy and also to reduce expensive oil imports and save foreign exchange.

In October at the University of Dodoma President Kikwete launched Tanzania’s largest solar energy project as well as a College of Renewable Energy and Sustainability. The project, which will be operational in 2016, will be the largest solar farm built on a University campus anywhere in the world and is expected to generate up to 55 MW of electricity to supply Dodoma Region. Both the college and the project are being undertaken through strategic partnerships with Ohio State University and a USA renewable energy company. Together, they should also help pump clean water to rural Tanzanians. The college will establish Tanzania as an African leader on renewable energy – training technicians, scientists and entrepreneurs in sustainable energy supplies.

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AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

>>Coffee auction in progress at The Kahawa House, Moshi  Photo - Wild Tracks Coffee https://kahawatanzania.wordpress.com/

Coffee auction in progress at The Kahawa House, Moshi Photo – Wild Tracks Coffee https://kahawatanzania.wordpress.com/

Lower Coffee Prices
Tanzanian farmers are becoming worried by recent trends in the price of coffee. This is apparently caused by the slowing economic growth in China and the increased likelihood of a rise in US interest rates.

At the Moshi Coffee Exchange in late November, the price of Arabica, mostly from Moshi and Arusha fell. A 50kg bag slumped by over US$6 from what it had fetched at the previous auction. At the same time the price per tonne of Robusta coffee (mostly from Bukoba) in London fell from US$2,000 to US$1,000 which had also not been expected. The result was that for the third consecutive week no Robusta coffee was offered at the auction.

Most Tanzanian coffee is exported to Japan, the EU and the US, but Tanzania hopes to increase its market in east Asia. In 2014, 41,000 tonnes of coffee were exported earning US $121 million. In 2013, 59,500 tonnes had been exported for US $171 million.

Research at Ukiriguru
Using funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, projects being implemented at the Ukiriguru Agricultural Research Institute near Mwanza include one which is designed to promote the consumption of micronutrient-rich food.

An assessment is also being carried out at Ukirguru on orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Tanzania is the second largest producer of sweet potatoes in East Africa after Uganda with an annual production of one million tonnes. In Tanzania the sweet potato is the third most important root tuber crop, after cassava and Irish potatoes.

Farm subsidies
100,000 farmers in 24 regions of Tanzania are expected to benefit from continued farm input subsidies for the cultivation of various crops. The Ministry has said that it will contribute 50% of the market price of inputs to small-scale farmers of maize, rice and paddy in a scheme operated with 23 fertilizer companies and 27 maize and paddy seed suppliers. The inputs are described as a basic right for farmers and not a privilege so farmers are expected to use the funds efficiently to increase productivity of the specified crops. Emphasis is being placed on an increase in crop production, and establishing maize and rice. The research results have so far shown that the national agricultural inputs voucher system has increased not only the production of crops but also increased the number of agro-dealers and availability of inputs.

Yields of Maize and Rice
Farmers in Mbeya region have been benefitting from a project under the Eastern Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (EAAPP) on research into rice. Tanzania is the base of the Rice Centre of Excellence which is being supported by EAAPP. In the case of certain rice farmers, yields have been improved dramatically. A rice farmer in Sengerema district said that her harvest had grown from 0.75 tonnes per acre to 1.5 tonnes following her training under the EAAPP programme. She had been able to build a new house.

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TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Trouble at port
Among President Magufuli’s early new-broom-sweeping-clean actions, taken by him and his new Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, some of the most dramatic were those focussed on the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and related institutions.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Dr Shaban Mwinjaka, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General Rished Bade, the TPA Director General Awadh Massawe and Board Chairman Prof Joseph Msambichaka, and several other senior TPA and TRA figures including Inland Container Depot (ICD) supervisors were all fired or suspended. The TPA board was disbanded, and eight suspects were charged in court on December 4th with abetting tax evasion.

The sackings and arrests followed an ongoing crackdown on tax evasion at the country’s largest port, which was said to be taking place unchecked and on an industrial scale.

Two impromptu visits by the Prime Minister to the port led to the discovery that nearly 3,000 cargo containers had been cleared recently from the port without payment of taxes estimated at TSh 80 billion. Four ICDs were reportedly involved in the scam, namely JEFAG, DICD, PMM and AZAM.

In a related move, TRA suspended transfer of containers to Said Salim Bakhresa and Company Limited (AZAM) ICD over allegations that clearance of containers from the company’s depot did not follow procedures.

Said Salim Bakhresa and Company refuted claims that it owned the containers. The company’s director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Hussein Ally, said 85% of the containers belonged to 12 different companies with the rest belonging to individuals. “There are claims that the containers belong to Bakhresa, but I would like to make it clear that none of them belonged to our company. We run a depot for storage of containers for business purposes,” he said.

According to Mr Ally, AZAM depot officials have been cooperating with TRA and have provided them with the names of the containers’ owners. He said that following a directive from President Magufuli that the owners should pay all taxes due within seven days, AZAM ICD had deposited TSh 4 billion and was in the process of depositing another unspecified amount to cover the costs of the revenues lost. He stressed that the Bakhresa Company has had no records of evading tax since the company was formed.

Prime Minister Majaliwa warned that his administration won’t not tolerate any schemes to steal from public coffers. “The port is an essential utility that, if well managed, can bring in huge amounts of revenues which will boost the national income. The government is not going to tolerate the few individuals or a gang out to use their offices to sabotage the systems and steal the revenues in any way,” he said.

At the time of writing, further unannounced visits by the Prime Minister to Tanzania Railways Limited looked set to lead to further sackings and discovery of more fraud. “The investigation is ongoing and we’ll take actions when we’re done with it, and we will inform you of it. We have a vision of stronger TRL and the government is going to take all required steps to realize that” said Majaliwa.

World Bank loan for expansion of Dar es Salaam port

 Clemens Schulte docks into Dar es Salaam in late August.


Clemens Schulte docks into Dar es Salaam in late August.

The World Bank (WB) has issued US$ 600m in loan to the Tanzania Ports Authority to upgrade the Dar es Salaam Port. The money will be used to widen berths 1 to 7 for the port to be able to accommodate bigger vessels as well as turning it into “the cheapest and most competitive entity in the East and Central African region,” according to Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).

The funds will also be used to widen the main port entrance from 140 metres to 200 metres and to increase the depth of the port from 10.5 metres to 13 metres to allow for larger vessels.

“Our main focus was just to receive big ships similar to other countries and prevent them docking in other countries,” said the acting TPA Port Manager, Hebel Mhanga.

The upgrading project has the aim of improving port capacity from 14.6 million tonnes in 2013/2014 to 28 million tonnes in the next five years.
Previous expansion works at Dar port enabled the docking in late August of the largest ship ever to be handled at the port – the 255m long Clemens Schulte, operated by Maersk Line. It was described as “testimony of the growing confidence of the international shipping lines in the Dar port,” said a port spokesman, adding that the port is now operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (The Guardian)

Foundation stone laid for Bagamoyo Port
The laying of a foundation stone at Bagomoyo port represents the start of construction works at the so-called “mega project.” Construction is expected to take 5-7 years.

In addition to the port itself, the project involves constructing an 80km rail link connecting Bagamoyo to both the central line and TAZARA railways, an industrial park with cement production, textile and hide processing factories and piped gas supplies. The site is around 2,400 hectares.

Outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Membe, described the port as President Kikwete’s “biggest goodbye present to the nation”. He added that once the port is complete, it is expected that economic growth will skyrocket and that because it is a natural harbour, there is every reason for it to be an international port.

Dr Hu Jiahua, the Chief Executive Officer of China Merchants Group, which won the bid to construct the port, said that they were excited to be part of the project and it was their intention of turning Bagamoyo into a dream port.

The Manager of Tanzania Ports Authority noted that the limited room for expansion of the city centre port in Dar es Salaam, coupled with the rapid growth in cargo flowing through Dar, was more than sufficient justification for such a large new investment in Bagamoyo. (Daily News)

Songwe Airport ready for international flights
Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) has said that they expect Songwe Airport in Mbeya to meet International Civil Aviation Authority standards for international flights very shortly. The expansion and upgrading of the airport to international standards started in June 2015 and is scheduled for completion early in 2016.

Improvements to the airport include new landing lights for the runway and a new airport building. The upgraded airport will have the capacity to handle 500,000 passengers annually, both national and international. (The Citizen)

Work to start on Dar flyovers

Model of the proposed TAZARA flyover.

Model of the proposed TAZARA flyover.

A contract for the construction of the long-awaited flyover at TAZARA junction (Nyerere Road and Mandela Expressway) in Dar es Salaam has been signed, meaning that work should begin imminently. The Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Company won the contract for the work, which will be financed by the Japanese Aid Agency, JICA.

The JICA representative Tishio Nagase said the first flyover of its kind in Tanzania would contribute significantly to reducing traffic jams along the roads to airport, Temeke and the city centre along Nyerere Road.
Japan is also financing upgrading of the Mwenge-Tegeta road, Kilwa Road and undertaking a feasibility study to upgrade Morogoro Road as far as Chalinze, including flyovers.

The TAZARA junction flyover project was among President Kikwete’s most high-profile election promises in 2010. The outgoing Minister of Works, Dr John Magufuli, now President Magufuli, said it was encouraging that the promise is now entering the implementation stage.

It is currently estimated that traffic congestion costs Dar es Salaam around TSh 4bn per day in lost economic activity. (The Citizen)

New deals for FastJet
FastJet has signed new deals with Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai-based airline, Emirates, that look to cement the company’s status as the fastest growing airline in East Africa.

The deal with Emirates allows passengers to book connecting flights on FastJet through Emirates’ booking system, including online booking. The arrangement with KCAA will finally allow FastJet to operate flights in and of our Jomo Kenyatta International Aiport in Nairobi. FastJet announced that daily flights will begin between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi on January 11th, with prices starting at US$ 80 plus taxes for a one-way ticket. Daily flights will begin on the same date between Nairobi and Kilimanjaro International Airport, with prices starting from $50.

In a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange, FastJet stated that “Fastjet Tanzania has been working towards the launch of these routes for some time and we are extremely pleased that clearance has now been granted to commence operations. To date, passenger traffic between the major cities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, which have a combined population of over 8 million people, has been limited by high air fares which we believe, have excluded large parts of the local population from air travel.”

FastJet has also cleared another significant hurdle in Kenya, with the issuance of an Air Service Licence for a FastJet franchise based in the country. (The Citizen, Wolfgang H Thome)

DART fares announced, executive fired
The government has suspended the head of the Dar Rapid Transit (DART) initiative, Asteria Mlambo, over procurement irregularities.

In April, DART signed a two-year agreement with a company known as Usafiri Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (Uda RT) to become an Interim Service Provider for the DART system, including purchasing and operating 76 modern buses. Ms Mlambo is accused of having made major decisions without properly consulting the DART advisory board, and of failing to take action on discovering that Uda RT violated terms of their contract. She was suspended by the incoming Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government, George Simbachawene, to allow for investigations to be carried out.

Previously, launch of the bus service had been delayed for several reasons, including disputes over the procurement of an operator, and finalisation of the infrastructure. The project consists of 24km of specially constructed roads (in the first phase), bus stations and park-and-ride facilities. It cost US $290m, with finance provided by the World Bank.

In September, the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) proposed fares for passengers using the new buses, for public consultation. The proposed fares were set at TSh 700 for passengers travelling from Mbezi-Kimara to Kivukoni along Morogoro Road, TSh 500 for those using feeder roads and TSh 800 for both feeder and trunk roads. Commuters travelling from Mbezi-Kimara to Makumbusho, will be required to pay TSh 900. Despite a public outcry at the new fares, which are around double the current daladala fares, DART said they were set on charging the proposed amounts.

An electronic ticketing system will be used on the buses, which will not have conductors.

“A new Selander Bridge”
The government has signed a contract worth US $91m with the Government of Korea for a loan to finance the construction of a new bridge linking Oyster Bay with the City Centre.

Signing the contract, the outgoing Finance Minister, Saada Mkuya Salam, said the bridge would significantly reduce congestion around the current bottleneck point of Selandar Bridge. She said that Korea has provided 83% of the cost, with the Tanzanian government providing the remaining 17%.
The Head of Tanroads, Patrick Mfugale, said that they expected to appoint a contractor within 6 months, and the bridge would be complete within two years. He explained that the bridge would link Coco Beach with a point in the city centre near the Aga Khan Hospital, with a span of 1.3km.

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HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Cholera outbreak prompts unusual response
An outbreak of cholera that begun in August 2015 in Dar es Salaam had claimed 100 lives by early November. The first cases were recorded in Kinondoni Municipality, and it quickly spread to Temeke and Ilala. Over 7,500 cases have now been reported from 39 districts in 17 regions.
To stem the spread of the disease, authorities in Dar es Salaam took steps to improve water quality and hygiene across the city. This included destroying shallow wells and installing new facilities for water tankers to collect water from.

President Magufuli drew on the outbreak to provide a focus for his alternative approach to Uhuru Day on December 9. Instead of the usual national ceremonies and celebrations, he called for the funds to be saved for more important activities and called on Tanzanians to spend the day cleaning up their local environment.

Tanzania certified as polio free
19 years after the last case of polio in Tanzania, the country has been officially declared polio free.

In a statement, UNICEF said that “this achievement in turning the tide against polio is the result of political will and government leadership in the country.” Coordinated efforts with communities comprised routine vaccination at health facilities, and specific efforts in high-risk areas targeting hard­to-reach population. Other approaches included training support to thousands of front-line workers in communities as well as campaigns and polio surveillance activities.

Dr Donan Mbango, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health said that vaccine coverage had been maintained at 90% nationally, and that polio surveillance will continue. “UNICEF will continue to work with the Government and its partners to ensure all children are reached and are glad to note polio vaccination will continue. We cannot let down our guard, as there could be a re-emergence and we must be vigilant,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Tanzania, Paul Edwards.

Heart and kidney hospital in Dodoma
A specialist heart and kidney hospital at the University of Dodoma was officially launched by President Kikwete in mid-October. The Benjamin Mkapa Ultramodern Hospital, reportedly the third of its kind in Africa, will also serve as the referral hospital for Dodoma and Singida regions.

Speaking at the launch, President Kikwete said that the facility would reduce the cost of sending patients abroad for treatment. “I am pleased that the plan hatched several years ago of having such a modern facility in effort to improve provision of health services to Tanzanians has become a reality,” he said. (The Guardian)

Progress in child and maternal mortality

New born baby at Muhimbili Hospital, Dar es Salaam (photo Michuzi http:// issamichuzi.blogspot.co.uk/)

New born baby at Muhimbili Hospital, Dar es Salaam (photo Michuzi http:// issamichuzi.blogspot.co.uk/)

A recently released report from the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and others shows that maternal mortality in Tanzania has fallen sharply between 1990 and 2015. The data confirms that Tanzania is making progress in battling maternal and newborn mortality.

“Since 1990, Tanzania has reduced under-five mortality by nearly three-quarters and maternal mortality by more than half,” noted Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (Daily News)

Birth registration by mobile phone
Tanzania has launched a nationwide system of birth registration via mobile phone. The system has been established by the government registration agency RITA, UNICEF and the communications company TIGO. The new system, which will be rolled out across the country over the next five years, allows a health worker to send the baby’s name, sex, date of birth and family details by phone to a central data base and a birth certificate is issued free of charge in days.

The country has one of the lowest rates of birth registration in eastern and southern Africa. Only 20% of Tanzanians – and less than one in 10 under-fives – have birth certificates, according to the 2012 census. Parents have to pay TSh 3,500 if they request a birth certificate within 90 days of a child’s birth, or TSh 4,000 afterwards, as well as travel costs.

The government expects to register about a million children under the age of five before the end of this year, and 90% of all newborns within the next five years.

Anna Mbelwa, who gave birth to a baby boy at Mbalizi Hospital in Mbeya Region this month, said the initiative made a big difference. “I was very impressed because it usually takes a long time to get a birth certificate,” said Mbelwa. “It was very inconvenient before since parents had to travel a long distance to the district registrar only to be told their children’s files were missing.” she added. (The Guardian)

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