Archive for Tz in International Media


by Donovan McGrath

Tanzania caught in a spiral

Fishermen pull up the nets in waters off Dar es Salaam in September 2018. Photo: Peter Caton/The Observer

(Guardian UK) Illegal operations and overfishing are taking a toll despite rich seas. Extract continues: .. According to global species database FishBase, Tanzania has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds … Tanzania should not need to import fish, but overfishing is depleting stocks, rais­ing prices and threatening food security. “It is a disgrace for a country like Tanzania to import fish, while there are plenty of species that could meet fish demand in the country,” says Abdullah Ulega, deputy minister for livestock and fisheries. Despite the number of fishing boats increasing by nearly 20% in five years to 66,000, the country recorded a sharp decline in catches, from 390,000 tonnes a year on average, to 360,000 tonnes in 2017, says the government… Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by artisan, commercial and deep-sea fishing is thought to be taking as much as 20% of the country’s fish, costing the economy $400m a year, says the UN… The easiest method used by illegal fishers is “blast fishing”, using dynamite or homemade bottle bombs made from fertiliser and kerosene. A single explosion can kill as much as 400kg of fish in a radius of 30.4 metres, worth up to $1,800, but will also destroy the reef. California-based conservationist group Sea Shepherd Global is now working with Tanzanian government agencies to patrol Indian Ocean waters with a new 55km/h cutter-class ship, the Ocean Warrior… (21 September 2018) Thanks to Rev J R & Mrs M W Bowen for this item

‘It’s God’s plant’ – the man who dreams of chickens
(Guardian Weekly UK) A US mega-farm, a Christian backer and an industrial producer are trying to reform central Africa’s food market. Extract continues:
… Tyson, the world’s second-largest food company, has set up with Irvine’s, Africa’s oldest industrial chicken producer. With the backing of a devout Christian businessman, Donnie Smith, the three partners aim to revolutionise food production in Central Africa and “save” people from hunger by growing chickens on an American scale… “Why Africa? The need is tremendous. I have travelled in sub-Saharan Africa and in the largest population centres you see fairly rapid progress, but [not] in rural areas. All my experience tells me that God wants me to work in Africa,” [says Smith]… Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for unchecked corporate concentration and the pollution and potential animal welfare problems that have plagued production in Europe and the US? Yes, says the Tanzanian government, which struggles to feed its fast-urbanising population and is a target for chicken imports from Europe and Brazil. . . “Definitely we are ready,” says Rose Sweya, a young Dar es Salaam chicken farmer who is eager to buy thousands of Donnie’s day-old Cobbs to fatten up. Her company, Kingchick, is investing heavily in four poultry farms and a processing plant… (11 January 2019) Thanks to Rev J R & Mrs M W Bowen for this item

Why is an African chief’s skull mentioned in the Versailles Treaty?
(BBC UK – online) Extract: The Treaty of Versailles, signed exactly a century ago, reshaped Europe in the wake of World War One. So why, within its many hundreds of clauses, does the treaty refer to the decapi­tated head of an African anti-colonial hero? Extract continues: Chief Mkwawa’s skull now sits on a plinth, protected by a glass box, in a tiny museum in a small town in central Tanzania. But like a trophy, it once adorned the house of a colonial official in Germany’s administrative centre in Bagamoyo, before being spirited away to Germany at some point at the beginning of the 20th Century. The skull was used as a sym­bol to intimidate the Wahehe people, who the chief had led in a fierce rebellion against the German colonisers. So successful was his campaign in the 1890s that a bounty was put on his head by the Germans. He is believed to have taken his own life in 1898, rather than submit to the humiliation of being captured, as he sheltered in a cave that was encircled by German soldiers… The Treaty of Versailles … detailed the reparations Germany had to pay for starting the conflict … And so under a section headed “special provisions” and sandwiched between demands from France and Belgium sits article 246: “Within six months. . . Germany will hand over to His Britannic Majesty’s Government the skull of the Sultan Mkwawa, which was removed from the Protectorate of German East Africa and taken to Germany.” However, the skull was not returned within six months – it took another 35 years for this to happen… At the ceremony that saw the return of the skull to Kalenga, [British governor Edward] Twining did not dwell on the chief’s anti­colonial credentials, instead speaking of honour being restored and how he felt the skull had come back to the Wahehe as a source of protection. But then he struck his bargain: “I hope too that you and your people will continue to give your unstinted loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors.” For Twining that loyalty extended to fighting in Britain’s colonial force known as the King’s African Rifles (KAR) – a military and security unit that was recruited from East Africa… While at one time colonialists may have hoped Chief Mkwawa’s skull would help curry favour, it served as a symbol for an independent and proud Tanzania – and still sits in its own museum in Kalenga… (28 June 2019)

Tanzania’s President Magufuli shops with basket after plastic bag ban
(BBC UK – online) Extract: Tanzanian President John Magufuli has made a surprise visit to a fish market sporting a wicker basket in a move to support a new plastic ban. It is unusual for a man to carry a shopping basket in Tanzania, especially someone of the president’s status. His defiance of convention is likely to give more weight to the ban … Those found with plastic bags now face fines of up to $87 (£68) or up to seven days in jail, local media reports. For anyone caught manufacturing or importing plastic bags, the fine could be $430,000 or up to two years in prison. Tanzania is one of more than 30 African countries to have brought in a ban on single-use plastic. Travellers arriving in Tanzania – a tourist hotspot – are now being asked to surrender plastic bags at the airport… “In a few years time the country will be safe from the effects of plastic bags,” the president said… (4 June 2019)

Tanzania row over wig and hair extension tax

(BBC UK – online) Extract: A row has broken out in Tanzania over the government’s decision to impose a tax on wigs and hair extensions. Many male and some female MPs applauded and thumped their desks in approval when Finance Minister Philip Mpango announced the tax in parliament. Supporters of the levy say it will help women keep their hair natural. But there has also been public outrage, with women say­ing they are being punished for wanting to look good in wigs and hair extensions. Tanzanians tend to uphold traditional values, but society is changing and many women now wear wigs and extensions … In his budget speech in parliament … Mr Mpango announced a 25% tax on imported wigs and hair extensions and a 10% tax on those made locally as part of a series of measures aimed at increasing government revenue… Mr Mpango also scrapped the exemption on value added tax placed on sanitary towels, saying consumers had not benefited as businesses did not reduce prices when it was introduced. Opposition MP Upendo Peneza said she would campaign against the removal of the exemption, adding that the government should push businesses to lower their prices… (14 June 2019)

Murder, rape and claims of contamination at a Tanzanian goldmine
(Guardian UK – online) Police and guards at North Mara have been accused of killing dozens — possibly hundreds — of locals. Extract continues: When safari tourists drive to the Serengeti national park in Tanzania, few realise they are passing one of the world’s most conten­tious goldmines… Welcome to North Mara, one of the biggest mines in Tanzania, which since 2006 has been operated by London-listed Acacia Mining and predominantly owned by the world’s biggest goldmining company, Barrick, a Toronto-based firm that holds a 63.9% stake. For the past two decades, this mine has been a place of danger, extreme violence and allegations of environmental contamination. Although Tanzania is nominally at peace, over the years police and security guards have been accused of killing dozens — possibly hundreds — of local people, injuring many more and raping countless women. There have also been reports of contamination from mining chemicals, but journalists and human rights activists who have tried to investigate these cases have sometimes found themselves the subject of intimida­tion, harassment and even threats of deportation from police and state authorities. Acacia says it is not involved in any crackdown on the media and it promotes transparency. Since a legal challenge in 2015, the company has worked with authorities to improve the human rights situation. It erected walls in some areas, enhanced staff training, and put in place a grievance system. But an investigation by the Guardian and its partners in the Forbidden Stories journalism collective has been told violence continues — albeit at a lower level — while the health prob­lems associated with possible chemical pollution remain a concern… (18 June 2019)

‘It could change everything’: coin found off northern Australia may be from pre-1400 Africa
(Guardian UK – online) Experts believe they may have found a Kilwa coin that could change what we know about the history of global trade. Extract continues: … [B]usy I-Med radiology clinic in Darwin is shiny and quiet … But then an archaeologist and a historian turn up, bringing with them a curious patient whose identity is unknown, but who may be 1,000 years old and could rewrite Australian history. The “patient” is a small copper coin found by archaeologist Mike Hermes on a field trip to the Wessel Islands, off north-east Arnhem Land, last year. He believes it to be a coin from Kilwa, more than 10,000km away in what is now known as Tanzania, dating from before the 15th century… [T]he find was no accident. The Past Masters [a group of historians, archae­ologists, anthropologists, numismatists (coin experts), geochronologists and other experts who investigate historical anomalies] were following the path of Morry Isenberg, an RAAF radar operator who discovered five Kilwa coins when he was stationed briefly on nearby Marchinbar Island in 1945. Isenberg rediscovered the coins stashed away in a match­box tin 40 years later, and they were handed over to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney… How the coins got to this part of the world is a … perplexing mystery. “Kilwa coins have only been found in Kilwa, the Arabian peninsula and the Wessel Islands,” Hermes says. “It is a puzzling distribution.” [Historian Mike] Owen offers a few theories. It could indicate contact between Indigenous Australians and traders from Kilwa 700 years ago. The Wessel Islands were probably not the intended destination for the coins. There was trade between Kilwa and China, and possibly those traders were blown off course or escaping from pirates. Perhaps there was a shipwreck. But he says the most likely scenario is that the Portuguese, who looted Kilwa in 1505, went on to set foot on Australian shores, bringing the coins with them. “The Portuguese were in Timor in 1514, 1515 — to think they didn’t go three more days east with the monsoon wind is ludicrous,” Hermes says. So what does the potential discovery of a coin minted 500 years before James Cook’s arrival, and more than 300 years before the Dutch, mean for the pre-European history of Australia? Numismatist Peter Lane says if this is a Kilwa coin, it adds an interesting dimension to Australia’s early history… (11 May 2019)

President Urges Tanzania’s Women to ‘Set Ovaries Free’, Have More Babies to Boost Economy
(New York Times USA – online) Extract: … “When you have a big popula­tion you build the economy. That’s why China’s economy is so huge,” [President John Magufuli] said … citing India and Nigeria as other examples of countries that gained from a demographic dividend. “I know that those who like to block ovaries will complain about my remarks. Set your ovaries free, let them block theirs,” he told a gather­ing in his home town of Chato. Since taking office in 2015, Magufuli has launched an industrialization campaign that has helped buoy economic growth, which has averaged 6.7% annually in recent years. But he has said a higher birth rate would achieve faster progress… UNFPA [U.N. population fund] says about a third of married women in Tanzania use contraceptives, but Magufuli has criticized Western-backed fam­ily planning programs implemented by the health ministry. Last year, Magufuli said curbing the birth rate was “for those too lazy to take care of their children”, and the health ministry barred broadcasting of family planning ads by a U.S.-funded project. While Tanzania’s poverty rate
– people living on less than $1 a day – has declined to about 26% as of 2016, the absolute number of poor citizens has not because of the high population growth rate, according to the World Bank. Opposition lead­ers in Tanzania have criticized Magufuli’s stance, saying the country’s already rapid population growth is a time bomb … (10 July 2019)

Tanzania Says Does Not Know Whether Missing Journalist Is Dead or Alive
(New York Times USA – online) Extract: Tanzania does not know whether a missing journalist who disappeared two years ago while investigating a series of murders of police and ruling party officials is dead or alive, the country’s foreign minister was quoted . . . as saying. Activists have cited Azory Gwanda’s disappearance as a sign of worsening conditions for journalists under President John Magufuli’s government, which they accuse of cracking down on press freedom by suspending newspapers. The government denies the allegations. . . New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has accused the Tanzanian government of failing to launch a credible investigation into Gwanda’s fate after he disap­peared on November 21, 2017… (11 July 2019)

A fish called Wakanda: New purple fish honours ‘Black Panther’

Wakanda fish

(CNN USA – online) Extract: Although the nation of Wakanda exists only in the Marvel Comics universe, where it is superhero Black Panther’s home, researchers believe they have found a version of it underwater. And here, 260 feet below the surface in secretive reefs, the warriors accented with vibrant purple are fish. Previously unknown, the fish species lives in dark coral reefs, called “Twilight Zone” reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. The fish are known as fairy wrasses… Their scales are so deeply pigmented that the deep purple remains during the preservation process, when colour is usually lost. The fish were discovered by scientists participating in the California Academy of Sciences’ Hope for Reefs initiative, which aims to research and restore coral reef systems… The fish were named Cirrhilabrus wakanda, or the vibranium fairy wrasse, in honour of Wakanda and “Black Panther.” “When we thought about the secretive and isolated nature of these unexplored African reefs, we knew we had to name this new species after Wakanda,” said Yi-Kai Tea, lead author of the new study and an ichthyology Ph.D. student from the University of Sydney… Up close, the pattern of the scales reminded the scientists of Black Panther’s vibranium suit and even the fabric worn by Wakandans in the “Black Panther” film… (11 July 2019)

Tanzania scolds US for alert warning of rumours of attacks
(AP News USA – online) Extract: Tanzania’s government has scolded the United States for issuing a terror alert warning American citizens about rumours of impending attacks in an area of Dar es Salaam popular with foreigners. A foreign ministry statement … says the alert created panic among some members of the public. It reminded the U.S. of “the importance of observing international diplomacy procedures.” … (21 June 2019)



by Donovan McGrath

How an emerging African megacity cut commutes by two hours a day

Two Dart buses operating in Dar es Salaam

(Guardian online UK) Could Dar es Salaam’s experiment with Africa’s first ‘gold standard’ bus rapid transit system offer an alternative to a future dependent on private cars? … Extract continues: Dusk falls in Dar es Salaam, and for hundreds of thousands of people in this African megacity-to-be the daily chaos and frustration of the journey home begins. People cram themselves into daladala minibuses … So far, so normal for a sprawling megalopolis of 6 million with virtually no public transport and only eight lanes of major road heading to and from the centre. Dar es Salaam, the de facto capital of Tanzania, is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Its population has increased eightfold since 1980 and swells by half a million people every year… But Dar es Salaam is pinning its hopes on a solution that could offer a different model for Africa’s megacities … Unlike many cities on the continent, Dar es Salaam isn’t trying to build a metro… but a more achievable route: the bus… Outside the city centre many rely on boda boda motorbike taxis … Their safety record is notorious… The Dart system boasts bus lanes separated from other traffic … ticket payment and control takes place at stations rather than on board … The average journey time from the centre to the terminus at Kimara has been slashed from two hours each way to just 45 minutes, according to sustainable transport group the ITDP … The ITDP awarded the system Africa’s only “gold standard” bus rapid transit (BRT) rating… (8 January 2019)

Tanzanians with albinism embrace a life beyond stigma and superstition
(Guardian online UK) In a country where myths about albinism can have deadly consequences, an organisation set up to battle discrimination is having a profound impact. Extract continues: Paschal Merumba has suffered prejudice from the day he was born. His mother refused to breastfeed her “cursed” baby, the second child in the family born with albinism; the first had already died of neglect… In 2013, Merumba was attacked by men who tried to kill him… He was saved when a neighbour ran screaming towards the group with a torch… “My life was spent in darkness,” says Merumba… Now 54, his life changed after meeting with Alex Magaga, who had worked on the BBC documentary, In the Shadow of the Sun, which tells the story of two Tanzanians with albinism… In parts of Tanzania, up to one in 1,400 people has albinism … Many die of skin cancer before the age of 40 … The myths and misperceptions surrounding albinism in Tanzania are “almost too numerous to count”, says [Sam] Clarke [Standing Voice’s communications manager – an organisation that defends the rights of people with albinism]… In Tanzania, 75 albinos were killed between 2000 and 2016… (23 January 2019)

Chimpanzees develop distinct local cultures, and we’re destroying them
(Washington Post online USA) Extract: The chimpanzees of Tanzania may be the most famous tool users in the animal kingdom. Famed primatologist Jane Goodall first observed them in the 1960s using grass sticks to “fish” for termites in their mounds. But since Goodall, other scientists have discovered that chimps have more than one way to catch a termite. Those in Congo, for instance, gnaw on the end of their tools of choice to turn them into paintbrush-like instruments, which seem able to catch even more termites than straight-tipped rods. In Uganda, some chimpanzees simply break into termite mounds with their hands. Everywhere chimpanzees roam, scientists are uncovering more fascinating behaviours such as harvesting algae with long poles, mining honey out of the ground using sticks and accessing hidden reserves of water inside trees with sponges fashioned from chewed-up leaves. These and other behaviours make up the basis of what scientists increasingly describe as chimpanzee “culture” – learned traditions that vary by location. And humans might be killing it, according to a study . . . in the journal Science. The study suggests that people and their disturbances of ecosystems may be hindering the transmission of chimpanzee culture, and in some cases, destroying it altogether. . . [M]ore than 75 scientists and other researchers compiled data from 144 chimpanzee communities found across 15 countries in West and Central Africa. . . Chimpanzees living in areas with the most human disturbance had less varied behavioural repertoires, the study found… The idea that chimpanzees possess distinct cultures is still relatively new … (7 March 2019)

Meet Tanzania soccer freestyle queen who earned praise from President Trump

Hadhara Charles

(CNN online USA) Extract: Tanzania rarely features in discussions of Africa’s soccer hotspots. But that perception might be changing thanks to the skills of soccer freestyle queen Hadhara Charles, which are winning plaudits from celebrities across the world including US President Donald Trump. A viral tweet of Charles displaying her range of flicks and tricks in a dress and flip-flops has been watched more than 10 million times, earning 125,000 retweets and more than 400,000 likes. President Trump was among those impressed, tweeting “Amazing!” just after a message in which he accused former FBI director Andrew McCabe of treason. British television host Piers Morgan also shared the clip with the comment “Brilliant.” The star herself was pleased to receive acclaim from such high-profile quarters. “It feels good that Donald Trump shared the video,” Charles told CNN.

“Here I am not paid. Sports doesn’t pay.” Charles, a mother of two, is a specialist in the art of freestyle soccer, which is based on juggling and tricks with the ball using any part of the body. Freestyle has become a popular pursuit around the world and the leading exponents compete in prestigious international championships… The freestyler has won acclaim in her home country and represents Tanzania in events in Gabon, Cameroon, South Africa and Ethiopia. In 2018, Charles came third in the first African Freestyle Football Championship. But prestige has not been accompanied by financial rewards for Charles, who still struggles to support her family. “I get these opportunities to travel but no pay,” she says. “If only I had sponsorship or some deal to support myself it will work form me (and) my two children will have enough for food and basic needs.” … Recognition from President Trump offers a moment of satisfaction for Charles. But her true ambition is to make those magical skills deliver a more comfortable life for her family. (26 February 2019)

Tanzanian ref banned for life by Fifa for taking bribes
(BBC online UK) Extract: One of Tanzania’s top referees has been handed a life ban from football after Fifa found him guilty of taking bribes. The case, opened in July 2018, was handled by Fifa’s Ethics Committee which ruled Oden Charles Mbaga had breached the Fifa Code of Ethics. Fifa told Reuters that the ban relates to bribes “to manipulate several national and international matches between 2009-2012” … Speaking from Dar es Salaam, Mbaga told the news agency he was questioned by Fifa in 2010 but had not heard anything since and knew nothing about match-fixing. “This is shocking news to me,” he said… Mbaga has also been fined $200,000. He has been banned for life from all football-related activities, not just refereeing, at national and international level… [F]ormer international referee Ibrahim Chalbou from Niger was also banned for life and fined $200,000 after being found guilty of taking bribes … (27 February 2019)

Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread
(BBC online UK) A female MP in Tanzania has called for checks to determine whether or not her male colleagues have undergone circumcision – a procedure known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Extract continues: Jackline Ngonyani said any MPs found not to have been circumcised should be required to undergo the procedure. Her suggestion divided opinion among her colleagues. HIV is seen as a major threat to public health in Tanzania. Around 70% of the male population is circumcised. Around 5% of Tanzania’s adult population is believed to have been infected by HIV – giving it the 13th highest rate of infection in the world, according to figures from 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) says circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV by around 60%. Several African countries that are fighting HIV epidemics have launched campaigns to encourage men to undergo the procedure, which involves surgically removing the foreskin from the penis. Ms Ngonyani made the comments during a debate in parliament … Her suggestion was backed by MP Joseph Selasini… However, MP Joseph Kasheku opposed Ms Ngonyani’s proposal, describing it as uncouth and invasive. (6 February 2019)

Unique Tanzania forest granted official protection after research reveals it is on brink of collapse

The Endangered Magombera Chameleon. Photo by Andrew Marshall

(Independent online UK) ‘When I first began work in the forest 15 years ago it was clearly a biologically important place, but it rang with the sound of axes and machetes,’ says project leader. Extract continues: The Tanzanian government has agreed to set aside a unique forest as a new nature reserve after research revealed it was about to be wiped out for good. Magombera forest is home to a recently discovered species of chameleon and threatened animals including bush babies and elephants. But illegal logging and poaching have pushed the valuable ecosystem to the brink of destruction, with some estimates predicting it was on the brink of total destruction… Tanzanian authorities has reached the $1m (£0.78m) required to protect the land. The value of the forest has been recognised for many years. . . Thousands of trees are already growing back in areas of forest that had been stripped bare. The newly created 6,463 acre Magombera Nature Reserve houses an enormous amount of species within a relatively small area, and is considered among the most biodiverse forests in Africa… (17 January 2019)

Mnyamawamtuka: Scientists discover new dinosaur with heart-shaped tail

Reconstruction of a pair of M. moyowamkia in a rainstorm in Tanzania during the Cretaceous Period. (Mark Witton)

(Independent online UK) Extract: The plant-eating dinosaur was discovered in Africa and reportedly lived 100 million years ago. . . Apart from its vast size, the 30-foot dinosaur also displayed another fascinating feature – heart-shaped bones in its tail. Researchers named the dinosaur Mnyamawamtuka Moyowamkia from Swahili for “animal of the Mtuka” and “heart-shaped tail” and joked that the animal “wore it’s heart on its tail.” In addition to its unique bone structure, the discovery of the dinosaur’s remains, which were found in a riverbed in the East African Rift system of Tanzania, allows scientists to piece together information about how ecosystems evolved in Africa during the Cretaceous period. Previously, titanosaurs were identified in South America, but the new species discovered in Tanzania, Egypt and other parts of the African continent offer a more complex picture of their evolution… The new dinosaur … is one of three new titanosaurs to be found in the area… The fossilised bones of the dinosaur … suggests the animal also shared similarities with another dinosaur “Malawisaurus, from just across the Tanzania-Malawi border,” according to Dr Gorscak [research associate, and professor at Midwestern University]. The researchers also discovered other animals in the East African Rift, including relatives of early crocodiles and evidence of “insect farming” from fossilised termite nests, as well as clues about the evolution of monkeys and apes. “The African story is far from over …” (13 February 2019)

Canadians bring solar power to off-the-grid Africa

A couple enjoy clean electric lighting and television powered from a solar energy system (M-Kopa)

(Global and Mail online Canada) M-Kopa and Jaza Energy take different approaches, but their founders agree there is plenty of room for expansion in East Africa. Extract continues: Jaza Energy and M-Kopa, both started by Canadians, are bringing small-scale solar energy to communities in Tanzania and, in M-Kopa’s case, to Kenya and Uganda as well. Their main line of business is similar, and it’s one that the long term may be potentially disruptive for utilities in developed countries. Both firms deal in distributed generation – providing on-site, off-the-grid electricity that can be installed cheaply and quickly and which doesn’t necessarily require giant infrastructure such a power plants or transmission lines… “Our customers pay the equivalent of about 50 cents a day, making payment by phone. Over time, within a year or two, they are buying their solar system from us, in the same way as you would take a mortgage from a bank and buy your house,” [says Jesse Moore, M-Kopa’s CEO]. M-Kopa … has connected more than 700,000 homes in East Africa to solar power, with 500 homes added every day. The company says that by using solar power to light homes, its customers save the equivalent of 75-million hours of kerosene that would otherwise be burning, emitting fumes and contributing to climate change. Jaza, started in 2016, is smaller than M-Kopa, powering about 2,000 households, or about 10,500 people in Tanzania. It sets up its power units through small-scale retail hubs, often run by women, which are both sales points and solar-powered recharging stations. Customers take their removable power batteries to the local hub each week to swap… Unlike M-Kopa, Jaza doesn’t rely on mobile phones for payment … Swapping Jaza’s batteries costs households the equivalent of 55 cents Canadian each week, so it is indeed cheaper than M-Kopa’s panels… (17 January 2019)



by Donovan McGrath

How To Get Women To Trust The Police? ‘Gender’ Desks
(National Public Radio – USA) Extract: How do you get a woman to report to the police that she’s been assaulted or abused if she doesn’t trust the police to take action? That, says activist Jamila Juma, is a serious problem in Zanzibar. Juma is the executive director of the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) … “[Some police officers] don’t understand about rape or they think it’s a women’s issue, so they don’t care,” Juma says… The police agree with her. “Gender-based violence is persistent in Zanzibar but women are not confident in reporting these issues,” says deputy sergeant Mauwa Saleh … Today, over 400 police stations across Tanzania have Police Gender and Children’s Desks, including seven of Zanzibar’s 20 police stations… The gender desks initiative was first proposed in 2009 by the Tanzanian Police Female Network (TPFNet), a professional association formed in 2007 that aims to improve the way the police relate to women in the community… Statistics illustrate the need for these desks. Nearly half of Tanzanian women under the age of 50 say they have been physically or sexually assaulted … The desks aim to make both special handling and privacy available to victims of gender-based violence… (15 August 2018)

UK aid minister hails ‘double win’ of heroin crackdown in Tanzania
( – UK) Extract: British border agents and the Royal Marines have stopped millions of pounds worth of heroin trade across the western Indian Ocean, where the drug is being transported from Afghanistan to east Africa for eventual sale in Europe. The international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said the anti-smuggling scheme in Tanzania, funded from the UK’s aid budget, was vital for development in the nation but would also protect the UK and Europe from the effects of organised crime… “This is a win for Tanzania as we tackle the drivers of instability and poverty which hold back development, but also a win for the UK as we are tackling criminal networks that work in both countries and stopping drugs and organised crime coming to our shores,” she said. The Department for International Development estimates that 40% of the heroin being sent across the west Indian Ocean is destined for Tanzania … Since the early 2000s there has been a significant rise in organised criminal groups smuggling Afghan heroin through ports along the Swahili coast from Pakistan and Iran. Most of the drug ends up in Europe, though development officials say an increasing amount is sold directly on the streets of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar… (Accessed 6 December 2018)

As Tanzania’s LGBT fear for their lives, HIV will thrive
(CNN – USA) In one day, everything changed. Extract continues: … “Since the announcement was made, things got worse,” said the 23-year-old trans woman from Tanzania, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear for her safety… The announcement that she says changed her life was made by powerful politician Paul Makonda, regional governor of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city… [H]e vowed to set up a task force to round up and arrest people suspected of being gay… Makonda’s call for all gay people to be reported to him initiated a chain reaction in the country, forcing many into hiding… People already faced a 30-year jail sentence in Tanzania for gay male sex, a holdover from colonial-era laws, mirroring severe penalties for same sex relationships across many African countries… Under the administration of President John Magufuli, rights groups believe, the situation has gotten worse, with the closure of LGBT-friendly clinics and the prohibition of community organizations that do HIV outreach … But the prospect of a civilian task force scouring the streets and giving civilians the power to report people brought a new level of terror… Those unable to flee are instead pushed underground and into hiding, kept from entering the outside world – which blocks their access to health services, such as those protecting against HIV/AIDS… (1 December 2018)

Journalist released from detention in Tanzania
(CNN – USA) Extract: Two Committee Protect Journalists staffers have been released from detention in Tanzania and have left the country … Extract continues: Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo were permitted to return to their hotel in Dar es Salaam after being taken to an unknown location and subjected to “several hours of questioning,” according to a news release. Their passports were also returned. “Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo travelled to Tanzania to understand the challenges facing the Tanzanian press and to inform the global public,” Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon said in a statement. “It is deeply ironic that through their unjustified and abusive detention of our colleagues, Tanzanian authorities have made their work that much easier. It is now abundantly clear to anyone who followed the latest developments that Tanzanian journalists work in a climate of fear of intimidation. We call on the government of Tanzania to allow journalists to work freely and to allow those who defend their rights to access the country without interference.” … (8 November 2018)

Amnesty International condemns Tanzania’s ‘attack’ on family planning
(CNN – Lagos, Nigeria) Tanzania’s government directive to suspend family planning commercials in the country has generated concerns about birth control policies in the country. Extract continues: The government … contacted agencies funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that are involved in birth control projects and told them to stop running any family planning content in the media, a directive that rights group Amnesty International called an attack on the sexual and reproductive health of people in the East African country… But a health ministry official told CNN the decision was to “restructure and review” media advertisements on birth control… “We are reviewing these adverts, some of them are outdated. Most of the messages are not catering for the new generation,” [Ahmad Makuwani, director of reproductive and child health in the ministry, said]… (25 September 2018)

Why is once-peaceful Tanzania detaining journalists, arresting schoolgirls and killing opposition leaders?
(Washington Post – USA) Extract: … Tanzanian politics has been making international headlines. Journalists representing the Committee to Protect Journalists were detained in Dar es Salaam … The government expelled pregnant girls from school. Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner for Dar, announced plans to round up LGBT people. Eventually, the rest of the government distanced itself from Makonda, but the damage was done… What’s going on? … How have things become so repressive so quickly? The answer lies in the 2015 election of John Magufuli as president. Since then, opposition politicians have been arrested, harassed and beaten. TV offices have been raided and newspapers suspended. Regime critics – journalists, business executives, opposition politicians, student leaders – have been kidnapped, forced into exile or assassinated by “unknown assailants.” … Much of this violence has been kept quiet because it has been local… The government has shied away from open repression, which could lead to losing international aid and moderate voters’ support. Through local officials, Magufuli can use violence – while still being able to distance himself from an “unruly local official” when necessary… (30 November 2018)



edited by Donovan McGrath

Flooding in Tanzania city leaves at least 14 dead
News24 (South Africa) online: Fourteen people have died as a result of days of torrential rains and flooding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s eco­nomic capital, police said … The number killed has been slowly rising as heavy rains have continued to hit the east African nation … Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda ordered primary schools closed for two days and advised families to leave inundated areas in a bid to limit the loss of life. (18 April 2018)

Tanzania: Diamond Platnumz Arrested for Sharing Indecent Content On Social Media (Washington DC) online: Popular Musicians Nasib Abdul alias Diamond Platinumz is under police custody for posting indecent video clips on social media … Minister of Information, Arts culture and Sports Dr Harrison Mwakyembe revealed this on Tuesday April 17. Dr Mwakyembe also instructed the authorities to arrest a female Musician, Nandi after posting indecent videos on social media … He was respond­ing to a supplementary question from Ulanga Member of Parliament, Goodluck Mlinga, who sought to know, what the government was doing against people, who are misusing social media platforms … (17 April 2018)

Tanzania launches early-age cervical cancer vaccine
BBC (UK) online: More than 600,000 girls in Tanzania have started receiving vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. Girls aged between nine and 14 are being targeted to protect them from developing the illness at an early age… Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in Tanzania and kills more women than any other form … Tanzania is the seventh African country to introduce the human papilloma virus (HPV) vac­cine into its routine immunisation programme, after Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa. The health minister says USD $15 will be spent treating each girl… Tanzania’s government hopes the early-stage vaccines will help to reduce the bill for cervical cancer treatment, which typically costs about USD $2,000 per patient…
(10 April 2018)

Tanzanian authors win Mabati-Cornell Prize
Daily Nation (Kenya) online: Two Tanzanian Kiswahili authors have won the 2017 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. Ali Hilal Ali won the fiction category for his novel, Mmeza Fupa. The poetry award went to Dotto Rangimoto for his collection, Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani. They pocketed USD $5,000 each… The winners of the third edition of the prestigious literature prize were announced online on January 15, 2018 by chair of the Board of Trustees, Abdilatif Abdalla. The awards ceremony followed in February in Nairobi. In their jury, the judges described Mmeza Fupa as: “Rarely does one encounter a Kiswahili novel whose writer has exhibited the nuanced mastery of artistic language which naturally flows and without traces of artifi­ciality. In Mmeza Fupa, the various characters – main and otherwise – convey and represent the different social strata, with their attendant historical, political, psychological, cultural, rural and urban environ­ments and concomitant contradictions.” “Although set on an imaginary island, the political novel is clearly speaking to what ails the African continent. Mmeza Fupa has opened a new door in this particular genre in Kiswahili Literature,” they added. “In Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani, one encounters seductive metaphors and imagery, effectively and successfully used in diverse Kiswahili poetic forms and styles while articulating concerns that have direct bearing to the human condition,” the judges noted. “Dotto discusses weighty and serious matters but in a manner that doesn’t burden the reader. Instead he encourages one to keep on reading. He is a master of the craft. The volume is a great contribution to contemporary Kiswahili poetry,” they added… Ali is a budding Kiswahili novelist and poet. He was born in Kalani, Pemba, in 1989, and grew up in Wete … Ali’s initial attempt in novel and poetry writing was in 2008. His first novel, Safari Yangu, was published in 2015 by Buluu Publishing, in Paris, France. He has also contributed several poems in an anthology by five poets, Diwani ya Kurasa Mpya. Rangimoto, one of the upcoming Kiswahili poets, was born in Morogoro, Tanzania, in 1986. He completed his secondary education in 2004 at Morogoro Secondary School. Thereafter, he has been involved in small enterprise business and farming. He is a great enthusiast of Kiswahili literature, especially novels and poetry. (14 April 2018)

Tanzania’s Information minister wants Air Tanzania to hire beauty contestants
Business Daily Africa (Kenya) online: Tanzania’s information minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe … says women participating in the Miss Tanzania beauty pageant should be considered for employment at the State-run airline Air Tanzania… [He] argues that by recruiting them, the beauty competition will be seen as a bridge to success for Tanzania’s beautiful ladies. Dr Mwakyembe spoke … while officiating this year’s Miss Tanzania’s pageant… “All they need is to undergo a three-month­training at the National Institute of Transport before joining the ATCL team,” he said. (9 April 2018)

Magufuli’s 24km wall helps curb theft of Tanzania’s gemstones, rev­enue up
Africa News (Pointe Noire, Congo) online: The government of Tanzania says revenue from its rare gemstones, Tanzanite, has risen four-fold for the first quarter of this year as against same time last year. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told lawmakers … that Tanzania earned over USD $316,000 from the minerals and the government puts it down to having curbed theft. The president … inaugurated a 24km wall around mines in the country’s north as a part of efforts to curb the theft and attendant loss of revenue from the mineral… John Pombe Magufuli ordered the military in September 2017 to build the wall which is estimated to have cost the government $3.5m. The blue-violet tanzanite gemstone is found only in the East African nation. Smuggling of minerals is a headache that many countries are struggling with. The move comes months after the president ordered renegotiation of mining concessions with multi­national companies… (12 April 2018)

Tanzania takes historic step to save dwindling elephant population
CNN (USA) online: In Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve … [a]lmost 90% of the park’s elephants have been lost over the past 40 years. “Tanzania has been extremely hard hit by the latest elephant poaching crisis that has hit the African continent for 10 years,” Bas Huijbregts, WWF’s African species manager, told CNN. In an effort to get a grip on the situation, a new project launched by the Tanzanian government, with support from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is the country’s largest ever elephant collaring effort to protect the rapidly declining popula­tion… The project will span 12 months and around 60 elephants are expected to be tagged… The rangers will be able to track and identify Selous’ elephants, and respond in real-time when they are under threat. Satellite collaring is an established method of tracking wildlife and bolstering efforts to save species under threat, especially in such large areas… The majority of poaching of elephants is for ivory… In 40 years elephant numbers have plummeted from 110,000 to 15,200… Selous Game Reserve also hopes to boost the numbers of tourists. It’s a relatively underserved park compared to reserves in the north of the country… (11 April 2018)



by Donovan McGrath

The dinosaur of Dodoma John Magufuli is bulldozing the opposition and wrecking the economy (UK): Critically ill in a hospital in Nairobi, Tundu Lissu, the chief whip of Tanzania’s main opposition party, Chadema, is a lesson to those who would criticise the Tanzanian president, John Magufuli … On September 7th Mr Lissu was gunned down in broad daylight near his house in … Dodoma, after returning from a session in parliament. The attempted assassination came just two weeks after he was arrested – for the sixth time – for such things as insulting the president… “This cowardly attack on one of Tanzania’s most fearless and prominent politicians raises concerns about the safety of all dissident voices in the country, at a time when space for dissent is quickly shrinking,” said Amnesty International … Tanzania, a country of 55m people … is rarely seen as one of Africa’s problem cases. Unlike Congo, Uganda or Burundi, it has never had a civil war or a military dictatorship… Yet, over the past two years, since the election of John Magufuli, Tanzania’s descent into autocracy has been stunning. It is a lesson in how when the presidency is strong and other institutions are weak, a single bad leader can set a country back many years… Mr Magufuli, who is nicknamed “the bulldozer”, impressed many when he came into office by cracking down on corruption. But his economic ideas have a whiff of the “African socialism” of Julius Nyerere, the country’s founding leader, who declared a one-party state, nationalised factories and forced peasants at gunpoint onto collective farms. Donors had to step in to prevent mass starvation… Mr Magufuli is not as ruinously radical. But he has caused traffic to collapse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s main port, which serves six countries, by imposing a huge tax on goods that pass through it. Ships have simply gone to Kenya instead. More startling still is Tanzania’s dispute with Acacia, a British gold-mining firm. The government claims that its two mines have been producing more than 10 times as much gold as they declared (which would make them the two largest gold mines in the world, by far). Preposterously, it says the firm owes taxes of $190bn, or roughly four times Tanzania’s annual GDP… Other firms worry they may be next. Petra Diamonds closed its mine in Tanzania in September after the government seized a parcel of diamonds it was exporting. And on October 9th Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian cement billionaire, accused Mr Magufuli if scaring investors away… What will happen now? There are few constraints on Mr Magufuli. With the opposition neutered, the ruling party remains mostly unchallenged. Mr Magufuli’s allies in parliament have even suggested extending the presidential term from five years to seven. Tanzania suffered wretchedly under one bull-headed socialist. It cannot afford another. (19 October 2017)Thanks to Roger Bowen for this item – Editor

WWF slams down Stiegler dam plan

Morning Star (UK): The World-wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released a report … warning that the Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric dam, intended to electrify [Tanzania], would threaten wetland and put 200,000 fishing jobs downriver at risk. Tanzanian President John Magufuli … said  for the sixth time – for such things as insulting the president. in parliament. The attempted assassination came just two weethat the dam and resulting reservoir will cover only about 3 per cent of the Selous region the WWF says will be devastated. But the environmentalists dispute his figures… (5 July 2017)Thanks to Jeremy Jones for this item – Editor


This Young Woman is Fighting Poverty in Tanzania by Teaching Women to Make Clothes (USA): Boke is from a remote part of Tanzania that is beautiful but impoverished. By the time Boke was nine, both of her parents had died and she and her sister were sent to live with their grandmother. The grandmother meant well, but struggled to care for the girls, leaving Boke to look after her sister and the home. That took a toll on her education, and even though Boke is a bright girl, she never graduated from primary school. Now 20 years old, Boke lives at City of Hope, an incredible children’s home and school for underprivileged children in Tanzania. At City of Hope, Boke has found stability and even become fluent in English, but she was still too far behind academically to graduate from high school like most of the students at City of Hope aim to do. Instead, Boke is learning a specialized skill that she hopes will guarantee her a stable future: She’s learning to sew. City of Hope was founded by John Chacha and Regina Horst, an improbable husband-wife team. He grew up on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, she was a Canadian-American Mennonite… In 2007, they opened City of Hope in Ntagacha, a region of western Tanzania that was then rife with violence. Today the campus is home to more than 100 orphans, plus a clinic, a primary school that enrols 450 students, and a new secondary school that enrols another 50. John Chacha died in an automobile accident in 2015 while travelling to enrol a student in secondary school, but City of Hope has continued to grow and thrive with Regina at the helm. And now Tenzi Chacha, John and Regina’s daughter, is rounding out the curriculum at City of Hope by adding a new program she calls SEW, for Sewing Empowers Women. Tenzi has been interested in sewing and fashion since middle school, and realized that sewing could be useful for women in Tanzania… (8 December 2017) 


Tanzanian President Magufuli pardons child rapists Children’s rights activists have condemned the pardon of two child rapists by the Tanzanian president. Kate McAlpine, director of the Arusha-based Community for Children Rights, told the BBC she was “horrified but unsurprised”. John Magufuli made the pardon in his independence day speech … Singer Nguza Viking, known as Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known as Papii Kocha, were pardoned for raping 10 primary schoolgirls… The president selected a group of prisoners to be released, who he said had corrected their behaviour. Ms McAlpine said the pardon illustrated Mr Magufuli showed a “lack of understanding about violence against children”. She linked this latest speech to his June announcement where he banned pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school (see TA118). “He has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims. Pregnant schoolgirls are pregnant because they are victims of violence.” … Child rape cases in Tanzania tend to be dealt with between families, or rapists have been known to pay off police and court staff, Ms McAlpine said… (11 December 2017)


Barrick cedes gold assets in effort to settle Tanzanian dispute

Financial Times (UK): This dispute has been going on for some time (see TA117 and TA118) … when the Tanzanian government banned the export of unprocessed ores in an effort to boost the domestic smelting industry. It then accused Acacia [of which Barrick owns 64 per cent], one of Africa’s largest gold producers and Tanzania’s largest private employers, of illegally under-reporting its shipments and of tax evasion.  After a series of talks, Barrick’s chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli finally reached an agreement. Extract continues: Barrick Gold has agreed to cede 16 per cent of Acacia Mining’s three mines in Tanzania to the state and pay $300m as the first step towards settling a six-month dispute over its subsidiary’s operations. Acacia’s Tanzania operations in the three mines, which produce mainly gold but also copper, will be managed through a new company with all “economic benefits” being shared equally between the London-listed miner and the government, the two sides agreed in a deal … The government’s share will be delivered in the form of royalties, taxes and the 16 per cent free carry interest in the operations, Barrick said. The agreement does not settle a $190bn tax dispute between Acacia and Tanzania; the $300m is a “gesture of good faith”, Barrick said and would be paid by Acacia. Acacia’s shares soared 20 per cent on the news of the deal but they are still 60 per cent below where they were before the dispute began. President John Magufuli of Tanzania wants to wring a greater share of mining company proceeds, which he says are too generous to the companies and the result of contentious practices under previous governments. He has also targeted Petra Diamonds, another London-listed miner… Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and one of the biggest investors in Tanzania, accused Mr Magufuli of compromising foreign investment. “They’ve scared quite a lot of investors and scaring investors is not a good thing to do,” he said… (19 October 2017) – Thanks to Jeremy Jones for this item – Editor


Tanzania’s anti-corruption government is stifling the “Swahili Wikileaks”

Quartz magazine (New York) online: Maxence Melo is a man who knows the insides of Tanzania’s courthouses all too well. In 2017 alone, he has appeared in court about 51 times he says, accused of obstructing justice, operating an unregistered website, and refusing to reveal the identities of users who shared sensitive information. Melo, 38, is the co-founder of Jamii Forums (JF), a popular Swahili social media networking site that is part whistle-blowing platform and part citizen journalism outlet. Since it was founded in 2006, he has been harassed, threatened, detained, interrogated, and at one point barred from travelling abroad. And over the last two years, as president John Magufuli’s government tightened its grip on both the digital and traditional media spaces, Melo has become the poster boy for the crackdown… The clampdown has taken on a new significance as the government recently introduced a law that would give it unfettered powers to police the web. The proposed Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2017 calls for the registration of blogs and online forums, orders internet cafes to install surveillance cameras, prohibits material deemed as “offensive, morally improper” or that “causes annoyance,” and recommends a fine of 5 million Tanzanian shillings ($2,230) or 12 months in jail for anyone found guilty. Observers and activists have argued that some of the definitions provided in the law are ambiguous, violate individual privacy, curtail citizen’s right to free speech and expression and go against the spirit of an open internet… Be for he left power in 2015, former president Jakaya Kikwete signed a cybercrime law – informally known as the “Jamii bill” – that gives authorities powers to jail those who offend the president or publish false information… The panoply of laws scapegoating digital media outlets is also targeting traditional outlets like newspapers. [In 2017], both Mwanahalisi and Mawio newspapers were banned in Tanzania for one and two years respectively …  (12 December 2017)


No pain relief, no running water: the perils of childbirth in Tanzania

Eva Paulo with her baby daughter, Neema Nkwaya, one day old, at home in Nyarugusu (both photos Sameer Satchu for WaterAid)

Guardian (UK) online: ‘Natural birth’ is the only option for many women here, and though dedicated midwives do their best, the risk of infection – and sepsis – is high. Extract continues: At the Nyarugusu medical dispensary in north-west Tanzania, Eva Paulo, 23, is in her 36th hour of labour… “This is too much,” she says, as another contraction racks her. “I don’t know why it’s taking so long. And the midwives, they don’t tell me anything.” It is, of course, a universal complaint of women in labour the world over. But for many women in Tanzania, “natural birth” isn’t a preference or an accomplishment – it’s the only viable option. Paulo is about to give birth for the fourth time in the most basic hospital conditions imaginable… While the staff will do their best, Paulo will receive no pain relief, no foetal monitoring and no medical interventions. The lack of doctors means caesarean sections are not performed here. Another problem – from which so many others stem – is a lack of water. There is no running water for hand-washing, sterilisation or laundry. Toilets are filthy, squat outhouses a short walk from the building. Each morning, staff at the clinic buy 20 jerry cans of water from a local vendor for 500 shillings (about 16p) each, for basic cleaning. The money comes out of their own pockets, which is significant for nurses who earn less than £200 a month.  Because of this, pregnant women are required to arrive with their own water… Without water, the delivery room cannot be properly cleaned between deliveries, of which there are several each day… (2 October 2017)


Police arrest woman in Tanzania over video of her kissing and embracing a female friend in crackdown on homosexuality

Mail (UK) online: … The woman, who police said resides in the north-western Tanzanian town of Geita, was arrested after a video circulated on social media showing a woman kissing and hugging another woman and presenting her with a ring… Tanzanian president John Magufuli’s government has stepped up a crackdown against homosexuality since coming into power in 2015 and threatened in June to arrest and expel activists, as well as de-register all non-governmental organisations that campaign for gay rights… The arrest of the woman in Geita was thought to be the first arrest of a lesbian suspect in the recent crackdown and police sources said authorities were also searching for the woman who was given the ring in the video clip… The clip drew condemnation on social media platforms in the socially conservative nation, with some Tanzanians condemning the celebration as immoral… (2 December 2017)


Dramatic moment when workers use a bulldozer to free five wild elephants after they fell into a pit while looking for water in Tanzania

Mail (UK) online: … The herd – three adults and two baby [calves] – were discovered in a small trench in Rungwa Game Reserve, dehydrated and unable to escape. Manyoni natives from the Singida region quickly alarmed employers from Chinese construction company Sinohydro. The construction workers were located about 40 km from the reserve, and were asked to assist with saving the trapped elephants. The multinational firm dispatched engineers and a bulldozer, more than an hour later, they brought with them a construction digger to help with the operation… The pit was so small that the elephants pushed each other in panic. After a gruelling five hours of continuous effort, a female elephant and her baby were the first to stumble out of the pit. Two others followed them later. Liang Jifeng from the Tanzanian Department of Sinohydro Bureau 13 confirmed to Chinese news agency Xinhua that they were remarkably saved but one adult elephant died from a lack of water… (3 October 2017)


Cows and chickens cause spat between Kenya and Tanzania

Mail (UK) online: A diplomatic spat over cows and chickens has worsened already frosty ties between Kenya and Tanzania, with Nairobi lodging a formal protest against its neighbour, the foreign minister said … The latest impasse between the two east African nations began … when Tanzania seized and auctioned off 1,300 cattle which had wandered across the border to graze in a region where herders typically pay little heed to frontiers. Then … Tanzania seized and burnt alive 6,500 chicks that had been brought into the country by a trader, fearing they would spread disease… Kenyan traders have complained of mistreatment by Tanzanian immigration agents which has sparked protests at the border, and tit-for-tat trade jabs have seen the two nations blocking the import of various goods from either country… Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, increasingly criticised over his iron-fisted rule, warned Kenya that any livestock wandering into his country would be confiscated… (8 November 2017)


Journalist Reported Missing in Tanzania

New York Times (USA) online: Dodoma, Tanzania – A news organization in Tanzania says one of its journalists is missing after he was kidnapped from his home. Francis Nanai, executive director of Mwananchi Communications Limited, said … their reporter Azory Gwanda, 42, was reportedly kidnapped Nov. 21 in Kibiti town near the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam… Gwanda had published a series of stories on the mysterious killings of civilians and police officers in the area. Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said the police are “shocked” by the news of the missing journalist… (4 December 2017)



by Donovan McGrath

African Billionaires: 30 under 30 (Forbes Woman/Forbes Life)
Jokate Mwegelo is one of the 30 under 30 class of 2017 in the June edition of Forbes Africa USA). A millennial who made her mark as a beauty queen, musician and actress in under a year and convinced Africa’s youngest billionaire to invest in her start-up company. Extract continues: Jokate Mwegelo has more followers than AKA and Bonang Matheba put together. She inspires girls from Angola to Zimbabwe without even trying. For an entrepreneur in a Tanzanian town, she has a celeb-style media following… It’s been a long road to here for 30-yearold Mwegelo. Her journey began in 2006 when taking a gap year after high school. To pass time, Mwegelo volunteered for the United Nations and entered the Miss Tanzania contest… She wasn’t crowned queen, but left an impression, which ushered in opportunities for acting; her debut was a role in a movie called Fake Pastors. The movie’s success was genuine. “This was a time when the movie industry was becoming more commercialized in Tanzania…” … It paved the way for more roles and earned her two awards in the Zanzibar International Film Festival and a stint as a musician collaborating with the likes of Nigerian multiple award-winning hip-hop star Ice Prince… “My parents were very strict and valued education…” … She graduated in Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Dar es Salaam… “As a former beauty queen, actress, media personality and fashion enthusiast, I felt I could do so much more with my image and for the industry… I felt like we needed a female billionaire…” … Five years ago, Mwegelo used her savings to found Kidoti Company, a lifestyle brand… She started designing clothes for popular artists, and then received a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire, Tanzanian Mohamed Dewji. It changed everything… Kidoti designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags… [T]hey partnered with China’s Rainbow Shell Craft… The company promises to be a big success for Mwegelo, it doesn’t end here. She says giving back is a key part of her life. She launched ‘Be Kidotified’, a campaign which empowers young girls … She also launched ‘Msusi Wao’ translated ‘their hairsylist’, which connects hair dressers, financiers and customers. Africa certainly needs more female billionaires… (3 July 2017)

Everton’s Invasion in Tanzania Echo News (UK) online:
The Scouse invasion of Tanzania has begun… Koeman, Rooney and co flew direct on a special charter from Liverpool… Some went via Dubai, others through Oman and Qatar. The more creative opted for a night or two in Zanzibar before heading for Dar es Salaam … Everton players Idrissa Gueye and Leighton Baines, amongst others, visited Uhuru Primary School in Dar es Salaam. Extract continues: For the locals, though, there is no doubt who the main attraction [was], Rooney. … Keane, Tom Davies and Mo Besic headed off to meet members of Albino United Football Club, while Klaasen, Matty Pennington, Phil Jagielka and Dominic Calvert-Lewin embarked on a Tanzanian cooking challenge at the team hotel. The five-hour connecting flight from Dubai was routine enough, but what awaited fans at Julius Nyerere International Airport was anything but. A convoluted visa process led to lengthy, sweaty and frustrating delays crammed inside a tiny arrivals hall… [T]he delay meant fans were denied the chance to watch Rooney and co in action at Everton’s open training session at Tanzania’s National Stadium… In any case, they’d arrived, and could now take in a bit of Dar es Salaam… An ordeal at times, yes, but whatever else Everton’s historic African trip throws up, it’s already an experience! (12 July 2017)

Barrick Gold, Tanzania begin talks to resolve Acacia Mining dispute (Canada): To say Acacia Mining … is having a rough time in Tanzania is to underestimate the challenges the company, one of the largest gold producers in Africa, has been facing … The miner, Tanzania’s No.1 gold producer, is in the midst of a bitter dispute with the East African’s country’s government, which – among other things – has accused Acacia of tax evasion and illegal operations, served the firm with a $190-billion bill in fines and allegedly outstanding taxes, questioned staff and even blocked one of the firm’s senior executives … from leaving the country. “World’s largest gold miner Barrick hopes to reach an agreement over both the claims against its subsidiary and the current ban on mineral concentrate exports” (see TA117)… The Canadian gold miner said … it had formally begun talks [with] high-rank Tanzania’s government officials … Barrick’s chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli met in June in Dar es Salaam … The stock, however, has lost more than 67% of its value since the export ban came in effect in March this year. The situation is so delicate that the miner warned … it would have to close its flagship Bulyanhulu mine by Sept. 30 if the prohibition is not lifted (31 July 2017).

Tanzania ‘witch killings’ claimed 479 lives from January – June 2017: report (South Africa): Five women accused of being witches and murdered by a mob … were among some 80 people killed each month in Tanzania this year by vigilantes taking the law into their own hands … Thousands of elderly Tanzanian women have been strangled, knifed to death and burned alive over the last two decades after being denounced as witches. The report published by the Dar es Salaam-based rights group Legal and Human Rights Centre showed 479 deaths related to mob justice reported in Tanzania from January to June this year, including women accused of witchcraft. While 117 deaths have been reported to have occurred in Dar (this year), Mbeya sits second with 33 people lynched followed by Mara with 28 and Geita with 26 deaths… Belief in witchcraft in the East African country dates back centuries as a way of explaining common misfortunes like death, failed harvests and infertility… The report comes a week after police in the western Tabora region launched a hunt for the suspected killers of five women in Undomo village. The women were accused of being witches, beaten to death and their bodies burned, police said (1 August 2017).

Tanzania president under fire for urging refugees to return to ‘stable’ Burundi
The Guardian UK (online): Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, has drawn fierce criticism from activists after urging thousands of Burundian refugees to return to their home country. Magufuli has ordered the suspension of the registration and naturalisation of thousands of Burundian refugees, and told home affairs minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, to stop granting them citizenship. “It’s not that I am expelling Burundian refugees. I am just advising them to voluntarily return home,” said Magufuli. “I urge Burundians to remain in their country, I have been assured, the place is now calm.”… But Joseph Siegle, director at the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Magufuli’s comments were “at odds with the situation on the ground, as all available reports on Burundi by the East African Community, African Union and UN demonstrate that the situation is getting worse and refugee numbers are increasing”. Siegle is among a number of regional experts who have attacked Magufuli, pointing out that the situation in Burundi remains dangerous… Magufuli’s order came shortly after he held talks with Pierre Nkurunziza, his Burundian counterpart, at the border town of Ngara on 20 July. Tanzania hosts 241,687 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers [hosting] “… more Burundian refugees than any other country.” … “Tanzania has an ongoing obligation under international refugee law to ensure that Burundians fleeing violence and persecution can remain in Tanzania,” said Maria Burnett, associate director at Human Rights Watch… (29 July 2017)

School bus crashes in Tanzania killing dozens
The Guardian (UK) online: A school bus has crashed in Tanzania killing 32 schoolchildren, two teachers and the driver after it plunged into a roadside ravine in the northern tourist region of Arusha, a senior police official has said. “The accident happened when the bus was descending on a steep hill in rainy conditions,” regional commander Charles Mkumbo said. “We are still investigating the incident to determine if it was caused by a mechanical defect or human error on the part of the driver.” The pupils killed in the accident, which occurred at about 9.30am in Karatu district, were aged 12 to 13, and from the Lucky Vincent primary school on their way to visit another school, Mkumbo said. Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, described the accident as a national tragedy in statement. Tanzania, the second-largest economy in east Africa, has a poor road safety network but buses remain the main form of public transport between towns. More than 11,000 people were killed in road accidents in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016, according to government data. (6 May 2017)

Cancer rates are soaring in Africa, yet Tanzania’s radiotherapy hub stands idle
The Guardian (UK) online: A state-of-the-art oncology clinic lacks the funding and staff to get its equipment up and running, despite thousands of people requiring life-saving treatment. The white bulk of the cobalt-60 radiotherapy machine is just visible inside the dark cement bunker. The electricity in the room at Bugando Medical Centre is shut off. The machine, donated last year by the Indian government, looks ready to go, but it has yet to deliver a life-saving dose of radiation. Medical staff at Bugando, a tertiary care and teaching hospital in Tanzania’s second largest city, Mwanza, are keen to start offering radiotherapy to the growing number of cancer patients arriving at the hospital’s doors… But getting the expensive technology up and running has been a long struggle…The World Health Organisation warned recently that non-communicable diseases are likely to kill more people in Africa than infectious disease by 2030, and Bugando is on the frontline of this fight… (20 March 2017)

Tanzania to lose $553 million annually if Acacia exits its market
The East African (Kenya) online: … In the report on Acacia’s economic and tax contribution to Tanzania, the mining company’s total direct, indirect and induced economic contribution in Tanzania last year included more than 36,000 jobs, about $339 million of labour income, and nearly $214 million in tax payments. “In total … Acacia’s total tax contribution last year was an estimated $214 million,” the analysis shows. The total workforce was 3,000, whose wages and benefits totalled over $101 million, with an average of $34,000 per employee. “About 2,800 were Tanzanian nationals who received an average annual wage of $20,000, up from $17,000 in 2015. The average annual wage for its Tanzanian workers in 2016 was over 10 times higher than the average earnings of $1,878 for other Tanzanian workers throughout the economy in 2016,” the report states… (1 August 2017)

John Magufuli: Tanzania’s rising star
New African (UK/France) online: This edition featured a profile of Tanzania’s current president under the subheadings: “The Magufuli magic”, “An unlikely candidate”, “The bulldozer swings his scythe”, “The backlash” and “Magufuli balance sheet”. Extract: In the 1970s, responding to taunts from socialists Tanzanians that neighbouring, capitalist Kenya was a ‘dog eat dog’ society, the Kenyans came back with ‘Tanzania is a man eat nothing society!’ They were not far wrong. Tanzania’s nationalised industries and collectivised farms failed miserably to meet demand and led to empty shops as shortages of virtually all products, including essentials, began to bite. This has become a dim and distant memory in the country today. The shops are overflowing, prices are some of the lowest in the East African region and there is a sense of optimism and wellbeing. The transformation has been brought about by successive presidents who succeeded the iconic Julius Nyerere… Each leader has stepped in at particular tipping points and by force of personality and style, moved the country along a notch or two… The big question now was what sort of leader Magufuli would make… The answer was not long in coming. Right from the word go, he not only set out to make good his elections pledges, he went further – to the delight of the masses, but growing concern among the establishment. He did the unthinkable – he cancelled Independence Day celebrations and all the extravagant expenses government traditionally splurged out. Instead, he wanted the day spent on street cleaning and enthusiastically participated, emulating Rwanda’s President Kagame. He slashed the budget for the usually opulent opening of parliament by almost 90% and demanded that the money saved be spent on purchasing hospital beds and on road works. He cancelled foreign travel for government officials and put a stop to the purchase of first-class tickets. He decreed henceforth, government meetings would be held in state buildings rather than in expensive hotels. He trimmed down the delegation of 50 set to tour Commonwealth countries to just four. He publicly warned those selected as ministers and other government functionaries that he would not tolerate corruption, laziness or excessive bureaucracy. He told them they should expect nothing more than to work tirelessly to serve the people of the country alongside him. He made it very clear that the gravy train had come to an end. Government posting no longer meant a life of ease, privilege and the opportunity to make money… He made surprise raids at government offices to see for himself who was at their desks, who was absent and who used the well-worn trick of leaving their jackets on the chairs to indicate that they had just stepped out for a moment when in fact they may have been gone for weeks… [O]peration ‘squeezing the boil’ as they dubbed it … While he was busy ‘squeezing the boil’ of incompetence and corruption, Magufuli and his team also rooted out over 10,000 ‘ghost workers’ from various government departments. A nationwide fraud audit had discovered that $2m a month was going to pay the non-existent workers. The swinging blade did not stop there… The public servants found to have fake certificates were ordered to resign voluntarily or else they would face prosecution for the crime, which is punishable for up to seven years in jail… Despite the president’s popularity with the masses … his blunt leadership style, sometimes controversial statements and impromptu decisions … have been criticised, mostly by the opposition and also, increasingly by the lay public… In this context, he came under fire for failing to travel to the northern town of Kagera where 11 people had died and 192 injured following an earthquake. His response to the afflicted, who said that as a result of drought they had nothing to eat, shocked many. He asked them if they expected him to cook food for them. The National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) has accused him of deliberately kicking out Muslims from senior government positions … Despite such sentiments, President Magufuli remains hugely popular. Policies such as free secondary education, free health care for elderly people, tax collection reforms and giving the war on drugs serious attention have all made him popular, especially among the ordinary people who live in rural areas, who see him as their saviour… A senior diplomat in Tanzania says that the majority of civil servants now show up for work, while in the past, many were busy attending seminars, and rarely had time to stay in office and do the work… The opposition have described President Magufuli as ‘a dictator’ … [H]is critics say that Magufuli has personally threatened media owners of newspapers critical of his presidency at public rallies and over 10 people have been charged for criticising him on social media since he became president. John Pombe Magufuli ‘s supporters and critics both agree on one thing. Everything this president has done has been unprecedented in the history of Tanzania… (8 June 2017)



by Donovan McGrath

Ngorongoro—The less explored calderas
This is an interesting article by traveller Graeme Green who was guided by local Maasai in the most remote areas of the Ngorongoro. The Sunday Telegraph (UK) published Green’s travel experience under the heading “Animal magic on the Mountain of God”, in line with the traveller’s focus on the remote region’s wildlife. Green begins the piece by likening the whooping calls emitted by hyenas following a fresh kill to that of ghosts. His Maasai warrior guide Peter Mwasini informs Green that the hyenas’ eerie sounds are in fact telling others to come, eat. Extract continues: We were inside Olmoti volcano, within Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. While many come here to see the rich wildlife down in the “crater”, I was hiking into the lesser-explored calderas of Olmoti and Empakai, before trekking to the flamingo-filled shores of Lake Natron and Oldoinyo Lengai – the “Mountain of God”, Tanzania’s third-highest peak and its only active volcano… There were hyena tracks on the dusty trail. “Very fresh. Big. Not far from here,” surmised Goodluck Silas, our guide… Peter, Goodluck and ranger Saitus Kipalazia, armed with a semi-automatic rifle – spoke loudly as we walked, standard safety practice in this part of Tanzania where there can be big beasts hidden in the long grass… On my first evening I walked downhill with Peter to the Maasai village of Olchaniomelock (“Sweet Tree”)… Peter talked about life in this volcanic region: “Around eight years ago, Lengai erupted. Ash covered this area. I saw the fire coming up. Before it erupts, the animals know; you see zebra and antelope running.” … [The] next morning we drove down into Ngorongoro. “It’s actually a caldera, not a crater,” Goodluck corrected me … Extinct for 2.5 million years, it could once have stood taller than Kilimanjaro, scientists believe… [M]easuring nearly 12 miles from side to side … [t]he caldera brings an uneasy proximity of predator and prey; zebras and wildebeest galloped across the dusty grasslands, a pack of hyenas in pursuit. Later, we saw two lionesses cracking open a warthog. A jackal lingered, hopeful for leftovers, but he didn’t get a look-in as one lioness led five cubs to lunch. From the top of Engitati Hill, we watched a lone elephant trample through a swamp. Perhaps the spot of the day was one of Tanzania’s endangered black rhinos, viewed through binoculars, a tonne of thick body and prized horn ambling through sage brush… (22 January 2017)

The East African (Kenya): Plans for new radar systems to be installed at Julius Nyerere International Airport, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya and Mwanza airports to enhance surveillance of Tanzanian airspace are underway. The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) expects the new radar systems to enhance the safety of Tanzania airspace and also parts of neighbouring states’ airspaces. A boost in income generated from various fees paid by airlines using the service is also expected. TCAA said the aim of the installation is to make civil aviation contribute more to the Tanzanian economy as well as match with global industry growth and needs.

Water utility
The East African (Kenya): Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala and Kigali are all experiencing water shortages. These major cities in East Africa are struggling to supply their growing populations with water from dilapidated distribution networks that depend on unreliable water sources. In the case of Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, 40 percent of its 4.5 million population depend on alternative water sources outside of the city’s supply for their needs. Dar es Salaam needs 450,000 cubic metres of water per day, according to a report by the Water Irrigation Ministry. The completion of major projects recently in Ruvu Juu, and Ruvu Chini on the outskirts of the city has seen production increase to 504,000 cubic metres per day. However, inadequate infrastructure obstructs full access by residents, with various sections of the city experiencing rationing of between eight and 20 hours a day. An increase in water accessibility from 72 percent to 95 percent in 2020 by digging 20 wells in Kimbiji and Mpera on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam is planned by the city. These wells should have the capacity to produce 260,000 cubic metres of water per day.

The East African (Kenya): China has announced that it will prohibit trade in ivory by the end of 2017. Once implemented, this would close down the world’s biggest ivory market. This decision by China has come after years of growing international and domestic pressure. The extinction of certain elephant populations may also be averted. It has been estimated that more than 100,000 elephants have been killed in Africa over the past 10 years in the pursuit of ivory fuelled by Chinese demand. Wildlife researchers estimate 50-70 percent of all smuggled elephant ivory ends up in China. The success of the new policy depends on how strictly it is enforced. Paula Kahumbu, chief executive of the Kenyan conservation group WildlifeDirect, is suspicious of China’s motives and its commitment of fight the trade in ivory, believing that the Chinese are just buying good will.

Maji Maji Memorial in Songea
The East African (Kenya): The Maji Maji Uprising of 1905 is an important date in Tanzanian history. February 27 has been marked out by the people of Songea in southern Tanzania as a Memorial Day for the leaders of the Uprising who were executed on this day by the German colonialists. African resistance to German rule was fought between 1905 and 1907. The Maji Maji Rebellion features in historical records for the strategy and organisation of African fighters who believed in the superiority of their mystical powers against a heavily armed German force. African leaders, such as Abushiri of the Pangani, Mkwawa of the Uhehe and Sina of Moshi began the resistance as early as July 1905, breaking out in the Matumbi Hills, northwest of Kilwa. A museum can be found in the Songea district, Ruvuma Region, which houses the Maji Maji war memorial. Songea derived its name from Songea Lwafu Mbano, a Ngoni who led the resistance. Chief Songea Mbano was tortured to death. Close to Songea city centre are the gallows at Mathenge Mashujaa village where Ngoni fighters were hanged. Adjacent to the gallows is a raised stone with a plaque inscribed with the names of the dead. There are 33 names of chiefs, sub-chiefs, headmen and ordinary citizens. At the museum entrance in Mathenge village, a welcome sign reads “Karibu Makumbusho Ya Maji Maji” (welcome to the Maji Maji Memorial site). The Maji Maji exhibition includes photographs that tell the story of one of the root causes of the uprising. For instance, for transport, the Germans used African men to carry them around in hammocks.

Celebrating a Bard: Burn’s Supper in Dar
The East African (Kenya): The tradition of celebrating the great Scottish poet Robert Burns takes place all over the world, and so it comes as no surprise to hear of celebrations taking place in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, hosted by the Caledonian Society of Tanzania. The event was held at the Little Theatre in Msasani, Dar es Salaam. Scots turned up in their traditional dress: woollen kilts and multi-buttoned jackets. There was dancing and a generous supply of Scotch whiskeys. A special troupe of pipers from South Africa, all in Scottish traditional dress, played Scottish tunes, and poets recited Burn’s poems. In keeping with such an event, the arrival of the haggis was the star attraction as guests stand and cheer as it is brought in by a procession comprising of the chef, pipers and someone bearing the whiskey, who in this case was Serengeti’s chief executive Helene Weesie.

Tanzania to purge ‘the homosexual syndicate’
The Times (UK). Extract: The Tanzanian government has threatened to publish a list of gay men who are allegedly selling sex online. The warning comes as part of a clampdown on homosexuality since the authoritarian President Magufuli came to power in late 2015… “I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online,” Mr [Hamisi] Kigwangalla [deputy health minister] wrote on Twitter… Homosexuals face life imprisonment but the sentence was rarely enforced until Mr Magufuli took office. While the president has made no public statements on homosexuality, there has been an increase in anti-gay rhetoric. Some ministers have made moves against organisations they say were promoting the practice… Paul Makonda, the governor of Dar es Salaam … said that he would arrest anyone linked to gay people on the internet. “If there’s a homosexual who has a Facebook account or with an Instagram account, all those who ‘follow’ him—it is very clear that they are just as guilty as the homosexual,” he said. (20 February 2017)

Singing Wells Project: Making Tanzania’s folk music great again
Music In Africa Foundation (Johannesburg—online). Extract: The Singing Wells Project (SWP), a collaboration between a London-based record label, Abubilla Music and Kenya’s Ketebul Music has pitched camp in Tanzania this year, seeking to identify, preserve and promote traditional music… They have identified 11 music groups and solo artists from three communities, the Kwere, Zaramo and Gogo. The recordings will cover a range of folk music genres, from vanga to mdundiko, godo, shiranga, mdomole and bingilia. They also intend to revive the memory of the famous Ngoni drummer, the late Mzee Morris Nyunyusa, who, despite being blind, made memorable compositions, some still played by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation as their signature tunes… (25 January 2017)
38 Obituaries

Tanzanian broadcaster suspends staff for publishing fake news about Donald Trump
Newsweek (USA—online). Extract: A public broadcaster in Tanzania has suspended nine of its workers after it ran a fake news story … The article claimed that Trump had praised President John Magufuli, who came to power in Tanzania in 2015 and has sought to crack down on public sector corruption. The article claimed that Trump eulogized Magufuli as an “African hero” and “my namesake”—Trump’s middle name is John—whose performance far exceeds other African leaders, who were “doing nothing.” … (15 March 2017)

Duolingo’s Luis Von Ahn on How the Language App Added Africa to the Mix
Time magazine (USA). Extract: Luis Von Ahn[‘s] simple idea to take on the Rosetta Stones, Berlitzs and Pimsleurs of the world with an addictive, video-game-like app is changing how we think about learning languages. And now, for the first time, Duolingo is adding an African language to its 68-course lineup: Swahili, the lingua franca of eastern Africa. “We started looking around and realized that we are teaching almost every European language you can think of, but we had no African languages,” says Van Ahn, who spoke to TIME while at the Design Indaba in Cape Town … (3 March 2017)



by Donovan McGrath

Decline of fishing in Lake Tanganyika ‘due to warming’ BBC News online published an article by the environment correspondent Matt McGrath on the ‘new research [that] blames rising temperatures … as the key cause of decline in one of the world’s most important fisheries.’ Extract continues: ‘Lake Tanganyika is Africa’s oldest lake and its fish are a critical part of the diet of neighbouring countries. But catches have declined markedly in recent decades as commercial fleets have expanded. However, this new study says that climate warming and not overfishing is the real cause of the problem… The chemical analysis of the cores and the fossils found there indicate that fish numbers have been dropping in parallel with the rise in global temperatures. The scientists say that in tropical lakes a warming of the waters reduce the mixing between oxygenated top layer and the nutrient-rich layer at the bottom. This increasing stratification of the waters means fewer nutrients get to [the] top, meaning less algae which means less food for fish. “Our idea was to look at the fish fossil and record and see when that decline actually started,” said Prof Andrew Cohen from the University of Arizona, “If it happened before the start of industrial fishing in the 1950s, you’d have strong evidence that the decline is not simply driven by this fishing activity and that’s exactly what we found.” The scientists don’t discount the impact of fishing over the past six decades… “Fishing in the lake is a Wild West activity, there are nominal controls but no teeth,” said Prof Cohen…’ (8 August 2016)

Rwanda, Tanzania ban sale of Samsung Note 7, Kenya holds back The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘Kenya will not join Rwanda and Tanzania in effecting a ban on the importation and distribution of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has been dogged by battery issues that has seen its production terminated… Rwanda and Tanzania effected a ban … citing safety concerns. Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority communication manager Innocent Mungy urged citizens who had bought the Samsung Note 7 to switch it off and return the device where they had purchased it, and sellers to follow the safety instructions provided by Samsung…’ (15-21 October 2016)

‘Seeds of hate’ sown as Tanzania starts LGBT crackdown The (UK) Guardian correspondent Sophie Tremblay says the ‘situation for the gay community deteriorates as ministers partially ban lubricants and restrict pro-gay charities …’ Extract continues: ‘Tanzania’s justice minister has announced controversial new plans to suspend the registration of any charity or non-governmental organisation that supports homosexuality. Claiming that he was protecting the “culture of Tanzanians”, Harrison Mwakyembe’s announcement comes days after the country’s health minister imposed a partial ban on the import and sale of lubricants to discourage gay men from having sex and “curb the spread of HIV”… The sudden crackdown has come as a surprise in a country that has until recently been tolerant of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Unlike in neighbouring Uganda … Kenya and Zimbabwe, gay Tanzanians have not experienced the same levels of violence and discrimination, and politicians have until now generally ignored the topic. James Wandera Ouma, the founder and executive director of LGBT Voice Tanzania … has said the plans are proof that “the environment for the LGBT community is very bad right now and it’s getting worse.” Ouma said the political mood shifted in early July, when Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner for Dar es Salaam … told citizens during a religious rally that he had started to crackdown against gay people. Makonda said he would use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to identify and arrest people suspected of being gay. Ouma said since Makonda’s speech he knew of at least 20 men who had been arrested by police outside bars and clubs popular with the gay community… Though sodomy is a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment, there is no law prohibiting homosexuality in Tanzania…’ (8 August 2016)

Tanzania suspends U.S.-funded AIDS programs in a new crackdown on gays The Washington Post online. Extract: ‘… Tanzania is turning its antihomosexual fury in a new direction – targeting HIV/AIDS programs that have helped tame a disease that once ravaged the region… [T] he minister of health announced that Tanzania will ban HIV/AIDS outreach projects aimed at gay men, pending a review… Tanzania’s actions appear to mark the first time that a country has suspended parts of the United States’ hugely successful foreign HIV/AIDS initiative in an attempt to crackdown on the gay community… The ban comes after months of bitter speeches and threats from Tanzanian officials aimed at the gay community and at organizations treating its HIV/AIDS patients. This year, police raided two U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS organizations and seized confidential patient information and supplies, officials said. In September, the deputy minister of health, Hamisi Kigwangalla, accused HIV treatment organizations of “promoting homosexuality.” “Any attempt to commit unnatural offenses is illegal and severely punished by law,” Kigwangalla said in the statement. People convicted of same-sex liaisons in Tanzania can be jailed for up to 30 years… But even as assistance programs have sharply reduced the death toll from AIDS, some countries in eastern Africa have been escalating their campaigns against homosexuality… Even though Tanzania’s penal code refers to homosexuality as “gross indecency,” the government had long permitted organizations to help gay men who had AIDS or who were at risk of contracting it. But since John Magufuli was elected president last year, the government’s tolerance on the issue has disintegrated. Although Magufuli has not said anything publicly about homosexuality, a number of his appointees have made harsh remarks… The government also banned the distribution of lubricants that help ensure that condoms do not tear…’ (23 November 2016)

The octopus hunters of Zanzibar BBC News online (UK). Extract: ‘The powdery white beaches of Zanzibar’s east coast are best known as a holiday destination. But each day, as the tide begins to ebb and the beachgoers return to their hotels, a small army of men and women armed with sticks and spears wade out across the coastal flats in search of one of the Tanzanian island’s finest delicacies – octopus. During a single low tide a skilled octopus hunter can spear more than 10 of the slimy invertebrates, which thrive amid the maze of rocks, corals and sea grass that lie beyond the beaches. The catch is highly prized by the island’s tourist hotels and provides an important source of protein for coastal communities. Tanzania is the largest producer of octopus in the western Indian Ocean… Traditionally a female-dominated activity, more men are now turning to octopus for a source of income. “The octopus has helped me to drive my life forward,” said Ali, who makes about £1.90 ($2.30) per kg (2Ib 3oz) for his octopuses. According to data from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, catches in Tanzania have increased from 482 tonnes in 1990 to more than 1,250 in 2012…’ (19 October 2016)

Tanzania reiterates total ban on use of plastic bags by next January The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘The government … will not back down on its decision to ban the use of plastic bags in January [2017]. Owners of plastic bag manufacturing factories have been advised to take the necessary steps to stop production before the deadline, and invest in the production of alternative bags and plastic waste recycling facilities. The instruction was contained in an advertisement posted in various media outlets … by the Vice President’s Office… [T]he Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, January Makamba … said that by instituting the ban, the government had revisited the 2006 regulation on the production, importation, sale and use of plastic bags …’ (20-26 August 2016)

On Resilience: How Ninon Marapachi Went From Poverty In Tanzania To Wall Street Domination Forbes online (USA) published Ally Bogard and Allie Hoffman’s interview of the 38-year-old Tanzanian woman who works for one of the biggest banks on Wall Street. The following is a summarised extract of the interview beginning with what Ninon Marapachi says about herself when the interviewers posed the question “What would be the most surprising thing about your professional journey that even the people that were closest with you wouldn’t know?”: Ninon answered by saying that the thing she had learned, more than anything throughout her career, was to ask for things, which she always got. Originally from Tanzania, the hardship of her family situation caused her to push herself so hard that to literally think of failure was not an option. She always knew she really needed to make it, because she needed to change her family’s situation. Ninon received a scholarship through the Norwegian government and spent her last two years of high school in Norway. Later, Ninon talks about her early beginnings in Wall Street: “My sophomore year, I started as an intern at Merrill Lynch in NYC. In 2001, 50 of us interns met with a very senior leader. After he presented, I emailed him, thanking him and asking him if he’d be available to talk to me one-to-one. He said yes. I got in front of this senior leader, I told him my story and my background – I told him I’m not American, I don’t have a visa, my family are very poor and I love working in finance. I told him I’d love to be hired, but if they wanted to hire me, then they should hire me as soon as possible, and I gave a very clear deadline for reclassifying and opting to graduate early. It was kind of crazy ask; it just came to me to be that bold. Literally on July 1st, 2001, I got called to his office and he said, ‘You asked for this,’ and there was an offer in front of me. I’ve been there ever since.” Towards the end of her interview Ninon said: “I have a story to tell and I want to impact a lot of people … who might not believe that a black woman can be in finance, an African woman can be on Wall Street…” (16 November 2016)

Taarab maestro’s last lovesong New African magazine. ‘Mohammed Juma Bhalo’s passing robbed the East African coast of one of its brightest lights. Paul Goldsmith celebrates a departed rock star, and traces the history of his art.’ Extract continues: ‘On the night of 5 April 2014, the Taarab music star, Mohammed Juma Bhalo … passed away. He died in his home in the heart of Mombasa’s old town holding his wife’s hand… The singer of traditional Swahili ballads and love songs was born in Malindi, Kenya and went to Tanzania as a young lad, where he worked as a fisherman and at other manual jobs. He returned to Mombasa, where he began to concentrate on his career as a musician… During his heyday … beginning in the late 1960s, Bhalo achieved rock star status across Kenya’s coast and beyond. Taarab is a modern offshoot of a much longer literary tradition. It achieved popularity during the pre-World War II period through the music of the Zanzibari diva, Siti binti Saad. Another legendary member of this cultural tradition, Bi Kidude, will be forever associated with the drums she still beat with vigour as a centenarian… [T]he people of Mombasa accorded Mohammed Juma Bhalo a sending-off worthy of a true Sheikh. Massive crowds formed in the streets around his home to escort the jeneza to the overcrowded mosque …’ (November 2016)

Private schools seek tax waiver The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘… “The government should equate schools to business institutions and waive taxes to allow the smooth delivery of quality education,” said Peter Nayar, director of Eden Garden Education Trust, which runs a chain of schools. The chairman, of the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges Mrinde Mnzava, said that the government should find a way to waive taxes charged on private schools to make them affordable for more Tanzanians…’ (15-21 October 2016)



by Donovan McGrath

Bamboo: Africa’s untapped potential taking root in Africa April 2016 edition of New York-based United Nations’ Africa Renewal magazine published a feature, with individual subheadings for the handful of African countries involved in the cultivation of bamboo for the growing global market. Tanzania is one of the countries featured under the subhead­ing Tanzania: New income for 5,000 rural women. Extract: Bamboo has been increasing in importance as a non-timber forest product in Tanzania over the last two decades, according to INBAR [International Network of Bamboo and Rattan]. Locally bamboo is sought for handicrafts, residential fencing, flower farming, farm props for banana plantations, furniture and other minor cottage industry products like basketry and toothpicks… INBAR, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, helped to establish 100 bamboo nurseries and set up micro-enterprises, and trained 1,000 locals in a specially created Bamboo Training Centre. Today some 5,000 women in these rural communities produce handicrafts and desks for local schools and sell charcoal briquettes.

Tanzania featured in a number of articles published in the Financial Times (UK), which included comments on mobile phone technology and President Magufuli’s handling of the economy and the political situation in the country. The following are extracts of these articles. Thanks to Carol Wilcox and Jeremy Jones for sending these items – Editor

Tanzania’s new president shakes up east Africa’s ‘sleeping giant’:
Extract: Mr Magufuli, 56, embarking on his first five-year term, is creating a buzz of expectation that at last Tanzania has found a leader capable of awakening the “sleeping giant” of east Africa, one with huge, largely unexploited, gas and mineral resources. “He walks the talk,” says Samuel Wangwe, principal research associate at the Economic and Social Research Foundation in Dar es Salaam. “When he says something, he follows through. He’s not a liar.” The presidency commands huge constitutional power – and Mr Magufuli has not been afraid to use it… He pressed ahead with a highly flawed electoral process in Zanzibar, semi-autonomous island, which deprived the Zanzibari opposition of what looked like victory. Nor has he been shy of using sweeping cyber crime legislation to silence critics. This month, a court sentenced a man to three years in jail for insulting the president on Facebook… He scrapped normally lavish independence day celebrations and, borrowing a stunt from Narenda Modi, India’s prime minister; took to the streets with a broom, declaring he would spend the money saved on sanitation. He has clamped down on foreign travel for officials, personally vetting all trips. His predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete, was so fond of foreign tours he was christened Vasco da Gama, after the Portugese explorer… Mr Magufuli’s supporters argue that he must first use his authority to take on a system corroded by corruption and complacency before he can rebuild institutions. But even advocates worry about his tendencies to run government by fiat and take snap decisions without, they say, thinking through the consequences. A crackdown on illicit sugar imports has led to shortages. Last week, his government demanded, with no consultation, that foreign-owned telecoms companies list on the local stock exchange within six months [see following item]. One Lawyer accused the president of hypocrisy, saying he talked about fighting corruption while encouraging the police to steal tyres of illegally parked vehicles… (FT 27 June 2016)

Tanzania wants foreign-backed telecos to list: Dar es Salaam aims to keep tabs on revenues and widen share ownership
Extract: An amendment to a new finance bill will require the eight operators in Tanzania, one of Africa’s fastest-growing telecoms markets, to float 25 per cent of their shares on Dar es Salaam’s thinly traded stock exchange. Johannesburg-listed Vodacom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, Stockholm-based Millicom and India’s Bharti Airtel will need to list part of their business alongside five local operators. The mandatory listing, which appears to reverse an informal agreement with the main operators, is part of a government strategy to squeeze more revenue from the private sector. An executive at one of the foreign operators, who did not want to be named, described the move as a complete surprise given it had been made without any consultation. Phillip Mpango, finance and planning minister, has told the national assembly that the measure would “help the government trace the exact revenue generated by these companies”, as well as allow Tanzanians to hold shares in telecom companies. He denied that the bill was a reversal of policy, saying it merely enforced a stipulation in the Electronic and Postal Communication Act of 2010 for foreign telecoms companies to list locally… John Magufuli, Tanzania’s new president, has accused some foreign companies, particularly in the mining sector, of seeking to avoid local taxes by declaring losses in the country and repatriating profits and dividends overseas. (FT 30 June 2016)

Tanzania’s fintech and mobile money transform business practice
Extract: Ramadhani Saidi Gereza is a barometer for the way the mobile phone technology is changing Tanzania. The engine oil seller in Dar es Salaam’s Kariakoo market says mobile money has transformed his business. “People from upcountry used to send cash by bus and I had to go further to collect their money,” he says. “Now I don’t have to. It’s much more efficient.” Yet it is not all good news. The country’s eight mobile operators offer various incentives to attract customers, but they do not always deliver, Mr Gereza says. “Bonus payments [for custom­ers] are delayed or we don’t get them so I tell my city customers to go and get cash and pay with that [instead].” These glitches are a result of the continuous innovation the operators feel compelled to adopt as they compete in one of the most promising markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Johannesburg-listed Vodacom, which is majority owned by Vodafone, is the largest mobile operator by subscriber numbers. Its main rivals are Tigo, a brand name of Stockholm-listed Millicom, and India’s Bharti Airtel. Together, the three operators control some 90 per cent of the market of 34m active mobile contracts out of a population of 55m. The GSMA, a global body representing operators, predicts Tanzania will be among the top seven subscriber markets in sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years. Mobile money is the main battleground. While Kenya’s M-pesa has won international plaudits for its groundbreaking mobile money system, Tanzania has arguably overtaken its northern neighbour in the depth of its mobile money market… The World Bank reported last year there were more mobile money accounts per 1,000 adults in Tanzania than anywhere else in Africa… “Mobile money is so successful because the competition is cash, not the banks,” says Diego Gutierrez, Tigo’s general manager for Tanzania. Some 60 per cent of adults have mobile money wallets in the country, while only 15 per cent have bank accounts, Tigo says… (FT 13 July 2016)

Tanzanian president’s tough tactics alienate political opponents
Extract: When John Magufuli became Tanzanian president in November it was widely expected that he would shake up government. He campaigned under the slogan “It’s all about work” and had garnered a reputation for action in his previous role as works minister. Less clear was how he would handle the nation’s politics… Western diplomats argue he failed his first political test soon after being inaugurated. He backed the decision by the Zanzibar electoral commission chairman to annul the semi-autonomous region’s October election results based on unproven claims of irregularities. The opposition boycotted the re-run in March and US and EU diplomats boycotted the inauguration of the islands’ president… Of more concern, according to Ms Anyimadu, is the opposition MP’s decision to boycott parliamentary sessions overseen by deputy speaker Tulia Ackson. The action was prompted by their belief that she was mistreating them and stifling democracy at the behest of Mr Magufuli, who appointed her. Opposition MPs were further incensed by a speech Mr Magufuli gave last month in which he ordered opposition parties, for the sake of developing the nation, to confine their political activities to parliament and not engage in campaigns that could obstruct the government until the 2020 election. Freeman Mbowe, chairman of Chadema, called the move “regrettable”. “[The president] should know that he can’t and won’t silence us,” he said after the speech. Elsewhere, the new government also appears to have curtailed Tanzanians’ democratic rights. The police have banned opposition rallies … (FT 13 July 2016)

Zanzibar – where ‘politics is like religion’
In Stone Town, the historic centre of Zanzibar City, people are still talking about politics months after the elections were supposedly set­tled… Zanzibar, which joined Tanganyika in 1964 to form the union of Tanzania, has been seething with political tension for years… In 2000, some 35 people were killed after police shot into a crowd following a contested poll. There were further fatal clashes in 2005. Tensions bubbled to the surface again last year when the electoral commission annulled October’s election on the grounds of alleged irregularities. The main opposition candidate for president, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad of the Civic Unite Front, declared himself the winner… Internationally, the election is regarded as a serious blot on Tanzania’s copybook. Most foreign diplomats refuse to interact with Zanzibar’s new government… The stand-off has raised fears of radicalisation of Zanzibar’s Muslim majority population… Fatma Karume, granddaughter of Zanzibar’s first president, says the situation is explosive. “Zanzibar has never wanted to lose its identity. Now we are being swallowed up.” (FT 13 July 2016)

Superstition is fuelling a grisly trade in human body parts. Tanzania
shows how it can be curbed This article, published in The Economist (London), is a fairly recent addition to the publications concerned with the treatment of people with albinism in Tanzania.
Extract: To be born with albinism is hard luck. This genetic condition, in which people lack pigments in their skin, hair and eyes, affects on in 20,000 worldwide and is more common in Africa… For centuries people have believed that albinos are cursed. In parts of Africa babies born with albinism were once routinely killed. That ghastly tradition has died out, but others persist. In Swahili many people call albinos zeru (ghost) or nguruwe (pig). Children with the condition are often bullied at school and forced to eat separately from their peers… Women are at higher risk of rape because of a myth that sex with an albino can cure HIV. Worst of all, many albinos are murdered by people who think that their bones contain gold or have magical powers … Some witchdoctors claim that amulets made from albino bones can cure disease or bring great wealth to those who wear them. A gruesome trade in their body parts has spurred killings in Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. Sometimes family members sell their albino nephews or cousins for cash… Superstitions die hard, in any part of the world. Yet the senseless killing of albinos can be curbed. Tanzania, once one of the most dangerous countries in Africa for people with albinism, has sharply reduced the number of murders by clamping down on demand. It has banned unlicensed witchdoctors and increased penalties for those caught trading in body parts. It investigates albino murders energeti­cally: in recent years it has arrested and convicted several “albino hunt­ers”. The police have issued mobile phones to many albinos so that they can call an emergency number if they feel unsafe. The recent appoint­ment of an albino lawyer to the cabinet may also have helped reduce the stigma attached to the condition… (11 June 2016)

Tanzania Breweries now partners with traditional liquor outlet owners

Published by The East African (Kenya). Extract: Tanzania Breweries Ltd (TBL) plans to expand the market for its traditional liquors Chibuku, and Nzagamba, by using existing “drinking dens” as outlets and the owners as agents. TBL managing director Roberto Jarrin said integrating tradi­tional beer makers in the business would save the brewers some of the costs of making the liquor… But not all traditional brewers are excited about the programme. “I once bought Chibuku from agents for sale, but it was not profitable because the people are not used to it,” said Aurelia John, a traditional liquor brewer. “I don’t mind the hard work it takes to make my own product, which people are used to.” … Aisha Khalid, who used to brew skadi from sorghum, sugar and yeast, says she used to make a profit of Tsh10,000 ($4.6) in four days after investing Tsh15,000 ($7). When she started selling Chibuku, her profit dropped to Tsh7,000 ($3.2). However, she says being an agent is not as tedious as brewing, and the liquor is guaranteed to be safe for consumption… According to a study by CanBack, traditional beer accounts for 50 per cent of the alcohol consumed in Tanzania. Homemade brews from more than 120 tribes make up almost 92 per cent of that segment. Mr Jarrin said that in order to ease replacement of traditional beer with TBL brands, they are considering making it in traditional flavours taking the cue from popular local brews like banana beer (mbege) from Kilimanjaro, palm wine (mnazi) from the coastal areas, bamboo wine (ulanzi) from the southern highlands, and maize beer (komoni) from the central zone… (11-17 June 2016)

Success of Mkuki na Nyota

Walter Bgoya

Walter Bgoya

This is a very interesting profile, by the Ugandan writer A.K. Kazia, of the Tanzanian publisher Walter Bgoya, published with the heading A luta continua! in the July 2016 edition of the New African (UK). Extract: [Walter Bgoya was born in 1942] in the placid northwestern Tanzanian district of Ngara, on the border of Rwanda and Burundi … Leaving Ngara extruded him, as with so many of his generation, into the wider world of black struggle… The years he was a civil servant, from 1965 to 1972, would be the most intense years of his life… In his 20s, Walter would meet and become friends with founding Angolan president, Agostinho Neto, get on first-name basis with Samora Machel, and beyond expectations, find himself, as Tanzania’s Charge d’Affaires in Addis Ababa, playing host to the warring parties of the Biafran war … [H]ow does one characterise a publisher, in East Africa of all places, that issues Tax Dispute Resolutions under the same logo as War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry? Add to these a war-chest of titles covering topics from anthropology, law, children’s books, culture and arts, health, political economics, biography, history. The common thread that connects all these, is the idea of Africa. There are the titles that overtly say so: New Imperialism by Wole Soyinka, and The Long Road to Socialism by Samir Amin (both based on the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere lectures) … Straight up, Mkuki na Nyota is a refuge for liberation-era thinkers in East Africa scarcely able to find a publisher in Kampala or Nairobi. The subject matter of these books is what the University of Nairobi’s Dr. Tom Odhiambo calls “local knowledge.” “Even when [Bgoya] was at the [Tanzanian Publishing House], the idea was that whatever you publish has to be the local in conversation with the global.” The white hair, the stately bearing, and the crackly, charismatic voice punctuated with French and Kiswahili expressions and inflected with Nyerere aphorisms, a Tanzanian pastime, do not conceal the youthful energy of Bgoya, now 73. For the 18 years that he ran the Tanzania Publishing House, books became an extension of the struggle, the years in which the dives of Dar es Salaam jumped to the sounds of liberation: these were the acronym-days of FRETLIMO, FRELIMO, SWAPO, MPLA, FRITLIN, POLISARIO, ZANU, ZAPU, ANC… Mkuki na Nyota was conceived in crisis. Structural Adjustment Policies, the austerity programme to which indebted African governments signed up under duress, gutted the Tanzania Publishing House (TPH) … Out of a job and still not fifty, Walter decided to go it alone. Employing his daughters as secretaries, he issued a children’s book, Karibu Tusome (Let Us Read). As luck would have it, a new literacy project in Tanzania, promised to buy two-thirds of the titles produced to promote reading. They took 2000 copies of the book, and hence launched Mkuki na Nyota… Tanzania offered more opportunities for a publisher than many African countries. Its language policy favouring Kiswahili, was perhaps its greatest strength… Tanzania made Mkuki na Nyota; Tanzania needs Mkuki na Nyota. To remain the Swahili nation, it needs publishers like Walter…



compiled by Donovan McGrath

[Hong Kong] Government pledges bill outlawing local ivory trade

This piece published in the South China Morning Post explains the efforts in Hong Kong to outlaw the local ivory trade which affects wildlife in Africa, especially Tanzania. Extract: The government aims to submit a bill kick-starting efforts to outlaw the local ivory trade this year and insisted it was not stalling, contrary to concerns voiced by lawmakers and wildlife campaigners. At a Legislative Council environmental panel . . . wildlife campaigner and pro-Beijing lawmaker Elizabeth Quat pushed the government for concrete details. Environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai told the panel: “I don’t want to give you the impression that we are stalling, but at the present stage it is difficult for us to make an estimate. But within this year we can submit this bill, and the council can pass the bill into law.” . . . Her response raised concerns the administration was dragging its feet. . . Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner at WildAid Hong Kong, said the government appeared serious about its plans, but added: “We would like to see them set a concrete timeline with actual dates.” . . . (published 23 February 2016) – Thank you Richard Wong for this item

How ‘Ivory Queen’ was trapped using technology
Towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, The East African newspaper in Kenya published a variety of articles on the politics, art, culture, economy and environment of Tanzania. Our selected items begin with the following piece which looks at how Tanzanian law enforcement used technology to catch criminals in the illegal trade of ivory. Extract: One day in October last year, agents from a Tanzanian crime unit raced past Dar es Salaam’s Palm Beach Hotel in pursuit of the suspected leader of a global elephant poaching ring. The chase was the result of new breakthroughs in Tanzania’s fight against an increasingly rapacious poaching trade, which has felled 60 per cent of the country’s elephant population in the past five years. The agents’ target that day was Yang Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese national dubbed the “Ivory Queen,” who is accused of running a smuggling empire stretching from the game parks of Tanzania to the clandestine ivory markets of Asia. . . A Tanzanian court in October charged Ms Yang with heading a criminal network responsible for smuggling out 706 pieces of ivory worth Tsh5.44 billion ($2.51 million) between 2000 and 2014. . . The new techniques follow work done in neighbouring Kenya, where poaching rates have nosedived. In both countries, the police have started concentrating on the poachers’ own technology – guns and phones – and using it against them. . . The history of a suspect’s gun, the phone calls he or she makes, and the money they move, create a trail of evidence. . .

The capture of Ms Yang started with a tip-off in 2014. . . [L]ocal informants pointed crime squad agents towards Manase Philemon, a suspected Tanzanian ivory dealer who was barely literate but could mysteriously speak Chinese. Under interrogation, Mr Philemon fingered Ms Yang, who police believe taught him Mandarin. . . After Mr Philemon’s tip-off, she became the [National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit]’s top target. . . They called it “follow the gun, save the elephant.” Immediately after a suspect is captured, the agents focus on the suspect’s weapon. Tracing how the poacher obtained that gun leads to the person one level above in the syndicate, and points in the directions of a team. . . But just as they began building a case against Ms Yang, she vanished. . . Ms Yang fled to Uganda . . . More than a year later, her phone revealed where she was. . . NTSCIU is able to pull up poachers’ phone numbers and call histories . . . Computer software is used to delineate links between on-the-ground poachers, dealers and transnational criminal gangs. A server flags to NTSCIU mobile phone numbers when they become active, but does not record calls. . . Mobile phones also help agents follow the money. Many Africans send and receive money via their phones. That means agents who monitor phone calls can also track payments, helping to build a picture of who is involved. . . It was thanks to Ms Yang’s phone that about a year after she had left for Uganda, Tanzanian agents discovered she was back in Dar es Salaam. . . (published 27 February – 4 March 2016)

Rare pink diamond discovered in Tanzania
This next item from The East African (Kenya) is short and is reproduced almost in full here: Petra Diamonds Ltd has recovered a 23.16 carat pink diamond of exceptional colour and clarity from Williamson mine in Shinyanga province in northern Tanzania. Petra said the diamond will . . . be offered for sale by appointment at Antwerp in Belgium. Pink diamonds found only in a handful of mines globally, are highly coveted. The Williamson open pit mine is Tanzania’s sole producer of diamonds and is based on the 146 hectare Mwadui kimberlite pipe. (published 19-25 December 2015)

COP21: Youth cycle around Africa for a ‘fair deal’ in France
Special Correspondent Zeynab Wandati writes for The East African (Kenya) -Extract: “I get so much joy from cycling; I get to be me and one with the earth,” said Godfrey Mwagema, the president of the Association of Cyclists in Tanzania. . . The idea is to put pressure on national and world leaders to deliver on climate justice and commit towards keeping global emissions below 2°C. Low carbon emissions are a key part of international negotiations on climate change. The Tanzanian team had been cycling for 15 days, from the Tanzania-Malawi border to Namanga, covering a total of 1,640 kilometres. . . Esther Joshua, the only female in the Tanzanian team, said that she was motivated to join the campaign in order to encourage people to find alternative forms of energy other than charcoal. “In Tanzania, people are cutting down trees in order to burn charcoal. We are telling them to use gas instead . . .” (published 28 November – 4 December 2015)

Illustrations by Dar artists highlight causes
This item in The East African (Kenya) included a cartoon illustration the foreign mining agent mentioned in the short piece. Extract: The exhibition in Vipaji Gallery in Dar es Salaam, titled Domo-Cartoon and curated by Gadi Ramathan featured works by illustrators and the pieces highlight certain causes. An illustration by Said Michael depicts a foreign mining agent, hacking away at the bottom of a cliff and filling bags with precious minerals. Meanwhile, on top of the now perilous undercut cliff, are villagers in their humble dwellings. His work represents the sentiments of those living near mines, who are accusing mining companies of displacing them from their ancestral homes, and work is part of a campaign against land grabbing in the country. . . The exhibition had works of acrylic on canvas, showcasing nostalgic silhouettes of fast disappearing trees native to the Tanzanian coast such as the Mnazi, the common tropical palm tree (cocos nucifera). . . (published 20-26 February 2016)

Off Grid Electric lights a path for Tanzanians
From the Financial Times (UK). Extract: You could call it a lightbulb moment. Eric Mackey had relocated from the US after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, to work with an aid agency in east Africa helping to set up mobile clinics and train rural health workers. Upon arrival in Tanzania, however, it was obvious the most pressing need among local people was cheap, reliable electricity. Most Tanzanian homes are lit using kerosene lamps, generating fumes that are as damaging as smoking two packets of cigarettes a day. Families often store this fuel on the floor in fizzy drink bottles, which creates a further risk of someone accidentally scorching their internal organs by taking a toxic drink from the containers. “It seemed unfathomable that millions of people live like this,” Ms Mackey recalls, adding that she felt it was “incredibly unfair” that some of the world’s poorest people pay the most for the dirtiest energy. The irony is that east Africa has an abundance of the most powerful energy source available to us: the sun. With modern technology its power could be harnessed at a much lower cost than liquid fuels, Ms Mackey reasoned, so she sought out a Masters programme where she could develop a business plan. . . Ms Mackey met Xavier Helgesen [at Oxford’s Saïd Business School] and they started building a solar energy business, Off Grid Electric. “He was a talented entrepreneur, eager to start focusing his attention on energy in Africa,” Ms Mackey says of her co-founder. “I knew how to make ideas work there.” They quickly brought in a third partner, Joshua Pierce, who knew something about building energy systems and became chief technology officer. . . Off Grid Electric now provides affordable solar power to low-income communities in Tanzania, and raised $70m in 2015 in order to extend their reach to a million customers in the country. The company employs more than 800 people full time, primarily in sales and regional service teams, who travel door-to-door in rural Tanzania and Rwanda to connect and maintain the solar energy equipment. These teams are now installing more than 10,000 solar units in homes and businesses every month. The goal, over the next three years, is to create 15,000 jobs across east Africa. . . (published 4 April 2016) -Thanks to Jerry Jones for this item – Editor

In Tanzania, a Horrific Fishing Tactic Destroys All Sea Life
At the end of 2015, America’s National Geographic magazine published an eight-page article, produced by its Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on wildlife crime, on the dangerous fishing methods employed by some Tanzanian fishermen. Extract: . . . Strewn in the shallows of the Indian Ocean lie shards of dead coral reefs. Why? Because poor Tanzanian fishermen are using explosives, illegally, to kill hundreds of fish in seconds. Blast fishing . . . not only destroys large numbers of fish directly – but indirectly as well by killing coral and the rich array of marine animals that depend on it. Experts believe that in Tanzania, blast fishing is occurring at unprecedented rates, in part because a boom in mining and construction has made it easier for people to get their hands on dynamite. Bottle bombs made with kerosene and fertilizer are also used.

. . Blast fishing in Tanzania dates back to the 1960s and was outlawed in 1970. Cheaper and vastly more productive than traditional methods, such as basket traps and hook and line, it’s also dangerous: Errant blasts can shatter limbs, even kill people. Tossed overboard, one bottle bomb can kill everything within 30 to 100 feet of the blast. The explosion can rupture a fish’s swim bladder, the organ that gives it buoyancy. Most of the dead fish sink, but fishermen are ready with nets to scoop up those that float on the surface.”With numerous blasts occurring daily on reefs all over the country over a period of several decades,” Greg Wagner, of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, wrote in a 2004 study, “the overall impact of dynamite fishing on coral reefs in Tanzania has been devastating.” It was European armies during World War I that introduced dynamite fishing as a way to catch a quick, fresh meal, according to marine expert Michel Bariche. Some countries, such as Kenya and Mozambique, have succeeded in shutting it down, but it still goes on in Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar, among others. Tanzania is the only country in Africa where blast fishing still occurs on a large scale, says SmartFish, a fisheries program funded by the European Union. . . (Sourced online 30 December 2015)

Tanzania loves its new anti-corruption president. Why is he shutting down media outlets?
This is an interesting piece by The Washington Post (USA). Extract: Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli strode into office in November promising to reduce corruption, cut wasteful spending and improve public services. These initiatives are welcome in the East African nation, which, while seen as a bastion of political stability in an at-times volatile region, consistently ranks low on human development and high on graft. But Magufuli’s government imposed new restrictions on the media recently, and brought that commitment into question. Magufuli’s popularity ballooned when he cancelled expensive independence-day celebrations in December and instead encouraged citizens to come together and clean the streets. There’ve been media bans in Tanzania before – but many expected better from Magufuli. The first move came on Jan. 15, when Nape Nnauye, Tanzania’s new information minister, announced a permanent ban on the printed weekly Mawio ( a Kiswahili-language newspaper). The government banned Mawio for “inflammatory” reporting. Its publisher and managing editor said the ban shows the government can’t bear criticism. Days later, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) – the agency that regulates the country’s communications and broadcasting sectors – announced a three-month suspension of six television and 21 radio stations if they failed to pay license fees. Within a day of TCRA’s announcement, 15 of the 20 radio stations and one of the six television stations had paid their required dues. Civil society activists in the country cried foul, saying the suspensions of those that did not pay infringed on the public’s right to information. There’s a widespread feeling that Tanzania’s government often applies rules and regulations selectively, upping enforcement primarily when it feels threatened. . . . There’s some reason to conclude that the government is shutting down broadcasting because it wants to ban criticism. . . Magufuli’s government could be protecting against further erosion of public support for the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence in 1961. . . The current Mawio ban smacks of politics. The “inflammatory” articles were about the ongoing stalemate in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, where poll results were nullified after accusations of “irregularities” – including apparent victory for the main opposition party. . . (Sourced online 25 January 2016)

Why CCM should shun racists for the sake of democracy in Zanzibar
This article by Fatma A Karume first appeared in Habari, a journal produced by SVETAN – the Sweden-Tanzania Association. Extract: . . . At the age of 10, my great grandmother, Bi Amani, was kidnapped from her village in Central Africa by slavers and survived the walk across the continent and the dhow journey from Bagamoyo to Zanzibar; my great-great grandfather came as a trader from Kutch Province in India; my great, great, great grandfather sailed into Zanzibar from Muscat with the aid of the ever present monsoon winds, not long after the arrival of Seyyid Said bin Sultan, the Lion of Oman; and further still, my great, great, great, great, great . . . great grandfather sailed into Zanzibar from Persia. I am no different from thousands of ‘Waswahili’. . . [A]nd yet . . . members of the CCM youth league, UVCCM, had the audacity to tell us that we are not welcome in Zanzibar. . . [M]embers of the CCM youth wing carried two placards. Both placards informed the country and the world at large that people of mixed race, who they referred to in a derogatory manner as ‘machotara’, are not welcomed in Zanzibar because we are apparently servants of the Sultan, while, according to their views, Zanzibar is for Africans only. . . Daniel Chongolo, the CCM Acting Head of Publicity and Ideology, had the decency and honour to issue an unreserved apology on behalf of CCM for the discriminatory placards displayed by the CCM youth league. On the front page of the ‘Daily News’ of Thursday, January 14, 2016, the general public was informed that “CCM is working to identify and eventually take appropriate action on people behind the discriminatory poster displayed by one of its members in Zanzibar . . . and Nape Nnauye, the CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, was quoted as stating, “I would like to reiterate that CCM is against all forms of segregation, and this is known all over the world. It is unfortunate that the party is taking the blame for the wrongs committed by just a small number of our supporters.” . . . I suggest that CCM takes a good look at itself and starts cleaning up the racist fringes of the party for everyone’s sake, and, most of all, for the sake of democracy in Zanzibar because, believe it or not, we need to have a strong and viable CCM as a counterbalance to CUF. . . (Issue No 1/2016)

Emails Reveal How Far Clinton Was Willing to Go to Promote Ex-Ambassador’s Interests
Online news outlet Vice News published an analysis of emails released by Hillary Clinton, revealing how she was lobbied hard by former US Ambassador Joe Wilson on behalf of Symbion, an energy firm with interests in Tanzania. Extract: Wilson’s pitch to Clinton, sent on October 6, 2009 touted Symbion as a do-gooder energy company that delivered both profits and much-needed infrastructure development to developing countries. … “[We] have already begun work on a training center in Tanzania, where we will be bidding on all of the upcoming MCC financed power generation and distribution projects,” he writes.

The MCC — or Millennium Challenge Corporation — is a quasi-governmental body run out of the State Department that awards infrastructure grants to developing countries. The Secretary of State serves as the chair of the MCC board. Before Wilson got in touch with Clinton, his company had never won an MCC grant in Africa — but less than a year after his pitch, Symbion won a $47 million energy contract in Tanzania to expand and rehabilitate power distribution networks — the same contract Wilson mentioned in his email. What role, if any, Clinton played in Symbion’s obtaining the MCC contract is not clear. The MCC committee in Tanzania that made the final decision has since been dissolved, its documents are not publicly available, and the contents of Clinton’s responses to Wilson have not been made public. Clinton did attend the groundbreaking event at Symbion’s Dar es Salam plant in June, 2011 alongside Wilson’s boss Symbion CEO Paul Hinks and MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes. She didn’t mention Wilson in her remarks. (Published online, October 2, 2015)

President Magufuli didn’t ban miniskirts but….
Published on This is Africa, an online news outlet: When I saw the [Kenyan] Standard’s report that Tanzania’s president, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, had banned miniskirts “in bid to curb spread of HIV/AIDS”, I laughed, but wasn’t surprised. Although I hadn’t seen the news in any of Tanzania’s news outlets, and I know I should have doubted that my brilliant, most loved president would make such a statement, a part of me still believed that the ban was true. How could the president who has declared war on corruption, bad governance, and poverty, who has sworn to burst all boils that ail our great country, ban miniskirts? And how could I, a Tanzanian with utmost faith in him, believe such a lie? …

Last month, in my initiation into the Tanzanian civil service, I attended an induction seminar. Among many things taught there, were the civil servant’s rights and responsibilities; the seminar also touched on how to behave and dress. The instructor, a woman in her fifties, an experienced public servant, walked into a room full of new employees. She talked to us in a motherly tone, warning us of the consequences that come with certain behaviour. Then she talked about the acceptable dress code, pulling out the same poster that hangs in our HR’s office door, and every public office. The poster is fair, crossing out all unacceptable ways of dress for both men and women. But when she got to the women’s clothing, her voice became firmer. “Ladies, watch out for the way you dress,” she said, locking eyes with me, “those miniskirts and tight dresses will get you in trouble.” The class laughed.

While the ban story is untrue, it doesn’t mean women in Tanzania can wear miniskirts and visit or work in government offices, nor does it mean they can freely wear them in the streets. It also does not guarantee their safety if they were to walk in the streets dressed in the way they choose to. … To refute the rumours started by the Standard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement: “There is no doubt that H.E President Magufuli and his government is strong proponents of decent dressing, but the ministry wishes to put the record straight that the president has not issued any ban on miniskirts for any reason.” Who defines decent dressing, and where do we draw the line?
(Published online, February 3, 2016)