INTRODUCTION

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

Comments off

TA ISSUE 123

TA 123 cover features celebrations following the football team qualification for the AFCON finals

Lowassa returns to CCM
Seif and Zitto join forces
Njombe child murders
Footballing success

A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here

Comments

LOWASSA RETURNS TO CCM

by Ben Taylor

Former Prime Minister, Edward Lowassa (right) is welcomed back into the CCM party by President Magufuli (centre) and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

Former presidential candidate (in 2015) for the country’s leading opposition party, Chadema, Edward Lowassa, resigned from Chadema in March and re-joined his former party, CCM. Speaking at Lumumba CCM offices, Mr Lowassa said: “I am back home.”

Mr Lowassa had previously served in government as a CCM member, most notably as Prime Minister between December 2005 and February 2008 under President Jakaya Kikwete. He resigned his position as Prime Minister following criticism by MPs

and others of his actions in the controversial emergency electricity generation contract awarded to a US firm, Richmond. In the eyes of many, this scandal left Mr Lowassa permanently tainted, though he retained strong support within CCM, such that he was considered a leading contender in the party for selection as the party’s presidential candidate in 2015. When he was overlooked for that role, he sought and found a new home in Chadema – one that would give him a chance to contest the Presidency.

There were signs that Mr Lowassa never entirely felt at home with Chadema, however, and that many Chadema members and supporters felt uncomfortable with him as a leading player in their party. The Chadema party chair, Freeman Mbowe, had long been an outspoken critic of Mr Lowassa, as had the party’s previous presidential candidate Dr Wilbroad Slaa. Dr Slaa left the party soon after Mr Lowassa joined, though Mr Mbowe and most of the party’s senior figures remained.

On Mr Lowassa’s part, following his ultimately unsuccessful election campaign, his involvement in Chadema party matters was never more than lukewarm. He did not join in the kind of criticism of the government that other party leaders engaged in, and he occasionally spoke positively about President Magufuli’s leadership.

At a meeting with President John Magufuli in January 2018, Mr Lowassa congratulated President Magufuli for a good job he was doing. The former Prime Minister said the ‘fruitful conversation’ he had with the President had comforted him, saying “the President has made my day.”

As such, his decision now to return to CCM did not take many observers by surprise. “He could not stay in the opposition after losing the election because the mission and objectives of the Tanzanian opposition were not in his heart,” said Prof Gaudens Mpangala of Ruaha Catholic University (RUCU). “With his sole ambition of winning the presidency, Mr Lowassa’s exit from Chadema was just a matter of time after losing to Dr Magufuli,” he added. Chadema’s deputy secretary general (Mainland) John Mnyika says the absence of Lowassa will not reduce opposition influence and votes, but will instead help them make significant strides in the coming election.

“In 2015, Tanzanians voted for change. There was a massive motivation campaign for change, so his coming to Chadema was an impetus,” he said. “His exit has given an opportunity to pick a candidate better than him. So, we view his absence is a good riddance and a blessing in disguise.”

Prof Mpangala said the opposition managed to secure six million votes in the 2015 election not because of Mr Lowassa but because of the chances created by political situation at that particular time. He said rampant corruption and inaction of the previous administration gave the opposition a key agenda that resonated with voters.

Despite the predictable nature of Mr Lowassa’s decision, rumours swirled about possible ulterior motives. Some suggest he was doing this in order to speed the release of his son-in-law who is in long-term remand for alleged bank fraud, while others say this was a measure to ward off government pressures on Mr Lowassa’s extensive business interests and property portfolio. A third suggestion is that President Magufuli has encouraged Mr Lowassa to re-join CCM in order to assist him with handling critics within the party, notably those connected with Mr Lowassa’s long-time rival, Bernard Membe.

President Magufuli welcomed Mr Lowassa back into CCM: “He is a gentleman. He was a CCM member and defected to the opposition, but he requested to return home. I commend him – even in holy scriptures we are taught to forgive. Welcome back so that we can build our country which has no political conflicts, and development has no political ideology.”

Comments (1)

OPPOSITION MUSICAL CHAIRS

by Ben Taylor
Lipumba and Seif, CUF and ACT
The long-running tug-of-war for the control of Civic United Front (CUF) reached a conclusion in March, when the high court ruled in favour of Prof Ibrahim Lipumba as the legitimate national chair of the party. This set off a chain reaction of moves involving the other CUF faction – led by former Vice President of Zanzibar, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad – and other opposition parties, that will radically change opposition politics on Zanzibar, and could also have a major impact nationwide.

Maalim Seif responded to the court’s decision by immediately resigning from CUF and joining the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT Wazalendo), bringing many thousands of his supporters with him. ACT is led by Zitto Kabwe, the outspoken MP for Kigoma Urban.

The dispute between Prof Lipumba and Mr Hamad has roots in the lead-up to the 2015 election, when Prof Lipumba resigned his position as CUF party chair in protest at the selection of former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa as candidate for President representing the opposition coalition, UKAWA, of which CUF was a prominent member. Several months following the election, Prof Lipumba rescinded his resignation letter and attempted to take control of key party bodies and assets, including party funds.

The party faction allied to Mr Hamad, the 2015 UKAWA candidate for President of Zanzibar, resisted this move, leading to the involvement of the Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi. Judge Mutungi decided in favour of Prof Lipumba, and the high court has now upheld his decision.

Prof Lipumba, however, may find himself in control of a hollowed-out party. Mr Hamad acted swiftly to defect to ACT Wazalendo, bringing his supporters – thought to constitute the vast majority of the party membership in Zanzibar, where the party has its strongest support – with him.

Even before Mr Hamad made his announcement, the direction of travel was clear, with CUF supporters removing CUF flags and repainting party branch offices around Zanzibar in the purple colours of ACT. It has been reported that many or most of the CUF offices and the furniture and equipment they contain actually belonged to party members rather than to the party itself, hence Mr Hamad’s supporters were able to take the offices and equipment with them into their new party.

“We are rebranding the offices as directed by higher authorities,” said the CUF secretary for Chakechake District in Pemba, Mr Saleh Nassor Juma. He said Mr Hamad has the people who were ready to work with him in any political party he chooses to go to.

Speaking just hours after the high court ruling was announced, Mr Hamad held a press conference in Dar es es Salaam, at which he stated that he has no intention to “continue squabbling over the court’s decision.” “Suffice it to say that our intention now is not to continue with court disputes. It’s enough. Political struggles have to continue,” Mr Hamad said. “The platform which we have decided to use to continue the struggle for democracy is the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) party,” declared Mr Hamad.

Asked why he chose ACT-Wazalendo and not another opposition party, Mr Hamad said that he did so because the party’s conditions were more acceptable. He didn’t name the conditions, saying that it was an internal party issue.

Reacting to the decision, Prof Lipumba said he was saddened that Mr Hamad took such a decision but not surprised. “We had already fired him from his position as party secretary general,” Prof Lipumba said.

ACT Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe welcomed Civic United Front (CUF) members joining his party, arguing that this gives ACT a whole new direction and stature in the country’s politics. “This signals a positive direction of the country’s opposition and its struggles for democracy in general,” said Mr Kabwe. “Efforts to build a strong coalition among the opposition parties are mandatory considering the current political circumstances,” he said.

Mr Kabwe handed over membership cards to Mr Hamad, former CUF Director of International Relations Ismail Jussa, former CUF Deputy Secretary General for Zanzibar, Nassor Mazrui, and the UKAWA candidate for Vice President of Tanzania in 2015, Juma Duni Haji, among others. Mr Haji was named as the new deputy leader of ACT Wazalendo.

Speaking shortly after the event, Mr Hamad said. “I’m speechless. I thank ACT-Wazalendo for giving us this grand reception.” He showered praise on his host, Mr Kabwe. “He’s dynamic, energetic, visionary and brave,” said Mr Hamad. “We are officially ACT-Wazalendo members from today. This country needs to go back to its democratic principles. We’ve to keep up the fight towards that direction,” said Mr Hamad. He also cautioned against the use of violence for their hard work will bear no fruit. “We have to come up with alternative ways, that ensure that democratic values are restored peacefully,” he said.

Political commentator, Jenerali Ulimwengu, described Mr Hamad’s move to ACT as “a potential game-changer. ACT may be a tiny organisation with only one Member of the Union Parliament, its founder Zitto Kabwe. But Kabwe is a smart politician.” “Lipumba has literally nothing left to deal with,” he added, explaining that Seif can still count on the support of most former CUF supporters on Zanzibar and some pockets of supporters on the mainland.

Mbowe released from custody
On March 7, Freeman Mbowe, the chair of Tanzania’s leading opposition party, Chadema, was released on bail after winning an appeal against a contempt of court ruling. Mr Mbowe and his co-accused Esther Matiko, also a Chadema MP, were both released after spending nearly four months in prison.

The two had been denied bail in November last year for failing to show up for a court hearing. At the time, Mr Mbowe said he had been unwell while Ms Matiko said she had been on parliamentary duty outside the country.

Mr Mbowe, Ms Matiko and seven other top party leaders are facing charges of sedition, incitement to violence and holding an “illegal rally” in February 2018 that led to the death of a female student, who is believed to have been killed by a stray police bullet.

High Court Judge Sam Rumanyika ruled that their rights had been violated and ordered their immediate release on bail. “I have never seen such a case in all my time as a judge,” he said, adding it was “dangerous to deny an accused bail without a valid reason.”

“I order that Mr Mbowe and Ms Matiko be freed immediately,” the judge ruled. They must report to the court once a month until their appearance with the seven co-accused in the protest trial.

Earlier the same day, Morogoro Resident Magistrate’s Court released two other Chadema MPs, Mr Peter Lijualikali and Ms Suzan Kiwanga, and six other party members. The court noted that the state’s arguments were not sufficient to deny bail to the suspects. The accused were arrested on February 25, accused of setting fire to a police station in 2017.

Lissu to return?
Prominent opposition politician, Tundu Lissu, has said that he is “more than ready” to run for the presidency of Tanzania in 2020 if his party wants him to. Mr Lissu, who is chief whip for the Tanzanian opposition party Chadema, is currently living in Belgium where he has been undergoing medical treatment after an assassination attempt in Tanzania in 2017. He has undergone 20 operations.

In a televised interview on BBC World News, he said would return to Tanzania when the doctors declared him “fit to go”. When he returned, he added, the government would have a responsibility to ensure he was safe.

During his absence from Tanzania, and as his health has improved, Mr Lissu has made numerous appearances in the international media and at public events in Europe and North America. He has repeatedly told the story of the attempt on his life, accusing the government of being behind the attack and of failing to investigate the case properly. He also complained that the parliament of Tanzania was no longer paying his salary, though he had not been given neither any notice to this effect nor any explanation.

Following one such public appearance, the Ambassador of Tanzania in Germany, Dr Abdallah Possi, responded publicly. “The people of Tanzania – and, indeed, his parliamentary constituents (in Singida East) – would have expected him, if he has now recovered and is able to travel, to go back home and continue his representative and other public duties,” the ambassador stated.

Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola said he is surprised that the police have until now not arrested Mr Lissu. “I am surprised why the police haven’t arrested Mr Lissu just like they have been arresting loiterers. He has been wandering around the globe, while insisting that he is still sick,” said Mr Lugola.

Changing the rules of the game
At the end of January, Tanzania’s parliament passed amendments to legislation that give sweeping powers to the government-appointed Registrar of Political Parties, a move that opposition legislators say will cement one-party rule. The Act was signed by President Magufuli two weeks later and gazetted ten days after that, which makes the new law operational.

The amendments give the Registrar the power to demand any information from parties, to intervene in parties’ internal decision-making processes, and to suspend or cancel party registration. They also introduce tight restrictions on political party mergers and coalitions.

Critics say the amendments will prevent opposition parties from making an effective challenge to President Magufuli and the ruling CCM party in next year’s general election and this year’s local elections. Opposition leaders said the legislative changes would effectively criminalize political activity and turn Tanzania into “a de facto one-party state”.

“You can’t have a constitution that allows freedom of association then give someone powers to revoke that freedom of association,” said Zitto Kabwe, the leader of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party.

Esther Bulaya, an MP with Chadema, said the legislation would give the registrar of political parties “excessive powers” to interfere with internal affairs of political parties, including stripping individuals of party membership and removing them from leadership positions.

But CCM MPs argued that the amendments give the registrar much-needed authority to act as a referee and ensure political parties do not embezzle subsidies from taxpayers and that they hold transparent internal leadership elections. The legislation aims to enhance transparency and accountability, said Jenista Mhagama, the minister of state in the prime minister’s Office responsible for parliamentary affairs.

Within weeks of the Act being enacted by parliament, the Registrar of Political Parties, Mr Francis Mutungi, issued a notice of intention to deregister ACT-Wazalendo over reported breach of the Act.

In his letter, Mr Mutungi said ACT-Wazalendo had lost eligibility of being a political party, citing the party’s failure to submit an audit of its 2013/14 financial accounts, and accusing the party of breaking the law by allowing its supporters to burn CUF flags and using religious sentiments following the defection of CUF members to ACT (see previous article.)

Mr Kabwe dismissed these claims, saying his party had not broken any law. He described the allegations as “baseless”, and a “personal vendetta”. According to him, the party’s 2013/2014 financial records were submitted to the office of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) as the law requires. Further, he disowned those accused of burning CUF flags, saying they were not ACT-Wazalendo members. “Our party will not be deregistered because of us breaking laws, but rather because of the State wanting to,” he said.

A group of civil society organisations spoke up in defence of ACT. Ms Felista Mauya, the director of human rights, monitoring and accountability with the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), described the threat of deregistration as “extreme”.

“In a democratic country that follows the principles of justice and transparency, we did not expect the registrar to issue such a strong statement on allegations that have not yet been proven,” she said, adding that the letter was issued prematurely and contained many allegations that could be have been discussed between the party and the registrar’s office.

Ms Mauya said opposition parties were operating in a climate of fear where internal meetings were being violently broken up or expressly banned. “It was only a few days ago that an internal meeting organised by ACT-Wazalendo was stopped by police without considering the fact that political parties have a right to conduct meetings,” she said.

In April, four opposition parties lodged a lawsuit at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) over the Political Parties Act amendments. The case bas been brought by Chadema chair, Freeman Mbowe, together with Zitto Kabwe and Seif Sharif Hamad of ACT Wazalendo.

Mr Mbowe explained that the basis of the case is that the new Act contravenes the terms of establishment of the East African Community (EAC).

“We are opposing the whole act and we request the EACJ to stop this law from implementation until the basic case is heard,” he said. He added that the law “criminalizes democracy in Tanzania”.

The East African Court of Justice very recently judged a similar case relating to the Media Services Act, which critics have argued introduces excessive restrictions on freedom of the press. In this case, the EACJ ruled that several sections of the Media Services Act “violate the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community”. The judgement stated that any restrictions on freedom of expression are only acceptable when they are narrow, clearly specified & clearly justified. Those bringing the case against the Political Parties Act look to be hoping for the court to reach a similar verdict.

Comments

CAG AUDIT QUERIES

by Ben Taylor

Prof Mussa Assad presents the CAG Annual Report.

Two disputes flared up over the annual audits of the public sector conducted by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad – one from previous years, and one new one.

The older case relates to the audit of central government accounts in the year 2016/17, the first full year of President Magufuli’s administration. When the audit report was first published early in 2018, opposition MP Zitto Kabwe highlighted an apparent discrepancy in the numbers – concluding that a huge sum (TSh 1.5tn, around US $600m) had gone missing. This prompted a great deal of debate at the time, with the government presenting a range of different, and sometimes contradictory, explanations, before parliament effectively put the issue on hold by tasking Prof Assad to conduct a special audit to investigate the reasons behind the alleged “missing 1.5 trillion”.

In January, Prof Assad presented this special report to parliament. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) conducted its own review of the report, concluding that “there was no loss or theft”. The report itself, however, was not published, leading to allegations of a whitewash. Opposition PAC members noted new discrepancies uncovered by the special audit that the committee’s review neglected to mention.

The report leaked. As one analyst concluded: the report “did indeed uncover many anomalies, enough to paint a very disturbing picture. We don’t see a bank heist as such, but we do see something like all the cash from a vault strewn in mind-boggling confusion across the floor.”

Anomalies highlighted in the report include TSh 977bn of unauthorised reallocations, TSh 657bn discrepancy between Exchequer Issues Warrants and the Exchequer Release Report, and TSh 291bn of unsupported overdraft.

In all, while the report did not conclude that the supposed TSh 1.5tn had indeed been stolen, it did report discrepancies totalling TSh 2.4tn (over US $1bn).

Perhaps most significantly, the report itself bemoaned the “lack of supporting documents and adequate explanations from Management (of the Ministry of Finance), which were necessary for ascertaining the accuracy and validity of amounts to be verified,”, and noted that “the provided information was scattered in numerous sections and were subjected to frequent adjustments in the course of verification.”

These strained relations between some MPs and the CAG may have contributed to the second dispute. MPs took offence at remarks made by Prof Assad in a media interview, where he described Tanzania’s parliament as “weak” for failing to follow up on the conclusions of his previous reports. In response the Speaker, Job Ndugai, demanded Prof Assad to appear before the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Standards Committee. “You can’t speak badly of your country when you are outside the country,” said Mr Ndugai.

Prof Assad appeared before the committee on January 21. At the beginning of April, the committee presented a motion to parliament stating that Prof Assad had “disrespected MPs” and that parliament should stop working with him. MPs overwhelming voted in favour of the motion.

This threatened to trigger a constitutional crisis, as Prof Assad’s role as CAG is established by the constitution, which requires that he present an annual report to parliament. In the event, the potential crisis was averted when the reports were presented to parliament by various Ministers, rather than by Prof Assad himself. Meanwhile, Prof Assad held a press conference outside parliament where he highlighted the main issues identified in his reports. He also published the full reports online (as has been standard practice for several years).

As it happens, the report findings were arguably less controversial than in previous years. Of the 241 institutions whose financial statements were audited, 234 (97%) were awarded “clean” reports, compared to 88% in the previous year. However, questionable transactions revealed in the CAG report run into hundreds of billions of shillings of taxpayers’ money. Significant procurement weaknesses were found in the Police Force and National Electoral Commission, as well as problems with budget management.

The Citizen newspaper drew attention to one particularly pertinent conclusion of the reports: that only 23% of the CAG’s recommendations from past reports had been acted on. This was the very point Prof Assad had been making in his media interview that upset parliament.

“It is unacceptable that MPs are busy pointing fingers at the CAG” in such circumstances, said the paper, asking “where is their moral ground to do that?”

Comments

NJOMBE CHILD MURDERS

by Ben Taylor

Ten children have been reported murdered in Njombe region over the space of a few weeks, with their bodies mutilated. This includes three children, aged five, eight and eleven years, from a single family. A number of arrests have been made.

Regional authorities in Njombe confirmed the killings in late January, saying police had found bodies of children previously reported missing.
Deputy Health Minister, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, spoke to CNN about the case. “We have found ten bodies, and most of their private parts and teeth had been removed,” he said. “It is very sad because they are children and they don’t deserve to be used like this,” Ndugulile added.

He noted that it is believed that the murders are linked to witchcraft practices, “because that is the trend for such crimes, where herbalists ask people to get these human parts for money rituals.”

“We want to identify the perpetrators, but our focus is to educate the traditional practitioners in the area quickly and those in surrounding communities on the need to stop these acts,” said the Deputy Minister.

The United Nations issued a statement expressing its “deepest condolences” to the families and communities. “The UN joins the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in condemning these heinous acts. As the UN, we stand ready to support the Government in their efforts to address the issue,” said Alvaro Rodriguez, UN Resident Coordinator in Tanzania. “Additionally, we call upon all stakeholders to join hands to ensure that homes, schools and communities are safe spaces for children.”

In at least one case, it has been reported that local residents took the law into their own hands, killing four people they believed to be responsible for the murder of a seven-year-old girl.

When events in Njombe made both national and international headlines at the end of January, the police and political response to the case stepped up sharply. The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Job Ndugai, instructed the government to issue a statement on the situation in Njombe.

The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Venance Mabeyo, went to Njombe where he held closed-door talks with members of the defence and security committee in Njombe on how to contain the killings as well as with members of a special police unit that has been deployed to investigate and arrest those responsible for the killings. He called for calm among Njombe residents as authorities drill down to the root cause of the killings and bring the culprits to book. “There is no reason to panic. This is not yet a national issue because it involves individual families and the reasons behind the killings are typical family matters,” he said.

General Mabeyo told journalists shortly after the meeting that though the occurrences were still at family level, they have stained the image of Njombe to the rest of Tanzania and beyond, hence he need to stem them as a matter of urgency.

On February 4, Njombe Regional Police Commander (RPC), Ms Renata Mzinga, confirmed that 28 suspects were being held for questioning by the police. “We have uncovered the network of people who have been involved in these killings. In partnership with a special team from the Police Headquarters in Dar es Salaam, we will hunt them wherever they are. So far, we have arrested 28 people, including businesspeople, traditional healers and other ordinary citizens,” she said.

On February 12, three suspects were brought before the Njombe Resident Magistrate’s Court to face various murder charges. Reading the charge sheet, state attorneys said the accused killed three children from the same family. One of those charged is reportedly a cousin of the murdered children.

In early March, Police announced that they had arrested 65 “witchdoctors”, or traditional healers, in connection with the killings. The inspector general of police, Simon Sirro, has ordered that every traditional healer obtain a licence.

There is a belief among some people in Tanzania, and neighbouring countries, that using human body parts in rituals can bring wealth and good luck. A statement issued by 25 Tanzanian organisations, meanwhile, urged their compatriots to give up dangerous traditional beliefs. “We call upon the government to reinforce control over activities by traditional healers and to punish those behind human rights violations,” the organisations added.

A few weeks later, in early April, President Magufuli made a long-scheduled visit to Njombe, to open a new tea factory. At a public meeting, he spoke about the killings, expressing his deep sadness.
He then fired the Officer Commanding the District (OCD) for Njombe, Sifael Pyuza, accusing him of sleeping on the job end of last year and early this year.

Njombe RPC Renata Mzinga had been relieved of her responsibilities and transferred. The President, therefore, wondered out loud why the OCD of Njombe had not been similarly taken to task. “Is the OCD here? He also must leave. We must reach a point whereby we can be accountable for our actions. You must be held accountable,” said President Magufuli.

President Magufuli told Njombe residents to repent for the sins and asked a pastor to pray. “Njombe is a wonderful place but these killings have tainted the region’s reputation. This habit must stop. If there is a pastor here, come forward and pray so that people can repent,” said President Magufuli.

After the prayers, the President abruptly announced a change in his decision over the OCD. “The OCD is now forgiven. We have all been forgiven by God. All Njombe residents must now go and work hard and stop depending on Satan,” said President Magufuli.

Comments

AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

“Operation Korosho” (Cashewnuts)
Tanzania’s cashewnut industry began to face serious problems in the last four months of 2018 which is the main harvesting season.

Performance of Tanzania’s traditional exports (source: Tanzania Revenue Authority & Bank of Tanzania)

President Magufuli and the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT), the regulator and main supplier of inputs, were in dispute. The President decided to remove CBT’s main source of income – a levy on raw cashew exports – and place the funds with the government. The Treasury already owed CBT over TSh 200 billion (US $86m) earned from a levy in previous years which had not been transferred. The CBT proposed a floor price of TSh 1,550 per kilogram, but the farmers considered this too low as it was claimed to be lower than the cost of production.

There was also a dispute over Tanzania’s main and long-standing policy of processing cashews locally rather than exporting them raw. The crucial issue was the low price international buyers were offering for raw nuts, compared with the exceptionally high prices of the previous year, when farmers were paid up to TSh 4,500 per kilo.

As the situation deteriorated, President Magufuli himself went to Mtwara, the centre of the industry, when the main harvesting season began in November and took over personal control of marketing of the crop. He sacked the chairperson of CBT, the entire Cashew Board, the ministers of agriculture and trade and others.
Meanwhile, Tanzanians had become aware of the importance of the crop to the overall economy. In the 2016/17 year cashew nuts brought in a sum in foreign exchange which was greater than Tanzania’s combined earnings from coffee, cotton, tea, cloves and sisal.

Tanzania has about 700,000 hectares of cashew nut farms. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Ivory Coast are Africa’s top producers. Tanzania ranks fourth. However, it has only very limited processing facilities, many of which are old and outdated, for processing the crop before it can be marketed worldwide.

After examining the situation on the ground, the President announced that the government would purchase all cashew nut stocks from farmers and insisted that all the collected crop must be moved from primary cooperative unions for storage to government warehouses. It became known as ‘Operation Korosho’.

The government, then under pressure to find foreign buyers before the nuts started to rot, hurriedly signed a memorandum of understanding in early February with a little-known Kenyan – registered firm, Indo Power Solutions Ltd – for the purchase of 100,000 tonnes. These were bought and paid for.

Cashew nut factory in Mtwara (Ama Lorenz – Euractiv, Germany)

The President then ordered the Agricultural Development Bank to buy the remaining output and sent 75 army trucks to take the nuts into government depots.

The President announced also that the government had handed over the few still functioning cashew nut factories to the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces. But virtually all the factories were found to be needing rehabilitation and so the lack of spare processing capacity forced a change in ‘Operation Korosho’. Instead of looking for markets for processed cashews, the government began to look for markets for raw nuts. However, it is understood that the President’s efforts to sort out the issues were handicapped by the difficulty in identifying which people were eligible to pay, as many farmers had already sold their cashews to local unlicensed traders.

At the end of March 2019, the new Minister of Agriculture announced that the government intended to prosecute at least 780 people for trading in cashew nuts without business licenses.

Although Tanzania produces less than 10% of the world’s total cashew output, it benefits from seasonality by being the biggest producer of the nuts during the October – January harvesting period. Other cashew producers from West Africa usually harvest their crop in February or later.

Private and public sectors
Ever since former President Nyerere in the sixties, influenced by his visits to China, introduced his version of African socialism into the agricultural sector, small scale smallholder farming has remained dominant in Tanzania’s agricultural sector.

When President Jakaya Kikwete took over power he introduced a policy called “Agriculture First” (Kilimo Kwanza) in 2009 which was designed to introduce an element of foreign venture capital investment into the private sector so that there could be the possibility of accelerated production of certain crops. It was a radical policy to continue to support smallholders while promoting, at the same time, large foreign venture capital investment. One of the first projects was supported by a US $47m matching grant fund backed by a World Bank loan of US $70m.

Another project is the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) to support smallholders while promoting foreign venture capital investment. The government insisted that any fixed assets which investors purchase would, at some future date, be transferred to local rural district councils, which would hold the property on behalf of smallholders. SAGCOT is another ambitious public-private partnership, designed to attract global agribusiness where investors develop huge segments of fertile land.

Since coming to power in 2015 the Magufuli government has taken control of fertiliser and seed inspection and bulk procurement and re-empowered cooperative unions in crop purchasing thus undermining private exporters and contract farming. The dramatic takeover of the cashew market by the army on President Magufuli’s orders, have shown the deep commitment of the party and state apparatus to maintaining public control.

Land leases
A very large Swedish investment in an integrated sugar project with an out-grower component failed to take off after years of negotiating with the government over land and water rights.

A second project – a 5,800 hectare rice and maize growing venture, which was expected to be an effective out-grower project – is now up for sale after defaulting on a US $20m loan from the US overseas Private Investment Corporation. This has also not been a success. Eventually, the government decided to ask the World Bank to discontinue the project after prolonged wrangling over how the fund should function with the result that no grants were ever made.

Tanzania is also working on a new policy that will reduce leases of land owned by foreigners from 99 years to 33 years. The policy is likely to be introduced fairly soon. Foreigners will only be allowed to acquire such land after they have registered with the Tanzania Investment Centre.

Tanzania Tea auctions
Tanzania sells between 5,000 and 8,000 tonnes of tea each year through the Mombasa auctions in Kenya. In a bid to cut costs incurred in transporting tea to Mombasa for sale the government is planning to establish an auction in Dar es Salaam. The Tea Board of Tanzania stated that local tea auctioning would reduce transport costs, raise income for farmers and boost business at the Dar es Salaam port.

Higher yielding bananas
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, in partnership with Tanzania’s national research centres have developed hybrids of the popular banana called Mchare. These hybrids were bred with disease resistant wild bananas and are high yielding, with high levels of resistance against key pests. The hybrids can increase yields by between 30% and 50%, resistance to at least three major pests and diseases. The diseases that are being addressed by the project are Fusarium Wilt, and Black Leaf Streak disease (Sigatoka), nematodes and banana weevils.

Comments

BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

by Ben Taylor

Audits, exchange rates and growth: economics in dispute
A series of arguments flared early in 2019 on economic and related matters, as the state of the national economy became an increasingly significant political battleground.

Average exchange rate TSh to US dollar (source oanda.com)

In addition to controversies linked to the annual audits of public sector institutions by the Controller and Auditor General (see Politics section, this issue), arguments arose around exchange rates and GDP growth figures. Tanzania’s leading English-language newspaper, The Citizen, apparently provoked official concern when it reported on a dip in the value of the Tanzanian Shilling. The government suspended the newspaper for 7 days, citing an article published on February 23rd with the front page headline: “Closely monitor fall of Shilling, experts caution.” The offending article reported that the TZS-USD exchange rate had slipped to TSh 2,415 per dollar at some forex bureaus, from 2,300 a week earlier, and stated that the shilling’s value had reached its lowest point for three and a half years. The paper then quoted the responses of Prof Honest Ngowi of Mzumbe University Economics Department and Dr Charles Sokile of Oxford Policy Management, a research and consulting firm, to the situation. Both economists argued that the situation should be monitored, that further depreciation would have economic consequences for Tanzania, and that the government should take steps to protect the Shilling. They pointed to large-scale infrastructure spending, this year’s decline in cashew nut exports and a fall in foreign investment as likely reasons for the Shillings’ reported woes.

A few days later, the government closed at least 50 foreign exchange bureaus in Dar es Salaam, citing concerns that the bureaus had been “flouting the law and regulations governing the business.” It is unclear whether this action was prompted by or linked to The Citizen’s reporting in any way. Indeed, the government carried out a similar clampdown on forex bureaus late in 2018 in Arusha. In both cases, the government argued that many forex bureaus were not properly licensed and that many were engaged in tax evasion.

The Citizen’s suspension attracted the attention of foreign diplomats. In a coordinated response, eight High Commissioners or Ambassadors – including the UK High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke – posted similar statements on Twitter. Their statements noted that their normal morning routine had been affected: “Usually I start my day with a fresh copy of the Citizen. Unfortunately it has been banned for a week. Is this sanction proportionate to the offence purportedly committed?”

It also drew attention from The Economist, which reported that in response to the suspension, “capital is reckoned to have fled to Kenya” and that “foreign-exchange controls are widely said to be imminent”.

The Shilling has since recovered most of its lost ground against the dollar – see chart above. The second economic row to break out focussed on the latest forecasts of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) for growth in Tanzania, and their latest report on the state of Tanzania’s economy. The IMF lowered its forecast for Tanzania’s economic growth to 4% this year and 4.2% in 2020 from a previous forecast of just under 7% in each case.

The government forecasts the economy will grow 7.3% in 2019 after an estimated 7.2% expansion last year, helped by investments in public infrastructure.

The IMF’s forecasts were first released on April 9, contained in data tables within their World Economic Outlook but without any accompanying explanatory text or commentary. This commentary was to be found in their 2019 Article IV Consultation Report on the Tanzanian economy, which had been due for publication around the same time. However, a statement posted on the IMF website noted that publication was not yet possible, as “the [Tanzanian] authorities have not consented to publication of the staff report or the related press release.”

The government said that it did not block the IMF report. Minister of Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, told Parliament that government and the IMF were still discussing the report. “We are in talks with the IMF to sort out the problem before official publication,” he said.

Dr Mpango was responding to a question asked by opposition (Chadema) MP, Frank Mwakajoka: “The government blocked the IMF from publishing its report on the country’s economic status in violation of freedom of expression. What is the government afraid of?”

Even as the Minister gave his response, a leaked copy of the report was already freely available online. The key paragraph is worth quoting in full: “Macroeconomic conditions have remained stable in 2017–18 but there is uncertainty about the pace of economic activity. Headline inflation has been below the central bank’s medium-term target of 5% and the exchange rate has been broadly stable. Official GDP data point to about 7% annual growth, but there are serious weaknesses in the data and other high-frequency indicators point to a more subdued pace of economic activity. For instance, during the 2017/18 fiscal year (July to June), public sector wages, credit to the private sector, and imports fell by 5.3%, 2.9%, and 7.7% in real terms, respectively, while tax revenues grew by 3.1% in real terms.”

The report further distinguished between a “baseline scenario”, in which the current direction of policy is maintained, and an “alternative scenario”. The lower headline growth forecasts relate to the baseline scenario: “a weak business environment and limits to the scale of public investment (from insufficient financing), together with the implementation of projects that may not have high rates of return are likely to constrain annual GDP growth to below the 6.3% average rate recorded between 1998 and 2017.”

The IMF noted that instead, “a more ambitious set of fiscal and market-friendly reforms and appropriate public investments would lead to higher potential growth [of around 6-7% per year]”. This alternative scenario would entail improvements to tax administration and expenditure management, revisions to recently-enacted legislation including the Statistics Act and mining laws, reforms to strengthen governance and lower the cost of doing business.

Finally, the report notes that the Tanzania government was more optimistic about growth prospects: “They considered that their recent estimates of economic growth properly reflect economic activity and envisage that real GDP growth will be in the order of 7-8% per year in the short to medium-term. They believed that their policies were based on robust public investment plans and would be supported by a rationalisation of regulations affecting the business environment.” This government view was also expressed by the Finance Minister when presenting the government Budget Framework for FY2019/2020 to parliament in March. Dr Mpango painted a positive picture about the state of the national economy. Dr Mpango said the government will continue to implement both fiscal and monetary policies to continue sustaining the economy. He said GDP grew by 6.8% during the third quarter of 2018, and that the inflation rate remained “low and stable, at 3% in January this year”. The minister also said extended broad money supply (M3) also grew by an average of 6.6% in 2018 compared with an average of 5.5% in 2017, due to increased lending to private sector.

He said the local currency has continued to remain stable against global major currencies due to implementation of monetary policy, the use of gas to generate electricity, which has reduced fuel imports and improved local production of goods which were previously being imported.

2019/20 Budget
In presenting the 2019/20 budget to parliament, the Finance Minister, Dr Mpango, said the government would focus on four key areas: expanding the country’s industrial base, improving public services, investing in mega-infrastructure, and reforms to strengthen the business and tax environment.

On industry, the Minister noted that “key projects will include construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, establishment and development of special economic zones, [establishment] of factories that will add value to agricultural, livestock and fisheries products as well as those that are aimed at adding value to minerals and other natural resources.” On infrastructure, he pointed to construction of the hydroelectric project at Stieglers Gorge on the Rufiji River, improving Air Tanzania Company Limited and building the standard gauge railway line linking Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, Kigoma, Mwanza and Rwanda.

The cost of the plan comes in at TSh 33.1 trillion, up slightly from 32.5 trillion in 2018/19. This increase of 1.8% is the lowest budget increase in recent years, lower than increases seen a year ago (2.5%), in 2017 (7.5%) and 2016, for President Magufuli’s first budget (31%). It reflects concern expressed by politicians and economists that ambitious plans to increase tax revenues in previous years were unrealistic.

This amount (33.1 trillion) will be raised from a combination of taxes (58%) and non-tax revenues (9%), local government taxes (2%), development partners (8%), concessional loans (7%) and non-concessional loans (15%).

Vodacom leadership
In early April, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodacom Tanzania, Hisham Hendi, was arrested by Tanzanian authorities, along with eight others. Mr Hendi and the others were questioned by law enforcers allegedly for fraudulent use of network facilities, and some of the group, including Mr Hendi, were subsequently charged. The statement of charged mentioned a “pecuniary loss” to the Tanzania government and the Tanzanian Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) amounting to over TSh 11 billion. Other charges included importing, using and installing communication equipment as well as distributing frequency numbers without proper licences.

A week later, Mr Hendi and the others were released as part of a plea-bargain arrangement between Vodacom Tanzania and the Tanzanian authorities. “We pleaded guilty, we had a plea bargain with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and we pleaded guilty,” said Rosalynn Mworia, Vodacom Tanzania’s Director Corporate Affairs. The arrangement included making a TSh 5.28 bn (US $2.29m) payment to the government, and secured the release of all those who had been arrested.

Mr Hendi, an Egyptian citizen, had only been officially in position as CEO for a week before his arrest, though he had been acting CEO for around six months. His appointment came after Ms Sylvia Mulinge, a Kenyan citizen, failed to secure a work permit from the Tanzanian authorities. She had been appointed to succeed Mr Ian Ferrao effectively from June 2018, who had served in the role for three years.

The board of Vodacom Tanzania appointed Jacques Marais as acting managing director.

Comments

ENERGY & MINERALS

by Ben Taylor

Still waiting on Acacia settlement
The long-running dispute between the government of Tanzania and Acacia Mining continues to drag on, though some parties have expressed optimism that an agreement may be close. The dispute relates to a US$ 190 bn tax bill demanded of Acacia by the government in 2017, citing claims of massively underreported mining output.

Speaking in February, the Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi (who has more recently become Minister of Foreign Affairs), suggested a payment from Acacia and/or its majority shareholder, Barrick Gold, could come as early as March.

Around the same time, Barrick released a statement confirming that it and the government had “arrived at a proposal” that sets out the commercial terms to resolve the dispute. The Barrick statement added that this agreement is consistent with the agreement announced in October 2017, including economic benefits from Acacia’s operations to be shared with the government of Tanzania on a 50/50 basis, and a US $300m payment to the government “to resolve outstanding tax claims, to be paid over time on terms to be settled by the parties.”

Acacia itself has not been part of the negotiation process and issued a statement in response, reiterating that it had not yet seen the suggested deal with Tanzania.

Prof Kabudi’s anticipated March payment did not materialise, and in mid-March, the Tanzanian Attorney General, Adelardus Kilangi, said he anticipated the deal would be agreed with 1-2 months. He added that the appointment of a new CEO of Barrick Gold, Mark Bristow, in January 2019 had aided the negotiation process.

Analysts for RBC Capital Markets think Acacia minority shareholders do not have much choice in this case. If they reject the deal agreed, Acacia would land up facing expensive and lengthy arbitration hearings. Accepting the agreement could open the possibility of securing a better operating environment, one that would almost certainly be more profitable that the current situation, as the companies mining operations have been drastically scaled back. Accepting the agreement could also secure the release of Acacia’s employees from a Tanzanian jail.

At the time of writing (April 20), the situation remains unresolved – with Acacia’s shareholders yet to reach a decision on whether to back to the deal agreed between Barrick and the government.

Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline construction expected to start in June
Energy Minister, Medard Kalemani, announced at the end of January that construction of an oil pipeline connecting Hoima in Uganda with Tanga on the Tanzanian coast was scheduled to begin in June this year. He was speaking following a meeting between Tanzanian and Ugandan officials in Kampala.

The execution of the 1,445 km long underground crude oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania will cost an estimated US $3.5 billion. It is expected to have the capacity to transport 216,000 barrels of crude oil every day. It will be 24 inches in diameter, and Uganda will pay Tanzania a reported $12.20 for every barrel of oil that flows through the pipeline. It will also be constructed in a way that enables it to heat the crude oil. On completion, it is expected to become the world’s longest heated oil pipeline.

Since the project’s inauguration in August 2017, there have been a series of technical meetings between the governments of the two countries but there were a number of issues that had not yet been addressed. Before the meeting in Kampala, Uganda’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni, explained that the financial arrangements were one of the major reasons for the delay, setting back the goal of transporting oil by 2020.

The three principal companies involved in the project are Total Oil of France, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Tullow Oil of the UK.

Liganga-Mchuchuma coal and iron project in dispute
In February, the government reignited a controversy surrounding the US $3 bn iron and coal Liganga-Mchuchuma project in Southern Tanzania, by signalling its intent to cancel the licence held by a Chinese company.
Minerals Minister Doto Biteko said the Mchuchuma-Liganga licence was troubling them and should be resolved forthwith. He instructed the National Development Corporation (NDC) to “rectify mistakes” in the mining agreement within 30 days.

The project is jointly implemented by NDC and Sichuan Hongda Group through a local venture called Tanzania China International Mineral Resources Limited (TCIMRL).

Mr Biteko said there were numerous investors ready to invest in the stalled Mchuchuma-Liganga project. The minister declared that he would be ready to shoulder the burden on the licence which has accumulated an unpaid royalty of $375,000 (over TSh 840 million).

TCIMRL responded by appearing to fault the government for not providing the promised tax incentives to ensure the implementation of the project, which it described as “risky”.

The company’s deputy chief executive officer, Eric Mwingira, told The Citizen that the project, whose contract was signed in 2011, would be up and running by now had the government not delayed.

According to Mr Mwingira, the company was asking for a 10-year tax relief for a project whose lifespan stretches between 50 and 100 years. He said the company was seeking tax incentives on import duty on cargo to be imported for the construction work, as well as incentives on spare parts and machinery and tax relief on fuel.

He said the Ministry of Finance and Planning was yet to gazette the investment incentives approved by the National Investment Steering Committee (NISC) and enshrined in the two signed performance contracts to make them legally operational. “We have been following up with the government, in meetings and letters but so far nothing has happened and we can’t drop the incentives because the projects are very risky and we can only hope that matters will open up soon as we have spent about $70 million and continue to lose,” he said.

He added that if the incentives had been endorsed as planned, Mchuchuma coal mine and power plant construction would have been completed more than three years ago, producing electricity, while the Liganga iron ore mine’s four-year construction period would have been almost complete.

Mchuchuma is said to have 428 million tonnes of coal while Liganga has 128 million tonnes of iron. The Chinese company’s plans include both mining and generation of 600MW of electricity. All the minerals will be processed locally to separate titanium and vanadium from iron ore.

The Liganga-Mchuchuma project has for many years been listed as a strategic national development investment but was in 2018 dropped from the list by finance minister Philip Mpango. TCIMRL was expected to invest $1.8 billion to establish an iron ore mine and iron and steel complex. Its power plant would be run by coal, with 250MW used for the industry and 350MW connected to the national grid.

Waste water spill at Mara North
In a development that cannot help in resolving the ongoing dispute between the government and Acacia Mining, a waste water leak occurred in March at the company’s North Mara gold mine. The toxic waste water was leaking from a waste rock storage facility and threatened to pollute local communities and their water supply.

Minerals Minister, Doto Biteko, gave the company three weeks to resolve the situation or face the mine being closed down. “The life of even one Tanzanian is worth more than their gold mining activities,” he told Reuters news agency.

Acacia issued a statement: “The spillage resulted from a security incident in which sections of the pipe used to transport water from the polishing pond to the Tailing Storage Facility (TSF) were either vandalised or stolen. The incident led to the switching off of the pump used to transport water to the TSF, and the water level in the polishing pond subsequently overflowed. Following the Mine’s remedial actions, the temporary overspill from the pond has been stopped.”

“The Mine has welcomed the support of the Government on resolving this issue, and is working closely with the authorities to implement improvements to security measures around the polishing pond in order to help prevent any reoccurrence.”

Comments

EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

UDSM’s Committee summons lecturer over sex corruption scandal tweet
A senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr Vicensia Shule, has attracted attention to the problem of sex corruption at the university, through a tweet directed at President Magufuli.

Dr Shule tweeted “Papa Magufuli, I wanted to welcome you by displaying my poster as you came to UDSM for inaugurating newly constructed library building but I stumbled at your security officers’ ban. Sex corruption is highly pervasive at the UDSM. I am waiting to hear from you for I trust that your appointees are honest enough to tell you the reality.”

UDSM’s Disciplinary Committee has called Dr Shule to a meeting to discuss the allegations, and she is hopeful of progress, tweeting to her followers “For our dear sexual violence survivors, we are nearly there, we will win, big time.” (Daily News)

Zanzibar’s education improves after years in the doldrums
Zanzibar form four pass rates improved by 1.3% to 78.4% in 2018.
In 2017, six of the worst performing schools nationally were in Zanzibar, whereas in 2018, three were in the ‘list of shame’.

The biggest factor contributing to poor performance is thought to be the shortage of teachers and classrooms. There is a shortage of 952 secondary school teachers in Zanzibar, and the current pupil teacher ratio is 1 teacher to 150 pupils.

Measures to improve the situation include a World Bank-funded programme – Zanzibar Improvement Students Prospective – to improve teaching of maths and science subjects. Schools have started academic camps for Form 4 and Form 6 students which they felt helped to improve students’ performance. Zanzibar also benefits from volunteer teachers from around the world, including UK, US, Japan, South Korea, and a specific government recruitment programme in Nigeria through which 50 volunteer teachers have been recruited since 2015.

Ben Bella Secondary School, founded in 1927, had appeared three times in the list of 5 worst-performing schools in the past five years. Ben Bella headmistress Zainab Mgunda said: “For effective teaching, you need to have a reasonable class size of 45 students as recommended by the government, but due to the shortage of classrooms it was in the past not unusual here to find a Form Six class of 150 students. As of now, the teacher-to-student ratio stands at 1:30. This is partly because the majority of students shifted to other schools due to reasons like suspensions and expulsions, which were instituted by the school to control lazy and indisciplined students”

Why students continue to perform poorly in maths
Despite general improvements in form four examinations over the years, mathematics has seen persistently poor performance with a pass rate of 20%, compared to a pass rate of 89% for Kiswahili, the subject with the highest performance. Shortage of teachers was cited as one of the primary reasons. Mathematics teacher Kitula Jalugula from Mlimwa Secondary School in Dodoma said that there was just one maths teacher employed in his school for more than 400 students.

Teachers also report that students have a perception that maths is a difficult subject, which hinders their learning. Students progress to secondary school without understanding basic mathematics, having passed multiple-choice papers more by luck. Teachers said that students needed to work harder to do more practice exercises, but they lack textbooks and home support. Parents could play a vital role in supporting students’ home study in mathematics, but many don’t because they also perceive the subject as very difficult.

Bukoba teacher to hang for murdering pupil
The High Court has sentenced Respicius Mtazangira (51) to hang to death. Mtazangira was found guilty of beating his Standard 5 pupil to death in 2018 after suspecting that the pupil had stolen a handbag. Co-accused Heriet Gerald was found not guilty.

Prosecution presented to the court various witnesses as well as a medical report from Bugando Referral Hospital which confirmed death by beating.
The case was concluded within 30 days, because of a request to accelerate proceedings due to public interest.

Comments

TRANSPORT

by Ben Taylor

Limits to President Magufuli’s bankrolling of Air Tanzania?
A recent audit report by the Controller Auditor General for 2017/18 shows that Air Tanzania Limited (ATCL) has more than halved its losses over the period of three years since President Magufuli began efforts to revitalise the airline. The airline has domestic flight schedules to Bukoba, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Mtwara, Mbeya, Mwanza, Songea, Tabora and Zanzibar and six regional routes to the Comoros, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It currently has a fleet of eight planes, including six purchased under President Magufuli.

Speaking in January, President John Magufuli ruled out the possibility that the government will protect ATCL even if it makes losses as in the past.

Inaugurating the latest addition to the ATCL fleet, a second Airbus A220-300, the President told the ATCL management to ensure that the national flag carrier does not become a burden on tax payers. “I will not hesitate to transfer ownership of ATCL aircraft and other assets, let us say to Precision Air in case the ATCL management fails to ensure that the public airline maintains high level of efficiency,” he said.

Nevertheless, the President showed no signs of slowing down in its campaign to revamp the national flag carrier. He promised that the government will purchase two more aircraft, including another Dreamliner and another Airbus by next January. “In the next 10 years I want the country to have at least 100 aircraft,” he said, “in order for ATCL to compete with other foreign airlines on relatively equal footing.”

The ATCL Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ladislaus Matindi said at the same occasion that the ATCL-Five Year Plan which kicked off in 2017, was going on well.

In addition to the expanded fleet, he said the airline has recorded a number of achievements in the past three years. This includes an increase in the number of pilots from 10 to 50 with a plan to recruit 10 more by the end of this year and attaining a workforce of 380.

Under the Medium Plan for the next 20 years, ATCL has a vision to expand cargo services within the country and internationally with capacity to compete with international airlines flying to Far East, Europe and Americas. Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Pamela O’Donnell said that the purchase of such modern aircrafts had signalled renewed cooperation between Canada and Tanzania that has lasted for decades since independence in 1961.

New routes
Air Tanzania launched new international routes to Lusaka in Zambia and Harare in Zimbabwe in February. Further, in April the airline announced that a new route to Johannesburg in South Africa was scheduled to begin operations in July 2019. “We will start advertising the route and reveal fares soon after we start selling tickets,” said the company managing director, Mr Ladislaus Matindi.

Mr Matindi added that preparations for flights outside the African continent – specifically to Mumbai in India and Guanzhou in China – had reached an advanced stage. “The Mumbai and Guangzhou flights will be inaugurated when negotiations with authorities in targeted countries to enable us to land are completed.”

Comments