Digest of News from Tanzania, July to December 1976
On February 5th 1976 President Nyerere reiterated that the time had come for the two parties, TANU and ASP, to merge. Discussions began immediately and according to reports on Radio Tanzania there was little opposition to the move, although it is clear that there were differences of opinion on the role of the single party in Government. In September, after a four day meeting of its executive in Zanzibar, the ASP called for the implementation of the merger. At the end of the same month TANU’s Central Committee met. There was a joint session of the National Executive Committee on October 2nd to discuss the formation of a new party out of the TANU-ASP merger. A month later the two NECs were reported to have agreed on a new party constitution. The new party will be known as Chama Cha Mapinduzi (The Party of the Revolution). Its constitution was formally approved on New Year’s Day 1977 and it will be officially inaugurated on February 5th, the tenth anniversary of the Arusha Declaration. The new party’s headquarters will be in Dodoma and its new flag will be green with a hammer and hoe emblem.
Prominent in world news has been the Conference in Geneva on the future of Rhodesia, at which Tanzania has been an official observer. Dr. Kissinger’s first port of call during his September shuttle diplomacy was Dar es Salaam Referring to Dr. Kissinger’s statement that the United States Government wished to support efforts to secure a peaceful transition to majority rule, the Tanzanian Government asked why they would be reluctant to support those who fought for freedom if all else failed.
Following reports that 100 students at Makerere had been killed, 2,000 Dar es Salaam students demonstrated against ‘the fascist regime of Uganda’. They marched through Dar es Salaam on 9th August. It was reported that some of the students demonstrating in Dar es Salaam were Ugandan.
Economic Affairs and Development
In June the Finance Minister Amir Jamal announced major tax adjustments aimed at expanding wealth producing industries. Speaking to Parliament on 17th June, Mr Jamal said that the aim was to ensure that sisal, coffee and cotton farmers were totally exempted from taxation, or subject only to small taxes, when prices fall or when production costs increase. The proposal was that the sisal crop should not be taxed at all if its price fell below sh.8.00 per kilo. Personal taxes were increased, as also were taxes on beer, spirits, cigarettes, soft drinks, and textiles. The Government also announced that more than 40% of its £304.2 M. development budget for 1976-77 would be channelled into immediately productive projects. The remainder would be divided equally between infrastructure and Social Service. The third five-year development plan, postponed last year, came to life this year and will run until 1981. In a further effort to save foreign exchange and to rationalise the use of motor vehicles the Government announced further limits on the types and make of car imported. Cars allowed in from December 1976 will be Volkswagen, Peugeot and Datsun, while only Isuzu, Land-Rover, Range Rover and Ford Transit light vehicles will be imported. U.S. bank Citibank is to provide more than £1m towards the cost of a paper mill which begins to operate next year.
The Chinese-financed railway to Kapiri Mposhi, completed well ahead of schedule in 1975, was handed over officially in July last year. Travelling on one of the first scheduled express trains from Dar to Kapiri, Nicholas Ashford of the Times reported that the train was seven minutes early after the 1,162 mile journey. It left Dar es Salaam at 5.50 p.m. on Friday and arrived at 4.53 a.m. on Sunday. Third class fare – £5.50. On Lake Tanganyika there are plans to replace the now unserviceable SS Liemba.
Employment and Villages
A booklet published by the Prime Minister’s office in July shows that the number of villages increased from 6,944 in 1975 to 7,656 this year. More than 13,000,000 people live in villages. In November TANU in Dar es Salaam launched a new campaign, aimed at removing unemployed people from Dar and resettling them in rural areas. RTD (Radio Tanzania, Dar es Salaam) reported on 18th November that ‘hundreds of families’ began a new life under the ‘everybody should work’ campaign. Numbers were increased when the Dar es Salaam branch of TANU banned street trading. Despite claims on RTD that many people were coming forward voluntarily, soldiers, some of them armed, took part in a round-up of unemployed people. And the Daily News reported that of 250 settled in one village on Tuesday, 200 were back in the capital by Thursday. The prime minister, Rashidi Kawawa warned people not to ‘escape’ from the villages. Unforeseen problems arose. First, the tobacco factory which relies on the street vendors pointed out that it stood to lose about sh.4m. and would have to cut its work force. Second, it was soon clear that soldiers who were waking people up in the night, moving some of them without giving them a chance to collect personal belongings, were also moving people who were gainfully employed. The Daily News was forthright in showing up the shortcomings of the campaign.
Medicine and Health
Dr. Leader Stirling, Minister of Health, told Parliament in June that the Government intended to nationalise all privately owned dispensaries and hospitals. Regulations were promulgated in December as an amendment to the present law. Medical Services will no longer be allowed to operate as commercial enterprises. Dispensaries and private hospitals will be abolished and patients’ fees and doctor’s salaries would be fixed.
The construction of an agricultural secondary school in Kilosa has been completed.
280 students began studies there in December. The school is one of three being built with assistance from the Cuban Government. The two others are being built at Ruvu and Ifakara. Four teachers and forty-five pupils at a secondary school at Mwanza were expelled in August-September after trouble at the school. No reasons were given for the unrest in the official Government statement, but it is believed to have occurred earlier in the year.
On Saba Saba Day, President Nyerere announced an amnesty to more than 8,000 prisoners. Those serving sentences of up to six months were released along with those who were serving sentences of longer periods but who had good conduct records. Two letters smuggled out of prison in October allege use of torture against political detainees. The letters make charges of poor conditions, of imprisonment without legal assistance, notification of families, or even any explanation of the reasons for the arrest. The detainees at Ukonga prison, says one of these letters, number 43. ‘These people have nothing in common other than their knowledge that it is possible to rot in a Tanzanian prison without being told why, without appearing before a magistrate, without having any legal way of expressing grievances, and in complete disregard of anything stipulated by the U.N. Human Rights charter’. The Attorney General condemned the letters as ‘a fairy story’, but also conceded that people were ‘not notified of the charges in 100% of the cases’.
On 2nd October the Prime Minister inaugurated the Tanzania Newa Agency – Shirika la Habari la Tanzania. The agency will eliminate unnecessary competition between the different news media for stories. It has been planned for a long time but always been postponed for lack of funds.
Following the recent cut-back in the number of civil servants, the Minister for Civil Service Development, Nicholas Kuhanga, told Parliament in July that many errors had been made. Those ‘retired’ early included some university graduates whose studies had been completed only a year earlier.
Minister of Defence Edward Sokoine asked Parliament in July to approve a defence budget of Sh 962m for the year 1976-7. President Nyerere opened a new military academy at Monduli in September. Mr. Sokoine opened a Ministry of Defence seminar in November with strong warnings about the defence force’s high rate of accidents. He said that in the period 1975-6 there had been 820 accidents in the army resulting in 47 deaths. In the National Service the corresponding figures were 90 accidents and 8 deaths. The Chief of Staff, Brig. Mkwera, has been appointed to be the Director of the Rufiji Valley Development Authority. Brig. Kiwelu who was head of the Southern Brigade became the new Chief of Staff. TANU’s regional secretary for West Lake, Col. Marwa, has been given the rank of brigadier and put in charge of the Southern Brigade. To emphasise the party’s close connection with the defence forces the new military college is now called the Party’s College for Military Training.
A big scheme for the construction of guest houses, roads and other facilities in the Kilimanjaro National Park was completed in December. Norway financed the project which included a road through the 295 square km park on the slopes of the mountain. Director of National Parks, Derek Bryceson, said the government was preparing to establish a new park in Geita District to the west of Mwanza.
The New Capital
President Nyerere reiterated the Government’s commitment to the building of Dodoma as the nation’s capital. When he received the copy of the final masterplan from the Canadian Project Planning Associates in July, President Nyerere said that although it would take longer than the Uhuru railway the new capital had to be built.
Another link in the evolutionary chain linking modern man with his ancestors has been found during excavations near Lake Ndutu. The skull was found at a site excavated by Mr. A. A. Mturi, Director of Antiquities and is thought to date between 500,000 and 600,000 years ago. (See Nature, August 5th 1976).
END OF NEWS DIGEST