August 1977 – January 1978

The first national conference of the government party uniting the former TANU and ASP, Chama cha Mapinduzi, opened on 18th October in the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Dar es Salaam. The Conference elected 40 members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) out of 85 candidates, 20 from the mainland and 20 from Zanzibar. 1,480 delegates took part in the conference and the elections. The new NEC met on 22nd. October and elected a new Central Committee.

(Apart from the 40 members elected by the National Conference, the NEC includes the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Party elected by the National Conference, all members of the Central Committee, all Regional Chairmen and Secretaries and all Chairmen and Secretaries of the designated mass organisations (the Youth Organisation, Union of Tanzanian Women, Union of Tanzanian Workers, etc.))

At the beginning of January, the Prime Minister, Edward Sokoine, announced further measures aimed at stopping the drift to the towns. Villagers will in future have to obtain permission before leaving their villages. Each registered village is to be empowered to prevent people leaving without permission. Action has also been taken against ‘vagrants’ in the towns and street traders have been particularly affected in Dar es Salaam. Recent press and radio messages have tried to persuade people that a better life is possible in the villages and efforts continue to be made to use persuasion rather than coercion to encourage people to work on the land.

There has been drought in parts of northern Tanzania. There is also a meat shortage and in January the Government announced plans to sell elephant and other game meat from officially culled animals.

Tanzania is to receive 7,000 tonnes of maize from the World Food Programme. This will be delivered in three years time and stored with other food grains intended for Tanzania’s emergency grain reserve project. The intention is to reserve 100,000 tonnes in storage.

There was an outbreak of cholera in Southern Tanzania in October and November. The Health Minister, Leader Stirling, blamed traditional medicine men for making the situation worse by offering phoney protection. The WHO sent vaccines.

Mary Hancock M.P. died in October. Born in England in 1910, she was a volunteer teacher in Tanganyika in 1941. She later became Headmistress of Tabora Girls High School, a Tanzanian citizen and a senior education inspector. In 1970, she was nominated to Parliament by the women’s organisation, Umoja wa Wanawake wa Tanzania (UWT) and elected by the National Assembly (Parliament). Mama Hancock was a much loved and respected figure. A requiem mass was celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop in Dar es Salaam Cathedral on 28th October.

Abdul Karim Karimjee CBE, Speaker of Parliament before and after Independence and Chairman of the Council of the former University College, Dar es Salaam, businessman and prominent leader of the Asian community died in London in September.

The October session of Parliament was held in Zanzibar and when Parliament resumes it will sit in Pemba. Members of Parliament debated a number of issues, including an outbreak of tribal rivalry in Singida Region. The Prime Minister, Edward Sokoine, asked members from the Region to stop arguing on tribal lines. He said that nobody had yet come up with ideas on how to stop the bloodshed. The Junior Minister for Home Affairs told the House that 94 people had died in tribal clashes in the Region over the previous eleven years.

In November, Kenya stopped all flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and the border remains closed. At the time of closure, imports from Kenya were increasing and constituted nearly 13% of total imports, while exports to Kenya were declining at around 3% of total exports. Since the closure, good progress has been made in attracting tourists and the severe reduction in the number of elephants in Kenya due to poaching appears to have made Tanzania a more attractive proposition for some tour operators. The trade imbalance between the two countries remains one of the difficult problems of relationship to be solved. In November, Vice-President Aboud Jumbe met Kenya Vice-President Arap Moi in Zanzibar and talks were held at official level in Mombasa in December and are to continue.

More than 100 Ugandans, formerly employed in the East African Community in Arusha, defied an order from Idi Amin to return home and were granted political asylum in Tanzania. Despite poor relations, however, there were moves in January to reopen trade links in the West Lake Region, which has suffered greatly since the border closure from the disruption of Lake Victoria steamer services. The Minister for Trade, Alphonce Rulegura, called on leaders in the West Lake Region to foster good neighbourliness with Uganda and with Rwanda and Burundi. He said that Tanzania was not opposed to trade links with Uganda. Later, an agreement between the two countries was reached at a meeting at Mutukula between the West Lake Regional Party Secretary (Regional Commissioner) and the Governor of Masaka Region in Uganda. The agreement covered the control of crime, medical services, schools, vermin control, exports and imports and the maintenance of peace.

In December, Zanzibaris went to the polls for the first time since before Independence in 1963. This resulted from the introduction of the Constitution of the United Republic, which came into force on 26th. April, 1977, and replaced the previous Interim Constitution. Ten members of parliament were elected and five other elected indirectly.* Together with Zanzibar’s nominated members, they will serve until the next national general elections in 1980. Great interest was shown in the Stone Town result, when Zanzibar’s Chief Justice and presiding judge at the treason trial in 1975, Ali Haji Pandu, was heavily defeated by Jamal Ramadhau Nasibu, a journalist and former detainee.

* Zanzibar elects one member for every District in Zanzibar and Pemba. Parliament elects one member from each Region of Zanzibar and Pemba from names put forward by the Regional Development Committee. The Regional Commissioner of each Region is a member ex officio. The Zanzibar Revolutionary Council elects up to 30 from amongst its members and outside. The President appoints up to 20 members from Zanzibar end Pemba.

Air Tanzania has started operating services to Burundi, Rwanda and the Seychelles. Other international services operate to Madagascar, Mozambique and Zambia.

Following the successful completion of the railway to Zambia, efforts are now being concentrated on improvements to the older railways. Canada is making a grant of shs. 470 million to restore the railway system; the UK contribution is shown under ‘Programme Aid’ in the first section of this issue of the Bulletin. The Canadian contribution is the largest sum ever given by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to any country and will be used chiefly to rebuild the central line to Kigoma.

Following the recurrence of difficulties and delays with Zambia-bound cargo, the Tanzanian and Zambian Governments reached an agreement in December to lift the road weight restriction on the road between Dar es Salaam and Tunduma. It was also announced, following the controversy over the use of Tazara wagons on Zambia railways, that the two railway companies would meet to conclude a wagon-hire agreement.

President Nyerere made a State Visit to the United States in August at which, in the words of the Daily Telegraph, he was given ‘red carpet treatment’ by President Carter. It was the President’s first State Visit to America since he was invited by President Kennedy. The President also visited Jamaica and Canada.

Graham Mytton

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