January to June, 1978. Compiled by Graham Mytton.
Students in Dar es Salaam held a demonstration in March in protest at the pay increases and fringe benefits awarded to M.P.s and Ministers. The pay increases which came into effect on January 1st were not officially announced for two months. M.Ps’ salaries went up to She 3,000/- per month. In addition, M.Ps who retire or are defeated after a five-year term are now entitled to a Sh. 45,000/- tax tree gratuity. Those who serve for two or more terms will receive a government pension. Ministers are now exempt from water and electricity bills, and get a house servant paid for by the state. The students objected to all this and marched carrying banners. The demonstration was reported to be peaceful, but the police used batons and tear gas to break it up. Students were arrested for organising an illegal demonstration. They said they had been refused a permit. President Nyerere had offered to meet the students but they decided to go ahead with their march. 367 of them were arrested and sent home. They included Emmy Nyerere , an engineering student and son of the President. In May, 327 of the students were allowed to return to their studies; 19 of the others will be allowed back next year. The remaining 21 “ringleaders” will be barred from further education for five years.
Release of Detainees.
On 26th April President Nyerere ordered the release of 13 detainees to mark the 14th Anniversary of the Union. They included Mohammed Babu and three others who, like him, had been condemned to death in absentia for their alleged part in the killing of Sheikh Karume in 1972. The other three were Capt. Hemed Hilali Mohammed, Col. Ali Mahfoudh and Mrs. Tahir Ali Salum. Their release was widely welcomed in Tanzania. After his release, Babu denied vehemently that he had anything to do with Karume’s death. He said there was no plot. The killing was the sole responsibility and action of the man who fired the shot, who wanted to avenge the death of his father.
Over the next two weeks 30 other detainees were released, including some members of Southern African liberation movements. 10 prisoners on Zanzibar sentenced during •the treason trial for their alleged part in Karume’s death were released. 14 others had. their sentences cut. Earlier, three men under sentence of death on Zanzibar had their sentences commuted.
The names of the secretaries-general of the newly restructured national organisations were announced in February:
Alfred Tandau – Union of Tanzanian Workers.
Rajabu Heri – Youth Organisation.
Maimu Hassan – Union of Tanzanian Women
Athumani Juma Mhina – Tanzania Parents Association
Daniel Makemba – Union of Cooperative Societies.
All the above are automatically members of the National Executive Committee
of the Party (Chama cha Mapinduzi, CCM).
Following these appointments there was a minor Cabinet Reshuffle:
Alfred Tandau – Minister without Portfolio
Daniel Makemba – Minister without Portfolio
Samuel Sitta – Minister of Works.
Other junior appointments were also made on 27th February.
Continued port congestion in Dar es Salaam has been a major headache and has contributed to certain strains in Tanzania’s relations with Zambia. In March 35,000 tonnes of Zambian imports were said to be blocked. No-one seemed to agree who was responsible. Zambian sources said that the fault lay with Tanzanian dock workers. Tanzanian sources blamed poor documentation and even a deliberate usage of port facilities for cheap storage. Zambia has been getting special concessionary rates for the use of Dar es Salaam and the Transport Minister, Mr Jamal, announced that these concessions would be withdrawn, an announcement that caused anger in Lusaka. Meetings at a high level seem to have been going ‘on almost continuously since February. It seems that much of the cause of the delays is Tazara’s limited capacity. More rolling stock is needed.
Meanwhile, improvements to the rest of the railway system go ahead. Britain has made a grant of a further £4 million (£2 million last year) to help improve railway facilities. The Tanzania Railway Corporation has ordered 400 wagons, 13 coaches and 14 locomotives. The Corporation has also ordered new ships for Lake Victoria.
For many wage earners, the main interest in this year’s budget was the reintroduction of tax relief for families with children. The Tanzanian Government plans to spend She 12,300 million in the year 1978-9. She 6,700 of this is on recurrent expenditure and She 5,600 is for development. 37% of the development budget will go on economic infrastructure, 29% on productive capacity and 29% on social infrastructure.
Commercial and Industrial News.
At the beginning of June, the Government announced the expulsion of Lonrho because of the company’s activities in Rhodesia and South Africa. Lonrho’s activities in Tanzania have been cut down over the past eleven years due to nationalisation, but its involvement in tea, cotton and beer production and vehicle distribution contributed £1 million of the company’s £90 million profits last year. Announcing the expulsion of Lonrho, the Tanzanian Government made an outspoken attack on “Tiny” Rowland, Lonrho’s chief executive, who pretended to be a friend of Africa while he meddled in Southern African affairs. Lonrho is to receive £1 million in compensation for the assets of the Central Line Sisal Estates, nationalised in 1967.
Reports from the Tanzanian news agency say that the country’s sisal industry is threatened with collapse because of excessive administrative costs. Reports say that the Tanzanian Sisal Authority was paying some salaries up to one month late and had large outstanding debts to some suppliers.
The newly constructed Kibo paper mill has started production. Radio Tanzania announced in May that the mill would use as much as 90% recycled waste paper and 10% imported pulp. It would save the country an estimated She 7 million foreign exchange per annum.
There has been growing concern about low industrial productivity in many sectors. Prime Minister Edward Sokoine announced that disciplinary committees would be set up in all places of work to try to improve output. New laws would be introduced to underline responsibility and discipline at work.
Parliament has called for Swahili to become the medium of instruction at post-primary levels of education. A committee has been formed to look into the possibilities of carrying out this policy. It met first in June. Swahili will be the medium of instruction in geography, history, arithmetic and domestic studies in Form 1 classes from next year. The plan is that the use of Swahili will gradually spread upwards to cover all subjects up to University level.
President Nyerere has called on school teachers not to overdo education for self-reliance. He expressed concern that in some schools the pupils’ work in the fields had caused classroom work to suffer.
Zanzibar and Pemba are to expand clove production by 50% over the next three years. She 40 million is to be invested.
The current plague of locusts afflicting the Horn and parts of Kenya has also been reported in parts of Northern Tanzania.
There was a severe fall in tobacco production in Iringa due to heavy rain and labour shortages caused by the cholera outbreak. A one million kilogram shortfall led to a loss of She 25 million in foreign exchange earnings.
President Nyerere has made a number of important speeches on this subject. Speaking to police officers in January he said that 1978 would be a year to fight corruption in the country, especially in the administration of justice. The police and the courts had lost their good name by becoming involved in corrupt practices. He announced he was taking personal charge of an anti-corruption squad which would seek to root out corruption at all levels. In February he told a party rally that drastic measures were necessary because Tanzania had lost its reputation as a nation free from corruption.
Tanzania has been affected by a major epidemic of cholera which broke out last November. It is believed to have come from a pilgrim returning from last year’s Haj. In March all primary and secondary schools in Dar es Salaam were temporarily closed, as were all open-air markets. The brewing and selling of local beer was banned and severe restrictions were placed on movement outside the city. No-one knows for .certain how many have died to date, but the official figure of over 400 is thought to be an under-estimate. The latest area to be affected is Kigoma and the disease has spread across Lake Tanganyika into Zaire and also into Burundi. Mercifully, the Minister of Health has recently reported that the outbreak is now virtually over and that only a few cases remain.
There was considerable excitement at the discovery by Dr Mary Leakey of a set of four million year old footprints preserved in some volcanic ash at Laetolil. They are thought to have been made by an ape-like creature about “four feet high with a small brain area and big jaws and big teeth”. In June, the Tanzania National Scientific Research Council announced the discovery by Dr Peter Schmidt of one of Africa’s earliest Iron Age industrial sites near Kemondo Bay in West Lake Region.
Tanzanian geologist J.J. Mwabene announced that he had found a third deposit of natural gas in Tukuyu. The deposits he had discovered were commercially exploitable and were 98% pure.
Since the closure of the Kenya-Tanzania border and the break-up of the East African Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, most international telephone calls have still been routed via Nairobi. But now Tanzania is to buy a satellite communication station which will end the country’s dependence on Kenya for its external telecommunication services. The Government has signed a $3 million contract with a Japanese firm to build the station as well as a new telex exchange. Both will be operational next year.