The outstanding issues left over after the collapse of the East African Community have not yet been settled. But the three East African Presidents met in Arusha in January. It was the first time this had happened since before Idi Amin seized power. The President also had talks with his Rwandan and Burundian counterparts. Following the talks, agreement was reached on telephone and road links, and the possibility of a rail link is to be investigated. The idea of a joint hydro-electric project in the Kagera River Basin is to be investigated further before a decision is made.
President Nyerere has made a two day official visit to Italy and the Vatican, followed by a three day official visit to Austria. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has been accorded full diplomatic recognition in Dar es Salaam.
The continuing political conflict in Uganda has inevitably led to accusations that Tanzania has been interfering in Uganda’s affairs. It is clear that Tanzania would like to withdraw all its forces as soon as possible, and spokesmen have repeatedly made it clear that they are there only because the Ugandan authorities have asked for them to be. At a recent delegates conference of the Democratic Party in Uganda on 19th June a letter was read out from President Nyerere. (It should be borne in mind that among Tanzania’s strongest critics in Uganda have been supporters of this party who accuse the Tanzanians of favouring Milton Obote’s UPC). The letter read:
Dear Mr. Semwogerere (Interim DP Chairman), Thank you for writing to me. I received your letter when I got back to Dar es Salaam from Arusha this week. I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet representatives of the DP of Uganda. Our discussions did I believe, help to clear up some misunderstandings about Tanzania’s policy in Uganda and may thus help the struggle towards stability in your country, for our desire is to help Uganda
a) to re-establish conditions of personal security for all citizens
b) to facilitate the holding of free and fair elections as soon as possible.
My country has no intention of interfering in those processes. Uganda is not a protectorate of Tanzania. But it is in our interest that law and order should exist in Uganda. It is also in our interest that your country should have an elected government which serves the people and the region honestly and which establishes the foundations for good neighbourliness between the states of this part of Africa. Tanzania is not concerned which party or coalition is chosen by Ugandans to head their government. We will do our best both to be politically neutral between contending groups and to appear to be neutral. It is in this context of those objectives that I welcome the positive attitude of the DP leadership towards the present administration in Uganda. I believe that such an approach by both the main parties of your country will help to ensure continued progress towards improved security and rapid preparation of elections.
The letter, which was received with applause, went on to deny the allegation made by Professor Lule from Nairobi that his own candidature for the Presidential nomination by the DP had been vetoed by the Tanzanians.
During the elections in Zimbabwe President Nyerere accused Britain of breaking the Lancaster House agreement. Later he admitted he had been wrong.
Air Tanzania has begun twice weekly flights to Europe, connecting Dar es Salaam with London, Athens, Zurich and Rome. Two aircraft have been leased from British Caledonian.
The Tanzam (Tazara) Railway which lost $10 million last year is expected to make a profit this year of $10 million. The railway is expected to transport 1.2 million tons of freight and l.54 million passengers. The railway has not yet reached its planned capacity of 2 million tons per year.
From 1983, Tanzania and Zambia will start paying China $20 million per year for 30 years.
A British study of Dar es Salaam port has recommended the construction of two berths to take containerised freight. It has also looked at the perennial freight handling problem and concluded that much of the trouble lies in the fact that too much space is being taken up by long-term freight storage and rubbish.
On May 1st all bus services of the National Bus Company were suspended due to the acute shortage of tyres and inner tubes. The General Tyre Factory at Arusha stopped production for a time in March due to the shortage of raw materials.
There was serious labour unrest at Dar es Salaam port in April when 16 workers were sacked. Dockers went on strike in defiance of JUWATA (the National Trade Union Organisation). The workers claimed the men had been dismissed for campaigning for better working conditions. They were all persuaded to return to work two days later. But a further 116 workers were later also dismissed.
The integration of the many thousands of Rwandan and Burundian refugees in the country seems to have been a great success. In January it was announced that the administration of some of the camps would be taken over from the UNHCR and the Christian Refugee Service. In one settlement near Tabora, 24,900 refugees have developed a thriving agricultural community and even run a hotel. 36,000 Rwandan refugees have applied for Tanzanian citizenship and it looks as if this will be granted. Most refugees from the two countries have integrated fully and want to stay.
Cholera which claimed more than 1,000 lives two years ago has again broken out in many parts of the country. By April 34 people had died in Mheya, Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Kigoma and Tanga Regions. Concern was also expressed about the state of sanitation in public toilets in Dar es Salaam. The City Council closed these for a time in order to put things right. By June 30th all private practice in medicine was due to end, except under the auspices of an approved organisation, such as a trade union body (JUWATA), or a mission.
Nyerere’s directive on village shops (Radio Report): The chairman of the CCM, Mwalimu Nyerere, had directed that 1980 be set aside for setting up large general stores in all the villages in Tanzania. While addressing the nation at Mwanza, at the peak of celebrations marking the third anniversary of the CCM, Mwalimu also directed the CCM to supervise the establishment of such stores, to be run on socialist lines. We said such village stores must be given top priority and their supervision be comparable to that of other government projects in the villages. He, however, warned that the directive on establishing such shops in the villages did not mean the closure of existing shops. The OCM Chairman also directed public corporations dealing with essential commodities to give such shops the first priority in the buying of essential commodities. The government has directed that a crash programme he drawn up for training in the management, operation and supervision of registered ujamaa shops.
4,436 prisoners were granted a Presidential amnesty to mark the 16th anniversary of the Union.
Over 150 professional and amateur scientists were in Tanzania on February 16th to view the total eclipse of the sun.
The newly established Pan African Postal Union is to set up its headquarters in Arusha at the former offices of the East African Community.
C.C.M. CONFERENCE IN ARUSHA
This was reported in the British Press as being called to discuss Human Rights. It was assumed to be part of a pre-election campaign by CCM to deal with complaints against arbitrary actions by Government and Party officials and delays in hearing cases by the courts. However, such reports as have appeared do not mention any discussion of these matters, but have concentrated on a reaffirmation of the leadership of CCM and the need for training for Party officials at all levels.