PRESIDENT MWINYI’S FIRST YEAR
In its appraisal of President Mwinyi’s first year in office, New Africa’s Paula Park (in the December 1986 issue) wrote that “in a cautious, low key, pragmatic way, the President has already set Tanzania on the path of reform.” She went on, “At the end of his first year in office, President Mwinyi gave a press conference for no specific reason, and promised to open more dialogue in the future. In his discussions with journalists he repeated his request to the public to help him in his campaign for financial discipline by reporting to his office Government officials involved in bribery, mismanagement and embezzlement.
Mobilising the public to report on Government officials rather than Government officials informing on the public is revolutionary in Africa where intelligence police and Government informers have been an integral part of independent rule.
The President does not, however, depict himself as a revolutionary. In his campaign for discipline and financial controls, he urges Government officials to follow rules already established by the previous President. While he has exhaustively lobbied for the country’s Economic Reform Programme, which brings initial hardship to the populace, he has not tried to console people with promises he cannot guarantee. Rhetoric is not in his style. When interviewed he describes himself as a Government official duty-bound to the public, not a vanguard.
And yet he has spearheaded real reform in Tanzania. Free of Government support and the yoke of Government controls, top managers in state corporations have become self-critical and self-analytical. Even the Government owned press has become a bit more courageous in its editorials, reports, and analysis. A recent Sunday News columnist criticised corruption and cruelty among police officers. The widely read workers weekly, Mfanyakazi blasted the Government over its handling of the Kilombero sugar riots. Corruption and suspected embezzlement cases have featured regularly in the news. The President has shown remarkable confidence in the political maturity of Tanzanians to allow a subtle but substantial freeing of information and debate. In his foreign policy and statements to international forums, President Mwinyi has followed Julius Nyerere, while adding a few nuances of his own. Outspoken against apartheid, he has urged frontline states to be practical in their campaigns against South Africa, to replace ‘lipservice’ with action. He has offered to divert domestic import and export activity to Mtwara and Tanga ports leaving the larger Dar es Salaam port free for land-locked southern Africa. He has strengthened moves towards closer links with Kenya, started under Julius Nyerere. He has opened his arms to Uganda.
While in his foreign and economic policy he has shown courage, determination, and concern for Tanzanians, the Field Force Unit shootings of 20 sugarcane workers in Kilombero remain a stain on his positive first year in office. When confronted on the issue by local journalists, he promised a full report would be released soon to the public.
Some observers have noticed that despite Mwinyi’s programme of reform, he has failed to make substantial changes in his cabinet to prove his commitment to change. While his cabinet adjustments have been mainly reshuffling of ‘old boys’, some of the longest serving political leaders have led reforms.” The writer mentions Minister of Finance, Cleopa Wsuya, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Paul Bomani, and Getrude Mongella, “who has been the first Minister to aggressively campaign for tourism. It is to Mwinyi’s credit that he has left top party committees alone, and allowed staunch socialist ministers to remain in the cabinet, thus balancing the group of reformists……
Prices of everything are up, though wages have remained low; students have boycotted University classes demanding better book allowances (which they were granted). Perhaps despite his caution and hesitance in initiating reforms, President Mwinyi has changed too much, too quickly. Only the future will tell.”
TANZANIA – TOP IN AFRICA FOR STABILITY
The Economist in its issue of December 20th 1986 noted that “any big bank worth its deposits has a risk analysis department to tell it which countries it should not lend to because they are not likely to repay.” The Economist then looked at what it described as 50 developing countries which are at the greatest risk of becoming unstable during the rest of the 1980’s. It admitted that its comparative table was deeply unscientific and explained that it had selected the 50 countries by eliminating the superpowers, rich OECD countries, any country with a population of less than 5 million, and what it described a s those already ruined (eg. Afghanistan & Mozambique). Each country was scored on a 100 paint scale: the closer to 100, the more unstable.
Tanzania is in the centre of the table – the 21st most risky with a score of 51 out of 100. But of the 10 African countries South of the Sahara quoted in the table Tanzania receives the best score for stability.
There are 16 “Points of instability” – 33 points for economic factors, 50 for political factors and l7 for the state of society, Tanzania scored well because of its good relations with its neighbours, its absence of militarism, Islamic fundamentalism, and ethnic tension, its relatively low rate of urbanisation and its food production. It is given an average score on the legitimacy of its Government and its GDP growth. It is assessed as potentially unstable because of the authoritarianism of its Government, its level of corruption, its rate of inflation, the size of its foreign debt and its dependence on commodity exports.
The four least stable countries in the table are Iraq, Ethiopia, Iran and Sudan. The most stable are Brazil, Portugal, China and Hong Kong.
WILY TANZANIA SOFTENS IMF
Under this beading, New Africa, in its September issue referred to the IMF negotiations in these terms: “Ujanja is the Swahili word for cleverness and it has ruled the day in Tanzania’s juggling act between the country’s socialist party leaders and the IMF. The result has been a pragmatic three year plan for economic recovery, supported by IMF funding, the World Rank, and a host of donor countries. While Tanzanians have compromised their socialist principles to an extent by promising support for private business, and a further slimming of the country’s parastatal marketing boards, they have been able to score real victories against IMF conditions. Chiefly the Government bas retained its power to devalue, at its own rate, and to increase minimum wages to offset the effect of devaluation and budget slimming. In the 1986-87 budget, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Cleopa Msuya announced 7-25% ‘cost of living allowances’ for civil servants and is looking into more substantial permanent wage increases expected to be announced soon…. Despite donor hesitations, the Economic Recovery Programme and the external finance to support it represent a victory on behalf of the Third World countries, the Tanzanians are claiming. From the negotiations with Tanzania, a diplomat said, the IMF has learnt to be more sensitive. It has learnt to be more flexible.”
THE NYERERE COMMISSION
The appointment of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere as chairman of the new “South-South Commission” has been widely publicised. South in its October issue related how Julius Nyerere first suggested the setting up of a South Commission in December 1977 at the end of a conference sponsored by the Third World Foundation and four years later elaborated the idea in a speech in New Delhi. He then felt that a commission of broadly based, high calibre membership and technical staff could be of great service in promoting Third World co-operation. The commission would examine the many different ideas which have been discussed over the years, the current and probable future organisational needs, and the priorities of intra-Third World action which are appropriate to dealing with the problem of world poverty.
Commonwealth Currents in its October issue reported that, “At the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, in early September, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, announced the establishment of the ‘South-South Commission’ for cooperation among developing countries and the acceptance of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, to chair it. The invitation to chair the Independent Commission of the South on Development Issues had previously been communicated personally to Dr Nyerere by Dr Mahathir.
The Commission, to consist of 20 international politicians and intellectuals acting independently from governments, will initially function as a ‘Think Tank’ along the lines of the Brandt Commission and other such bodies. It is expected not merely to identify the causes of under-development but to produce common strategies for developing countries to combat poverty, hunger, illiteracy and economic stagnation.
West Africa in its September 27th issue took the matter further in writing that “The Nyerere report, which may take a couple of years to complete, looks like being for the ‘eighties what the Brandt report was for the ‘seventies and the Pearson report was for the ‘sixties. Pearson now seems a very long time ago, and was largely composed of aid gurus, while Brandt enlarged the field, and included more political figures including several from the Third World. It is a reflection of the way in which developed countries have totally ignored the Brandt report, in spite of a considerable promotion around it, that the poorer countries are now falling back on their own wisdom…..It will be interesting to see who Mwalimu brings with him on his quest. Will the membership for example, be strictly from the “South”? One notes that he is also a likely member of the committee of wise men set up at this years OAU summit in Addis Ababa, which is especially supposed to include former heads of state who have stepped down with dignity. He is definitely not available for just any committee of worthies going: for example he declined to be one of the Commonwealth’s “eminent persons” on South Africa, nominating his former Agriculture Minister John Malecela to take his place.”
IVORY SALES BAN
Readers will recall that we referred in Bulletin No 25 to growing concern about ivory poaching in Tanzania. According to the Financial Times on December 3rd 1986 the Government has acted. It had announced a total ban on Ivory sales to curb poaching of elephants, with dealers ordered to hand in their trading licences by December 30th 1986.
Development Forum in its September 1986 issue reported that: “since its establishment in 1963 the Mweka College of African Wildlife Management in Tanzania has produced over 1000 graduates from l6 African countries. Located on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro the college is open to students from any nation. It offers courses in the natural sciences, wildlife and estate management and conservation education. The graduates are now working in virtually every protected area throughout Eastern and Central Africa. According to Robinson HcIlvaine, former President of the African Wildlife Foundation, “If Mweka didn’t exist, it would have to be invented – it is a glowing tribute to the far-sighted Government of Tanzania.” A number of graduates now occupy senior positions within their respective Governments including the Directors of Wildlife in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and Malawi.
Mother Teresa, aged 76, escaped unhurt when a light aircraft she was travelling in slewed off the rough airstrip at Hombolo near Dodoma on October 12th, 1986. Five people in the crowd lining the airstrip were killed. According to the Times, “The dead were two boys aged 8 and 12, sister Serena, an Indian missionary nun, the director of a leprosy centre, and another Tanzanian man. The pilot, Mr Rolf Klemenson, a Norwegian, said the plane slewed off the runway as it was gathering speed for take-off and he was unable to lift it over the crowd. Two were injured by the propellers of the plane and at least one of the dead was decapitated.
Mother Theresa subsequently attended the funeral of sister Serena. She was deeply affected by the tragedy, saying: “My coming is behind this accident.” She at first said that she would abandon the rest of her tour, but later decided to continue and flew to Tabora, where she attended a ceremony at which seven members of her Missionary Sisters of Charity took their first vows.”
THE KILOMBERO KILLINGS
In its September issue, Africa Events had three articles on the
Kilombero sugar estate incident. It referred to the official reports to the effect that on July 25th 1986 three people were killed, seventeen seriously injured and thirteen arrested during a riot by sugar cane cutters. It went on to describe how “sugar cane cutters are employed on a minimum wage of TShs.810 per month. The way they are treated is reminiscent of the colonial plantation practice derogatorily called MIAMBA (“numbers”) or migrant labour. Indeed cane cutters all over Tanzania come mainly from Mbeya region, from the poorest peasantry called Wasafwa. When they arrive on the plantation they are given an advance to buy cooking utensils, clothes, and a panga, their only tool of trade. These loans are then deducted from their meagre monthly wages. Cane cutters live mostly in unlighted labour lines or quarters in deplorable sanitary conditions.
At the end of July, the cane cutters found that after deductions they were left with some TShs 100-200 each. Apparently they had not been paid their overtime earning and bonus. Some deductions were mysterious or unexplained. This infuriated the workers. On Sunday at dawn they surrounded the factory gates barring other workers from entering and reportedly after remaining the entire day began dispersing around 5.00 pm when the Field Force Unit arrived at the scene. Workers rallied against the Unit. It’s likely that FFU commanders at the site believed the machetes carried by the workers for cutting cane were weapons; it is not yet publicly known. Someone threw a stone and the firing began.” The Sunday News reported that the Government had set up a six-man Commission of Enquiry, chaired by Justice B. D. Chipeta.
THE BIGGEST 600
South published in its August issue its list of the biggest 600 companies, in term of sales/turnover, in 48 Third World countries, Two Tanzanian companies were included. The National Textile Company (US$ 628 million) which came in the 102nd position and Tanzania Breweries (US$ 225 million) which came in the 283rd position. Top of the list was Mexico’s oil company (US$ 20,873 million).
WOMEN AND THE LAW
In an article headed “On the Wrong side of the Law” New Africa in its September issue claimed that although Tanzania may have a constitution guaranteeing women’s representation in Parliament, women generally find little protection under the law. It quotes a number of examples: “In June the Dar es Salaam City Council vowed to close down vendors selling food on the streets in order to combat cholera. It was a welcome initiative, but the victims are the women who sell bread and chapatis to boost their meagre incomes.
Another incident occurred last October, when 23 women were rounded up by the police for appearing on a Dar es Salaam street at 9pm. They were taken to court where 19 were sentenced to between 3 months and a year in jail. The Daily News reported that when one woman showed her cinema ticket as proof that she had not been loitering, the magistrate responded that she should not have been going to the cinema at night and then pronounced her guilty.
The police arrest women for loitering because prostitution laws are too general and convictions too difficult to push through, according to legal expert Malingumu Rutashobya. If the Government wanted to crack down on prostitution, it could begin today, Rutasahobya said because the places where the prostitutes live are well known By convicting women for loitering, the Government can punish innocent people.
The law regarding rape is also weak. Since there is no minimum sentence for rape, the magistrate or judge determines the punishment. A man convicted of a violent rape can spend less than three years in prison, complains Rutashobya, and when he gets out, perhaps he’ll rape again, since the punishment is not really a deterrent. Police procedures in rape cases are not standardised; a woman who has been raped must often prove her case using circumstantial evidence. The police are supposed to establish medically whether the woman has been raped, but they do not always do so As a consequence, the evidence is often weak and a rapist can be sentenced for a lesser crime”
THE PRICE OF A SUIT
Business Traveller in its October 1986 issue examined in an article headed “Suit Yourself” as part of a regular series comparing the cost of living in different parts of the world, the price of a man’s suit in 36 different countries. Using 100 as the base cost of a suit in Britain it found that a suit in Tanzania would cost the equivalent of 360 on the same scale – the highest figure in the table. It commented that “absent-minded business travellers are advised against forgetting to pack the trusty three piece on visits to Tanzania. Any visit to the friendly Dar es Salaam clothier would only be hidden by the most lavish of expense accounts!”
GERMANY’S LAST ASKARIS
According to a German newspaper, there were in 1983 some 119 surviving askaris of the German force serving under General von Lettow- Vorbeck in World War 1. Each year around Christmas those few who can still manage the journey assemble at the German war cemetery in Tanga for a ceremonial wreath-laying beside the memorial stone under an ancient baobab tree. After placing the wreath at the foot of the memorial, one of the old gentlemen cries “Kaiser Vilhelm lebe hoch”, whereupon the others reply “Hoch” three times. Then there follows the singing of the German Imperial anthem “Heil dir in Siegerkranz, Herrscher des Vaterlands, Heil Kaiser dir.” After the ceremony, the veterans resort to the house of a German lady resident since 1934 in Tanga, Hargarete Scheel (known as ‘Mama Askari’), where they enjoy a good meal and no doubt share many recollections of that remarkable campaign.
Towards the end of their service in the ‘Schutztruppe’ the askaris received only promissory notes by way of payment and they had to wait until 1964 – the year of von Lettow-Vorbeck’s death at the age of 93 – for these obligations to be redeemed by the West German Government Thereafter, each year each surviving askari has received from the Government in Bonn a present of DK50 around Christmas time, raised in 1984 to DM 100 (£38)
FARMER TAKES IRRIGATION PIPES TO TANZANIA
The Farmers Weekly in its November 21st, 1986 issue reported how an Essex farmer, Mr Simon Collins is appealing to farmers for redundant irrigation pipes for Tanzania. Mr Collins told the Bulletin that he originally read an article about a Roman Catholic Mission farm at Himo, near Moshi and then met Father J. Massawe during a visit by the latter to Britain. Mr Collins then launched an appeal for donations of irrigation pipes and in 1985 was able to take some l40 lengths of pipe with him to Tanzania.
Mr Collins now wants East Anglian farmers to donate further unused pipes and sprinklers. Anyone with spare irrigation pipes can contact Mr Collins on 0279-731205, who will arrange collection.