TANZANIA IN THE MEDIA

The comments made in the extracts from the media which follow – and indeed articles in other sections of the Bulletin – do not necessarily represent the views of the Britain-Tanzania Society. They are published to illustrate the impressions of various writers on what they have seen and heard about Tanzania – Editor

TOURISM African Business in its May 1987 issue indicates that big changes in Tanzania’s tourism policy may be underway. Some sources contend that the Government has decided to go for mass tourism with the private sector playing a big role in the promotion of the trade. “According to the General Manager of the Tanzania Tourist Corporation (T.T.C.), Mr. Timothy Kassela, the policy would contain, among many other things, a code on investment and repatriation of dividends by foreign firms.

In a move to improve tourist services, the Government has accepted a proposal by the T.T.C. to relinquish day-to-day management of the 15 state-owned tourist hotels and lodges to foreign management agencies which are expected to give better services to the tourist.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors at the T.T.C., Mr Iddi Simba, confirms that negotiations have reached an advanced stage with foreign hotel management agents, so that the change of management should be effective by January 1988.

However, ardent adherents to African cultural values fear that a decision to go for mass tourism will open the flood gates for the destruction of the country’s ecology and national culture. Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Mrs Gertrude Mongella, has stated recently that “We will not destroy our ecology. We will not disturb the habitat of our wild animals, and we will not disfigure our virgin coastline for the sake of tourism”.

RETURN OF INVESTORS
According to African Business’s June issue, Lonhro has acquired a
second tea estate near Njombe. Lonrho – one of the first major investors to return to the country after a 7 year absence – is now understood to be strongly positioned to proceed with its development plans in Tanzania.

The re-acquisition in 1985 of a 75% stake in its previously owned Mufindi Tea Company, with the Tanzania Tea Authority (TTT) retaining the Balance, marked Lonrho’s first major re-involvement in Tanzania under the new “liberalised” foreign investment policy initiated by the Tanzanian Government 18 months ago. “We now intend to present a comprehensive 10-year re-development programme to be partly funded by enhanced export earnings retention through the Bank of Tanzania”, said Lonrho Tanzania Ltd Director J. L. Platts-Mills in Dar es Salaam.

The Luponde Estate near Njombe already has 500 hectares of tea but
this was in a ‘seriously neglected’ state when Lonrho acquired it in February 1987. according to Platts-Mills. In 1986 production from Luponde was 285 tons of made tea. “Lonrho plans to more than double this”, he said. Lonrho is currently negotiating for a third tea factory and an estate near Mufindi so that by 1991 it plans to have nearly tripled its existing area.

A SLUM
A scathing interpretation of recent East African history filled 16 pages of the June 20th edition of the Economist. The feature began by stating that “In a quarter of a century colonial British East Africa has diversified into three utterly different nations – one slaughter-house (Uganda), one slum (Tanzania) and one risky success (Kenya). The article went on to examine “tragic Uganda, failed Tanzania and upwardly mobile Kenya”. “The three nations bicker all the time and behave as badly towards each other as, until very lately, neighbours in Europe did”.

On the subject of Tanzania the Economist had much to say including the following: “Stable government, say some wise people, is what Africa needs for its development. It would be hard to be stabler than Tanzania. Mr. Julius Nyerere was its President from 1961 to 1985 when he handed over the reins to his former juniors. As party chairman he is still hampering his successor’s efforts to bring Tanzania into the real world …..

Mr. Nyerere is a persuasive, eloquent man, the leading spokesman of the third world and articulator of its proclaimed injustices. He has toured the world preaching what his friends half-affectionately call the Gospel according to Saint Julius. It includes the parable of the Tractor and the Bale of Sisal, concerning the relative prices of industrial goods and of a Tanzanian crop that was unfortunately rendered unprofitable thirty years ago by the invention of synthetic course fibres …..

Aid donors have picked Tanzania as a show-place for grand and often grossly inappropriate projects. The pattern was established in the late 1940’s when the British Government’s huge scheme to grow groundnuts became a by-word for well-intentioned extravagance. Chairman Mao’s engineers completed a new railway and hoped to hand it over to local control. …. but it still does not haul the copper out and works at all only because 1,000 Chinese engineers are still employed on it …. Zanzibar town contains a disgraceful little replica of East Berlin’s Stalinallee; roasting six story flats without running water or electricity, overcrowded, filthy, unfinished as they were when Mr. Ulbricht’s men walked away in 1972. The army’s barracks are junkyards of unrepaired vehicles from every imaginable producer in the world from Brazil to Albania.

Arusha was designated in the 1960’s as the headquarters of the East African Community; high rise buildings paid for by kindly Scandinavians litter the landscape, their maintenance a pointless burden on the national exchequer. Not far off the Canadians who run a huge wheat-growing scheme must find each year a fresh excuse for not meeting their production target…. Aid has done good service to many recipient countries …. Tanzania shows aid at its worst. Donors complete project after project, the expatriates leave and the hardware starts to rust. Mr. Nyerere, in his passion for equality, denied his people the incentive to work …….

NEWS AND VIEWS
Colin Legum took the International Herald Tribune to task in a letter published in the paper on July 30th.

What has happened to the crucial teaching of C.P. Scott on the Manchester Guardian that newspapers should not mix factual reporting with comment in the same news story? In your issue of July 20 you published an agency report stating ‘Former President Nyerere whose socialist policies plunged his nation into bankruptcy, has confirmed he will retire as chairman of the ruling party ….’

This is a glaring example of mixing news with comment. It is debatable whether Mr Nyerere’s ‘socialist policies’ did indeed plunge Tanzania into bankruptcy. The country’s situation was no worse than that of many other African countries that did not practice socialism. Distinguished academic economists have identified seven reasons for Tanzania’s economic setback since 1973, of which five involve external factors (for instance, the impact of the fourfold increase in the price of commodities) and climatic conditions; only two have to do with wrong government policies. Some of us would argue that, mistaken as some of the policies were, the rural transformation in Tanzania has in fact laid the foundation for the country’s rapid economic recovery, depending mainly on good rainfalls and the correction of some past errors …

However, the purpose of this letter is not to argue the case in favour of Tanzania’s ‘Socialist experiment’ but to express disappointment that a newspaper of distinction such as the International Herald Tribune should have offended against Scott’s cardinal rule.

SALE OF CLOVES
The Paris based ‘Marches Tropicaux’ in its August 7th issue reported that the Zanzibar clove season commenced at the beginning of July. Zanzibar is the world’s fourth largest supplier of cloves, but the world market has shrunk drastically during recent years. 14,500 tons were bought in the 1960’s but in the 1985-86 season only 1,548 tons were bought.

The Zanzibar Trading Corporation is offering prices to producers very similar to those of last year. ‘A’ quality cloves fetch Shs. 65 per kilo; ‘C’ quality Shs. 47. This year the harvest is expected to be lower than last year in quantity. .. Indonesia remains the main market.

CHOCOLATE AND CHEESE
Under this rather surprising headline the spring issue of Oasis, the WaterAid journal featured a number of articles about problems of water supply in Tanzania. Chocolate and cheese turn out to be the only things missing from the lives of two Britons, Tyrone and Cynthia Barnes from Wrexham who are working in Tanzania under the auspices of WaterAid.

The article goes on to explain how Tanzanian water and sanitation installations, sometimes dating from colonial times, have been particularly prone to breakdown due to lack of spare parts. Many of WaterAid’s projects therefore concentrate on ‘rehabilitation’ – on repairing existing installations, on providing spares for the future and on training staff for proper running and maintenance. Projects costing about £100,000 have been funded so far and these are said to have helped some 45,000 people. The low unit cost, not much more than £2 per person, reflects the fact that most of the WaterAid projects merely re-activate or build on other people’s earlier investments.

The Barnes’s live at the Mvumi hospital. When they first arrived there were eight projects on the books. Mr Barnes now reckons that there are over a hundred. His job is to get other people to help themselves through self-help methods.

MWALIMU NYERERE
The magazine New Africa is much exercised about the future of former President Nyerere. The subject has been raised under various headings in three of its most recent issues. Under the heading ‘What Next Nyerere?’ New Africa stated that “There is growing political controversy in Tanzania and particularly within the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party, over the political future of former President Julius Nyerere. After he stepped down from the Presidency in 1985 Nyerere concentrated his undiminished energy on a party revitalisation campaign and retained the post of Chairman of the C.C.M. It was widely expected that he would then relinquish his party post without a fight when the C.C.M. holds its electoral conference in October. But there are now signs that sections of the party are interested in him staying on and his maintenance of a high political profile suggests that he might not be averse to the idea ……

Nyerere’s most trenchant criticisms have been of what he has termed ‘unplanned retreats from socialism’ and the increasing role being given to the private sector in economic activity. In one particularly scathing attack on the greater leeway given to the private sector, the veteran leader said that ‘these moves to help the private sector forced people to steal from the state to enable them to acquire foreign exchange with which to import goods …….

Journalists in Dar es Salaam believe that there is considerable support for Nyerere among ordinary party members and that if Nyerere himself decided to stay on and implicitly challenge Mwinyi for the job. then there might be a snowball effect.

One factor in Nyerere’s favour is that rumours now abound that further austerity measures are on the way as part of the IMF influenced economic reforms. These could threaten living standards.”

IODINE DEFICIENCY
Some 80 million people suffer from iodine deficiency in Africa. The German magazine Afrika in its July – August issue states that a relatively high number of victims of this disease, manifested externally by an enlargement of the thyroid gland, are to be found in Tanzania, where about nine million people – 41% of the rural population – show symptoms of this disease.

The most seriously affected are women and children. The deficiency in the supply to the body of vital elements can lead to miscarriages or underweight among newborn children. Congenital diseases like deaf-muteness and mental retardedness are also ascribed to iodine deficiency.

The National Commission for Control of Iodine Deficiency Diseases (N.C.C.I.D.D.), has launched two campaigns to fight iodine deficiency. Statistical surveys to establish the distribution of the disease have so far been conducted in one third of the country’s 106 districts. In areas with an especially high incidence of the sickness, like the mountainous regions of Mbeya and Iringa in the western part of the country, people are being given iodine by injection or in capsule form.

According to the authorities, half a million iodine capsules have so far been distributed, with considerable success. After two to three weeks of treatment the enlargement of the thyroid, a result of the deficiency, generally recedes.

MWINYI AND CORRUPTION
The journal Afrika in its April – May 1987 issue had much praise for President Mwinyi. He was said to have …”taken a tough stand on corruption and says he is determined to restore accountability in public offices. He wasted no time in summoning his cabinet and warning ministers that he would not tolerate a rotten administration and has already begun to prune out deadwood.

“Those eliminated include heads of a number of parastatals. Several corrupt public officers have received their marching orders. Five senior army officers who were alleged to have swindled more than $5.0 million at the Arusha-based Artillery Training School are in jail awaiting charges of theft.”

TANZANIA TRACTORS
African Business in its May issue discussed Tanzanian tractor Manufacture. Apparently a private firm in Mwanza wished to enter into competition with the Tanzanian Tractor Manufacturing Company (TRAMA) in which the Government holds 90% of the equity. Valmet of •Finland, which supplies imported kits, holds 10%. The Tanzanian Industrial Licensing Board refused to grant a license to the Mwanza firm on the grounds that TRAMA is capable of meeting the country’s demands for tractors.

TRAMA has assembled 1,500 tractors from imported kits since 1983, of which 50 were sold to Sudan for $244,000 last year, for refugee settlements.

TRAMA uses 17% local components for its tractors, such as Radiators, ballast weights, paints, batteries and cabins. It has an installed capacity, at the associated Tamco plant at KIBAHA near Dar es Salaam, to assemble 800 units per year, but Tamco confirms that ‘this can easily be changed.’ Actual production is well below that level in most years; Trama assembled 83 tractors in 1983, 414 in 1984, 729 in 1985 and 257 in 1986. Trama plans to utilise the whole capacity this year.

IN TANZANIA A WOMAN CAN GET PUNCHED
The International Herald Tribune has been featuring an article by Eileen Stillwagon highlighting examples of what it describes as the oppressive conditions under which woman still have to live in Tanzania.

One example was said to come from the University of Dar es Salaam. Women at the University can apparently get ‘punched’ if they are too visible. Not punched with a fist, but punched with intimidation, lies, public humiliation and shunning. The ‘punch’ used to be a political tool, the article states, by which students criticised state party and university leaders who, in the students’ view, had abused their positions or made bad decisions. The ‘punch’ was subsequently taken over by a secret group of male engineering students. Since then it has been used exclusively to punish university women who are too visible, successful or outspoken.

The woman’s likeness and biographical information are posted, along with lies about her sexual relationships. She is then shunned by women and men students, both for the fabricated charges and for fear of being punched themselves for not cooperating, according to the author of the article.

1 Comment »

  1. Tanzanian Affairs » LETTERS said,

    March 14, 2011 at 4:48 am

    […] SLUM Your issue of September 1987 quotes a woeful article in the Economist(June 20th) in which Tanzania is describedas ‘a […]

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