SALIM AHMED SALIM THE NEW OAU SECRETARY GENERAL
Describing how Mr Salim Ahmed Salim (47), Tanzania’s Deputy Prime Minister and, at different times, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defence and Prime Minister (as well as former President of the General Assembly of the United Nations) had been elected by the Organisation of African Unity as its new Secretary General WEST AFRICA magazine stated in its August 17-30 issue that this heralded the ‘dawn of a new realism’. He was considered amply qualified for the post and, being from a front-line state, would enhance his credibilty given the organisation’s present focus on Southern Africa. Despite the usually clannish nature of the Francophone states within the OAU and their apparent stranglehold on the Secretary Generalship, Mr. Salim’s qualifications and commitment were such that he was able to win on the third ballot the article said. He succeeds Mr Ide Oumarou from Niger.
The FINANCIAL TIMES reported that Mr. Salim had obtained 38 votes – more than the two thirds majority needed from among the 49 member states.
BUDGET DISPLEASES DONORS
The AFRICAN ECONOMIC DIGEST in its issue of July 3rd stated that donors have reacted coldly to Tanzania’s latest budget. Sticking points continued to be exchange rate policy and the speed of structural reforms. Donors had been hoping for a faster depreciation of the Tanzanian Shilling than the 4.8% devaluation announced in the budget. The Government was said to have consistently stated that it would restructure the export marketing boards but the likelihood of this taking place soon was being treated with some scepticism by donors according to the article. An investment code expected since mid – 1988 was apparently not now expected before late 1989.
THE GREATEST SPECTACLE ON EARTH
‘The Serengeti. Even its name resounds like a drumbeat from the heart of Africa. How can one convey the majesty of its immense plains. The light is dazzling. The smells of dust and game and grass – grass that blows, rippling, for mile after mile in the dry highland wind, with seldom a road and never a fence; only the outcropping gaunt granite kopjes and their watching lions, the thorny woodlands, the water-courses with their shady fig trees and the wandering herds of game.
Since the Serengeti became a national park nearly forty years ago, the wildebeest have multiplied until there are now one and a quarter million. Together with half a million gazelles, 200,000 zebra, 50,000 topi and 8,000 giraffe – to say nothing of 1,500 lions – they offer a last glimpse of the old, wild Africa as it was before the coming of the Europeans; and when the wildebeest embark on their seasonal migrations, stampeding across the rivers, stretched out from horizon to horizon in endless marching columns that take three days and nights to pass, they transform these vast Tanzanian plains into the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth’. (Extracts from an article by Brian Jackman in the SUNDAY TIMES of 25th June 1989).
TANZANIA TO DOUBLE CASHEW AND COCONUT PRODUCTION
Such is the intention behind a new World Bank IDA Credit of US$ 25.1 million recently agreed. WORLD BANK NEWS in its issue of June 29, 1989 noted that Tanzania’s production of cashews and coconuts had declined by 85% since the 1970’s as a result of inappropriate pricing, ineffective marketing policies, lack of production supplies and plant diseases. The project will establish seven cashew development centres and three coconut seed farms to grow plants and seeds for distribution. Research will be expanded and training will be provided for extension and research staff. Credit is included for farmers and t raders. Annual production is expected to double to 45,000 tons of cashews and one billion coconuts by the year 1999.
ONE CAMPAIGNER SALUTES ANOTHER
In the INDEPENDENT magazine of July 1st Glenys Kinnock, wife of Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, paid tribute to Archbishop Trevor Huddleston who leads not only the Anti-Apartheid movement but also the Britain-Tanzania Society. ‘At 76, still sparkling with fun, still spreading vitality, still fierce for freedom, my hero, Trevor Huddleston, is very much alive’ she wrote. She went on to quote Archbishop Tutu as saying: “He is so un-English in many ways, being fond of hugging people, embracing them and in the way he laughs. He does not laugh with his teeth, he laughs with his whole body, his whole being”. Glenys Kinnock went on to write ‘Trevor Huddleston is a man of action. He has retained his fighting spirit, his resolve ….. action not words is his continual message everywhere ….. Last summer the Archbishop was one of the first to arrive early on Saturday morning at the huge Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert in Wembley and one of the last to leave late on Saturday night. As he sat in the front row of the Royal Box throughout the day thousands of young people turned away from the stage to greet him. His face glowed with smiles as he returned the waves whilst the music thundered out across the stadium and across the world. He was having a lovely time – not diminished one bit by the fact that he hardly heard a single note through the ear plugs that he had firmly fixed in place throughout much of the day. It’s about the nearest that Trevor Huddleston has ever come to compromise’.
Writing in the SUNDAY TIMES feature ‘A Life In The Day Of’ Naomi Mitchison, the traveller, adventurer and prolific writer, described some of her tastes. She obtains muffins from Marks and Spencers and eats jam made from Japanese quinces. When in Botswana, where she is the adopted mother to the Ba Kgatla, Chief Linchwe arranges for her to get coffee from somewhere other than South Africa. When she is in Britain however “I have coffee from the Chagga Cooperative in Tanzania” she wrote.
The JAPAN TIMES devoted a full page to Tanzania on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Union. Greetings from advertisers included contributions from Nippon Koei Co. Ltd, Toyota Tsusho Corporation and the Konoike Construction Co. Ltd. Mr. Kikuo Ikeda, Chairman of the Japan–Tanzania Association wrote about current Japanese aid schemes which include an Agricultural Storage and Transportation System Improvement Project in Iringa and feasibility studies on agriculture in the Lower Hai and Lower Rombo areas and on urban development in Dar es Salaam. He also reported that some 35,000 visitors had attended the Tanzania Exhibition in Tokyo in February 1989. (This was described in Bulletin No. 33 – Editor).
DAR SEEKS A CROW BAR
Under this rather imaginative heading, SOUTH magazine in June reported that Dar es Salaam is at war against an invasion of rapacious Indian crows. ‘They steal food, kill chickens, cause commotion in the early hours, and steal buns, tomatoes, fish and meat from street markets. Now they are said to have begun attacking people. Tanzania’s Game Department tried to eliminate them last September and killed more than 4,000. But the birds are now adept at dodging bullets. In January they attacked a man who was 15m up a palm tree trying to pull out a crows’ nest. By the time he reached the ground his feet were bleeding and swollen.
The crows were introduced to Zanzibar about a century ago from India to provide a sanitation service by eating garbage. Despite government rewards for collecting eggs and destroying nests they spread to the mainland where Dar es Salaam’s poor waste disposal system offered an inviting feast’.
DEFINITE SIGNS OF RECOVERY
‘Tanzania’, wrote AFRICAN CONCORD, on July 17th, ‘once known as the sick man of Africa, is responding to IMF medicine and a transfusion of Western aid. The country has just completed a three-year overhaul which has breathed new life into its stagnant economy, pleasing Western donors and Tanzanians alike’.
“The Economic Recovery Programme is a resounding success” said IMF Director Richard Erb during a visit in May. As one African diplomat remarked: “People can now get their essentials, from food to clothes, without queuing or resorting to the black market”.
AN UNUSUAL UVEITIS
A report in the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL on August 5th by Dr. Yorston of Mvumi Hospital and colleagues at the Institute of Opthalmology in London described a five year survey into Uveitis (inflammation of the iris and related structures in the eye) in children at Mvumi. Of the 254 children seen with the disease half were under two years old. No consistent abnormality accounted for the uveitis but there appeared to be a geographical distribution with many cases in Iringa, Shinyanga, and Dareda but few in Mbeya and Sumbawanga. Most children recovered within six to twelve weeks. It was suggested that the disease might be a response to either parasitic, viral or spirochaetal infection in early infancy.
Under this heading the INDEPENDENT in its June 20th issue reported on the WOMAD World Music Festival which took place ‘among the fish and chip shops and stunning sunsets of crumbling, jolly Morecambe …. The African content was threefold in type. Delicate, melodic filigree from traditional Ugandan acoustic instruments, the venerable Gambian kora maestro Amadou Jobarteh and loping electric guitar and drum dance-floor pop, ‘soukous’ -influenced but with an East African choppiness, from the Tanzanian Remmy Ongala and his orchestra Matimila who appeared to be playing everywhere the whole time’.
NO NEW TAXES FOR ZANZIBAR
Reviewing what it described as Zanzibar Minister of Finance’s cautious budget for 1989/90 the AFRICAN ECONOMIC DIGEST (May 29) wrote that the removal of subsidies, cuts in the civil service and higher revenues following trade liberalisation had allowed income and expenditure to balance in 1988/89. Recurrent expenditure was projected at Shs 2,779 million against Shs 1,74-0 million in 1988. Development spending was to increase from Shs 5,000 million to Shs 5, 398 million (4-6.9% for communications) but 92.7% of this would need to come from external funding. GDP growth in Zanzibar last year was unchanged at 1.3% compared with mainland growth of 4%. A popular announcement was that there would be no new taxes this year because of the rise in income.
THE STRANGE DOUBLE LIFE OF A SCUTTLED GERMAN WARSHIP
Truth, said the FINANCIAL TIMES on June 28th, is sometimes stranger than fiction. The former German naval steamer Graf von Goetzen on Lake Tanganyika which was scuttled by the Germans during the First World War and subsequently refloated under British rule and renamed the Liemba, continues to sail Lake Tanganyika today. Her career is ‘as swashbuckling’ as the Humphrey Bogart character in the film the ‘African Queen’ – a drinker, smuggler and all-round reprobate.
The article went on to explain that the Liemba still carries Germans – tourists – as she plies the 420 miles of blue, crystal-clear water that stretch northward from Zambia to the former Belgian colonies of Burundi and Ruanda. But the Liemba’s 4-inch gun has gone and it s place on the upper deck has been taken by less lethal contraptions – safari Landrovers bristling with dried sausages and piled high with cases of beer.
Carrying tourists and their vehicles up to gorilla country in the mountains of Rwanda, however, is only a sideline. The Liemba is, above all, ‘a floating den of smugglers who successfully manage to break every import, excise and exchange control in the region’. The lengthy article described how subsidised Zambian goods, dried fish, gold and various currencies change the ship into a ‘mobile market place and trading floor’ with profits sometimes as high as 400 per cent. As one of the smugglers said: “The Government calls it smuggling; we call it business”.
DAR ES SALAAM PORT FACILITIES MUCH IMPROVED
Describing the completion of the US$ 18.0 million port development at Dar es Salaam the AFRICAN ECONOMIC DIGEST (July 24) stated that some observers were now suggesting that it could compete with Mombasa where efficiency has deteriorated sharply. The Finnish financed project involved the conversion of three general cargo berths into a 13 hectare container terminal with ship to shore gantry cranes and several rubber tyred container carriers. Tractor and trailer units have been introduced as well as a rail-mounted gantry.