TANZANIA IN THE LEAD
Tanzania’s immunisation coverage of one-year-old-children (85%) is one of the best in Africa according to the ‘State of the World’s Children 1990 Report’ issued by UNICEF, Dar es Salaam. ‘Coverage’ refers to immunisation against the major killer diseases – diptheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Seychelles leads with 94% followed by Cape Verde 90%, Botswana 89% and Mauritius 87% Tanzania comes next, ahead of 40 other African countries – Daily News.
AFRICAN BLACKWOOD THREATENED
Tanzania’s ‘Gold of the Forest’, the African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon), known locally as ‘Mpingo’ is being threatened by over-exploitation, bushfires and human activities. The wood is in great demand for Makonde carvings and, in Europe and the USA, for musical instrument billets.
It is estimated that there are 134,000 square kilometres of forest in the Lindi and Mtwara regions, parts of Handeni district and in the Coast and Morogoro regions. But recent estimates on an area of 4,088 hectares indicate that there are only about 12 stems of Blackwood per hectare. Furthermore, the growth rate of the tree is very slow – it matures in about 100 years – and most of the trees are in bad form so that recovery rate of the best wood is only about 25% at the sawmill. As the machinery in use at the mills – at Mingoya, Kilwa Masoko and Lindi can process only larger pieces of wood, smaller pieces tend to be thrown away.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has proposed a US$ 11 million programme for an inventory and forest programme to last about ten years; funds are now being sought to implement this programme – Daily News
MWINYI ADOPTS AIDS ORPHANS
SHIHATA (the Tanzanian News Agency) has reported (March 5 1990) that President Mwinyi has visited the AIDS ravaged Kagera Region where there are now 7,000 orphans whose parents have died of AIDS. The President hugged some orphans in the worst hit Muleba district and, when he concluded his visit, he informed his wife, Mama Sitti, that he was taking back to Dar es Salaam two orphans for adoption. He asked other people to do the same. 3,500 of the orphans are below nine years old. But, as Dr George Lwlhula, who has done research in the area says, the problem is that not many people are willing to adopt or take care of the orphans.
The authorities have therefore launched a fund to build them a home and send them to school. France and Denmark are providing aid. Another problem that has recently come to light is the refusal of many civil servants to accept transfer to Kageraj a number of others have requested transfers away because of fear of the disease – Daily News.
At the start of a campaign to revive Tanzania’s pyrethrum industry
in March 400 acres were planted in the Mbulu, Babati and Hanang districts. It was hoped to plant a further 4-00 acres by July 1990 and 1,500 acres by May 1991.
Tanzania’s once thriving pyrethrum industry yielded 6,000 tons in 1967 but by 1988 production had dropped to 1,400 tons the bulk being produced in the Southern Highlands. The drastic fall has been attributed to competition from synthetic pyrethroids in the industrialised world but opinions were now changing as the pyrethroids were proving dangerous to the environment. Tanzania’s Pyrethrum Board has been able to raise prices from Shs 47.80 in 1988 to Shs 60 in 1990 as world prices have improved. The Board also supplies free seeds for nurseries. It is hoped to increase production to 2,200 tons by 1991/92 said a Board representative.
A NEW NEWSPAPER
Tanzania has a new tabloid newspaper. It is called the ‘Family Mirror’ and its first issue is dated April 1990. Its main front page article is headlined ‘Minister Threatens to Shoot Potential Opponent’ and starts: ‘A Senior Minister who survived the recent Cabinet shake-up has threatened to gun down a distant relative after jujumen warned him that the relative would cause his political downfall …..
Other articles feature ‘Tanzania – A Millionaire in Rags’ about the need for the country to properly exploit its tourist resources, ‘Adios Ntagazwa’ about corruption in the Ministry of Lands, ‘Tanzanian Mamas Prove They Belong to the Kitchen’ concerning a demand for longer maternity leave, and ‘State House For Sale’ a light hearted look at beach property sales in Dar es Salaam
HEART SURGERY IN DODOMA
A team of seven Chinese, Italian and Tanzanian doctors have performed heart surgery on two young girls at the Dodoma Regional Hospital. The girls were suffering from ‘Mitral Stenosis’ and ‘Mitral Incompetence’. defects which prevent heart valves from allowing proper flow of blood. The doctors succeeded in rectifying the valves in each case the first time that such an operation had been conducted in Dodoma – Daily News
BOT TAKES OVER GOLD EXPORTS
The Bank of Tanzania (BOT) has taken over responsibility for the export of gold and is offering attractive and competitive prices so as to better control the industry and ensure that Tanzania obtains full benefit from gold sales. It has been estimated that as much as one and a half tons of gold is being smuggled out of the country every month through the borders and communication and transport outlets. The Gold Committee of the Federation of Miners Associations of Tanzania (FEMATA) has welcomed the decision and has suggested the establishment of an international auction floor in Dar es Salaam to maximise profit for the country. The committee has also suggested that gold should be locally refined 99% before it is exported.
Several goldsmiths have said that they will cooperate with the government and banks to ensure the success of the new arrangements – Daily News.
OVERCROWDING IN PRISONS
Sixteen prisoners died of various diseases caused mainly by overcrowding at Ukonga and Keko remand prisons between January and March 1990 the Commissioner of Prisons has announced. Seven of t deaths were caused by AIDS. Keko Prison has a capacity for 340 prisoners but is at present holding 1,700 prisoners.
The Commissioner also revealed that two prisoners had escaped from Uyui Prison in Tabora in January because of negligence on the part of prison officers. They were still at large.
A new prison with a capacity of 600 is expected to open in June 1990 and should relieve overcrowding.
The Commissioner denied reports that some prisoners were suffering from malnutrition.
TANZANIAN MUSICIANS/ARTISTS COMING
Some 12 Tanzanian musicians and dancers (including an 80 year-old singer!), an artist and a painter were expected to arrive in Britain at the beginning of May to perform at various sites in the country including the Museum in Glasgow, and the Africa Centre and Commonwealth Institute in London. Ms Fatima Abdullah, the Minister Counsellor (Culture and Information) in the Tanzania High Commissioner told the Bulletin that the visitors will include Taraab musicians and dancers from Zanzibar (Taraab music is unique and combines African, Asian and Arab elements), Mr Kavanga Abdurahman with ‘Tingatinga’ paintings (this style of art was originally designed by a Makonde artist named Edward Tingatinga and features free-hand, always curved, never straight, brightly coloured images of birds, trees and animals with the dot as a recurring motif) and Mr Freddie Macha from Moshi who will present poetry using a guitar and drums.
REVAMPING SUGAR ESTATES
The Sugar Development Corporation (SUDECO) estimates that it will need some Shs 30 billion to revamp the Kagera and three other Tanzanian sugar mills.
The Kagera plant was first commissioned in 1982 but its operations were bogged down by management conflicts. It has the capacity to process some 60,000 tons of sugar anuually but the highest production reached so far has been only 6,000 tons.
Total production of sugar in Tanzania was estimated at 94,000 tons this year compared with a national demand for 450,000 tons. Efforts are under way to raise the necessary funds from British, Dutch and Tanzanian resources – Sunday News.