TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

STAYING TRUE TO PRINCIPLES THAT INSPIRED A CONTINENT
Writing in a ‘Tanzanian Special Report’ in THE GUARDIAN (May 21 1992) Brian Cooksey pointed out that Tanzania is one of the last four counties in the world to retain socialism as its official creed. Although the National Assembly had recently passed legislation for multi-party government, proposals to remove all reference to socialism from the constitution had been roundly defeated. A decade of pressure from the World Bank and Western donor nations had so far failed to persuade Tanzania to ditch former President Nyerere’s collectivist ideology. For years his distinctive brand of African socialism had inspired millions of the continent’s poor and oppressed. One of the ironies had been that, until the early 1980’s, Western donor policy advice – the World Bank included – had been almost entirely supportive of the statist policies of the Nyerere years. With capitulation to the Bank and the IMF, Tanzania’s radical international reputation had declined and interest in Tanzania’s development model had waned.

AN OVERSEAS BRANCH OF THE CCM?
AFRICA EVENTS (July 1992) quoted CCM Party Secretary General Horace Kolimba during a speech given on June 11th at the Tanzanian High Commission in London as saying: “The work place must remain a place of work , Including this mission”. In the past, he said, the High Commission had been considered as an overseas branch of the (CCM) Party. “Not any more, from July 1st” he went on. “No party will be allowed to have any branches in any place of work” .

TWO FREE PORTS
Zanzibar President Dr Salmin Amour was reported in the August issue of AFRICAN BUSINESS to have announced that the islands are to establish two free ports – one on the West coast of the main island and the other at Micheweni in Pemba, two sites where virtually no economic activity is going on at present .

IN THE BEST SENSE UNIQUE
‘This novel (whose Swahili title is ‘Bwana Myombekere na Bibi Bugonoka na Ntulanalwo na Bulihwali’) is in the best sense unique, Never before was a novel of its kind been written in Africa and never again can such a book be written.’ With these words the WESTDEUTSCHER RUNDFUNK (West German Radio) revealed that a novel about early life in Ukerewe written by the late Aniceti Kitereza and already published in Swahili and English (the latter by the Tanzania Publishing House) has now been published in part (the first of two volumes) in German. (The remarkable story of how the book came to be written and the large number of persons and agencies involved was given in Bulletin No 14 in 1982 – Editor).

THE ONES THEY LEFT BEHIND
In introducing to its readers a new African-Russian Society designed to help the children of African fathers and Soviet mothers who are still in Russia (the oldest are 26 because the Soviet Union began a large scale scholarship programme in the early 60’s) the BBC magazine FOCUS ON AFRICA recently featured 13 year-old Maria Ferdinadova Balige. Her Tanzanian father had eventually been deported from the Soviet Union to Tanzania for having overstayed on a vacation in Sweden. He had spent a clandestine year in Leningrad with his Soviet wife and baby. Maria, a promising athlete, had had to be withdrawn from her gymnastics school complaining that her fellow Russian pupils had begun to hate her when she started coming top in most of the exercises. “They called me names” she said. “Obeziana (monkey), black paint, chocolate, black sea …..”

TANZANIA AND SOUTH SOUTH COOPERATION

Pointing to recent visits to Tanzania by Indonesian President Soeharto and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, AFRICA ANALYSIS in its June 12 issue reported on Tanzania’s ‘dynamic policy to reactivate Afro-Asian solidarity … The new South South focus is expected to result in joint ventures . . .. already Malaysia is helping with a palm tree project in Kigoma and discuss ions are under way with Indonesia on gas exploration’. President Mwinyi was said to be taking a keen interest also in regional conflict resolution. Because of its relative political stability and geography” Mwinyi had been able to successfully mediate between Burundi and Ruanda and between Kenya and Uganda and had played a pivotal role in efforts to revive East African economic cooperation.

NOT GEARED TO TOURISM

“I travelled around Pemba in the local covered, but open sided ‘buses’• wrote Frank Nowikowski in a full page art1cle on Zanzibar in the BUENOS AIRES HERALD (March 1 1992). “I asked for directions to a nice sandy beech … but such a concept did not seem to be understood …. In the main town Chake Chake there is one small hotel with five rooms . In the other two settlements on the island there are identical hotels, even down to identical wall clocks in identical positions, behind identical reception desks ….. Pemba is not geared to tourism” .

BELIEF SYSTEMS OF THE TANZANIAN PEASANTRY
As part of a supplement on Human Development in the June 1992 issue of AFRICA EVENTS Prof Sulaymen Nyang, Director of the African Studies Centre of Howard University, Washington DC, gave his views on what he described as the’total failure’ of Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa policy. ‘I am inclined to make a tentative conclusion’ he wrote ‘that a significant part of the failure was the coerced villagisation .. Unwilling to pay adequate attention to the belief systems of the diverse ethnic groups of Tanzania … President Nyerere’s ilks wittingly or unwittingly committed a serious blunder … the separation from their (the peasant’s) ancestral lands could not be compensated by creature comforts identified with this illusive stage called development … perhaps the fate of Ujamaa could have been very different .. . if a programme of effective social psychological mobilisation (had been) mounted by the government ‘.

COFFEE TO JAPAN
Reporting on a recent visit to Japan by members of the Tanzania Coffee Marketing Board the JAPAN TIMES recently explained that Japan is ranked second to Germany as far as the trade value of coffee imports from Tanzania is concerned. Demand for Kilimanjaro coffee was stable in spite of increasing imports from other countries such as Kenya.

IS KAMBONA TANZANIAN?
‘It is ludicrous for anyone inside the Tanzanian ruling elite to suggest that (former Tanzanian cabinet minister) Oscar Kambona should be any other than a Tanzanian by birth’ wrote a reader in the June issue of NEW AFRICAN replying to an ellrl1er article 1n which a Tanzanian had been quoted as saying that he was originally from Malawi. ‘Mr Kambona, who was once the number two in the Tanzanian leadership hierarchy and a crown prince to Dr Nyerere, had dedicated his early political life to the fight for Tanzania’s independence. How can anyone doubt such a man’s patriotism? .. The Government should rehabilitate Mr Kambona and incorporate his party into the new political life of the country’ the reader concluded.

The LONDON EVENING STANDARD (August 14) published a letter from Mr Kambona in which he stated that he wished to join those paying tribute to the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir Robert Muldoon, who has just died. Kambona wrote that it was Sir Robert, in a humanitarian act, who had used his influence to bring about the release from detention in Tanzania in 1978 of his two brothers, Otini and Mattiya.

MONEY RELATIVELY WELL SPENT
Writing in a recent issue of the IRISH TIMES Peadar Kirby criticised in some detail Ireland’s aid programme in Tanzania – a programme which takes a quarter of Ireland’s total aid budget. During recent years the Kilosa District Vocational Training Centre at Mikumi had taken 40% of this annual budget which, last year amounted to £2. 4 million. ‘It is an impressive campus of which any Irish town would be proud’ he wrote. 73% of the first output of trainees have been placed in employment which is good by Irish standards …. Compared to larger aid programmes Irish taxpayers’ money seems relatively well spent … but what isn’t disputed is that the Irish Aid Programme is now left with a Centre too costly for Tanzanians to maintain themselves. A plan to get the Tanzanians to cover 60% of the costs by 1993 has been shelved in favour of 1996 . … the haphazard nature of the Irish Aid Programme and the mistakes made with Mikumi point to a major weakness – it is administered by diplomats who are rarely left long enough to build up expertise in development issues …’

DEBTORS TO THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
An article in MOSCOW NEWS quoted in the July issue of ‘ New African’ described how the Russian Federation, groaning under a huge external debt, is demanding payment of some 14 billion convertible roubles (£804 million) owed to the former Soviet Union by various African countries. A table listing 32 African debtor countries had Tanzania in the sixth position (after Angola, Algeria. Zambia, Libya. and Mozambique) with debts of 295 million roubles for military assistance and 34 million roubles for economic assistance.

THE VICIOUS CIRCLE IN SHINYANGA
In one of a number articles on the Rio Earth Summit in the May issue of AFRICA EVENTS Belinda Coote quoted a Shinyanga social worker as explaining the role of cotton in degrading the soil. ‘When people first started growing cotton it was relatively well paid. They were able to buy cattle with the proceeds but this led to overgrazing. Then they began to use tractors to prepare the land for cotton. This meant that larger areas were cleared and trees uprooted. Now there is less rainfall 1n the area. Farmers can no longer grow maize so have switched to sorghum. Because there is little wood left for fuel they have to use cow dung and cotton stalks which would otherwise be left to fertilise the land. The result is severe soil erosion and declining soil fertility’. Thus, the author wrote, Shinyanga’s farmers were caught in a vicious circle. ‘Cotton production is one of the very few ways they have of earning money, yet by growing it they further degrade the area’s fragile soils . As a result, yields decline . . . Shinyanga’s cotton industry illustrates the complex link between trade, poverty and environmental degradation.’

THE LAST GREAT UNTESTED NICKEL BELT IN THE WORLD?
In what was described in the July issue of AFRICAN BUSINESS as a milestone in Tanzania’s drive to secure foreign investment the magazine revealed that the government had signed an agreement with Kagera Mining Company, a subsidiary of Sutton Resources of Canada which would provide mining exploration and development options to the company for an area of 25,400 sq kms in the Kagera Region . The agreement represents a follow-up to exploration in a corner of the region, Kabanga, where the nickel deposit is estimated to contain 40 million tonnes, grading 1.05% nickel, and also cobalt and copper.

MAANDISHI YA KIAFRIKA (AFRICAN WRITING)
This is what its inventor, Shiyana Saleh Mandevu, a 58-year old peasant, poet and former truck driver, calls his new Swahili script according to an article in NEW AFRICAN (July). His writing was said to be rather like Pitman’s Shorthand with Arabic influences. It was his collection of ancient objects bows, arrows, clay pots and other handicrafts – which inspired him to devise the new script. Two horizontal bows with their strings facing upwards mean ‘baba’ (father), two traditional stools read ‘mama’ and so on.

NYERERE ATTACKED
Anthony Daniels (the author of the book ‘Filosofa’s Republic’ based on his experiences as a doctor in Tanzania and reviewed in Bulletin no 36) launched an unusually vitriolic attack on Mwalimu Nyerere in the DAILY TELEGRAPH on July 3, 1992. He wrote: ‘Present-day reality has an autosatirical quality about it. How else is one to account for UNESCO’s recent award to ex-President Nyerere of Tanzania of the Simon Bolivar Prize for services to freedom, independence and the dignity of peoples. (The award of US$25,000 was shared with Burmese Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi; the jury said in its citation that Nyerere had worked tirelessly in the struggle against poverty, disease and ignorance; it took note of ‘the ethical ideal of honesty that personifies Julius Nyerere’ – Editor).

Daniel’s article went on: ‘Nyerere strutted and fretted his hour (or quarter of a century to be precise) upon his own small stage (Tanzania) and forced millions of people from where they were living, herding them into collectivised villages so that they could come under the control of his Chama Cha Mapinduzi .. . . not only did the Swahili Stalin get away with it but he received the bien pensant of Europe even as the huts of the recalcitrant peasants were burnt down …. Nyerere was not entirely original in his ideas … he received a Fabian training at Edinburgh University but his road to Damascus was actually the road from Peking airport to Peking. Mao arranged for a couple of million helots of welcome to wave flags at him … it turned his head and all that was needed to complete the catastrophe were a few economic advisers from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University ….

…. AND PRAISED
AFRICA EVENTS Zambian reader Jimmy Mdluli in the July issue compared President’s Kaunda and Nyerere. President Kaunda had eliminated all opposition and the only people he had genuinely attempted to groom as his successors had been his own sons. By comparison, when Tanzania’s first President (Nyerere) stepped down, he had left a couple of obvious successors whom he had thoroughly schooled in politics and statesmanship.

ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL
Writer Jim Berry used these words to describe the Selous Game Reserve in the DAILY TELEGRAPH ON July 25th. ‘ Much about the Selous is unexpected ‘ he wrote. ‘Despite being Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuary it is also one of the least known and least visited. Its 2000 sq miles make it almost the size of Ireland … within its perimeter there are three separate ecological entities whereas the – admittedly smaller – Serengeti National Park cannot accurately boast one …. this vast area was named after the celebrated Frederick Courtney Selous, a towering figure among early white hunters … he was killed by a German sniper near Beho Beho. One afternoon we walked the few miles to where he fell. Old cartridge cases and other rusted military paraphernalia still litter the overgrown trenches. Selous’ grave, marked by a marble plaque set in a simple concrete slab, stands nearby ….

LADY CHALKER FIRES BACK
Lady Chalker of Wallasey, Britain’s Minister for Overseas Development, replied robustly in the SPECTATOR (May 9 ) to an earlier article attacking foreign aid which had been sceptical about the reality of the southern African drought. The article had spoken about Tanzania earning twice as much through foreign aid as it did through exports and of the lack of incentive for Tanzanians to grow exportable crops in a hot climate – only to be paid a fraction of their worth’ when you can go to Dar es Salaam, sit in an air conditioned office and lay your hands on untold dollars by bureaucratic intrigue’. Lady Chalker wrote to the editor that she really could not decide whether it was his arrogance or ignorance which appalled her the more. She pointed out that the article was out of date and listed the numerous changes that had occurred during recent years in aid policy.

THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KARUME
In 8 cover story on Political Assassinations in Africa AFRICA EVENTS (August 1992) went into some detail about the assassination (while he was playing dominos) of the late President Karume of Zanzibar on April 7, 1972 . ‘By no means’ said the article ‘was the assassin, Lt Humud Muhammed Humud , a lone player. He had accomplices at the scene who were subsequently either gunned down by the security forces or committed suicide. Humud died on the spot in circumstances that are still not clear … the Government (had) insisted that the assassination was part of a plot to overthrow it. But Humud had had a personal motive … his father had been arrested a few months after the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964 and, while Humud was training later in the Soviet Union he had been told that his father had been executed … he had vowed revenge ‘. But there had been political factors also. By 1972 the revolution hed degenerated into a tragic farce – gross abuses of human rights, political killings, a curious system of people’s courts, forced inter-marriages , a declaration by Karume that there would be no elections for fifty years …. Karume had become an embarrassment to Nyerere and a danger to the future of the Union .. . ‘ . The blood of Humud and his colleagues had not been shed in vain, the article concluded, as it had enabled Nyerere to subsequently consolidate the Union through the joining together of the TANU and CCM parties, the neutralisetion of those who considered themselves to be Karume’s legitimate heirs and the subsequent far-reaching constitutional changes and liberalisation which had followed under Zanzibar Presidents Jumbe and Mwinyi.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.