THE WATCHWORD IS ‘CAUTION’
In a comprehensive 15-page series of articles on Tanzania the European Community publication THE COURIER (No 142) explained that transforming a ‘socialist’ one-party state into a free market multiparty democracy was proving an extremely complex undertaking. ‘In Dar es Salaam the watchword is ‘caution’ it wrote ‘and the pace of reform is accordingly slow – too slow for some of the country’s international backers.
Fortunately for the government, Tanzanians are a patient if not docile people, a characteristic that may have been induced by nearly three decades of one-party rule, peace and stability … the real pressure for change came from outside’. President Mwinyi was interviewed. He was asked to explain why the opposition parties were complaining about having no access to the radio. The President replied: “The opposition parties are given the opportunity, twice a week, to explain on the radio what their policies are. If they want to monopolise the media that is not possible, because, after all, CCM is the ruling party … we promised our people to do certain things and we must use the radio to explain to them what we are doing … the opposition operate some 20 newspapers against two for the government ….”
NYERERE AND THE UNION
NEW AFRICAN (February 1994) gave further details on the fight Mwalimu Nyerere is conducting to preserve the United Republic of Tanzania (Bulletin No 47). “I watched when you scrapped the Arusha Declaration (his socialist blueprint for Tanzania) and I remained quiet” he was quoted as having said to CCM party delegates. “I wish you the best in building the country under capitalism since all the aid comes from the capitalist nations. But I won’t tolerate a break-up of the Union”. Nyerere said that he had lost confidence in the CCM and had stopped paying membership fees. “The CCM is not my mother. My mother is in Butiama” he said.
BITTER MEMORIES OF UHURU
The South African daily SOWETAN (April 21) published the Sapa-Reuter story of the several hundred Tanzania-born Afrikaners who were expelled or emigrated when Tanganyika became independent. They were said to have bitter memories of the country after many of them had had their farms and homes confiscated without compensation. ‘They packed their trucks and headed south thus reversing the trek of their forefathers who had travelled half the length of Africa to escape British domination after losing the Boer Warf. They hold regular reunions in South Africa. At one recent gathering just before the South African elections, they were in a sombre mood.
“They’ll force us to marry blacks. That’s their (the African National Congress) plan; to get rid of us by creating a race of bastards. Black government means chaos. Look what happened to Tanganyika” said Wynand Malan. The Boers watched a video made in Tanzania by a recently returned traveller. It included shots of Katrina Odendaal, a Boer woman who had married a black Tanzanian and had remained behind. The audience gasped in shock as Odendaal appeared on the screen, squatting on her haunches outside a mud hut, a brightly coloured cloth wrapped African-style round her waste. “Appalling” muttered a woman in the audience. But one of her daughters, who had been five months old when she left Tanzania was more optimistic. “I don’t think blacks and whites are so different. Once you get past the surface we are all the same underneath” she said.
THE ‘MYTH’ OF ‘THE AIDS MYTH’
NEW AFRICAN (March 1994) attracted the wrath of one of its Zimbabwean readers for giving publicity to the controversial views about AIDS arising from the experience of two French charity workers in Tanzania (the full story was given in Bulletin No 47). ‘Will New African’ the reader asked ‘be printing the next, more balanced, stage of the saga a year or two hence when the myth of the AIDS myth has itself been exploded? Why, even at this sage, is such unbalanced, unchallenged coverage given to the views of a tiny handful of AIDS workers flying in the face of so many well-established competent organisations, governments, researchers, doctors, community members etc. who would give a different picture?’
‘THE MYTH THAT IS KILLING A CONTINENT’
The INDEPENDENT (January 2, 1994) in a two-page feature also took those publishing these controversial views about AIDS to task and quoted a report from Bukoba town where 24% of the adults were said to be HIV positive. ‘Seen from here, claims that HIV is not lethal seem at best bizarre and at worst dangerous …. on a rainy afternoon Bukoba bar girls besiege a foreigner. They have heard that there is a female condom and they want it. Men, they say, are pig-headed about protection. Especially rich men’.
Traditional healers prevaricate when asked if they can cure AIDS. “It may be necessary to send people to hospital to seek higher medical advice” admits Bassaija Balaba. “I can only give symptomatic treatment”. His father said “Curing AIDS is like sweeping back the ocean using a broom. Once I had 25 children. Now I have five. I have to sit and watch them die until I die. ..” AIDS is changing even death. In Mwanza a nurse was quoted as saying “Funerals used to go on for seven days. Now its three…. “ (Thank you Stephen Williams for this item – Ed.)
A new species of bird which looks rather like a small partridge has been found in Tanzania, reported Nigel Hawkes in THE TIMES (January 29). It was discovered in the evergreen forests more than 4,000 ft up in the Udzungwa mountains by five scientists from the zoological museum at Copenhagen University. It was also said that, not only is it a new species but that it does not belong to any existing genus of birds. It has been given the name Xenoperdix Udungwensis – strange partridge form Udzungwa. The discoverers think that the birds they saw are the sole survivors of a bird that was common all the way up the African coast at one time. (Thank you Rev. B Baker and Mr John Sankey for this item – Editor).
‘THE EEC HAS NOT YET ACHIEVED AS MUCH’
‘To this day the European Community has not achieved what the East African Community (EAC) had achieved by 1969. The EAC then had a common currency, common posts and telecommunications, harbours, an airline, railways; there was an East African parliament . . . . . ‘ So wrote Abdul Rahman Babu in the first of a series of articles in AFRICA EVENTS (February 1994) following the meeting in Arusha on November 30, 1993 of the ‘three M’s (Presidents Moi, Museveni and Mwinyi) which began the re-creation of an East African Community (Bulletin No 47). In 1977 the whole EAC structure had ‘crumbled like a house of cards’. Babu considers that the reasons for the failure were the lack of a solid economic foundation – the EAC was only a trading arrangement with some basic infrastructure to facilitate foreign trade – and of political trust; there was a disregard of peoples’ real needs.
Following the alleged sale of game reserves and islands to Arabs, Tanzanians have become very sensitive on land issues according to NEW AFRICAN (February). ‘When the Swahili newspaper ‘Mwananchi’ reported that Dar es Salaam City Council had sold a plot of communal land to an Arab there was uproar. The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development said that the sale was illegal and ordered the City Council to cancel it. The Council said that the Minister had no authority to do this. Fearing that nothing would be done, the people took the law into their own hands and started to demolish the building’. Mwalimu Nyerere backed the people. “This is what happens when you have hopeless leaders” he was quoted as saying.
THE PRIME MOVER HAS BEEN PRESIDENT MWINYI
In the second article in this issue of AFRICA EVENTS Rasna Warah stated that although the three heads of state had shown enormous enthusiasm and maturity in making the dream of a renewed East African Community a reality, the prime mover had been President Mwinyi of Tanzania who, in recent months, had been consistently calling for enhanced cooperation. Reviewing reactions in the three countries to the news from Arusha, Hilal Sued reported varied responses in Tanzania. Sceptics had spoken about a ‘coalition of dictatorial forces’ and referred to the growing enthusiasm for a Tanganyika government in Tanzania, the recreation of monarchies in Uganda and the dedication of Kenyans to ‘eating each others1 livers1. In the same issue AFRICA EVENTS republished Julius Nyerere’s historic paper, written in June 1960, appealing to the East African countries, before any of them had became independent, to set up a federation. But, when, in 1964 after independence the presidents of Uganda and Tanzania had requested Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta to become the first federal President he had refused. That had been the end of any serious East African unity.
THE LIFE OF SPICE
Under this heading Alexander Frater (THE OBSERVER LIFE January 9) ‘soaked up Zanzibar’s spicy past and fragrant present1. Extracts: ‘In the morning I headed for the old English Club, now a sleazy hotel which I had visited in 1988. Then the manager, selecting a large black key, had opened up the Club Library and allowed me into a dark room lined by glass-fronted bookcases containing hundreds of volumes dating back to the mid-19th century. There were first editions of Dickens and Kipling, books about Queen Victoria, the Boer War, pig sticking in the Punjab, memoirs of dead missionaries, biographies of forgotten politicians … a rare trawl of remarkable period material. Today, though, the manager could not be found. I peered through the keyhole and saw the bookcases standing empty. A sallow Pole, one of the Hotel’s long-term residents, said the books had probably been used for fuel during some routine power cut’. (Thank you Stephen Williams for this and the next item – Ed).
‘Nine-year old Rajab Hamisi balances a tin of sand on his left shoulder. He shifts it to the right shoulder as he gazes at cars speeding along the busy accident-prone Nelson Mandela Express Way in Dar es Salaam before he crosses to the other side to sell it to builders. “My son is a great help” says his mother “I cannot feed my children without his help”. The International Labour Organisation Office in Dar es Salaam is said to be concerned abut the alarming increase of child labour cases in Tanzania. According to SOCIETY in its October 1993 issue, nearly 3 million Tanzanian children between 10 and 14 years are working in various sectors including factories where they are exposed to machinery injuries and chemical poisoning. The Government has established a Shs 500 million (US$1.0 million) fund to help young people but this was described in the article as very minimal.
POISONED ARROWS USED IN ATTACK ON TOURISTS
Poachers were probably behind an attack on a group of tourists in Tanzania in which one of the tourists, a Mr Collier from Vancouver (30), died one hour after being hit by a poisoned arrow, according to the TIMES (February 23). The attack occurred at a remote camp site on the edge of the Serengeti National Park near Lake Victoria. ‘Only two tribes in the region still understand the art of poison preparation. The power of the paste on the arrow which killed Mr Collier indicates that it had been prepared to kill a large animal. ..I After the attack local people held a memorial service for Mr Collier. They had been shocked and revolted by what had occurred….’ (Thank you Christine Lawrence for this item – Ed )
“WHY SHOULD THE ANIMALS LIVE?”
An article in the JOHANNESBURG STAR (February 1994) expressing concern about the future of the Kruger National Park in South Africa began with these words: ‘When Julius Nyerere, first President of Tanzania, was asked what would become of the Serengeti Game Reserve after Tanganyika gained independence in 1961 he reportedly replied “Why should the animals live if my people are dying of hunger?”. It was not an unreasonable response. Serengeti had been an important source of food for centuries. Its proclamation as a game sanctuary came only after the advent of the white man who, with his rifle, wrought considerably more damage to the vast herds than any poacher’s trap …. conservationists waited in alarm to see what would become of the park. Would it become a source of cheap meat for the masses? . . . Yet, in spite of the fears, Serengeti has survived as one of the world’s most spectacular tourist attractions … Lovers of the Kruger National Park are reacting with much the same alarm…..’
CHANGES IN SHIPPING AND BANKING
Although the greater part of the text of a 7-page supplement in LLOYDS LIST (February 21) was devoted to Kenya, Tanzania dominated the supporting advertising with half of the 18 advertisements coming from such organisations as the Chinese-Tanzanian Joint Shipping Company (‘The Largest Shipping Company in East Africa’) TAZARA (‘A Big Name In Freight Traffic’), Tanzania Harbours Authority (‘Profit From Our $300 Million Face-lift’) and Tanzania Railways Corporation (‘Save Time and Money, Use TRC’).
The first article expressed some optimism about all three countries in the region following the recent ‘Treaty for Enhanced East African Cooperation’. This was described as a serious, if tentative and fragile move, which could herald the beginning of regional cooperation at levels totally unprecedented since the collapse of the East African Community. (The relatively modest objectives are to create a free trade area and gradually build on joint institutions which are still functioning rather than to recreate the East African Community which collapsed in 1977 – Editor)
The Tanzanian Harbours Authority was said to be launching a study aimed at investigating which areas of the port could be privatised successfully in view of the competition now being offered by South Africa in supplying the landlocked hinterland countries. The container yard was likely to be the first part. Although the trend was towards containerisation, Dar es Salaam Port still received a substantial amount of bulk cargo particularly grain and fertilisers for Malawi and Zambia.
Under the heading ‘Untapped Potential Lies at the Heart of the Tanzanian Economy’ a rosy picture was painted of the potential for development although it was admitted that there was not a single good big business in Tanzania at present. The continuing liberalisation of Tanzania’s banking and financial institutions was seen as the linchpin to the country’s recovery (Thank you Brian Hodqson for these items – Ed).
‘TANZANIE – L’APPEL DE LA BROUSSE’
Under this heading the French journal GRANDS REPORTAGE (January) presented 16 pages of beautiful illustrations of Tanzania’s wildlife. The text was minimal but included an abundance of glowing adjectives – ‘lacs roses de flamants’, ‘baobabs elephantesques’, ‘Masaai eblouissants’, ‘les gracieuses gazelles de Thomson’, ‘cette Afrique serene’…..
JUMPING PLANT LICE
Tanzania, according to SOCIETY (October 4 1993) cuts down about 400,000 hectares of forest each year and only reafforests 20,000. Now it is facing a new threat to its forestry resource. Jumping Plant Lice (Leucaena psyllid) have been spotted along the coast and are threatening the Leucaena tree which has been promoted to fertilise and conserve the soil and can also be used for timber, firewood, charcoal, fodder and as a hedge. The psyllids attack leaves and shoots and can cause wilting, defoliation and later plant starvation leading to death. They originated in South America and spread from there to Madagascar and Mauritius before reaching the East African coast. Insecticides can be used against the pest but are expensive. Research is now being concentrated on finding resistant varieties and parasitic wasps – (Thank you Stephen Williams for this story – Ed).
PAN-AFRICAN CONGRESS SUSPENDS THE ARMED STRUGGLE
According to the JOHANNESBURG STAR INTERNATIONAL (March 13- 19) South Africa’s Pan-Africanist Congress has announced the suspension of its armed struggle. There had been an escalation of attacks on whites at the beginning of the year by alleged operatives of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA). The GUARDIAN and the TIMES had stated earlier that there had been a crisis meeting of the PAC Senior leadership on January 15th. The most critical issue facing them had been the declaration from Tanzania’s foreign ministry barring the PAC and APLA , which had their headquarters in Dar es Salaam, from using the country to plot hostile action against South Africa. For decades Tanzania had been the PAC’s staunchest supporter. But PAC President Clarence Makwetta was later said to have denied that the Tanzanian (and similar Zimbabwean) action had had any influence on the decision. (Thank you Christine Lawrence for part of this story – Ed).
PRINCESS GRACE OF MONACO
THE TIMES (March 11) presented extracts from 117 letters written by the late Princess Grace of Monaco which were auctioned recently. They were said to reveal her as a practical, thoroughly modern good-time girl who manipulated men in the film industry as much as they had manipulated her. One extract, written when she was in East Africa for six months shooting the 1963 film ‘Mogambo’ was as follows: ‘Yesterday we had a day off. Clark Gable and I rode in a jeep for three hours to get to Bukoba – the nearest town on Lake Victoria. We had a horrible lunch at the hotel there and then a delicious swim in the lake. We had to go in in our underwear – it was a riot as you can well imagine’. Later she ‘can’t resist’ stealing some headed notepaper from government House in Uganda ……( Thank you Simon Hardwick for this extract – Ed) .
ONLY 18 YEARS SUPPLY LEFT
Mike Read of the UK’s ‘Flora Preservation Society’ said on RADIO 3 (January 8) in the programme ‘Music Matters’ that Tanzania is the main supplier of African Blackwood for the making of musical instruments. However, he went on, ‘Tanzania has only 18 years supply of this timber left in its forests’. (Thank you Jane Carroll for this item – Ed).
The ANNUAL REPORT (1992-93) OF THE REFUGEE STUDIES PROGRAMME of Oxford University contained an intriguing story arising from a chance meeting following research in Somalia. Two hundred years ago a group of Zigua people from the Tanzanian coast were sold into slavery in Somalia. Through an uprising they gained their freedom. Unable to make the long journey back to their homeland they settled along the Juba river. They suffered many privations – attempts to recapture them, subsequent compulsory labour for British and Italian colonisers, discrimination when some of them adopted Christianity. The efforts of some to assimilate through language and religion did not seem to have improved their position. Some 20,000 however retained their language. In recent years they had to flee Somalia but they reject the notion that they are refugees. Unaware of their history, the Tanzanian government is said to have insisted that they be treated like other Somalis in refugee camps. ‘Not surprisingly, former slaves and former masters do not make peaceful bedfellows ‘…….(Thank you Alex Vines for this item – Ed)
FATHER ROBIN’S ‘AROBAINI’
‘Our last major event before Christmas was to hold Father Robin Lamburn’s ‘Arobaini’ (forty in Swahili). This is a Muslim custom which has been adopted locally. Forty days after a person’s burial people gather together to mark the end of the official mourning period. Villagers kept vigil by the grave on the night before as they had done the night before his burial. The day of the ‘Arobaini’ began with a celebratory mass, which was followed by a meal (for more than 500 people!) and speeches in honour of Father Lamburn’ – Jenny and Geoff O’Donoghue in the RUFIJI LEPROSY TRUST NEWSLETTER NO. 16.
TANZANIA COMES THIRD IN THE WORLD AND FIRST IN AFRICA
The ANNUAL REVIEW OF BRITISH AID TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES for 1993 has revealed that Tanzania came third in the world in terms of bilateral aid granted. It received £62 million following India (£115 million) and Bangladesh (£66 million). The next largest recipients in order of magnitude were Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, China, Uganda and Pakistan.
NEW HEIR TO THE CHIEFDOM
Mr Andrew Fraser (42), one of the sons of Brigadier Lord Lovet (one of the first to land in Normandy on D-Day), the Master of Lovat, one of Britain’s oldest peerages and also Chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat, was killed by a charging buffalo while on a hunting trip in Tanzania. Two weeks later his elder brother, Mr Simon Fraser, collapsed and died during a drag hunt at the family seat, Beaufort Castle in Inverness-shire. The new heir Simon Fraser (17) is described by a friend as being keen on riding, shooting and other country sports (DAILY TELEGRAPH, March 28).
‘GHOSTS’ IN DAR ES SALAAM
Late night revellers in Dar es Salaam, according to NEW AFRICAN (February), are claiming that ‘ghosts’ are haunting the bars and dark streets of the city. One man, who was said to be too frightened to reveal his name, described how a ghost walked into a bar in Kinondoni – the ghost was entirely shrouded from head to toe in soiled white bandages. He said the ghost approached him and, in a hoarse voice, demanded beer, claiming that “even the dead need a drink”. Then the gaunt figure summoned other ‘ghosts’ who emerged from a nearby banana grove. They all wore shrouds. ..and walked very slowly, dragging their feet. The temperature in the bar fell to such an extent that the customers started shivering. After drinks for all, the chief ghost told his followers it was time to return to the underworld. But before they went they made a round of the bar collecting money, watches and gold chains from the terrified clients. The ghosts threatened that anyone trying to flee would be struck dead….,
ONCHOCERCIASIS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WAS THOUGHT IN KILOSA
CHARIOT, the Newsletter of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, reported (April 1994) that Tanzanian student Abraham Muro had successfully defended his thesis in what was described as an extremely ambitious programme on the epidemiology of Onchocerciasis. This disease is most prevalent in West Africa and better known as River Blindness. His work has indicated that the disease is more important in Kilosa than hitherto thought. (Thank you John Sankey for this item – Editor).
TANZANIA COMES CLOSE TO WINNING
Tanzania’s soccer team has long been in the doldrums. President Mwinyi has described them as like ‘heads of madmen on which barbers learn to shave’ (NEW AFRICAN, February). But when the Dar es Salaam Simba club reached the finals of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 1993 Club Championships by holding Stella Abidjan of Cote d’Ivoire to a draw, the entire nation was said to have gone wild. Businessman Azim Dewji promised to give each player a Toyota car. Unfortunately, in the final in Dar es Salaam the crowd were bitterly disappointed when Simba were beaten 2-0 by Stella.
SONGS WITH MEANING
No one in Tanzania is more popular than the Zairean singer Remmy Ongala wrote NEW AFRICAN in its May issue. ‘He has stirred up a furore with his latest hit Kilio cha samaki – the cry of the fish. He says that the fish is oppressed because the people hunt it for food. People do not hear its cries’. But Tanzania” rulers were said to be convinced that Ongala’s songs are mocking them. The story of the fish is really an allegory with the fish representing the oppressed masses and the cruel fisherman the ruling party CCM.