THE OBSERVERS IN TANZANIA
Joanna Lewis writing in AFRICA ANALYSIS (January 29) about the UN observers in Tanzania’s recent elections analysed what she described as ‘this under-funded and poorly-managed UN operation …. Could 200 observers seriously be expected to break the historical links between the ruling party and the state?’. There could be no greater symbol of the contradictions and confusions surrounding the continuous donor policy of democratisation of Africa, she wrote, than the international community’s involvement in the Tanzanian elections. They had left in their wake a ‘trail of tension and cynicism1. The UN monitoring had been a ‘charade8. The writer felt that donors might now be about to cool their passion for multi-partyism and quoted a joke made by Mwalimu Nyerere to a British Conservative MP who was an observer on election day – that there was more than one way to maintain a one-party state. The writer said that Mwalimu now had another – to make sure that you had UN observers at your multi-party elections!
NOT ON THE SYLLABUS
‘This sort of activity is not exactly on the syllabus at the Sokoine University of Agriculture’s Veterinary Faculty’ wrote Margaret Cooper in the September 1995 issue of VETERINARY PRACTICE but, she reported, not long ago four intrepid Tanzanian veterinary students and an English medical student risked all to rescue some tortoises and terrapins from a very hungry crocodile and then helped to translocate the crocodile to the Mikumi National Park. The rescue arose from a request by the Ministry of Natural Resources to deal with a collection of reptiles at an ~frican National Congress (ANC) camp which was to close imminently. Several visits were made to the camp to assess the collection which comprised a dozen tortoises, two leopard tortoises (Testudo pardalis) and ten Bell’s hingeback tortoises (Kinixys belliana) plus about ten terrapins and a Nile crocodile. …. some tortoises had been mutilated by the crocodile and the shells were repaired with car body filler or with putty …..
PRAISE FOR PRESIDENT MKAPA
‘Mkapa is on the right track’ according to a recent editorial in Ugandars NEW VISION at the time when the President was bringing together the quarrelling leaders of Kenya and Uganda at the beginning of the year. The editorial went on: ‘Everyone in East Africa has very high hopes of President Mkapa because of his idealistic and untarnished image. He is right to lay such emphasis on regional cooperation because it is undoubtedly the key to the survival and growth of the African continent. We wish President Mkapa every success in his endeavours’ (Thank you Margaret Snyder for sending this news item from Uganda – Editor).
HALVING HIV TRANSMISSION
HIV transmission could be almost halved if other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) were treated effectively according to research conducted by British and Tanzanian researchers in Mwanza and reported in the December 1995 issue of NEW AFRICAN. More than 12,000 people were recruited for the study which used high doses of cheaper drugs like Septin to treat the STD’s, two-day courses of which cost only $0.79 each. Professor David Mabey of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that they calculated the total cost of treating every STD patient could be brought down to as little as $2 million using these new methods
The TIMES OF SWAZILAND (December 19) reported that a Tanzanian national had been arrested at the Swaziland – Mozambique border post at Lomahasha carrying 169 Mandrax tablets worth hundreds of thousands of Emalangeni (Swazi currency). This was the only border post where there were sniffer dogs trained to detect drugs.
Forty-five years ago The Tanganyika Wattle Company (TANWAT) established a sustainable forestry business near Njombe for the extraction of tannin from the bark of the wattle tree (Acacia mearnsis) which is used for tanning leather. But, as the December 1995 issue of CDC MAGAZINE reported, the demand for tannin has gradually dropped. Activities were therefore diversified first into arable cropping, then into irrigated tea and in 1995 into a new 2,500 kW power station to use up half of TANWAT’s waste wood. By May 1995 TANWAT was able to begin exporting electricity to Njombe and its environs.
Some striking contrasts between Britain and Tanzania are revealed in the 1996 WORLD BANK ATLAS:
|Population growth rate %pa||3.1||0.3|
|Life expectancy at birth (years)||52||76|
|Births per woman||5.8||1.8|
|Infant mortaility (per 1000 live births)||84||7|
|Primary school enrolment (% net)||50||97|
|GNP per capita US$ (1993)||90||18,050|
|Average inflatation rate 1985-95||23.4||5.4|
|Agriculture’s share of GDP||56||2|
|Energy use per capita kWh||35||3,718|
|Water use per capita 1970-94 (cubic m)||35||205|
STREET CHILDREN IN MWANZA
‘There are two groups of street children; the ones on the street who usually keep family ties and the children of the street who often get involved in anti-social activities’ – so wrote Sister Teresa, a Malawian Missionary Sister of our Lady of Africa in the April-May 1996 issue of WHITE FATHERS – WHITE SISTERS. She went on to explain how she got to know them. ‘When I found them playing cards outside Mwanza Hotel or in the market I joined them; I sat down with the bigger boys while they were smoking ‘bhang’ (marijuana) or drinking ‘gongo’ (alcohol); I have been in bars at night and found some of the young girls getting drunk.. . . .some of the boys come to our house for knotting, card making, watching videos….some of them go to sleep, because for once they can lie down without being harassed by the police or the ‘Sungusungu’ (traditional defence groups). Building relationships with the street girls is not that easy …. they want a quick way of getting money.. . .The streets of Mwanza are for me like pages of Scripture from the living context of life. It is like a sacred ground where I meet Christ in different forms. He calls me to live more closely with him and with his favourite ones, the poor, the street children and to know him more intimately through real live relationships with them’.
The JOHANNESBURG STAR (January 6) reported that proposals have been made for a group of Tanzanian and other police officers to be trained in South Africa and then return home with Labrador and German sniffer dogs to assist in the fight against drug smuggling.
ANOTHER AWARD FOR NYERERE
The TIMES OF SWAZILAND (December 29, 1995) was one of many papers to publish the news that Mwalimu Nyerere had been awarded the first International à and hi Peace Prize for ‘bringing about social, economic and political transformation through non-violence1. The award, which carries a citation and a $300,000 prize, was created in 1994 to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Indian independence hero
NEW VISA RESTRICTIONS
THE AFRICAN (Edition 3, March 1996) which describes itself
as ‘Europe’s Most Informed Black Magazine’ and addresses itself particularly to the refugee and exile African community, has reported that, in order to stem the increasing number of bogus Tanzanian asylum seekers arriving in Britain, the British Home Office now requires all Tanzanian nationals travelling to Britain to have a visa. The number of asylum seekers, excluding dependants, from Tanzania has risen from 107 in 1994 to 1,250 in 1995. (British people travelling to Tanzania also need a visa. The high cost (f 38) corresponds to the very high cost of the visa needed by Tanzanians coming to the UK- Editor).
WEEVILS ON THE ATTACK
The governments of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya have agreed plans to launch large numbers of weevils later this year to attack the Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) which is clogging up Lake Victoria. The weevils eat the leaves while the larvae chew into stems and crowns. But, according to the NEW SCIENTIST (April 6), experience with the weevils in Papua- New Guinea, indicates that they can take up to ten years to make a significant impact.
TA has also been informed by Mr John Mole of TANNOL HOLDINGS, which is running an international research project on the relationship between Bilharzia-carrying snails and the water hyacinth, of a proposal being made for the hyacinth to be used as cattle fodder at a site 30 minutes from Mwanza.
BRITISH OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT has been reporting on the views of a group of Tanzanian students who visited Britain under the link arrangement between Shambalai School in Lushoto and St. Bedes School in Redhill, Surrey: – ‘Families are very different. In Tanzania the women and the girls do the cooking. Here, even the fathers cook for their children. But people here are so busy they don’t even have time to talk to each other8 – Daniel Herman. – ‘Pluses include the beautiful houses and the food (chips, chicken and beef)’ – Sylvia Denis. – ‘The visit to the car factory was best. Other likes included the air conditioning, the food, TV and British family life. But some of the skirts are too short’ – Hyasinta Lucas.
FIRST MARINE PARK
Recalling the setting up by parliament in April 1995 of Tanzania’s first Marine Park in Mafia island, an article in AFRICA – ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE (November -December 1995) explained that Mafia was one of the most biodiverse spots on the East African coast. With its spectacular coral reefs, seagrass beds, intertidal flats and nearby islets, the park included major breeding and nursery grounds for many marine species. Islanders would continue to live in the park but most of the area would be a ‘regulated use zone’. The coming year would see the design of World Wildlife community development initiatives and an ecological monitoring system.
THE NEW ARUSHA
From a dusty outpost for early white hunters, Arusha has developed into an international centre demanding appropriate facilities for a population growing in sophistication. It already hosts the Eastern and Southern African Management Centre (ESAMI), the Centre for Integrated Rural Development in Africa (CIRDAFRICA), the Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU) and the Commonwealth Health Secretariat for East Africa. Now it is acquiring the United Nations International Rwanda Tribunal with hundreds of new spenders in the form of lawyers, journalists and investigators and the revived East African Cooperation Secretariat.
Already also the town has three modern casinos, three new entertainment and night spots, more than ten tourist class hotels. New developments expected or just recently opened include the 500-capacity ‘Hotel 77 Maua Nyama Garden’, the multi-million shilling “Mike’s Jointr which straddles the Themi River, the ‘Soweto Garden’, ‘Johnson’s Corner’ which is under construction along Nairobi Road, and the futuristic ‘African Cultural and Heritage Centre’ along Dodoma Road. Arusha has also launched its own FM radio station and a tabloid newspaper – the EAST AFRICAN.
THE LONGEST SURVIVING COOP
This is how the Tabora Beekeepers Cooperative was described in the Spring 1996 issue of QUARTERLY RETURN, the Newsletter of Shared Interest Society Limited, The coop was said to have been started by a Roman Catholic priest in the 19609 and now has 2,500 members. In the rainy season the beekeepers hoist their hives up in the trees. Harvesting can be hazardous but it has been made easier by plastic buckets provided by Traidcraft which buys the honey. The coop has helped in establishing a number of primary schools, a clinic, a bus service and even a social centre where honey wine is sold to make more money.
LITTLE DID THEY KNOW?
AFRICA TODAY (March/April 1966) reported that immigration officers barred 27-year-old Tanzanian Abdul-kader Shareef from Britain, apparently because they found a letter on him asking a friend in London to help him get a job. Twenty nine years later, Dr. Shareef was given VIP treatment on his return to take up his appointment to the Court of St. James as his country’s new High Commissioner in the UK.
SHOWING THE THIGH
A GEMINI feature published in an number of newspapers including the Barbados SUNDAY ADVOCATE described the controversy which had arisen following the recent Miss Tanzania contest. The winner who had worn a swimsuit at the contest had subsequently been expelled from her secondary school following protests from traditionalists to the effect that it was immoral for a father to see the thighs of his daughter, that White people were bringing an obscene culture into Tanzania, that the body was ‘God’s house’ and that it was sinful to turn it into a commodity. Others countered by saying that many traditional dances were performed with bare breasts, that no one complained about the wearing of swimming costumes for swimming, that boys exposed their thighs in boxing and why shouldn’t girls be treated the same. The Headmaster of the girl’s school said that the girl had been expelled because she had played truant in order to take part in the contest. Taking up the story NEW AFRICAN (February) reported that the lady in question, 19-year old Emily Adolf Kailio, went on to take part in the Miss World Competition in Sun City (some call it Sin City) in South Africa but did not get into the finals.
MITIGATING THE EFFECTS OF MERCURY IN GOLD MINING
About 40% of the gold mined in Tanzania is recovered through a process using highly poisonous mercury. Small scale miners have been evaporating into air tons of mercury. The Tanzanian environmental magazine AGENDA in a recent issue reported that Dr. G Njau of the National Industrial Research Development Organisation (TIRDO) assisted by Mr A Itika, Mr L Rweyemamu and Prof. C Migiro of the Institute of Production Innovation (IPI) have designed, fabricated and tested a retort to recover mercury. It has air-cooled condensers, weighs only 2.4 kgs and is capable of recovering 99.6% of the mercury used during amalgamation with gold. These scientists, who were joint recipients of the 1995 ‘Tanzania Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement’ (TASTA), are looking for an entrepreneur to produce the retorts on a commercial basis.
USING LOCAL MATERIALS
‘I got through about 800 trees, 50kg of nails and a crate of beer a week.. .We used local materials – bamboo andeucalyptus trees and I salvaged cast-iron pipes from a disused tin mine as culverts … with these very simple materials we built food distribution and registration centres and emergency shelter’. This was the way in which Ms Jo da Silva of RedR (Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief) vividly described in the December 23/24 1995 issue of THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEER how she had arrived in Tanzania at ten days notice to help tens of thousands of refugees from Rwanda who had themselves arrived suddenly in Tanzania in April 1994. Warehouses had been imported from Norway – they required ‘creative thinking’ when some parts were found to be missing.. . (Thank you Roy Galbraith for sending this item – Editor).
Although the first Tanzanian soap opera began only in April last year Tanzanians are lapping up the increasing numbers of soap operas with the same enthusiasm as everywhere else according to NEW AFRICAN (February). The man who is doing everything from editing the scripts to shooting the film is Sayed Mehboob or MEB as he is better known – the editing supervisor of Dar es Salaam TV. And one of the main reasons for the success of the programmes is that they are in Swahili. Most people have difficulty in following imported soaps. Kipigo cha Mke (Wife beating) is about an old Casanova who picks up beautiful young girls; Mtoto wa kufika (The stepchild) is about an overworked and frequently reprimanded stepchild called Siyawezi; Husada Mbaya (Jealousy is bad) features a student about to leave for Europe.
‘THE GREENEST AND COOLEST SPOT IN DAR ES SALAAM’
This is how TANTRAVEL – Tanzania’s Travel and Leisure Magazine – described recently the Dar es Salaam Botanical Gardens and National Museum. The gardens were established as experimental gardens by the German colonial administration in 1893 and originally stretched from the present built-over plots around the fifth hole of the Gymkhana Club Golf Course through the Ocean Road Hospital grounds and the area surrounding the present State House. In July 1914 a mammoth Trade Fair and Agricultural Show was held in the gardens but during the First World War some 140 species of plants and shrubs were destroyed to facilitate the digging of trenches. In 1941 a museum was opened as a memorial to King George V who had died in 1936.
RAILWAYS IN TROUBLE
In an article headed ‘Southern African Railways in Trouble’ NEW AFRICAN (February) paints a sombre picture of inefficiency and increasing losses of business to road hauliers. ‘At the beginning of 1995’ the report says ‘TAZARA announced far reaching measures aimed at commercialising operations in order to compete in the changed market. But, because it is owned by three countries – Tanzania, Zambia and China – it is refusing attempts to sell it as an independent railway company to foreign investors. (Continued on page 24)
THE CHANGED REMMY ONGALA
The popular Zairean singer Dr. Remmy or Sauti ya Mnyonga (Voice of the poor) who has made his home in Tanzania, has changed, according to the January issue of NEW AFRICAN. He used to sing about government corruption and inefficiency and praised opposition leader Augustine Mrema. Then, after a spell in Britain, where he performed with a bare torso wrapped in nothing but an animal skin, he returned to Tanzania and started playing his music at CCM election rallies wearing three-piece suits. He backed Benjamin Mkapa in the presidential race. ‘The hippy turned square; the maverick became respectable’. Some people were said to believe that the change was linked to his fear of being deported as he had overstayed his residence permit in Tanzania.