There was much for Tanzanians to feel pleased about during the final weeks of 1996 as President Benjamin Mkapa completed his first year in office;
DEMOCRACY IS ALIVE AND WELL (at least on the Mainland); Tanzanians took everyone by surprise and showed their political maturity by ignoring ethnicity and religion in a highly significant parliamentary by-election in Temeke, Dar es Salaam on October 6; they voted for a Christian in a largely Muslim constituency and rejected a locally born candidate in favour of a man from Moshi;
THE JUDICIARY IS SHOWING ITS MUSCLE AND ITS LACK OF BIAS by removing from parliament MP’s from both the government and opposition parties following election petitions from candidates who lost in the 1995 elections;
CORRUPTION AND DEDICATION TO DUTY ARE BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY; a very senior minister has felt it wise to resign and senior officials in all kinds of organisations are finding themselves suspended, retired early or demoted;
THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) HAS SET ITS SEAL OF APPROVAL ON TANZANIA’S ECONOMIC REFORMS; following considerable improvement in revenue collection, the IMF has finally agreed to a new loan for Tanzania which should help to release substantial sums of additional donor aid money;
INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS ARE SHOWING GREAT INTEREST IN TANZANIA; but they remain critical about bureaucracy and anti-investment attitudes;
TOURISM IS AT THE BEGINNING OF A BOOM; there is a new professionalism in the way that Tanzania presents its very considerable tourist attractions to the outside world.