BARRED FROM ANIMAL KINGDOM
The paragraph published in TA issue No. 57 under the above heading summarised an article published in the London Observer on April 5th. That article named the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust and contained a number of grossly distorted facts and half truths.
I do not intend to comment on the Maasai claim to grazing rights in the Mkomazi Game Reserve since the Trust is not a party to the dispute but the statement that there are ‘…fly infested, stinking animal carcases, children with distended bodies …’ around the boundaries of the reserve is false. The lot of the local villagers is no better and no worse than that of most of the rural population in Tanzania. The famous ‘glass-fronted house with a satellite dish’ in which the Trust’s representative, Tony Fitzjohn, lives, was a one-room building constructed of local stone until a small nursery was added recently. Alas there is no satellite dish. Until he built his house, Fitzjohn lived for many years under canvas….
The Mkomazi Reserve is not privately run by the Trust and Fitzjohn is not the manager. It is a national reserve managed by the Tanzanian Government and has a Tanzanian manager. The George Adamson Trust was asked by the Government to assist in rehabilitating the reserve and it has acted strictly within its remit. It does not, as might be inferred from your comments, have the authority to negotiate with the Maasai.
The Trust and its sister trusts have raised millions of dollars for the building of roads and airstrips, equipping the ranger force, constructing the only purpose-built rhino sanctuary in Africa and for the Mkomazi Outreach Programme which funds resources and educational facilities for those living near the reserve. The Duke of Kent is not the patron of the trust. The trust has no such officer.
Most of the original Observer article is incorrect and indeed libellous …
Dr. S K Eltringham
Chairman of Trustees
The George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust
FREEDOM AND UNITY OR TRIBALISM?
Hasty, narrow research leads to shallow conclusions. The article ‘Barred from animal’s kingdom’ (Observer 6th April) which was referred to in your last issue, demonstrates both.
I am a Tanzanian. I have been working in rural extension for 23 years.. .I have worked in and around the Mkomazi Game Reserve for more than two years researching community conservation ….I and my colleagues have had considerable dialogue with villagers of all ethnic groups…we have lived there. From this research I have come to realise that the area is not just a Garden of Eden for Maasai that you fancy. There are other ethnic groups such as the Pare and Sambaa who have historical roots with the area inside and outside the Reserve, before the Maasai arrived…. Where was the voice of other ethnic groups in the article?
Another group whose viewpoint seems to have been omitted is that of the Tanzanian Government. Since the Reserve was gazetted there has been a great deal of consultation between the people and the government.. . .of course, where movement was not voluntary some force was used. Which government does not use force like this? Ask Swampy!!
…… It is vital that we Tanzanians solve our conflicts between different ethnic groups and between ethnic groups and the Government. This can only be done with good information and careful, broad research. Please do not antagonise and aggravate conflict between the government and the people, and between NG07s of the North and the South, with such poor information. Tanzania has 120 ethnic groups…. Groups in the Mkomazi area have coexisted for many years, they have intermarried, they have traded. They were and are still able to solve conflicts and have organised utilisation and management of rangelands and irrigation water together. It is wrong for outsiders to pick on one ethnic group, fancy it, sponsor it and promote it at the expense of other groups’ inclusion in debates.. . .
Yours, in love with my country,
Hildegarda Lucian Petri Kiwasila
University College, London
(I regret that it has been necessary to slightly abbreviate the above two important letters. I think it should be pointed out that our column headed ‘Tanzania in the Media’ is intended to tell readers what the international press is writing about Tanzania. What is written is not necessarily the view of the Britain-Tanzania society or of myself- Editor).
Thank you for letting me have the address of Mr Clarke following my recent letter. On page 9 of Tanzanian Affairs No. 57 you refer to CCM’s candidate at the Magu vacant seat as being ‘a well-known local businessman who had been the NCCR candidate for the seat during the general elections’. If this refers to Dr. Festus Limbu, then our records show that Dr. Limbu is a member of staff of the Department of Economics at the University of Dar es Salaam. Dr. Limbu did contest the seat through the NCCR-Mageuzi during the general elections and lost. The description of the well-known local businessman I suspect fits one of the other contestants.
On page 12 there is a reference to Lake Malawi which is called Lake Nyasa by this side of the border!
Professor Geoffrey Mmari
Vice Chancellor, the Open University of Tanzania
One of the main tasks of a reviewer, dealing with writings on a controversial subject, is to place those writings in their context and let his readers know that there are two sides to the argument. John Budge, in issue No 57, simply fails to do this. There IS a debate on structural adjustment, but all he has done is to take a couple of writers from the ‘anti’ side and tell us how much he is in agreement with them.
Both Kaiser and Schatz, as he quotes them, draw their conclusions from shaky evidence. Tanzania’s admirable social cohesion was already there (in contrast to Kenya and Uganda) when Julius Nyerere took over the reins, and was not created later. Whatever you think about structural adjustment, the country’s economic and social decline dates from long before Government took to measures of economic liberalisation. It began as a spin-off of the one-party state and the centralisation of power; it continued with the policies of ‘nationalising everything’, pressures for people to leave their homesteads and migrate to ujamaa villages, and the unrealistically low producer prices fixed by Government which shattered national food production in the 1970’s. Crime and corruption went into a steep rise then, not after the adoption of IMF/World Bank policies.
Where WERE Messrs Budge, Kaiser and Schatz when all this was going on?
Dr Philip Mawhood
University of Exeter
‘SIXTY YEARS IN AFRICA: THE LIFE OF A SETTLER 1926-1986’
Thank you so very, very much for your wonderful review of Werner Voigt’s book in the last issue. I have long felt passionate about how great the story of Werner and Helga’s life is. You may not be aware that Werner died last February 8th. It is very unfortunate that we were not in touch just a year earlier because we stopped in England on the way to Tanzania and you could have met Werner and Helga (and myself and Evelyn, their daughter)……
Gordon Breedyk, Ottawa, Canada
I was delighted to read the kind review of my book about the Barabaig in your last issue. I am pleased to advise the reviewer, Christine Lawrence, that the book was published in Kenya…..but is also available from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) 3 Endsleigh St. London WClH ODD.
The quotation with which Christine ends her review is most apt. At this time in Tanzania the whole question of how land is to be administered is under consideration with a new land policy in place and a new land law to be passed by the Bunge in the near future.. . .Indications from the draft legislation suggest that customary tenure will be accommodated and the interests of pastoralists will be satisfied to an extent by its provisions. If this comes to pass then it will be the result of the efforts of many including pastoralists, a triumph of reason and as a result of good governance. I have made regular comment on this process in the IIED Bulletin Haramata.
Reviewer John Budge has responded to the letters from Julie Jarman and Dr Astier Almedom in our last issue by writing to say that he is thoroughly ashamed of his ill-considered and inconsiderate comment about the handwashing of African children. He goes on ‘I suppose that foremost in my mind was the plight of country people in places where saving water is of paramount importance… I regret any implied devaluation of the magnificent work of WaterAid UNICEF, The Dodoma Hygiene Evaluation Study and the Tanzanian Government and above all, of devoted relief workers in close contact with village people. Perhaps I can take some consolation in the fact that their letters can play some small part in shedding even more light on a vital Issue of African rural life – the connection between water and killer diseases’ – Editor