Readers will be shocked to hear that Michael Wise, our Reviews Editor, died suddenly and unexpectedly on November 11. He brought his considerable experience plus great enthusiasm to his task and his own reviews were always a delight to read. He was in the process of preparing this section of TA when he died but has left his files in good order and it has not been too difficult to complete the work for this issue. Reviewers whose work is not included in this issue can contact me although Michael had intended to hold over some reviews to a later date because of shortage of space. For this reason it has been necessary to abbreviate some of the material he did receive. I am sure that readers will support me in sending our deepest sympathy to his wife on her terrible loss – a loss which we also share – David Brewin.
LETHAL AID -THE ILLUSION OF SOCIALISM AND SELFRELIANCE IN TANZANIA. Severine Rugumamu. Africa World Press, Trenton, New Jersey, 1999
It was the subtitle which grabbed my attention, but the first sections didn’t keep it -a stodgy literature review discussing concepts of the unequal power relationships between aid donors and recipients.
However, when the author starts writing about Tanzania in Chapter three, it’s much better. There’s an excellent historical survey, and a lot of very helpful economic statistics, not merely about foreign aid, but also about the whole economy. The author has also found a 1968 quote from Nyerere about foreign debt: “To burden the people with big loans, the repayment of which will be beyond their means, is not to help them but to make them suffer”.
He analyses the giving and receiving of aid-the interests of the donor state and those of the ruling class receiving it tend to outweigh “development”. In the longer term, aid has fostered dependence which “forces its victims to lose faith and confidence in their own abilities and paralyses their initiatives”, and has made a mockery of the old slogan of “Self-reliance”.
Tanzania did not have a policy framework for absorbing aid. Also, it was very difficult for Tanzanian civil servants to dispute aid-givers conclusions, however misinformed, or funds would disappear, so projects which any local could tell were misguided went ahead.
To illustrate his more general conclusions, he has three case studies a Norwegian fishing project “a classic example of a poorly conceived, designed and executed project”, Danish aid at Sokoine University (lecturers obtained higher degrees in Denmark and studied Danish veterinary issues) and Swedish aid at the bureau of statistics (successful in meeting its objectives, but also responsible for “notorious aid-dependence mentality”). He shows how inherent in much of the project design was the interests of the donors, while Tanzanian interests had to be fitted in as best as possible. Tanzanian institutional weakness also meant that they were often not even able to negotiate well.
In the last few pages the author suggests the solutions of better governance, so that the state acts in the interests of the whole country, and of genuine self-reliance-selective delinking from the world economy. But that would be another book.
It is easy to complain that the book minimises the successful impact of aid. Donors have done a lot of good with Tanzania’s roads and railways, for example, but his conclusion that much aid has not helped is incontrovertible, and his analysis as to why is very thought-provoking. It would have been interesting to compare how NGO aid fares compared with government aid this could perhaps have painted a slightly more encouraging picture.
TANZANIA POLITICAL ECONOMY SERIES, 1 TRANSITIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY AND POLICY OPTIONS IN TANZANIA. Eds: Samuel Wangwe, Haji Semboja and Paula Tibendbage of the Economic and Social Research Foundation. Mkuki wa Nyota. Distributed by African Books Collective, The Jam factory, 27 Park End St. Oxford OXl lHU. 130 pages. £18.00.
Many friends of Tanzania, anxious to see its people prosper, have viewed with sadness the failure of many economic experiments of past decades and look forward eagerly to the success of the new policies of President Mkapa. To us this little book will be an encouragement; and to the powers that be it should be a valuable guide.
The book puts forward a set of economic policy options. They reflect current thinking on the role of the state as liberator of market forces, stimulator of private investment, creator of a competitive commercial environment and provider of efficient health, education and social services.
The book was published early last year yet most of the text appears to have been written 2 ‘is years ago; no statistic is given after the Spring of 1966 and frequently the writers indicate that they are putting forward their ideas at the outset of the ‘Third Phase Government’ whose remit runs from 1995 to 2000. I have just one other complaint. The book loses impact by being just a little too academic. The generalisations leave the reader uncertain at times what the authors really want their government to do in a given situation. Just a few comparisons are made with other developing countries; far more would have been helpful. Practical examples of theoretical arguments are rare. We learn of the beneficial privatisation of the Morogoro Shoe Company and the valuable effect on productivity of the Sasakawa Global 2000 Project, but that is about all. Some figures are quoted but the analysis lacks any graphs or charts to clarify movements in the country’s economy during the period under study.
The editors have been very ambitious. They had five objectives: to assess the tentative economic reforms initiated by the ‘Second Phase’ Government of President Mwinyi between 1985 and 1995; to draw lessons from the past; to set out the challenges facing the ‘Third Phase’ Government; to put forward policy options for it to consider when developing its plans; and, to set benchmarks from which future evaluations could be made.
Twenty senior academics and civil servants contributed to the text and the job of the editors cannot have been easy. They provided a good short introduction and a concise summary of the author’s views. In between, one by one, just about all relevant areas of public policy are discussed financial, industrial, agricultural, service, the environment, education, women, children, civil service reforms, water, health and so on as well as some ‘cross-cutting’ issues. Each one is reviewed under the headings: ‘current status’, ‘problems and challenges’, ‘short term’ and ‘long term’ policy options’. This rigorous demarcation does not always prevent duplication of ideas but it does help the reader through some fairly complex arguments.
The dryness of some of the text can be an advantage. It has enabled the authors to report the tragic deterioration of conditions in the country in the 70’s and 80’s without comment and without offence. The authors recognise the beginnings of a shift from state control to a more marketoriented economy after 1985, but see reform as far from complete. Their list of policy changes necessary to set Tanzania on the road to prosperity is very, very long.
All the authors are agreed that, the role of the government should be to provide public goods; improve the infrastructure; correct for ‘externalities’; increase the intensity of competition; create an environment suitable for private investment; and, tackle poverty by helping the poor to increase their productivity and incomes. The principle challenge facing the present government is to enhance its ability to manage development through a much stronger legal and institutional framework.
Looking at foreign aid, the authors record that the foreign debt due for repayment in 1995/96 was about 60% of Tanzania’s national debt and 50% of the recurrent budget. We are given three powerful reasons why it must be reduced by attracting private investment and using internal resources. It must come down, not merely to lesson the massive diversion of hard-won taxes, but also to enable the country to stand finally on its own two feet and to continue development from its own efforts when eventual ‘donor fatigue’ leads to the withdrawal of aid.
In sum, if the E&SR Foundation has not succeeded in all it undertook, at least the authors have made an important contribution to the national debate. The Foundation should pursue this exercise. Let them update the economic statistics with graphs to illuminate recent trends, accompany the up-date with a concise list of the policy options and conclude with a set of specific and quantified benchmarks, not merely of GDP, inflation and the like but also of production, productivity, literacy, health, educational attainment and so on. This would surely be helpful as a means of measuring the nation’s progress towards the stated objectives.
TANU WOMEN: GENDER AND CULTURE IN THE MAKING OF TANGANYIKAN NATIONALISM, 1995-1965. Susan Geiger. James Currey, 1997. 217p. £15.95 (paperback) £40.00 (hardback).
This book provides an absorbing and detailed account of the part played by women activists in the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). Their role in the nationalist movement which set out to secure independence for Tanganyika has previously gone mostly unacknowledged. Whilst Susan Geiger carried out her research from written sources both in the UK and Tanzania, much of her book is based on dictated and recorded accounts, the oral life histories, that the women themselves provided in the 1980s. These, whilst given individually, when combined emerge as a collective biography of a larger whole. Paramount place and space is given to Bibi Titi Mohammed, the most prominent women leader in the nationalist phase (1955-65), whose story provides the thread throughout the narrative.
The author sets the scene and describes the social and political conditions that prevailed in the ’50’s and motivated the women to get involved and play an active part. What stands out is that there was the tendency, at least in the early days, for these women to be drawn from the urban Muslim, Swahili coastal community with little formal or western education; often divorced with few or no children. (It was common practice for girls to marry young and divorce early). In contrast in Moshi the women were usually younger than their Dar es Salaam counterparts with more schooling, more children, fewer divorces and with greater religious diversity. It is their influence which has continued to a greater extent into the post-colonial period.
Regardless of the ethnic backgrounds from which they came, common to all these women was an over-riding belief not only in the right of Tanzanians to rule themselves but also in the equality of the sexes ie that their daughters should have the right to education and employment denied or still not widely open to themselves. Women’s then lack of standing in society and considered inferiority was a strong force and motivating factor in their call for change which they felt would only come with independence and its aftermath. This book therefore does not confine itself purely to the struggle for independence but also looks at the continuation of women’s political culture of nationalism in the post-colonial years and with it the disappointments and setbacks that have since been encountered.
Notwithstanding the fact that TANU Women is both a scholarly and methodically researched book aimed primarily at an academic audience it is also of broader appeal to those with a more general interest in Tanzania.
THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE A LEADER. ESSAYS ON THE 1995 GENERAL ELECTION. Edited by C K Omari. Dar es Salaam University Press. 1996. 160 pages.
TANZANIA POLITICAL REFORM IN ECLIPSE. CRISES AND CLEAVAGES IN POLITICAL PARTIES. Max Mmuya. Freidrich Ebert Stiftung. PO Box 4472. Dar es Salaam. 1998. 192 pages.
The recent past, the present and, to some extent, the future of political development in Tanzania are covered competently in these two books.
Regular readers of TA will find little new in ‘The Right to Choose a Leader’ but to others, this is probably the most informative account of Tanzania’s 1995 elections yet produced. Editor Omari proved his credentials by accurately forecasting the results ahead of the elections. Factors he describes in detail which influenced the results include the importance of personality rather than policy in voter choice; the religious factor (the efforts of Muslim fundamentalists in Dar es Salaam backfired); ethnicity (still very important) and NGO involvement. Chapter 5, written by the young Dr Festus Limbu, describes politics at the grass roots and how he tried but failed to win the Magu (Mwanza) seat for the NCCR party. The final chapter on Zanzibar explains concisely the complicated historical background to what happened but steers clear, perhaps wisely, of expressing an opinion on whether the results represented the true will of the electorate.
Senior Lecturer in Government and Politics at Dar es Salaam University, Dr Max Mmuya, in his profound and original book, brings us up to date on the way in which the effort to introduce multipartyism to Tanzania has been pervaded by ‘crisis and cleavages’ and is now, in the view of most observers, in eclipse.
In describing the five main parties, the author, who is a member of the committee set up to propose revisions to Tanzania’s constitution, struggles hard to define CCM’s present policy (‘CCM -The Establishment United From Ujamaa to Ruksa’) but states that recent research indicates that most rural poor people still prefer ujamaa to capitalism, something CCM has to take into account as it becomes more and more capitalist in its orientation.
CUF (Utajirisho -Enrichment) which, according to the author, was the only other party which originally had a vision of the kind of society it wanted (what about John Cheyo’s creation, the UDP, and its Margaret Thatcherism?) but, because its only real strength is now in Zanzibar, has had to ‘form into the same rigid ideology as the CCM on the Isles’.
In the heart of the book Mmuya points out that conflict is a necessary aspect of any political party and reveals in detail the internal conflicts in the CCM (eg: between the elders and the youth; between the mainland and Zanzibar parties) and how it has (so far) successfully coped with them. Mmuya wisely rejects the conspiracy theory that the collapse of the other parties has been instigated by CCM. He prefers such causes as their flouting of their own constitutions, personal ambition and ethnic affiliations.
In a fascinating discussion on how the new multiparty parliaments operate, the book reveals that if Tanzania had had proportional representation rather than the ‘first-past-the-post’ system, CCM would now have 137 seats (rather than the actual 186) and NCCR would have 50 compared with its existing 16.
There is an intellectual discussion in Chapter 6 on relations between parties and civil society organisations. He writes: ‘Unfortunately, as though colonialism was not atrocious, post-independence regimes have either attempted to control the single party or, as in the case of the current reform movement, the colonial laws and regulations have been invoked to drive a wedge in the natural and logical process of parties being founded in civil society organisations’. Case studies in Bariadi, Shinyanga (not very successful), and Dar es Salaam showed civil society to be weak and undeveloped. By contrast, in Zanzibar before the revolution, there were 48 registered organisations -religious, social, recreational and charitable.
Mmuya’s rather brief conclusions make sad reading. He writes, with much support from his own research, that Tanzania is ‘lacking in the appropriate infrastructure upon which to build a liberal democratic system a vision shared by all the parties …the cOlmtry cannot afford to pay for countrywide elections for local, parliamentary and presidential elections and leave enough funds for other important allocations’. But, as he says correctly, democracy will eventually triumph.
He concludes the book with these questions: ‘Where are the liberals and where is the liberal infrastructure for them?’ I conclude that this wellresearched and well-written book is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in Tanzanian political development.
TREKKING IN EAST AFRICA. David Else. Lonely Planet Publications. New Edition 1998. 348p. £11.99.
This book is a comprehensive guide to mountain treks throughout the whole of East Africa, Malawi and Ethiopia. It includes the standard Lonely Planet advice about the countries covered, getting there and away, information about health and safety, including a section on mountain sickness and notes on tipping guides and porters.
Tanzania is covered in 69 pages and, as you would expect, Kilimanjaro is given a lot of space with good maps and six routes described. There are diagrams showing the steepness of ascent and there is a full list of trekking companies with appropriate warnings about rogue companies. There is a smaller but useful section on Mount Meru which, as the book says, is frequently overlooked by trekkers, but provides an excellent climb through varied landcapes, culminating in a scramble along an exposed crater rim to the summit. The book provides welcome sections on other mountain areas visited by few tourists which are the hidden jewels of the country. Tanzania’s Five Year Tourism Plan seeks to encourage tourists to spread out from the ‘Northern Circuit’ and Zanzibar and with the assistance of the Dutch aid project (SNV) villagers are being encouraged to provide tourist facilities in these areas.
The areas given good coverage in the book are the Crater Highlands, Mt Hanang and the Western Usambaras. I was particularly pleased to see Hanang included as this is a splendid 11,500 ft. isolated extinct volcano, providing an excellent two days trekking. Short sections devoted to the Monduli Mountains, the Pare Mountains, the Eastern Usambaras and the Southern Highlands centred on Mbeya do not do these areas justice and there is no mention at all of the Uluguru Mountains or of Udzungwa. The Southern Highlands in particular offer a vast range of attractions -high mountains, waterfalls, gorges, volcanic features, pleasant climate and excellent walking country.
This book is an essential guide to planning a trek in the region but Tanzania has enough natural treasures to justify a book for Tanzania alone. !
A VET ABROAD. Stuart Wilson. The Book Guild, High St. Lewes, Sussex. BN7 2LU. TeI: 01723 472534. £15.95.
Books about travel; memoirs; animal stories; all may be of interest. But when you have a combination, you have a winner!
Stuart Wilson gave up a profitable vet practice in Lincolnshire to spend five years in Tanzania. Part of the time he was involved in research programmes and vet practice, but mostly he was training veterinary assistants to mn the animal health control services. He has either used extensive notes made at the time, or has a remarkable memory for detail and moves from animal stories (wild as well as domestic), descriptions of the country as it was some 30 years ago, amusing characters and incidents, many of them at his own expense, with a skill reminiscent of the vet stories in Yorkshire which have been so popular in book and on TV in the UK.
This book would be fun for anyone to read, but for those who knew some of the characters and who experienced Tanzania at the time, it is fascinating. Stuart spent part of his time at Mpapwa but most at the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute at Tengeru near Arusha. His obvious enjoyment of the work, his involvement with cattle, sheep, horses and dogs both in the area and as far away as West Kilimanjaro and far into Masailand, illustrate that he was much more than just a teacher. His students obviously recognised this when they said in a speech prior to his departure “your teaching has always been systematic, simple and thoughtprovoking”. I have visited Tengeru several times recently and it is sad to see that the facilities which Stuart struggled so hard to build up have deteriorated disastrously. Further, the Government has not employed veterinary assistants since 1992, and as there are no job prospects, there are hardly any students. As Stuart was about to leave, Tengeru was to be handed over to the East African Community for a few years. At least it is now back to its earlier function and there is a prospect of major renovation. A further regret is that so many of the well established commercial farms to which the author refers have ceased to function.
There are some endearing features. Stuart starts off with a fairly colonial attitude, as one might expect so soon after the colonial era, but he visibly mellows over the five years and clearly gets on well with his students. He realises his own fiery nature (I should like to see if the door in which he hit a hole is still at Tengeru) and is able to joke about it. He jumps fully clothed into a pool when he sees his daughter apparently in trouble! He gets into trouble with lions, snakes, rabid animals, not to mention senior officers. A few minor criticisms should not detract from a warm recommendation. A Swahili speaking editor would have made many corrections to the spelling; in fact the editing in general leaves something to be desired. I wish he had put the full name of all his colleagues. But these are very small points in what is otherwise an entertaining, amusing and a fascinating story not to be missed.
MEMORY AND MAPS. An exhibition of paintings by Jonathan Kingdom at the Royal Geographical Society. October 16-22, 1998.
The paintings in this exhibition followed an expedition to Mkomazi, Southern Tanzania, in which the well-known naturalist and painter 10nathan Kingdom was involved in 1995/96. His oil paintings blend art, science and memories of a lifetime in East Africa (he was born and brought up in Tanzania). They have an immediacy which gives them vibrant life and his interpretation overlays these with topographical and historical knowledge. His intimate knowledge of the area enables him to paint locales invested with weather, temperature and a shifting light.
The wildlife is predominant in the pictures, the physical elements giving an impressionistic landscape but showing the paths and conditions along which the wildlife travels. Prey is watched by predators, the frail confront the elements, competition is played out. A few of the pictures can be seen as abstracts though the viewer can solve the patterns. They are not drawing room pictures; they need some explanation (which was provided in a booklet at the exhibition) but repay close attention.