According to the East African (March 29) the action of some 550 retrenched employees of the Bank of Tanzania in calling for a court order to reinstate them and pay salary arrears totalling $16.57 million, has sent shock waves through state-owned firms that retrenched heavily at the height of the economic reforms in 1993. The High Court ruled last September that the retrenchments were illegal. The employees had previously failed in their battle before the Industrial Court and on appeal to the Minister of Labour.

Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam Professor Wamba-dia¬≠Wamba, formerly of Dar es Salaam University and now President of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) otherwise known as ‘the rebels’, commended the role played by Tanzania in bringing about peace and stability in Africa -something that his country had never had.

President Mkapa has confirmed that Dodoma will be transformed into Tanzania’s capital city. He intended in future to spend most of his time as President at the Chamwino presidential lodge there and to appeal to donors to help in the development of the city. The Ministries of Works, Water, Energy and Minerals and the Planning Commision are to move to Dodoma by 2001 -Guardian.

The Asian community in Tanzania is said to have declined by 50% in the last ten years to some 50,000 now.

Tanzania’s Zebedayo Bayo finished third in the New York marathon in November in a time of 2.08:51, only four seconds behind Kenya’s John Kagwe with whom he had been running shoulder to shoulder all the way. And the Young Africans football team returned from Kampala in triumph in Jan when it won the East and Central Africa club title. -Guardian

Ohio State University Professor Lonnie Thompson has predicted that there will be no glacier remaining at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro within 30 years due to global warming. Along with this will be a loss of valuable hydrological resources. The professor was in Tanzania to get permission to study ice core records before it was too late. Kilimanjaro was the only place in Africa where this was possible. He proposed to bring six tons of equipment next year, including a light weight environmentally correct solar power ice core drill, to recover three cores and to fly a balloon from the summit to the ground below in order to rapidly transport the frozen cores to freezer trucks. The cores would be shipped to Ohio and he would then share the data gathered with the government and local scientists -Daily News.

Mwalimu Nyerere was presented with a German-made gun at the inauguration of a memorial monument at Mlambalasi (Iringa) on the 100th anniversary of death of the Hehe Chief Mtwa Mkwawa. The Chief took his own life in a cave at Mlambalasi, 60 kms from Iringa, while fighting colonial rule in 1898. The gun was one of 300 captured from German forces in 1891 -Daily News.

The new American Embassy is now open. The original embassy building was destroyed by bombing on August 7 last year. US visas cost $46.20

New radio stations are springing up all over the country. There are now over nine FM stations in Dar es Salaam and others in Arusha and Mwanza offering non-stop music and other entertainment. They include Radio One, Radio Tumaini, City Radio, Radio Free Africa. But rural areas still have to depend on Radio Tanzania -The Express.

A total of 4,525 beetles were planted in the Kagera River last year in an effort to control the water hyacinth which had first appeared in the river in 1987 and had now multiplied all over Lake Victoria -Daily News

During a visit to Tabora Region in February Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye dressed down and suspended Nzega DC Lt. Julius Manyambo and the District’s Executive Director for allegedly being lax in promoting education in their district. He gave them two weeks to explain why they should not be dismissed. He said that leaders who were not capable of implementing directives would no longer be tolerated. The Prime Minister had found the mineral rich Nzega district to be the least developed district in the region. He was said to be angry to find 6,000 primary school children sitting on the floor in a district with plenty of forests. According to the East African the ‘humiliating spectacle’ was televised and reported in the press.

Vice-President Dr Omar Ali Juma insisted recently that the government had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the controversial prawn project in the Rufiji Valley was environmentally friendly and economically viable. Those not in favour were ‘environmental fundamentalists’. Vegetation would not be destroyed because in that area there was no vegetation. However, the project still has to obtain clearance from the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) before the Tanzania Investment Centre can approve the proposed investment.

Director of Azam Marine Company which runs five of the twenty boats operating on the Dar-Zanzibar route (and has just launched one more -the Super Seabus Ill) has stated that he would like to start services on Lake Victoria where there was a severe shortage of such services. However, he was hampered by the high costs of carrying boats to Mwanza. Perhaps the solution would be an assembly plant in Mwanza he said -The Express.

At the (US) African Studies Association meeting in Chicago in November some 50 scholars came together to form a Tanzania Studies Association. The President is Dean McHenry Jnr (he can be contacted at e-Mail number: dean.mchenry@cgu.edu) The number ofpapers on Tanzania presented at the Chicago meeting (over 40) far exceeded those concerning any other country.

Tanzania has closed its embassies in Angola, Burundi, Holland and Sudan and reduced the status of its embassies in Rome and Kinshasa to reduce costs -Daily News.

Tanzania’s boxing Matumla brothers have triumphed again. Rashid Matumla beat a Hungarian boxer to win the World Boxing Union’s light middleweight title and Mbwana Matumla claimed the WBU international light bantamweight title before thousands of fans in Dar es Salaam on December 19 -Sunday News.

The government has released Shs 700 million to speed up hearing of more than 1,500 court cases countrywide. 18 additional resident magistrates have been appointed -Daily News

Wildlife exporters have called on the government to increase the number of registered bird exporting companies. Tanzania had exported only 165,000 birds worth Shs 83 million in the last three years but its world market quota stood at 1.5 million a year. At the same time some 2.4 million birds were being killed as vermin each year. They wanted the list of birds banned from exportation to be reduced from 12 species to four -secretary birds, saddle bill storms, wattle cranes and shoe bill storks -Guardian.

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