MISCELLANY

Tanzania has been awarded a gold shield in Accra for its outstanding leadership within the Africa Travel Association following its hosting of the associations’ annual congress last year. The New York-based Executive Director said that the congress was the best ever since ATA’s establishment 24 years ago -Daily News.

The famous bearded tourist guide in Bagamoyo, Honorary Professor Samahani Kejeli, locally known as a walking encyclopaedia and who extracts visiting cards from tourists to whom he shows the historic sites, claims that he now has 12,889 pen friends in various countries. He gets some 500 letters or postcards each year and tries to reply to them all. He has just been employed by the Roman Catholic Museum in Bagamoyo to continue to help visitors -Daily News.

Following some 15 years of dispute during which he had been told to stop his unorthodox ‘fundamentalist’ teachings, the Rev Felician Nkwera (and his wanamaombi followers) have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church for causing confusion and division. He was accused of conducting devotions of a ‘dubious nature’ and unauthorised exorcisms and was said to have insulted Church leaders including the Pope and to have ‘disrespected the Holy Eucharist and caused conflicts in families -Guardian.

In a full page advertisement in the Guardian on July 22 the United States offered a reward of $5 million and the costs of relocation for persons providing information leading to the arrest of those it believes responsible for the bombing of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Pictures were shown of eight suspects headed by Usama Bin Laden.

The government had nothing to do with Zanzibaris seeking political asylum in Britain and no action would be taken against them. Most left for economic, not political reasons and they should not engage in a smear campaign to soil the image of Zanzibar -Minister of State in the Zanzibar Chief Minister’s Office answering a question in the House of Assembly.

A new ‘Copyright and Neighbouring Rights 1999’ Bill was passed into law on April 14. Any person violating the law, which is designed to protect the rights of authors, performers, sound recorders, broadcasters, lecturers, priests, musicians, and computer programmes, can be fined up to Shs 5 million or given imprisonment for up to three years or both for a first offence.

Tanzania’s thriving media now numbers 42 daily and weekly newspapers, 22 private radio stations, and 7 terrestrial and 17 cable TV stations. This was said by Foreign Minster Jakaya Kikwete when opening a regional conference of the Eastern Africa Media Institute in Dar es Salaam on May 3. He stressed that the government was committed to a free press. However, on the same day, at the launching of a new Journalists Association of Zanzibar (JAZ) complaints were heard about too much interference by the state. It was revealed in Dar es Salaam that a Zanzibar freelance journalist had been banned from practising his profession by the Zanzibar government -Daily News.

The national population census which should have been held in 1998 but had to be postponed for reasons including budgetary constraints, food shortages and roads devastated by El Nino rains, has been fixed for August 2002.

More than 1,000 kgs of trash was hauled off Mount Kilimanjaro by 110 volunteers with assistance from tour companies, the National Park and American donors in a ten-day clean up operation in April. The use of firewood for heating and cooking on the mountain has been banned -Daily News.

On the occasion of his 77th birthday Mwalimu Nyerere took over a new house at Butiama built for him through salary deductions from members of the Tanzania Peoples Defence Force (TPDF) over the years since he retired in 1985. The government is to pay for maintenance of the house. President Mkapa said that there was no due reward that Tanzanians could give to the founder president for his outstanding service except to wish him everlasting life -Guardian
Tanzania, which earned $431 million from tourism last year is now fifth in Africa in its tourism earnings -after South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritius -Kenya came sixth with $400 million.

Two Tanzanian hunters, Doug Scandroll and Peter Swanepoel, have received 1998 International Professional Hunter Awards from Safari Club International (USA). They hunt for ‘Game Frontiers Safari Club’ (in the Mbarang’undu Wildlife Management Area and in the Selous Game Reserve K3). The Club has been upgraded from 55th to 42nd among more than 530 hunting companies worldwide -Daily News.

Some 50 participants at the evaluation of the Tanga School Aids Education Programme on June 30 were astonished to hear from a health consultant that primary schoolboys had said that they were fed up with parent’s procrastination about the use of condoms and had demanded smaller sized ones. A sizeable number of primary schoolchildren, some as young as ten, were said to be sexually active. They had complained that they had to use props such as rubber bands and string to enable them to use adult condoms. The Daily Mail, which published this story on July 1, reported the next day that there had been widespread shock and indignation. Most people were totally against the issue of small condoms; they would accelerate moral decay in society. Some asked whether this demand arose from too much sex education in primary schools. One journalist said the story should never have been printed.

Four Acts are to be amended to ensure that Tanzanian culture is not distorted. One would ensure that film actors and actresses would wear clothing commensurate with the country’s culture; the country’s coat of arms was not to be used in trademarks; torn national flags should not be hoisted; and, those artists appropriating songs from people in rural areas should be dealt with under the new Copyright Act of 1999 -The Guardian.

A stray buffalo, believed to have come from the Saadani game reserve North of Bagamoyo injured several people near the Bahari Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam on April 11 before it was shot dead by local residents. A German resident called in to help was knocked down twice having heard that there was a nyani (Baboon) in the area whereas in fact the stranger was the much more formidable nyati (buffalo) -Daily News.

It is estimated that around 1,000 tourists will be climbing Kilimanjaro on the Millennium date -December 31 1999. The National Park is doubling the fees on this occasion -Daily News.

Robert Otani writing in the May issue of NEW AFRICAN compared retirement benefits for retired leaders in East Africa. Recent legislation in Tanzania was said to be particularly generous and to be aimed at luring leaders to accept retirement as President Nyerere did some years ago. President Mkapa was said to be entitled to a gratuity equal to the total of all the salaries he had received while in office plus 24 months salary as a winding up allowance plus a generous monthly pension. This compared with President Mandela who will receive 75% of his current monthly salary plus an allowance of $16,000.

Several foreign experts claimed at a recent seminar on managing water resources in the Usangu Plains, Mbeya Region, (which feed the hydro-power stations at Mtera and Kidatu which produce 80% of Tanzania’s electricity) that too many trees were ‘drinking up the water’ and that livestock were not to blame for the drying up of the plains. But, according to the Daily News, Tanzanian water managers were amused by this and many expressed either utter disbelief or outright contempt. One said that this was ‘voodoo philosophy’ and another said there had been too many studies already and that the experts should read these first before speaking.

In a ceremony at the Sea Cliff Hotel on May 8 the Tanzania Sports Writers Association (TASWA) made various awards for sporting prowess in 1998. Winners included Rashid Matumla, the World Boxing Union’s light middleweight champion as ‘national hero’ (he defended his title again successfully in Italy on June 5); Michael Yombayomba, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, as the best amateur boxer; Xebedayo Bayo, Los Angeles marathon winner as best athlete; Renatus Njohole of Simba Sports Club as best footballer.

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