13th IN THE WORLD “Tanzania is expected to have been the fastest growing economy in the world in 1999” said President Mkapa during his visit to Sweden in September. He spoke of the 4% sustained economic growth over the last few years and how the GDP was now estimated to be 7.5 billion or $250 per capita. Inflation had come down from 30% in 1995 to 7.6 at the end of July and was still going down.

Tanzania has been chosen as one of a group of member countries of the Commonwealth to advise on how best it can respond to the challenges of the new century. The group is being chaired by South African President Mbeki. On his return from the Commonwealth Heads of State meeting in Durban in November President Mkapa described the summit as a resounding success particularly in its Declaration on Globalisation and People-Centred Development.

Tanzanian blacksmith Joseph Mashinji from Mwanza has won the first prize in an African Blacksmiths competition recently held in Britain. He was sponsored by Tools for SelCReliance and competed against blacksmiths from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Sierra Leone and South Africa. He made side axes, carving axes and hammers from old springs and half-shafts of vehicles to win the prize -Daily News.

The government suspended publication of the Kombora weekly following its publication of a photograph on the front page of a half-naked woman, something which it said was against the country’s traditions and culture ¬≠Daily News.

‘What is wrong with female circumcision?’ was the question asked in the Dar es Salaam Daily Mail on October 8 following a visit by its correspondent Kenneth Simbaya to talk to Maasai mothers in Iringa. “If we want our daughters not to get married by their fellow tribesmen let us stop circumcising them” one said. “It is not true that girls over-bleed during circumcision … they bleed more when they are having a menstrual period … negative effects have never been experienced by Maasai girls. There is no need to fear accidental death by over bleeding ….. that’s God’s wish and it happens very rarely”. Another mother said “Some Maasai say they have stopped practising female circumcision…the truth is they haven’t …. they utter such words because they are afraid of the government… we don’t share razor blades any more and we treat the wounds with our traditional medicine”. The reporter found these views widely held in the area in spite of efforts by a Finnish-financed NGO (HIMW A) to end the practice. In Tarime, Mara Region, a week before this, it was announced that 25 out of 5,000 girls in the area died during circumcision each year mostly because of over-bleeding.

Parliamentary Speaker Pius Msekwa has been elected as Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association International Executive Committee. And University of Dar es Salaam lecturer Prof Haroub Othman has become the UN’s Chief Technical Advisor on Good Governance in Liberia. -The Guardian.

To avoid difficulties which have arisen from potential students using fake educational certificates, the University of Dar es Salaam has introduced its own matriculation examination which new students must now pass before being admitted -The Guardian.

Two presidents commemorated Heroes Day at the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force Kaboya Camp in Muleba (Bukoba) recently in honour of the 600 combatants who died during the 1978-79 Kagera war. President Mkapa laid a spear and shield and President Museveni of Uganda laid a wreath at the Heroes Memorial Tower which contains the list of all the fallen heroes -Daily News.

The Serengeti’s elephant population (2.015) has increased by 48% during the last four years while the buffalo population (17,000) has declined by 21% according to a 1998 census -The East African.

Eliot Kadodo a Standard Seven school pupil in Hanang, Arusha has won the ‘Guinness Stout Effort Award’ for 1999 after making a computer, a TV set and several other technological gadgets. His prize was a new bicycle -The Guardian.

The Lyamungu Agricultural Research Institute in Moshi has developed 16 high yielding Arabica coffee hybrids resistant to coffee berry disease and leaf rust. These diseases require farmers to use large quantities of fungicides. The hybrids are being tested on 24 sites and it was hoped that they could be released to farmers by 2001 -The Guardian.

The number of Tanzanian asylum seekers trying to enter Britain has fallen from 1,535 in 1995 to 80 in 1998 following the introduction of the new visa requirement in 1986 -Daily News.

The Police carried out a highly successful operation against muggers on Oyster Bay’s Coco beach in Dar es Salaam on September 5. Six men in uniform and others in mufti combed the whole beach and underneath the cliffs to fish out 12 suspects before arresting them. While they were being held in a circle surrounded by police, a disorderly mob tried to organise a rescue mission but they were rapidly dispersed and three were arrested -Daily Mail.

Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, a Zanzibari of Arab origin, who was arrested in South Africa at the beginning of October accused of being involved with others in the bombing the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in August 1998 and to have caused the death of 250 people, has been put on trial in New York. He is said to have bought a car and rented a house in Ilala, Dar es Salaam as part of the preparations for the bombings. A person holding dual Congolese and Egyptian nationalities and another -a Zanzibari of Arab origin -are being held in Dar es Salaam on similar charges -The Guardian.

A report from the Tarangire Elephant Project -Tarangire is a 2,600 sq km National Park 115 kms from Arusha – indicates that the elephant population there has increased from 250 in 1993 to 420 now. The Daily News reported that this was due to the successful anti-poaching activities of Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and the international trade ban on ivory which was imposed in 1989.

Tanzania has fallen from 118th to 123rd in the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) in its latest ranking of 201 countries. Uganda is 100th and Kenya 101st. Brazil remains on top. Tanzania had been knocked out of the African Nations Cup by Burundi and its youth team had been beaten by Ghana in the Olympic Games 2000 qualifiers match.

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