TALES FROM THE KING’S AFRICAN RIFLES. John Nunneley Cassell & Company. £16.99 and THE AFRICAN RANK AND FILE. SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF COLONIAL MILITARY SERVICE IN THE KING’S AFRICAN RIFLES 1902-1964.
Timothy H Parsons. James Currey (UK), Heinemann (USA) and other publishers. £15.95
“In dreams,” the Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, wrote, “begins responsibility.” As a boy, John Nunneley, the author of Tales From the King’s African Rifles, sourced his dreams from the African stories of H. Rider Haggard and John Buchan, narratives of exploration, and the military history of the British empire, particularly those late nineteenthcentury campaigns in the southern part of the African continent, the Zulu Wars, and the South African War of 1899-1902, in which his own father served. He read with, “bug-eyed enthusiasm”, of the heroism at Rourke’s Drift and Ulundi, as well as the appalling debacle of lsandhlwana and the personal disasters that, deservedly and undeservedly, fell upon Lieutenant Carey of the Royal Engineers who, in 1879, was given charge of the young Prince Imperial of France, the only son of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie, and Lieutenant Hayward, whose charges were his own men. Both officers faced courts martial for abandoning those they had a duty to remain with after coming under attack from the Zulus. Nuuneley writes, “These were perplexing questions I wrestled with and I was coming to understand that duty is a hard taskmaster.” Other questions, such as “the rights and wrongs of Britain’s colonial policy” were left alone, being “too deep a subject for a 12-year-01d.” Dreams. Responsibilities.
In 1941, Nunneley was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry. He was nineteen years of age. His first experience under enemy fire, during a strafing attack on an airfield in the southeast of England, was “Boy’s Own Paper stuff’ and it was desire for more of the same that led him to seek a posting to the Middle East. Chance took him instead to service with a Tanganyikan battalion of the King’s African Rifles. Set to guard some of the large numbers of Italian military prisoners and civilian internees that had fallen into British hands following Wavell’s campaign in the Horn of Africa, he worked hard to turn himself into an officer equal to the responsibilities of command of the African soldiers he had been put in charge of, but all the time continued to hope for transfer to the Middle East and a hot war.
In the end, though, Nunneley got his war. The KAR were to see action again, not this time on their own continent, but in Bunna, where the Japanese, defeated at the battles of Imphal and Kohima, were in retreat. Following a period of training for jungle warfare in Ceylon, these African soldiers were committed to the field in Burma’s Kabaw valley, during the monsoon season; their task to pursue the retreating Japanese and prevent them reaching the Chindwin River.
Nunneley conducted reconnaissance patrols behind Japanese lines, his face blackened with a cream reputedly concocted by Elizabeth Arden, because the Japanese, once they had recovered from the shock of being attacked by black African troops, made a habit of shooting the white officers at the very earliest opportunity. One such patrol, when he led a string of his Tanganyikans out to establish the strength of the Japanese on a dominant hill, mixed farce with the terrors of combat. Nunneley decided that the information he required would be best gathered by killing a Japanese sentry with a burst of fire from his Sten gun, followed by “five rounds rapid” from the accompanying askaris. With the Japanese response thus elicited, it then remained for the patrol to extricate itself from the ensuing informative predicament. During the retreat, Nunneley was overcome by a searing pain between his legs, as if his genitals were on fire. Forgetting all about the pursuing Japanese, he sought temporary relief by, first, ripping open the flies on his trousers and emptying the contents of his water bottle over the affected parts of himself. The second time he was forced to stop, he lay down while two of the askaris emptied their bottles over him. The third time, while his soldiers provided covering fire, Nunneley immersed his afflicted parts in a stream, firing away with his Sten, until the pain was gone. The cause of the endangering discomfort turned out to be an insect repellent, aptly named Skat, which had leaked from its container down the front of his trousers. After the patrol got back to the British position safely, which, perhaps surprisingly, it did, Nunneley was known as Bwana Moto Sana, Mr Very Hot.
John Nunneley appears from his narrative to have been a very brave officer, one who had his own very clear and strong ideas of his duty and his responsibilities. It is a pity then that his writing does not give better testimony to his feelings for the soldiers he undoubtedly served so well. For this reader, at least, Nunneley’s sympathies are more clearly demonstrated when he writes of his brother officers and of his former enemies, the Japanese, rather than those he led. Even the element which is meant to serve as a unifYing element in this extremely episodic and often rudely disjointed narrative, Nunneley’s relationship with his personal servant, Tomasi Kitinya, a Luo tribesman from the Kenyan shore ofLake Victoria, is, for me, curiously flat.
John Nunneley’s name appears in the Acknowledgements of Timothy H. Parsons’ book, The African Rank-And-File. Parsons, an American university professor, presents British colonialism, as reflected in the KAR, as a thoroughly Bad Thing. The book takes as its central idea the contradictory nature of existence for those caught up in any authoritarian regime. In terms of the KAR’s askaris, this contradiction has to do with “… soldiers who were simultaneously coerced and coercing, who enforced the will of the elite yet made demands themselves.”
The African Rank-And-File covers its chosen field (covering mainly Kenya and Nyasa KAR battalions) with exhausting thoroughness. It presents a depressing and, for the British, a shaming argument; one that the example of John Nunneley can qualify but not, finally, refute.
THE SUCCESS OF NEWLY PRIVATIZED COMPANIES: NEW EVIDENCE FROM TANZANIA. A Temu and J M Due. Canadian Journal of Development Studies. XIX 2. 1998
Under pressure from the World Bank, the IMF and other lenders, Tanzania began to privatize in earnest in 1992 with the formation of the Parastatal Sector Reform Commission. Privatization was expected to reduce the huge state subsidies consumed by the parastatals, create additional revenue for the government and turn moribund enterprises into productive privately owned companies.
In this article, the authors explore the process, extent and success of privatization in Tanzania through the experiences of six agro-industrial enterprises in the Dar es Salaam -Morogoro region. Four characteristics were focussed upon: the identity of the majority stake holder, the source of the new management, the type of privatization and economic viability.
Access to capital is difficult and expensive in Tanzania, prolonging the length of the privatization process and favouring external buyers. Despite this, four of the enterprises in the sample were purchased by indigenous buyers (although non “indigenous African”). Management is entirely foreign for the sample, which is hardly surprising given the opportunities in Tanzania over the last 15 years to develop suitable experience. The type of privatization is mixed, and no specific conclusions are drawn from this.
Two interesting additional observations were made about the workforce: the former employees are a major source of recruitment for the new venture and privatization appears to have promoted gender equality
Economic viability is clearly subjective and based largely on interviews. The owners describe a harsh operating environment characterised by a lack of quality material and labour inputs, non or late payment by customers (often the government), and tax avoidance providing an unfair advantage to competitors. Despite this the authors have determined that the viability of the organization are, at the very least, fair.
Owners were also asked about the privatisation process: the length and complexity of the privatisation process was the biggest cause of complaint, with a key cost, both in terms of time and money, being cited as the International Accounting Firms. These firms are routinely commissioned by the PSRC to carry out pre-divestiture valuations of enterprises.
Findings are summarised below:
Enterprise | Majority Ownership | Management | Type of Privatisation | Economic Viability
Tanzania Cigarette Company Ltd. | Multinational | Expatriate | Joint venture | Good
Guled & Tanzania Shoe Co. Ltd. | Foreign private | Expatriate | Private sale | Fair
Africa Trade | Indigenous (Asian) | Expatriate | Joint venture | Partially in operation
New Msowero Farm | Indigenous (Asian) | Expatriate | Private sale | Fair
Noble Azania Food and Beverages Ltd. | Indigenous (Asian) | Expatriate | Lease | Leased enterprise not in operation
Bora Industries Ltd. |Indigenous (Asian) | Expatriate | Private sale | Fair
This paper undoubtedly adds to our understanding of privatization in Tanzania but the sample size is too small to generalise from. Valuations are difficult to make in the “developed” world, and much more so in the volatile and uncertain economic environment in Tanzania. This makes Tanzanian enterprises difficult to sell externally and makes the process more of a gamble than a calculated decision. Those that do enter the fray are either heroes, who risk great loss in order to establish productive and efficient enterprises in the most difficult of conditions, or opportunists who are eying the assets without any intent to operate a viable business. Time will tell who falls in which category, and will allow a fuller and more analytical debate on whether privatization has really proved of benefit to Tanzania.
FREE COMPETITION WITHOUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT? TANZANIAN COTTON SECTOR LIBERALISATION 1994/95 to 1997/98. P Gibbon. Journal of Development Studies, 36, 1999,22 pages.
This is a thorough review of the impact of liberalisation on cotton in Western Tanzania with some general comments on the principle. Watson agrees with Gibbon’s findings and during a visit to Tanzania in late 1998 (after Gibbon’s data was collected), found the cotton industry in chaos with a shortage of planting seed, mixing of seed of different varieties, lack of insecticides and farmer loss of confidence. Two large ginneries had ceased buying seed cotton after local prices went above international equivalents (and were still closed in March 2000).
International pressure prompted some reforms from 1990 and full liberalisation began in the 1994-95 growing season when inputs distribution, seed cotton buying, ginning, sales of lint and seed were opened to private traders. From 1958 to 1990 the state Cotton Board had controlled seed cotton prices, input supplies and lint marketing but by 1990 was inefficient, with delays in paying farmers causing output decline.
The new liberalisation was far reaching. The existing cooperatives and emergent private traders took over exports, but all had difficulty in financing insecticides, so essential to productivity and fibre quality. By 1998 there were 33 buyers, with some villages served by more than 5 buyers. This proliferation of buyers had led directly to several ginnery take-overs and building of new ginneries, as the buyers needed guaranteed access to ginning. In consequence, by 1998 there was double the capacity needed to gin the quantity of seed cotton recently grown. Many ginneries were small and inefficient with only three new modern saw ginneries, of high capacity and high efficiency.
The 1997-98 crop was damaged by excessive rains and reduced to about 30,000 tonnes lint, less than half the previous season -which further aggravated competition between seed cotton buyers. This forced up prices and the ginneries had difficulty making a profit. The low crop led to seed shortages for the 1998-99 planting season, as some ginneries had sold all the seed for oil, and planting seed then had to be moved between districts.
Competition caused the buyers to abandon quality control and all seed cotton was bought as Grade A, whereas the lack of insecticide use had actually increased the proportion of Grade B. Lint quality was then low and export difficult and only at discounted prices. This contrasted with earlier years when good quality, hand-picked lint attracted premiums. A further deterioration in lint quality (noted during Watson’s visit) was caused by buyers visiting many regions and mixing varieties, previously kept in different planting zones and ginned separately.
Is such liberalisation sustainable? Will the target of higher seed cotton prices survive as the co-operatives withdraw and private operators take over completely? There is a limit on what producer prices can be paid, linked to quality and the world lint price, and there must surely be a need for increased scepticism of the principle of liberalisation, given these findings on the cotton sector.
Market Season Seed Cotton Lint
1995-96 250,000 85,000
1996-97 250,000 85,000
1997-98 190,000 65,000
1998-99 84,000 30,000
1999-2000 ? 34,000
The 1999-2000 market season is from the 1998-99 growing season. Similarly for earlier years.
THE DAR ES SALAAM MILK SYSTEM: DYNAMICS OF CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLITY. J. Sumberg. Habitat International. 23 (2). 11 pages. 1999
This paper is concerned with the Dar es Salaam system for the production and distribution of milk for human consumption. It is presented as an example of urban systems in Africa against the background of current discussion in relation to poverty, the effects of economic and structural changes and the need for increased support to food production.
Economic hardship at national level has led to a programme of economic liberalisation. Structural adjustment, in parallel with falling incomes of urban middle-class residents, has led to a search for additional sources of income such as may be provided by milk production. Useful relevant information is provided in relation to land and population density, cattle distribution and characteristics, milk production, processing and distribution and upon the supply and consumption of milk.
Three systems of milk production are described:
-Small herds in urban or peri-urban areas where owners are predominantly middle-class and deliver milk directly to the consumer. Such suppliers are subsidised indirectly by the owners’ main employment and other related privileges;
-Larger specialised commercial herds; and, -Traditional cattle keepers such as the Maasai who sell their surplus milk.
The most important changes in the milk system are described as the large increase in the numbers of cattle kept in urban or peri-urban areas and the termination of direct government involvement in milk production, processing and distribution.
Attempts to increase milk production in peri-urban areas have failed due to diseases such as trypanosomiasis and to adverse climatic conditions which influence the quantity and quality of fodder. However, anticipated improvements in transportation may favour milk production in outlying areas. he author takes the view that support for urban and peri-urbanagriculture should not result in diversion of funds from agricultural activities which offer a greater long-term advantage. He concludes that neither the limited number of commercial milk producers in the peri-urban areas nor the recently expanded number of urban producers are likely to form the basis of sustainable locally based systems for the city.
Harnish Goalen EFFECTS OF AN ENTERTAINMENT-EDUCATION RADIO SOAP OPERA ON FAMIL Y PLANNING BEHAVIOUR IN TANZANIA. E. M. Rogers, P.W. Vaughan, R. M.A Swalehe, Nagesh Rao, P Svenkerud, and S. Sood. Studies in Family Planning. VoL 30 No. 3 September 1999.
Radio Tanzania had never produced a scripted serial drama before it undertook in 1993 the soap opera Twende na Wakati (Let’s Go with the Times). It found, says this detailed study, unique talents, and on meagre facilities and with a turnover of four producers, broadcast for four years a programme that significantly affected patterns of family planning. To an extent the progrannnes were about taking charge of one’s life. The message stressed control of family size by planning.
Listeners could identifY with positive, negative and transitional role models. Mkwaju, for example, is a promiscuous, alcoholic truck driver who steals to support his many girl friends. He lacks self-control and is punished by events. Many listeners identified with him at first, but then he develops AIDS. As one listener wrote: “Now I see the consequences … where will his seven children go? They will remain orphans. Who will take care of these children … ? You people with Mkwaju’s behaviour … change now.”
For listeners Mkwaju had become symbolic of a sexually irresponsible individuaL
The progrannne was first broadcast by seven mainland stations of Radio Tanzania in 1993 and from 1995-7 nationwide. It was highly popular and after a pause the series was resumed in 1999. The effects of the soap opera in its fITst years were gathered in five annual surveys of about 2,750 households and from a sample in 79 health clinics. They show, as this article explains in detail, that the progrannnes changed attitudes to family planning and encouraged listeners to talk about contraception.
They increased the ideal age at marriage for women, changed the ideal number of children and led to continuing planning visits to clinics. Word-of-mouth popularity of the programmes meant they reached lesseducated, lower-income males -a prime target audience in Tanzania with a potential for high fertility and resistance to family planning.
The population of Tanzania was 27.4 million in 1992 -four times that in 1948. A growth rate of 3.5 per cent meant the population would double in 20 years. The 1992 fertility rate was 6.3 children per woman. In 1996 it was 5.8. The national population policy introduced in 1992 aimed to reduce population growth to less than 2 per cent by 2010.
The success of the soap operas was helped by the fact that the national programme was providing contraceptive service free in 2,700 clinics and 65 per cent of women lived within four kilometres of a family planning service provider.
ZANZIBAR AND THE GERMANS -A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP 1844-1966. Heinz Schneppen. Published by the National Museums of Tanzania 1998.
This book, according to a review by J P Mbonde in the Sunday Observer (February 13) covers relations between Germans and Zanzibar from January 7 1844 when, what the author believes was the date the fIrst German disembarked in Zanzibar harbour, to the troubled sixties when the two different German states were juggling for influence in both Zanzibar and Tanganyika. Zanzibar is described by the reviewer as the victim between British claims and German aims in the early years and it seems as though Zanzibar was the victim between the two halves of Germany in later years.
ENTERING THE FIELD: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WORLD FOOTBALL. Oxford, New York: Berg. 1997. 319 pages.
Includes chapters on Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.