MANAGING UNIVERSITY CRISES. Eds: T.S.A Mbwette and AG.M. Ishumi. DUP (1996) Ltd, University of Dar es Salaam, 2000. 247pp.
The cover photo – of a young Julius Nyerere robed as Chancellor of the University of East Africa on an unidentified formal occasion early in the life of the University College, Dar es Salaam (probably the first graduation ceremony, which marked the opening of the new campus at Ubungo) – recalls the optimism of the period, which belied the difficulties which lay ahead. Why were universities in Africa, with such great potential to contribute positively to national development, to endure so many crises? Why was academic freedom to prove such an insecure legacy? Was it because the 1960s, the decade of independence when so many universities were founded or expanded, was also the decade of student unrest in the older universities of Europe and America? Was it rather because new African governments saw universities as yet another source of potential opposition which, like traditional chiefs, trade unions and the media, should be closely controlled?
Successive crises at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) (as it became in 1970) over more than three decades are considered from different perspectives in the fifteen papers collected in this volume; despite the broad title, there are few, brief references to other universities. The papers were presented at a workshop held by UDSM in 1996, largely funded by the European Union. The book offers a diversity of viewpoints, but almost entirely from within UDSM: university teachers and administrators at a senior level predominate, although the voices of students and a lone parent are also heard. How were the events perceived at a senior political level, or by the general public? We can only guess.
One weakness of the book is the lack of any factual account of successive crises; indeed, the various contributors do not fully agree in identifying the crises for consideration. Writing originally for each other, workshop participants assumed a shared recollection of basic events which not all readers of the book will have. Most writers seem to accept a list of the main ‘crises’: the mass expulsion by government in 1966, after a student demo against government policies, especially national service; the ‘Akivaga,’ crisis of 1971, when students, ultimately supported by academic and administrative staff, confronted the university administration after electing a Kenyan as student leader, against government wishes; expulsions of staff and students in 1977; expulsions and the banning of the students’ organisation in 1978 after a demo against new terms of service for politicians, and the imposition of a state-controlled student body in 1979; the closure of UDSM for eight months in 1990 in the face of various student demands. However, no systematic account is given of these episodes, two of which (1971 and 1990) were the subjects of formal inquiries, although the respective Mungai and Mroso Committee Reports are only briefly mentioned. Some writers refer to other incidents. Yared Kihore, writing as Chairman of the Academic Staff Assembly, notes that crises at UDSM have been the mildest of any African university, never involving such violence as to warrant police or military action. Moreover, he might have added, closures at Dar have been fewer, and shorter, than at many other African universities.
In a thoughtful introductory chapter, one of the few with albeit brief references to other countries, Paschal Mihyo, a law teacher, discerns three stages of university conflicts: ‘Ivory Tower struggles’, when students confront the state for control of the university; welfare struggles, aggravated by diminishing resources; most recently, students’ efforts to reconstruct their identity as social movements for wider political mobilisation. Juma Mwapachu, Vice-Chairman of UDSM Council and President of Convocation, identifies two stages distinguished by national ideologies: under socialism (1967-85) a weak university administration lost legitimacy with academic staff as well as students, who reacted against management failures, while under subsequent market-led policies and the subjection of the university ‘to the wrath of the budget butcher’s knife’, which by 1995 had brought UDSM to ‘the edge of the precipice’, the underlying causes of crises were of a welfare or monetary kind.
Evidently, aside from obvious upheavals, the contributors might not agree on what constitutes a university crisis. The real, continuing crisis at Dar, as at other African universities, is identified by Costa Mahalu, writing as Director of Higher Education (on secondment from his university chair): ‘Our universities are in constant crises.’ He persuasively sees the real crisis as one of resources, of underfunding due to the university’s dependence upon government. He expected the workshop to propose reforms, which he promised government would welcome as long as they aimed at reducing government expenditure! A joint paper recalls (at p 171) the decline in spending on higher education in Tanzania – from 13.32% of the budget in 1980 (when it exceeded the 9.17% allocated to defence) to 8.28% in 1985 (just over half of the defence share at 15.78%) and 4% or less in 1996. Yet since the workshop UDSM has been under increasing financial pressure, with a substantial increase in student numbers without a corresponding rise in state funding.
The juxtaposition of papers can be illuminating, e.g. when the former Vice-Chancellor criticised for high-handedness (pp 180-81) immediately presents his own defence in his blow-by-blow account of the 1977-78 events (pp 189-93). The 1970 Act which established UDSM is criticised for its undemocratic provisions and for giving the government too much power over academic life. Kihore notes that it ‘took years of hard fight,’ to achieve amendments allowing the election of deans and heads of departments. One of the most telling reports is by S.L. Lwakatare, father of a student whose ‘totally unjustified’ expulsion in 1990, first notified by a radio announcement, proved to have been a decision taken (and later reversed) by the President himself, as Chancellor. The cause, ultimately disclosed through the parent’s patient inquiry, was a scrap of paper found in rubbish in the student’s room, probably mischievously planted by another student.
The main weakness of the book is the absence of any report of the deliberations at the workshop and, especially, of any conclusions reached. The Annex reports the largely predictable speeches of dignitaries at the opening of the workshop and its closing, the latter referring to the Recommendations made – of which, however, there is no trace. The book also has a slightly dated air: the papers have not been up-dated since 1996, when the Vice-Chancellor’s Foreword was also written. There is no index and much closer editing was needed to reduce the numerous misprints and grammatical errors.
GENDER AND EDUCATION IN TANZANIAN SCHOOLS. Eds: S J Bendera and M W Mboya. Dar es Salaam University Press. 1998.
This book covers a wide field from girls’ participation in science to streaming, from violence in schools to poverty issues, all written to answer the question in Chapter 1 ‘Does a gender problem exist in education in Tanzania?’ Stella Bendera’s research clearly demonstrates the issues and sets out to offer ways forward. One of her major concerns is a lack of dialogue between the education system and the parents and she offers practical suggestions to ensure more understanding through dialogue. Other problems identified are as a result of poverty at all levels in Tanzanian society and it is less easy to see resolution here though Bendera has words of commendation for all the efforts by outside agencies to the Ministry of Education. Chapter two gives us a fascinating insight into the impact of a western education system on the community’s traditional education of young people especially girls. Conflict arises for many families because the girls are away at school at the time of puberty and unable to join traditional ceremonies. Bendera recognises the importance of traditional initiation ceremonies and counsels collaboration with elders to draw out what they feel should be imparted to pupils so that they learn to function in society. She wants to couple this with clear education about sexuality and in a society affected by HIV / Aids, messages on safe sex. She speaks eloquently of empowering girls with knowledge and skills to help them break through cultural and traditional attitudes which keep them from participating fully in the development process.
She acknowledges the conflict and quotes the example of a Tunduru parent who was jailed for six months for withdrawing his daughter from school for two months to be initiated. “I will never forget the experience in prison and I curse the headteacher for having reported my case, which I still see as no issue at all. These children have to be initiated in order to be accepted as true members of our society anyway.”
It would be good to have had further illustration in the book of such incidents and to know whether more contact between this headteacher and the Tunduru parent could have led to a less dramatic consequence.
At the end of the book we are still left with a sense of two different value systems in conflict. Bendera is hopeful that if everyone keeps talking about these issues and girls and women participate in discussions, the best of both systems can help Tanzanian women move forward. In Stella Bendera they have a powerful and eloquent champion.
ZANZIBAR, SLAVERY AND THE ROYAL NAVY. Kevin Patience. Zanzibar publications (firstname.lastname@example.org). 108 pages.
Despite its title this latest book by Kevin Patience is only partly concerned with the suppression of the slave trade in the last quarter of the 19th century. It gives equal, if not more space, to the Royal Navy’s mini expeditions into what later became Kenya Colony in support of the British East Africa Company. It also tells the familiar story of the bombardment of Zanzibar on 27th August, 1896, known as the “shortest war in history”. In describing these classic examples of gunboat diplomacy, the author gives us a wealth of graphic detail with many fascinating photographs from the Zanzibar archive.
For good measure the book includes a description of the various medals awarded by the British and Zanzibar governments for these actions as well as potted biographies of the leading British dramatis personae, such as the redoubtable Sir Lloyd Matthews (Lieutenant RN at the age of 27, Brigadier General Commanding the Sultan’s army at a 31). My only regret was that the author did not name the nearly 100 sailors who died in action or by illness and are buried on Grave Island but instead listed the British warships in which they served. A recommended read for all who are interested in Zanzibar and its chequered history.
BAREFOOT IN THE SERENGETI. The Travel Book Club. 1984. 208 pages with 8 pages of illustrations. £8.99. plus p&p: £l.25.
BEATING ABOUT THE BUSH. Published in 2000.291 pp. £10.99. Plus p&p: £l.25.
THE WATERS OF SANJAN. 1982. 212 pp including illustrations. Price: £8.99. Plus p & p: £1.25. P&p for two books £1.50. P&p for three books: £l.75.
All three books can be obtained from: “Crime in Store”, 14 Bedford Street, London.WC2 2HE. Tel: 020-7379 3779. EMail: Crimebks_AT_AOL_DOT_com
David Read, farmer, cattle dealer, and hunter, is unquestionably a leading authority on the Maasai and related tribes of East Africa, speaking fluent Maasai and several other East African dialects. He spent his formative years with the Maasai mainly on the Serengeti Plains, and has been associated with them ever since. David Read was born in Kenya at the start of the 1920s. His mother had been left on her own and eventually moved to Loliondo, an outpost on the Northern borders of the Serengeti plains, where she ran a small hotel. She later married Otto Fischer, a Czech, who ran a nearby trading store, and life improved for the family.
Here, David spent the next seven years of his boyhood, a period during which he became almost a Maasai, but for the colour of his skin. His only playmates were Maasai children. Maasai became his first language and he ran wild, unfettered by European conventions, free to roam the wide-open spaces of the Serengeti steeped in African tradition and the Maasai way of life and associating with nature and wildlife in the process. At the age of seven, his family moved to the Lupa Goldfield in the Southern Highlands, as searching for gold seemed the only way to recoup the family’s finances at a time of financial depression in the early thirties. This period of his life is covered in his first book ‘Barefoot in the Serengeti’. During David’s time on the Lupa, and to remedy his lack of a proper education, he was sent as a boarder to a school in Arusha. His previous lack of education and association with European youths of his own age at first proved a great handicap, but within three years he drew level with them all. During his school holidays he was able to explore the local bush life, shooting crocodiles with his elder brother on Lake Rukwa, and helping his stepfather to prospect for gold.
On leaving school, he completed his education by correspondence course, and then obtained an appointment as an apprentice metallurgist with the Geological Survey in Dodoma. This proved quite a cultural shock for him, as some of his superiors tended to take a stem view of the somewhat unorthodox style of his upbringing.
At the outbreak of World War 2 he enlisted in the Army and was posted firstly to the Kenya Regiment and then transferred to the Royal Air Force, where he underwent pilot training in Rhodesia. He then transferred back into the Army and was posted to a Tanganyika Battalion of the KAR, with whom he saw active service in Abyssinia and Madagascar. After this period of active service, he was commissioned and posted to a Uganda Battalion of The KAR. His Battalion was posted to India and Burma for further active service. At the conclusion of hostilities and on promotion, he was selected to lead the Uganda KAR detachment on The Victory Parade. Like his soldiers, he had never been to Europe before.
On his return to Tanganyika he took up a fresh appointment with the Veterinary Department, initially in Dodoma as a Livestock Marketing Officer. This proved an ideal occupation for him as, combined with an additional job as an Honorary Game Warden, he was able to not only to supervise the movement and marketing of cattle, he was free to indulge in his love of the open bush and wildlife. He also had ample opportunity to meet up with his old Maasai friends. Eventually he acquired a farm of his own on the Western slopes of Kilimanjaro and became a leading figure in the local farming community. After Independence in 1961, his farming interests were gradually eroded and for a short time he was involved in agriculture in a consultative capacity, but he eventually returned to East Africa, where he still lives. This on-going account of his life is told in his second book: BEATING ABOUT THE BUSH. His third book is THE WATERS OF SANJAN – an historical novel of the Maasai. This novel is based around the life of a known Maasai warrior who lived at the turn of the century. The events portrayed were not unusual in the life of a warrior in those times, though some may shudder at the more violent sections. The customs and traditions mentioned are accurate and the places where events took place are real places and to date still go by the same names.
THE BOOK OF SECRETS. M. G. Vassanji. Picador, 1996.
339pp. £ 6.99.
This is a many-layered and absorbing story, set in Tanzania (and the Voi-Taveta area of Kenya) over the period from 1913 to the present day, and written by an author who was born in the Kenya Asian community but brought up in Tanzania. It shows remarkable insight and sympathy for its characters who stem from a wide range of cultures: the early British colonial administrator, the Indian merchant family, and people of the African majority with whom this long history is shared. The novel is both a family chronicle and a detective story, and Vassanji writes with conviction about human relations and the experience of exile; he is a Swahili speaker, which adds to his attraction from a British/Tanzanian point of view.
ENGLISH SWAHILI DICTIONARY. W A Kirkeby (a Norwegian former teacher in Iringa). Kakepela Publishing Company, Dar es Salaam and Kirkeby Forlag AS, Eikekroken 30, 2020 Skedsmokoret, Norway. 1,069 pages. Prices vary from £47 in UK to Shs 30,000 in Tanzania. (Thank you Peter White for letting us know about this – Editor).
THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN TANZANIA AFTER SOCIALISM – CHALLENGES OF REFORMING BANKS, PARASTATALS, TAXATION AND THE CIVIL SERVICE. A E Temu and Jean M Due (University of Illinois). Journal of Modem African Studies, 38, 4 (2000) pp 683-712. Cambridge University Press.
This comprehensive and conscientious study of the development of privatisation in Tanzania indicates that although the overall impact of economic liberalism has been positive, “significant weaknesses remain”, especially in the regulatory frameworks required “to prevent abuses by private enterprises”. It claims that the “trickle down” of welfare to poorer sections of society has been inadequate as has the extension of financial services to smaller business ” and rural areas. The overall conclusion is that “further public investment is required, especially in health, education and infrastructure.”
The argument is based largely on the failure to deliver of Tanzanian socialism’, with public enterprises performing badly. After 1986 the government undertook broad-ranging formal economic reforms with the support of the IMF and the World Bank, by dismantling the system of state control and promoting private sector expansion, so that a more market-driven financial system began to emerge. Multi-national firms bought shares in the large and relatively profitable firms, such as brewery and cigarette companies, but most firms were running below capacity and plants were badly dilapidated and only international capital could afford to remedy the situation. Stressing the importance of the utilities in this transformation, the authors decided that regulation of the private sector did not receive adequate consideration. Privatised manufacturing and processing plants often “violated fair trade principles. ” The inevitable result of liberisation has been the rapid increase in private sector participation in the economy, with a growth in advertising, an increase in the number of restaurants, cafes and hotels, increased competition and a broader range of alternate sources of almost every consumable. The number of private TV stations, dependent on private sector advertisements, rose from none in 1993 to seven in 1998. Over ten new daily and weekly independent newspapers were established.
Reforms in the public service succeeded in reducing the workforce, but “not much was achieved in changing the work habits and hence the efficiency of employees.”
The study concludes: “Reform prescriptions by the World Bank and the IMF, though in principle inevitable for Tanzania, need not be followed blindly. But for the changes to bear fruit, institutional development both in the form of organisations and rules and by-laws needed to be established. Otherwise excesses in the private sector could easily replace inefficiencies in the public sector, especially in the case of utilities”.
The study adds: “The major failure of reform to date lies in the
apparent lack of tangible benefits for many of the poorer sections of society. Rectifying the failure calls for increased revenue earnings to be translated into investments in public services that will improve people’s well-being, mostly in health, education and infrastructure. While the inadequacies of Tanzania’s former socialist economy has been very clearly demonstrated by the achievements of the reform process, the management of an equitable and effective market economy still requires a key role for the state.”
CORDINATING HEALTH RESEARCH TO PROMOTE ACTION: THE TANZANIAN EXPERIENCE. Andrew Y Kitua, Yohana J S Mashalla, Joseph K Shija. British Medical Journal. 321 (7264). September 2000. 3pp.
THE PARADOX OF THE COST AND AFFORDABILITY OF TRADITIONAL AND GOVERNMMENT HEALTH SERVICES IN TANZANIA. Susanna H Muela, Adiel K Mushi and Joan M Ribera. Health Policy and Planning. 15 (3) 7pp.
Coordination of health research activities is one of the important aims of the Tanzanian Health Research Forum launched by the Minister of Health in February 1999. The Forum has been set up with laudable aims to use research resources effectively. It not only promotes and coordinates research but also enhances the use of health research results for planning policy and decision making.
The Forum includes 20 member institutions from research, the ministries of health, education and community development, women’s affairs and children. Encouraging progress has been made developing partnership between institutions and for the first time national health research priorities have been drawn up and national health and social problems identified. Two disease eradication programmes are compared in the first of these two papers to illustrate the value of coordinating their implementation at a national level. The onchocerciasis and malaria programmes were both given global, regional and national commitment with political backing and financial and technical resources. The onchocerciasis programme has been a success but the malaria programme has had difficulties with some countries failing to coordinate the resources effectively. The essential elements for putting research into action are being developed by the Tanzanian Health Research Forum. It is working with the scientific community, the Population Services International Social Marketing Group and other partners in the production and distribution of bed nets and the promotion of their use, in the prevention of malaria. At the international summit on Malaria in the year 2000 over 50 African heads of state signed a pledge to halve Africa’s malaria deaths by the year 2010 and the main focus of the control programme is the use of bed nets that have been treated with insecticide. Research demonstrates their value but the implementation of their production and use requires the essential coordinating role of the Tanzanian Health Research Forum.
An understanding of the dynamics of cross cultural health care is considered in the second article to throw light on the ability or the willingness of people to pay for biomedical health care or traditional medicine. It is the type of illness that often defines the sector of health care the individual uses. Also the social network for financial help with the payment for treatment varies depending on whether biomedical health care or traditional medicine is chosen.
The article is based on a study of field observations of lay people’s perspectives of malaria and its treatment and a second study (Munjinja et al 1997) on the impact of a cost sharing system done at St Francis Designated District Hospital in Ifakara.
It was found that people define two types of illness. ‘Normal illness’ is the one group and includes such conditions as malaria, schistosomiasis and diarrhoeal diseases. The other is ‘out of the order’ illness and includes afflictions such as barrenness, impotence, mental and chronic disorders. People believe that ‘normal’ illness is best treated by biomedical methods whereas ‘out of order’ diseases are the domain of traditional healers who have the skills to enter into contact with the invisible world. Treatment for normal illnesses is usually paid for by the individual or by the immediate family circle. Hospital care is paid for before treatment is started in cash and the fees are fixed. Treatment for ‘out of order’ illnesses leads to a much broader social involvement. The traditional healer will involve an extended kin group who will be urged by the elders to participate in the treatment process and to assist financially. Payment will be during treatment or after recovery and will be negotiable according to wealth status. Also the payment may be in kind, in cash or on a credit basis.
Affordability studies need to consider the social networks contributing to a patients care and who ultimately pays for the treatment whether biomedical or traditional. Social and financial support within the community varies significantly depending on the type of health care chosen by the individual.
COST EFFECTIVENESS OF VOLUNTARY HIV1 COUNSELLING AND TESTING IN REDUCING SEXUAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV1 IN KENYA AND TANZANIA.
Michael Sweat and seven others. The Lancet. Volume 356. July 2000. 8 pages.
The authors of this impressive paper estimated cost effectiveness for a hypothetical cohort of 10,000 people seeking counselling in urban East Africa and concluded that HIV1 voluntary counselling was highly cost-effective in urban East African settings but slightly less so than interventions such as improvement of sexually transmitted disease services and universal provision of nevirapine to pregnant women in high prevalence settings.
ZANZIBAR: DEMOCRACY ON SHAKY FOUNDATIONS. Article 19.49 pp. 2000. £5.99. This is a report on restrictions on freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms in Zanzibar and the impact of these on the credibility of the October 2000 elections.
COMPLEMENTARY WATER SYSTEMS IN DAR ES SALAAM: the case of water vending. Marianne Kjellen.
Water Resources Development, V01.16, No.1 (2000), pp.143-54 Whilst water vending may to the casual observer be considered a somewhat marginal occupation, it is actually an activity which is central to the daily life of a large proportion of Dar es Salaam’s population; it is also one of the oldest means of generating an income in the town. In the course of this short article Marianne Kjellen, a human geographer based at Stockholm University, insight is gained not only into the (hard) lives of the vendors (and to a lesser extent their customers), but also some of the strains arising :from rapid urbanisation in developing countries. The inability of public utilities to provide secure water provision to Dar es Salaam households (in 1991 it was estimated that 45% of the urban population had no access to running water) leads to economic opportunities for resourceful urbanites. Amongst those fortunate enough to have connections to the water mains (whether legal [30%] or illegal [29%]), some use it as a handy source of additional income by re-selling mains water to vendors. For the vendors themselves, however, generating an income is far less easy. Whilst periods of water shortage (which of course periodically occur in Dar es Salaam) can lead to increased profits; more usually estimated average monthly earnings work out at a penurious Shs.24,000, Shs.6,000 less than the official minimum wage. When taking into account job insecurity (demand for water is variable), along with the dangers associated with the work (vendors are often involved in road accidents), and its physically demanding nature, this is indeed a pittance. In order to earn even this modest amount vendors have to charge consumers ten to twenty times the price for which the water is bought. This means that their customers – often amongst the poorest town-dwellers – pay on average around Shs 5 per litre. By contrast, those connected to the mains – who tend to live in the more affluent, better serviced areas – pay just Shs 0.3 per litre. Kjellen concludes that, as long as the extension of piped water services to all urban communities remains beyond the capacity and resources of the public utility, then improved access for vendors should be prioritised, as a result of which consumer costs would be reduced and the valuable service the vendors provide to the urban poor facilitated.
This accessible, well researched and written article deserves a wider readership than its publication in a specialist journal suggest it may attract. However, a longer Swahili version (with photographs) is available in booklet form, entitled Uuzaji wa maji katika jiji la Dar es Salaam (pub. date February 2000, ISSN 1404-6784), from the Environmental and Development Studies Unit, Stockholm University.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FINANCIAL DEEPENING AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN TANZANIA. 0 A Akinboade, University of South Africa. Journal of International Development. Vo!. 12.2000. 11 pages.
The ratio of bank deposit liability to nominal gross national product was used in this study as a measure of financial deepening and modelled for relationship with real per capita income. The results suggested that financial deepening and economic growth were independent in Tanzania.
THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION IN TANZANIA. Eds: J C J Galabawa, FE M K Senkoro and AFL Lwaitiama. Faculty of Education. University of Dar es Salaam. This book gives the results of a conference in Arusha in March 1997.
REFLECTIONS ON LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA FORTY YEAR AFTER INDEPENDENCE. ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF MWALIMU NYERERE ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 75TH BIRTHDAY. Ed: Haroub Othman. VUB University Press (Belgium) and Institute of Development Studies, University of Dar es Salaam. September 2000. This book has 13 papers, six of them by Tanzanians.
‘PEPO’ AS AN INNER HEALING FORCE. PRACTICES OF A FEMALE SPIRITUAL HEALER IN TANZANIA. Jessica Erdstsieck. Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam and University Press, Tanzania.
John Mbonde, reviewed this book in the Dar es Salaam Sunday Observer on 22nd October 2000 and explained how there were five main chapters: ‘Nambela, the healer’ (based on the author’s own account of her illnesses); diagnostic sessions in her healing practice by means of divination (including Nambela’s attitude to the client); singing sessions (group therapy through daily rhythmic singing); plants and the aetiology of disease; and, the issue of spiritual forces (the exposure of ‘pepo’ both in illness and therapy). The author of the book observes that in modem Tanzania people’s pursuit of health and healing usually takes place at the interface between cosmopolitan clinical medicine and a variety of alternatives – self-medication, intra-family treatment and the services of such African specialists as midwives, diviners, herbalists, priest-healers and ritualists. The component of spiritual healing plays an important role in traditional medicine. She says that, although socially and politically cosmopolitan medicine is widely accepted in Africa, and it dominates the conventional health care system, cognitively, indigenous medicine still has the upper hand. She believes that chronic diseases, psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders, which usually last a long time and require personal attention, have remained predominantly the field of traditional healers.