LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

JENERALI ULIMWENGU
I am sending you a copy of ‘Pambazuka News 54, The Electronic Newsletter for Social Justice in Africa’. Assuming the information to be correct I find the contents very disturbing…… It is the sort of thing that happens when people in power seek to maintain their hold on power at all costs…. Is it in fact legally possible for this to be done in Tanzania?

Ralph Ibbott, Convenor, BTS Scottish Members

Extracts from the Pambazuka News editorial: ‘Jenerali Ulimwengu, journalist, activist and an example of committed citizenship, has been rendered stateless by the Tanzanian government in a move that is clearly motivated as a means of silencing an individual who has been brave enough to expose corruption and scandals of leading individuals in the government…. Jenerali has been a prominent member of Tanzanian civil society, having served as an active member of the ruling TANU and CCM parties. He was a member of CCM’s National Executive Committee from 1992 to 1997. All those who know him speak of his courage in expressing critical, yet constructive stances against those who sought to oppress the disadvantaged…… There can be little doubt that Ulimwengu has been denied citizenship because of his Pan Africanist, patriotic and progressive politics above factionalism and unscrupulous partisanship….. .’ The article goes on to compare the greatness of the Nyerere era which was said to have transformed the nature of citizenship from an attribute of groups considered indigenous to that of individuals with a residence in and membership of the political community called Tanzania… ‘This was why the denial of citizenship went beyond the injury being done to one individual.. .. We urge all readers of Pambazuka News …. to make their voices heard by writing to the government to protest. ‘

(During recent weeks the case of Jenerali Ulimwengu has been taken up by many other organisations and individuals. Amongst these are the CUF opposition party, 140 lecturers at the University of Dar es Salaam and various NGO’s. Jenerali Ulimwengu is Chairman of the Habari Corporation which publishes Mtanzania, Rai, Dimba and ‘The African’ newspapers. He was at one time a district commissioner and later an MP. In 1995 he took part in drafting a Bill designed to control corruption. Jenerali Ulimwengu also presented a Dar es Salaam TV programme on the day of the Zanzibar disturbances in January 2001 which shocked many viewers by showing scenes of police brutality.

The government has stated that the rejection of Mr Ulimwengu’s application for citizenship has nothing to do with his criticism of the government and that applications for citizenship from some 50 people were rejected last year. He “did not fulfil the laid down Tanzania laws and regulations” ¬≠Editor}.

THE VILLAGE MUSEUM
I was very pleased to read the article about the Village Museum entitled “And now we feel secure enough” by Colin Hastings in your last issue. However, I fear the article may give readers a slightly misleading impression which I hope you will find space to correct. The map is, in fact, quite new, having been painted recently by Fabien Limo, the Display Officer of the National Museum. Far from being “hidden away in an empty room” it was, in fact, displayed on the wall of the Assistant Curator’s office. There are no “empty rooms” at the Museum -space is in too short supply! When Colin visited, the map was not on open display merely for lack of a suitable place. However, the map now has pride of place in a new display area where it has been much commented on and much photographed. One other string thing struck me as odd in Colins’s article -the comment from Tatah Mlola that Tanzanians only now feel secure enough to talk about their different cultural roots. The Village Museum was set up in Nyerere’s time (1964) and only a short distance from his home, with the express purpose of enabling Tanzanians to celebrate the diversity of their cultures. This is what the museum has always stood for (its curators are social anthropologists trained at a the University of Dar es Salaam under Nyerere) and this is what it continues to do so effectively, as I witnessed not only on a daily basis, but when over 5,000 people descended on the museum during last September’s amazing Wasukuma Cultural Festival. The museum’s traditional houses (now renovated and with additions bringing them to a total of 18) illustrate the different ways of life of tribes and ethnic groups from right across Tanzania. For locals and tourists alike, they are a unique resource. In Dar es Salaam, at least, Cultural Tourism starts here!

Richard Wood, Education Volunteer,
The Village Museum, July-December 2001

CAN YOU HELP?

I would be grateful if you would print the following request in the next issue of Tanzanian Affairs. You have a deservedly wide circulation, and I’m sure that our ready pool of readers will include someone who can shed light on this appeal:
Dr Clyde Binfield, Associate Professor of History at Sheffield University is researching “two decidedly remarkable characters” and would be glad to correspond with anyone who may have known them. He writes about the Rt. Rev. Neil Russell (1906 ¬≠82) and his first cousin, Dr Leader Sterling. Bishop Russell was an Anglo-Catholic who became a (Suffragen?) Bishop of Zanzibar and had a genius for evading authority -not even becoming a Bishop cured him of that. He was a Scottish Episcopalian, whose father was a much-admired Congregational minister who had served in India and who became minister of the King’s Weigh House church in London. Bishop Russell’s somewhat quirky ancestry may have influenced his character to the end of his life; he did not enjoy his retirement with his order in Scotland and returned to Tanzania in 1982 to a parish at Makuyuni where he died. His cousin, Leader Sterling, also of firm Congregational stock, qualified as a medical doctor and went to Tanzania as a High Church missionary. He later joined the Roman Catholics there, and wrote three books about his work. He was twice married, each time to an African nurse. The story is told that he was summoned to see the President, and on going with some trepidation, was made Minister of Health!
Dr Binfield’s address is 22 Whiteley Wood Road, Sheffield Sll 7 FE.
M G Stokell Hon. Treasurer and Trustee, Tanzania Development Trust

THE GROUNDNUT SCHEME
I am an old ‘groundnutter’ (1946-1951) and find that in various clubs I get asked to give talks on the groundnut scheme which I do with difficulty. Have you any idea as to where I can obtain some photoslides that I could project on screen to make the whole thing more interesting.
S G Carrington-Buck, 3 Glastenbury Drive, Bexhill on Sea TN 40 2NY.

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