REVIEWS

Editors: John Cooper-Poole and Marion E Doro

CHANGING ROLES IN NATURAL FOREST MANAGEMENT. Kerry A. Woodcock. Published by Ashgate. ISBN 07546 19354. £39.95

In this book version of her PhD Kerry Woodcock has produced a volume with a wealth of information. She draws on much primary and secondary material to discuss issues affecting the management of the forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. Woodcock argues that constructive negotiation on sustainable forest management in the Eastern Arc mountains will depend on a clearer definition of stakeholder roles. She refers to “the 4Rs” ­returns from the forest, rights and responsibilities and relationships to the forest -as the basis for judging the respective claims of groups with interests in the forests. Efforts to involve local communities to improve forest management have focused primarily on the economic benefits they derive from forests. Such a focus, Woodcock argues, has ignored the broader nature of local communities’ stake in the forests. The resulting “imbalances in attributes” accounts for unjust and injudicious forest management which has failed to achieve the results expected. Only when the full implications of their respective stakes are understood can there be constructive negotiation between all those with an interest in forest management. Most of the book, therefore, concentrates on what these “four Rs” are for stakeholders in Eastern Arc forest management, and how they have changed over time. The book concludes with recommendations on addressing these imbalances in order to achieve more effective negotiation, to benefit forests and communities alike.

The key weakness of the book, is its failure to develop a systematic approach to understanding the nature of power relations amongst those with a stake in forest management. Woodcock alludes to power relations with her reference to “imbalances in attributes” between stakeholders. But reference to rights, responsibilities, returns from the forest and relationships to the forest (the key stakeholder attributes) only provides an idealised picture of the stake social actors have in the forests of the Eastern Arc. Social actors’ roles are determined as much by their position in relations of power as in their stake in an issue. The relationship between the state and forest-local communities has historically been very unequal, and often struggles about forests are symptomatic of other power struggles. (Scott 1985, Neumann 1997). Only once the power inequalities of social roles are recognised and understood can the prospects for constructive negotiation be realistically assessed or longer-term sustainability be secured.

Woodcock roots her analysis in how changes in forest management approaches have affected the relative positions of social actors in management arrangements. However, she does not, in my opinion, provide a satisfactory explanation for connections between changes in forest management and the obstacles to successful forest management today. For instance, she notes that awareness of the “high biodiversity and ecological values” in the East Usambara coincided with logging in the area. Yet why was concern for biodiversity able to halt Finnish-supported logging in 1984 but not in the early 1970s, when it had first been expressed (Ahlback 1988)? For that matter, why was biodiversity loss not an issue in the 1940s when extensive swathes of forest were cleared for tea plantations, or in the early 1960s, when significant tracts of lowland forest were cleared for the Longuza Teak Plantation? If she had made connections between dominant environmental narratives and changes in the Tanzanian political economy, she could have explained why certain social actors were able to make certain environmental claims successfully at particular points III time.

All this is important when assessing the current prospects for constructive negotiations. It will only be possible to formulate and support appropriate roles for social actor stakeholders if it is understood why power inequalities between them have persisted and how these inequalities have affected their “4Rs”. Analysing power relations amongst social actors with interests in the forest requires defining clearly who the actors are, what are their interests, and what sanctions and incentives they face in acting out their roles. Woodcock notes the complexity of social interests around the forest at the outset, but fails to integrate this complexity through her analysis (pp. 18-19; ef. pp 141-151).

These criticisms aside, this book ought to be consulted and its central argument debated. Woodcock has made a timely intervention on an issue of crucial importance to forest-local peoples and others concerned with the sustainable management of high biodiversity forests like those of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania.

References:
Ahlback, Arnold J. 1988. Forestry for Development in Tanzania. Uppsala: International Rural Development Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Neumann, Roderick P. 1997. Forest Rights, Privileges and Prohibitions: Contextualising State Forestry Policy in Colonial Tanganyika. Environment and History 3 (1):45-68.
Scott, James C. 1985. Weapons of the Weak: everyday forms of peasant resistance. London: Yale University Press.
Sunseri, Thaddeus. 2003. Controlling people and forests in the Rufiji basin, Tanganyika, 1921-1961. Paper read at International Conference on the Forest and Environmental History of the British Empire and Commonwealth at Centre for World Environmental History, Univ. of Sussex.

KILIMANJARO ICE CORE RECORDS: Evidence of Holocene Climate Change to Tropical Africa. Lonnie G. Thompson et al. Science. Vol. 298 (October 2002) pp 589-593.

This scientific paper is of very serious interest to Northern Tanzania, and indeed to the economy of the whole country. The abstract of the paper is as follows:­

‘Six ice cores from Kilimanjaro provide an 11.7 thousand year record of holocene climate and environmental variability for eastern equatorial Africa, including three periods of abrupt climate change: 8.3, 5.2 and 4 thousand years ago. The latter is coincident with the “First dark Age”, the period of the greatest historically recorded drought in tropical Africa. Variable deposition of F -and Na+ during the African Humid Period suggests rapidly fluctuating lake levels between 11.5 and 4 ka. Over the 20th century, the real extent of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields has decreased 80%, and, if the current climatological conditions persist, the remaining ice fields are likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020.’

For several decades now, observations have been made regarding the shrinkage of the Kibo ice sheets on Kilimanjaro. I myself became very familiar with these ice sheets from close quarters in the 1950’s and 60’s, and comparing what I saw then with what is revealed by present day air and ground photos is really quite alarming. Now, exact scientific observation and measurement has revealed the precise nature of this decline. We now know that the ice cap of Kibo is likely to disappear within the next two decades, i.e. very soon indeed.

The scientists have revealed this situation in precise terms but do not of course comment on the economic and social consequences for Northern Tanzania of this natural development. The streams that flow from Kilimanjaro are the lifeblood of the Chagga people and this region is one of the most important parts of Tanzania economically. It also has to be remembered that the Pangani river depends on waters originating from the northern mountains of which Kilimanjaro is the chief, and its waters drive important hydro-electrical installations lower down the river.

It is to be hoped that these imperatives of nature will be taken into consideration as plans for future development are formulated.
John Cooke

UGLY MALAYSIANS. SOUTH-SOUTH INVESTMENTS ABUSED. Ed: John K
S. Institute for Black Research, University of Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa. 2002.

Included in this book, which critically analyses Malaysian investment overseas, is a 30-page chapter by investigative journalist Brian Cooksey on the ‘Independent Power Tanzania Ltd’ (IPTL) saga which has featured frequently in the pages of Tanzanian Affairs during the last few years. The chapter is written in racy style, makes fascinating reading and seems almost like a good novel. It has a large international cast of respectable and allegedly unsavoury characters including three Tanzanian presidents, a Malaysian prime minister, a dynamic former president of the World Bank, an Irish businessman, a Tanzanian Minister of Finance who was sacked, staff of the Bankers Trust New York, a director on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Malaysian businessmen, an American ambassador, a Tanzanian Permanent Secretary, an IMF Representative, a CCM Secretary-General, a Swedish ambassador, a Tanzanian Attorney-General, a Director of Price-Waterhouse­Cooper and senior staff of ‘Transparency International.’

The chapter on IPTL clearly required a great deal of research and investigation and helps to clarify the confusing history of this major Malaysian investment in Tanzania. The first part of the chapter gives a useful two-page chronology of events, describing how negotiations began. It then endeavours to explain people’s motivations during the extraordinary saga which eventually involved local and international court proceedings. In 1994, because drought in Tanzania had led to power shortages and hydro-catchment areas had run dry, the country seemed to need additional electricity supplies. Various attempts were made to provide these. More detail on the attempts, especially the gas to electricity project -SOGAS -would have been helpful. However, an agreement was eventually signed in 1995 between the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and a company called Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) in which the Malaysian Mechmar Corporation held 70% of the shares and a Tanzanian firm -VIPEM -30%. IPTL proposed to build and run for 20 years a 100-megawatt slow-speed diesel powered plant in Dar es Salaam at a cost of$163 million with a ‘reference tariff of $4.2 million per month plus 3.25 US cents per kWh of electricity produced. The final tariff was to depend on actual costs involved.

In 1995-96 IPTL negotiated the purchase of a cheaper medium­speed plant, allegedly without consulting TANESCO. In 1998 TANESCO issued a ‘Notice of Default’ to IPTL for this reportedly unilateral substitution. T ANESCO then tried to negotiate a reduced tariff reflecting the actually incurred costs but, when this failed, it requested international arbitration through the Centre for Settlement of Disputes.

In November 1999 IPTL took TANESCO to court claiming interim payments of $3.6 million a month. In 2001 the International Centre found that IPTL was overpriced by $23.5 million but that the contract should still stand since TANESCO had been aware ofthe switch from the slow-speed to the medium-speed plant.

On January 13, 2002 IPTL started supplying power to the national grid at 13 cents per unit. The author insists that this makes Tanzanian electricity the most expensive in central and southern Africa and describes it as a long-term burden on the Tanzanian economy.

Finally in March 2002 the Tanzanian partners in IPTL -VIPEM were reported to have petitioned the High Court to wind up the company fearing that they might not get a fair share of the dividends. Implicit in this whole account are allegations of corruption. After the book was published, one newspaper reported, in March 2002, that the case was being referred to Tanzania’s Anti-Corruption Bureau. In the circumstances, this reviewer would prefer not to comment on the corruption charge and leaves it to the reader to decide for him/herself on the basis of the evidence provided. However, the author quotes a Dr Johann Lambsdorff of Gottingen University who has described Malaysia as one of the ‘cleanest’ countries as far as its overseas investment policies are concerned ­DRB.

(Mwananchi reported on April 11 that MPs had begun to query the I P T L contract and some were said to be suggesting that there may have been corruption and that government should form a committee of inquiry to re-assess the contract).

THE WATERS OF SANJAN. David Read. Published privately. ISBN 9987-8920-1-9. £8.99
This is an historical novel based on fact and woven around the life of a known Masai warrior, who lived in Tanzania at the turn of the 19th century. It is an accurate and admirable record of the Masai people, once the fiercest of the tribes of East Africa. The author describes a way of life that existed at another point of time.

Readers will find themselves transported to a time machine revealing glimpses into another world that was the lives and customs of a very proud people. Some may shudder at the horror of some of the more violent aspects with which their Masai forefathers had to cope. However they will emerge the wiser for knowing and understanding a little of what these people had to suffer, not only at the hands of encroaching colonialism, but at the hand of nature; climatic disasters; diseases of man and beast and the tribal wars that were the norm and with monotonous regularity claimed the lives of their kinsmen.

The author, is perhaps one of the last lifelong European Tanzanian settlers, who possesses an intimate knowledge of the Masai. He has since childhood mixed freely in friendship with both their children and the elders, and has had a unique opportunity to observe their way of life and customs. Being fluent in their language, he has through the years been able to listen to the tribal elders recounting their age-old stories that depicted their history and customs. These stories are told again in this unique novel.

David Read, who lives in Tanzania, still maintains regular contact with his Masai friends and has translated his lifelong contact into words not only for the benefit of those whose lives lead them to East Africa, but also to those who dream and romance, about what was once known as the “Dark Continent”.

The author has written two autobiographies “Barefoot over the Serengeti” (£8.99) and “Beating about the Bush” (£10.99). Postage £1.50 for one book, £3.00 for two and £4.00 for three. Obtainable from: Crime in Store, 32 Store Street, London WclE 7BS, Tel: 0207436 7636. CrimeBks@AOL.com. Also at The Slipway, P.O. Box 76513, Dar es Salaam. Tel 2601088, books@anovelidea­africa.com.
Geoffrey Cotterell

LOCAL PERSPECTIVES ON GLOBALISATION: THE AFRICAN CASE, edited by Joseph Semboja, Jumu Mwapachu and Eduard Jansen. Mkuki na Nyota Publishers 2002. Distributed by African Books Collective Ltd, Oxford. 154 pp. ISBN 9976973896. £12.95.

This collection of essays looks at the impact of globalisation on Africa and the ways in which Africa can respond to it. Three of the contributions discuss Africa in general, and the other four are specifically on Tanzania.

The current plight of Africa is brought out clearly. Economic trends range from decline to disintegration, indigenous culture is battered by permissive values from one side and Christian fundamentalism from the other; natural resources are being plundered, and governments are failing to reverse these processes. Whether all this IS the result of ‘globalisation’ depends on how one defines the term, and the editors almost equate it with any form of external exploitation from the slave trade and colonial rule to the Cold War. What is Africa to do? Four of the contributions put their faith in greater regional integration, and at least three argue for an enabling, rather than an intervening, state which would develop the relevant skills, harness private enterprise for the common good, revive indigenous culture and negotiate a better deal with the developed world. Optimism sometimes triumphs over realism in believing that existing elites have the necessary will or capacity to pursue these objectives. There is clear unanimity that Africa cannot escape globalisation. Issa Shivji attacks the “if you can’t beat them join them” school, but even he falls back on a call for “restructuring our state and civil society institutions” rather than opting out. The ideological choices seem to be narrower than ever. Everyone wants more competent, honest and accountable government, but the prospects of achieving this would require a separate volume.
Robert Pinkney

WE ALL WENT ON SAFARI. Laurie Krebs. Barefoot Books, March 2003. ISBN 1841 484571. £9.99.

Profusely illustrated in colour, this is a counting book for children. It is based around a safari by a group of Maasai children who see different animals in ascending numbers up to ten. The numbers are given both in English and Swahili. The review copy of the book was given to a playgroup in north east Wales to get their reaction. The play group leader writes as follows: ‘I introduced the book to the children on World Book Day 2003 (March 6th). I read the story to a group of about 20 children aged 2-3 years during our routine story time. Firstly we talked about the story being from a different part of the world, called Africa. (I used the word Africa because I felt it may be a word they were more familiar with). The children participated with the story from page one, eagerly pointing out all the animals they knew and counting them. The illustrations captured their imaginations, and after reading the story we made animal masks and shields. I often find a child using the book in our book area with the same interest and enjoyment’.
Rossett Pre-School Playgroup

OUT OF THE BOX. TRIBAL COMMUNITIES OF MODERN TANZANIA. An exhibition of photographs by Colin Hastings, Kijiji Vision Fair Trade Photography. The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London, Feb 10 to March 21, 2003.

This delightful exhibition showed over seventy colourful photographs of a high standard and in various sizes. Many were neatly framed in cut-up cardboard boxes -hence the title of the exhibition. It reflects Tanzania’s need to make the most of what is readily and cheaply available.

Dr Colin Hastings took the photographs last year while he was working for the Tanzanian Cultural Tourism Programme to make postcards for villagers to sell to tourists. In conversation with a Tanzanian school teacher who was planning a book on tribal cultures of Northern Tanzania, Colin realised that photography in developing countries was expensive and there was scope for a scheme to assist individuals, small businesses and NGO’s. So ‘Kijiji Vision Fair Trade Photography’ was born, and will be registered as a charity in due course.

The scheme is already linked to twelve UK charities, and in Tanzania to AMKA (the local Traidcraft organisation), the Village Museum in Dar es Salaam, the Mayor of Dar es Salaam and People to People Safaris.

The exhibition was a way of introducing Kijiji Vision to this country. For myself, immersed in congested London life and unsettling talk of war, I felt another way of life taking me over. The photographs are of villagers in the north of Tanzania -the Sambaa, Chagga, Waarusha, Maasai, Barabaig, Pare and Swahili coast, going about their daily lives. Tribal culture is most apparent in images of the Maasai which has a special appeal to tourists. In modern Tanzania therefore, some tribal culture (but not all) is valued as a source of income. Some colourful dress and a lot of smiling faces make us believe all is well, but we know that by our standards, life is hard. In spite of this, a love of life shines through. I returned to the streets of London with these lives looking over my shoulder, and not to be forgotten. I hope tourists to Tanzania would feel the same.

If anyone would like to host the exhibition please e-mail Colin Hastings: colin@kijijivision.com. Postcards are available at £7.50 for 15, £5 of which goes into the project. Cheques to Colin Hastings, 83 Hampstead Way, London NW11 7LG.
Christine Lawrence

JOURNAL ARTICLES OF NOTE:

Anders Danielson. Agricultural Supply Response in Tanzania: has adjustment really worked? African Development Review. Vol. 13, No. 1, June 2002, pp. 98-112. Based on 1986-1998 reform process. Concerned with impact of market-oriented reforms on crop production and farmers’ response to predicted price incentives.

Sohail Agha and Ronan Van Rossem. Impact of Mass Media Campaigns on Intentions to Use the Female Condom in Tanzania. International Family Planning Perspectives. Vol. 28, No 3 Summer 2002, pp. 151-8. Based on data from a survey of 2,712 men and women, designed to evaluate a mass media campaign promoting the use of female condoms; concerned with the extent to which the campaign influenced the intentions of both men and women to use them.

Hodgson. Precarious Alliances – Indigenous Anthropologist Vol.

Ulrike Wanitzek. The Power of Language in the Discourse on Women’s Rights: Some Examples from Tanzania. Africa Today. Vol.49, No. 1, 2002, pp. 3-19. The author explores three approaches to language and its uses, implications of language for feminist discourse, especially as it is used in Tanzanian courts, and the relevance of language to work of living-law scholars. The three approaches include the formalists, the instrumentalists, and the integrationists. When applied to gender-related issues apparently language reveals a male dominance position and the exclusion of women, particularly at the legal level. Utilizing examples from Tanzanian courts in matters such as settlement of estates, the author notes how a widow’s linguistic inability to press her claim results in deprivation. Efforts to overcome this disadvantage require, among other things, revising customary law to make it consistent with the realities of societal changes and eliminate barriers to women’s rights.
Marion Doro

Cameron, Greg, 2002. Zanzibar’s Turbulent Transition. Review of African Political Economy. No. 92, 2002, pp 313-330. ‘Zanzibar’s Turbulent Transition’ recalls the 2000 elections that provoked unrest and police killings of over 30 people and prompting more than 2000 mostly Pembans -to flee to Kenya. Greg Cameron sees the Zanzibar democracy movement as a challenge both to the coalition that followed the bloody 1964 revolution and to the Dodoma government itself. He reviews events before, during and after the elections enlivening his story with first hand observations and conversations with citizens of all political and economic stripes, and with human rights reports and articles from local newspapers and journals -including TA. The article offers an excellent history and analysis that will be valuable background as the future of the Tanzanian republic unfolds.
Peg Snyder

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.