Tanzania made its position on the Iraq war clear before it began. President Mkapa announced that the government and people of Tanzania were opposed to the war and Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye told parliament on February 14 that military supremacy might win the war on the battlefield but it would not bring peace or win hearts. Tanzania also could suffer economically if another war was imposed on Iraq.

It was difficult to hear a dissenting voice and Tanzanians appear to have been united in opposition to the war.

The East African, in an angry article under the heading ‘Humiliated, Helpless, we are all Iraqis Today’ reported the views of a news vendor in Dar es Salaam: “American heavyweight Mike Tyson slugs it out with Tanzanian featherweight Rashidi Matumla!” The article went on: ‘The unequal Anglo-American war on little Iraq is termed “War in Iraq” as if there were simply civil strife going on there, not an invasion by the world’s superpowers of a Third World poor country. There is nothing on the global news networks, BBC or CNN, to assert this fact -that the war is not being fought between equals in terms of weapons, resources and technology.

If any were in doubt about the Tanzanian view they had only to read the Swahili press which rivaled British tabloids in the extremism of its news coverage.

Typical headlines:
British army fearful of entering Basra; says it is dangerous (Mtanzania)
Bush nearly drowning; seeks more funds to destroy Iraq ­(Nipashe)
More Americans killed; the British contingent in trouble -Nipashe
Bush, Blair hammered, The British running from Basra;
The Iraqis forcing them to mark time in the desert; others confused, killing each other -An-Nuur
Iraq destroys US tanks; Saddam’s soldiers stinging like ants -Mwananchi
We have cornered the Americans; claim they control not a single city -Mwananchi
Coward Americans confused at the front line; killing women, children indiscriminately -Majira

By April 10th however, the tone had changed.
Further headlines: ‘Iraqis applaud new era of freedom’ wrote Nipashe; a Rai editorial said ‘ The imperialist aim has been achieved. Iraq is in their hands now. It would be a wise undertaking if they could rebuild Iraq politically and socially …

By April 14th Nipashe wrote ‘US forces enter Sikrit unopposed; Baghdad is calm…..’


According to The Swahili paper Rai, in a bid to counter terrorism, the American Federal Bureau of Investigations will establish an institute for training Police investigators on how to combat terrorism. Construction of the institute, which will also cater for neighbouring countries, is to commence in July this year near Dodoma. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) was said to have allocated 127 hectares for the project. The Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police was quoted as confirming the reports.

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