Archive for January, 2004


Investment Success.
At the launching of the WORLD INVESTMENT REPORT 2003 at the UNDP offices in Dar es Salaam on September 12 it was revealed that Tanzania registered a record rise in new investors in the first half of 2003. Director of Investment Promotion at the Tanzania Investment Centre Emmanuel ole Naiko said that the centre had registered a total of 311 new investment projects in 2002 creating jobs for some 33,000 people. But in the first six months of2003 the centre had registered 323 projects creating employment for almost 190,000 people. The Director pointed out that since 1996 Tanzania had tried to create an attractive investment atmosphere by adopting a new investment code, enacting 13 laws to facilitate investments, reforming the financial sector and introducing political reforms. Plans were underway for reviews of the Land Act and labour laws and for new income tax legislation. There was also to be a review of business licensing. As a result of these policies Tanzania was now among the top recipients of foreign direct investment in Africa. It ranked 14th on the 2002 role but eight of these fourteen countries were oil economies.

East African Unity.
Neil Ford, writing in the 9th January, 2004 issue of NEWSAFRICA commented on efforts being made to bring about economic integration in East Africa. He said that attempts to promote trade within the region would only really take off once trade barriers within the three states had been removed. An agreement to set up the East African Customs Union was signed in November 2003 but it seemed likely that it would take at least seven years before all internal tariffs were finally removed. It was also hoped that the customs union would result in the imposition of common external tariffs on imports from the rest of the world. However, as the experience of the European Union had shown, the harmonisation of customs rates was never an easy process. There had already been disagreements over the loss of sovereignty and fear of Kenyan domination. Ford was optimistic however concerning possible future success. He said that there was now a smaller imbalance in the size of the three economies, former deep-seated differences had largely disappeared and all three states generally followed the same IMF-inspired line of privatisation, deregulation and a reduced economic role for the state.

Kilimanjaro and its melting ice.
The NEW YORK TIMES (November 17) contained an article by Oliver Morton (the author of ‘Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World. ‘) on the alarming situation on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Extracts: ‘Kilimanjaro is losing its ice so quickly that it could be barren dirt before the next decade is out. It will take with it an irreplaceable 10-millennium record of the African climate, a profitable tourist attraction and a source of beauty that is a joy to contemplate … .It is not clear that global warming is responsible for this precipitous retreat. … It may well be that a regional change of some sort -deforestation, in all likelihood -has dried out the moist, rising winds that used to replenish the ice….. The question of what is destroying the ice, though, is less pressing than the question of whether anything can be done to save it. And the surprising answer to the second question is yes. The two main ice fields on top of Kilimanjaro are big flat slabs with cliff-like faces. According to scientists studying the mountain, it is melting from these cliffs -rather than from the flat tops of the fields -that seems to be the key to the problem. Euan Nisbet, a Zimbabwean greenhouse gas specialist at The Royal Holloway College, University of London, has come up with a fairly simple solution: drape the cliffs in white polypropylene fabric. Sunlight bounces off, and the ice below stays cool. …. this would buy some decades during which ways could be found to develop reforestation plans …The task of protecting the ice, while monumental, would not be impossible ……. In principle it would be well within the grasp of the world’s grandmaster wrapper, Christo, who convinced German parliamentarians to let him wrap the Reichstag, and who might well persuade the Tanzanian Government to allow the same thing to be done to Kilimanjaro …. Getting hundreds of thousands of square yards of fabric to the mountain top would be fairly easy -pack it up tightly and throw it out of the back of a transport plane.’

But The Times was not persuaded. It wrote later: ‘(This would be) a mammoth undertaking yielding dubious benefits …. Although it is tempting to blame global warming, the most likely culprit is deforestation. Forests at the base of the mountain, which once exhaled moisture that replenished and protected the ice fields, have largely disappeared, leaving the glaciers to the mercy of hot, dry winds that erode and melt the high cliffs that form their edges …… at least one scientist has wondered if the proposed plan might backfire, allowing a little heat to penetrate the tarpaulins and get trapped inside, thus speeding up the melting. Science might be better served by pouring more resources into collecting and studying ice cores before the glaciers disappear and leave Africa with a new icon -a bare mountaintop underscoring the folly of reckless destruction of the forests.’ (Thank you Liz Fennell for bringing this to our attention and Professor Euan Nisbet for adding additional information-Editor).

White modernism.
‘Nothing has done more to give modernism a bad name in architecture than grey stained concrete. Yet originally the international style captured imaginations with gleaming white surfaces speaking of both sun and cool shade.’ So wrote Marcus Binney in THE TIMES (1st September). He went on: ‘Now White modernism is making a comeback. A first-class example is the new British High Commission in Dar Salaam designed by the Manser practice with a wave roof and wave canopies highly appropriate to its ravishing outlook over the Indian Ocean…… The wave canopy along the top of the building is not so much a roof as a sunshade, stopping the rays of the sun from cooking the rooms below and ensuring that the merest breeze drawn over the terrace beneath the canopy provides further cooling ….. The structure and the glass are designed to withstand bomb blasts and solid concrete was used rather than blocks….. as the water supply is erratic, the building (which is shared with diplomats from other countries), has been provided with ten-day underground water tanks …. (Thank you John Rollinson for this item -Editor).

Agreement was finally reached in mid-September, after 24 years of negotiations, on the demarcation of the border between Tanzania and Uganda. The previous boundary lines were derived from the Anglo-Gerrnan agreement of May 14th, 1910. The late Ugandan dictator Iddi Amin’s forces removed most of the beacons marking the border during the 1978 war with Tanzania. As a result of the agreement some Tanzanians now find themselves in Ugandan territory and vice versa and some have immovable property in both territories. Some will need to be resettled and thought is being given to a transitional period during which the two countries could decide on the fate of people suddenly displaced from their country of origin -The EAST AFRICAN (September 8) .

The wife of the new leader of the British Conservative Party, Sandra Howard took over two pages of the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (2nd November) to recall the couple’s 25th anniversary trip to Zanzibar. They stayed at the Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel in Zanzibar’s remote and beautiful north-east corner. Mrs Howard wrote: ‘The local village -Nungwe -where dhows are still made, is the only nearby habitation. It is a glorious beach walk away; miles of pure white sand -we could walk for an hour in either direction seeing only one or two other couples…. The best bar for sunset gazing is the aptly-named Paradise Cafe. I thought it should perhaps be called Paradise West, like Key West of Hemingway fame, also famous for its sunsets, but Michael pointed out, with his usual steely logic, that we were on the eastern side of the island …… Zanzibar could not be more beautiful, and the warm, genuine welcome was one that invited return. ‘

John Kariuki, writing in the January – March 2004 BBC FOCUS ON AFRICA compared pop music, mostly influenced by American hip hop, in different parts of East Africa. Tanzanian artists had been the great success story, he wrote. A recent survey showed that in a breakdown of the 20 top hits, three Tanzanian groups were in the first seven. The probable reasons for this were Tanzanians’ greater proficiency in Swahili and in story telling. Taarab (traditional Kiswahili music), tinged in their song arrangements and in their voice intonation; this had the advantage of giving their music more character. More young people were appreciating the sweetness of Kiswahili and obviously Tanzania was the home of the language. Album sales were also higher in Tanzania because copyright laws were more stringently enforced. The region was undergoing a cultural renaissance that had broken old prejudices against home-grown arts.

An article in the AFRICAN TIMES (August 25) reported that a new three-man band from Arusha had been asked why they were singing about prisons. One of them said that prisons were very rough in Tanzania. “We’ve been locked up for different reasons and we had to sleep on dirty, cold, cement floors, use filthy toilets, eat terrible food and so on. The group also sings about AIDS. They have now been joined by a traditional Maasai singer, Yamat Ole Meipuku, to ‘cream up the bands’ lyrical concoctions.’ “Hip hop is naturally embedded in Maasai music” he said. The band had been in London to promote their album ‘Maasai hip hop’ .

WEST AFRICA (June 16) reported that a ‘World Comics Workshop’ had been held in Dar es Salaam which had brought together 25 leading artists and cartoonists. Tanzania’s Katty Ka-Batembo, described as the country’s leading artist, had said that Tanzanians were keen to read comics because of the difficulty in obtaining books and getting access to TV. Much of the workshop was taken up in making cartoons on corruption. The workshop was financed by Finland as part of its development aid budget. The Finnish spokesman said that comics were cheap for organisations with limited resources and could be made by amateur artists and published in small photocopied booklets. “Comics are cost-effective, no other development aid project can beat it ” he said.

African Eve.
A new genetic study has shown that the so called ‘African Eve’, the 150,000-year-old female ancestor of every human being on earth, may have lived in Tanzania or Ethiopia. AFRICA TODAY (June 2003) quoted researchers as saying that the oldest known DNA lineages found were those of East Africans, including the Sandawe, Burunge, Gorowa and Datog people who live in Tanzania. Several of the ethnic groups sampled in the study also lived in countries surrounding Tanzania.

Miss Bantu.
NEW AFRICAN (November) reported that an alternative beauty pageant based on African values -Miss Bantu -was taking Tanzania by storm and attracting both women and men in droves. Miss Bantu contestants are not barred by age, height or body size as is the case with westernised beauty contests and as a result there had been full houses and satisfied audiences. Many Tanzanian men were said to dispute beauty measured on western qualities such as tall and slim or petite, light skin, hair as straight as a ruler or, parading semi­naked in bikinis. They thought that the Miss Bantu contest was respectable and imbued with African values and culture. The contest is under the wings of the National Arts Council and has attracted women from all sectors. First prize in this year’s contest was Shs 500,000. The westernised Miss Tanzania contest, however, which was resurrected in 1994, awarded the winner a Nissan car worth Shs 3 million.

Malarious territory.
‘The Rufiji District, a poor, rural area of coastal Tanzania, has at least three claims to fame’. So wrote Philip Kennicott in a recent issue of the WASHINGTON POST. He went on: ‘It is home to the Rufiji River, in whose labyrinthine delta a German warship sheltered during the First World War. … It is the home of the newly opened Mkapa Bridge; it is now possible to travel (if you have four-wheel drive, high clearance and nerves of steel) from the south of Tanzania directly to Dar es Salaam, without having to pay an erratic ferryman for passage … The new bridge glides gracefully enough over the source of a third, more malign, claim to fame. The Rufiji River delta is one of the most malarious territories in the world, and thus a logical site for studying the disease and the panoply of frustration and tragedy it brings to Southeast Africa…..

Up the Rufiji watershed is the town of Ifakara, ground zero of mosquito and malaria studies, and host to so many foreign scientists that even guidebooks have taken note of the mosquito invasion (though tourists rarely make it there). Down river, in Ikwiriri, on the north end of the Rufiji bridge, are the offices of IMPACT Tanzania. The public health world loves acronyms, but this one is a handy condensation of a real mouthful: Interdisciplinary Monitoring Project for Anti-malarial Combination Therapy (in Tanzania). It is interdisciplinary because it involves molecular scientists, economists, epidemiologists, policy analysts, health care professionals and social scientists. ‘Combination Therapy’ refers to the increasingly necessary use of a double punch (two complementary drugs) to fight a disease that has become largely resistant to many of the single drugs long used to treat it. The project, funded by the V.S. Agency for International Development, hums along in different towns in the study area …..

Yet, while there is activity on all fronts, it’s hard to say that there’s progress against the disease on all fronts. Patrick Kachur, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Malaria, says there’s little doubt that the drug combination they’re studying works at least for now, though the parasite that causes malaria is rapidly evolving resistance, and as it trumps drug after drug, the cost of treating malaria skyrockets. More to the point is whether combination therapy can continue to be effective, is affordable on a mass scale, and whether it can be successfully introduced in areas where literacy and health care access are limited ….. ‘ (Thank you Peg Snyder for sending this item -Editor).

Human Skin.
In its October issue AFRICA TODAY revealed that the Government of Tanzania had to resort to a macabre but shocking tactic recently (to discourage the growing trade in human skin) at an international business fare in Dar es Salaam. Visitors were faced with an exhibit of human body parts (from the police forensic department) in an attempt to raise awareness about the underground trade in human skin, especially from southern Tanzania, in the last two years. The prices of the human parts range from $2,400 to $9,600 depending on the age of the victim, according to police. Human skin is used in witchcraft for rituals in West Africa to which it is exported.

Lake Tanganyika.
Under the heading “Global Warming Chokes the Life out of Lake Tanganyika’ the INDEPENDENT (August 14) quoted Canadian, American and Belgian scientists writing in the journal NATURE as saying that local temperature rises and climate change have dramatically altered the delicate nutrient balance of the lake -Africa’s second largest body of fresh water. Local fishing yields have plummeted by a third or more over the past 30 years and further decreases are predicted. The article explained that winds blow across the surface of the lake causing evaporation which cools the water. This cool water then sinks to the bottom allowing warm water carrying nutrients to be carried up with the current to the surface where aquatic plants and algae live. The problem has been caused by the less windy weather (now 30% weaker than in the 70’s) and warmer temperatures. The scientists claim that it is climate change rather than over fishing which is responsible for the collapse in the Lake’s fish stocks (Thank you Liz Fennell for sending this item -Editor).

Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, was praised in the EAST AFRICAN (September 22) for what it described as ‘a rare show of integrity.’ He has recently resigned from his position as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Commerce. He said that he was resigning in defence of integrity, honour and patriotism. He was also quoted as saying that he could not swallow the rot at the Bank; some of his colleagues thought that being a member of the Board was probably an opportunity to get benefits. The leading article went on to say that reports of unfolding financial mismanagement at the Bank in the previous months had shocked many Tanzanians after Mwakyembe had apparently written to the Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania revealing alleged mismanagement practices.

An article in IRIN, the publication of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Integrated Regional Information Network (not necessarily representing the views of the Office) in December, quoting from a Water Aid briefing paper, described the water supply situation in Dar es Salaam. Extracts: ‘On any given day, young men pushing wheelbarrows stacked high with 20-litre water jerrycans can be seen weaving their way through congested traffic. In 1997 customers were paying Shs 0.29 per litre while vendors were selling water at prices varying from one shilling per litre, when the supply was good, to 20 shillings when there were shortages. In addition, of the 268 million litres of water pumped from rivers for daily use by Dar es Salaam residents, more than 43% is lost before it even reaches the city, 18% leaks through a faulty system and a further 11 % is lost through illegal taps and non-payers. This, according to WaterAid, meant that the authority was being paid for just 8% ~ 16% of the water it produced. Therefore, there was clearly a need for reform of the water sector. A private company, has now signed a 10­year lease contract to manage the billing, tariff collection, operation and routine maintenance; this work began in August. Alongside a 30% price increase, one of the first announcements that the new company made was the introduction of a two-tier billing system aimed at keeping the price of water low for the poor. Under this system consumers who use less than five cubic metres of water pay 30% less for their water than those who consume more.

‘Dam Harris.’
Cathy Harris recently reopened a dam the construction of which was organised by her father 50 years ago. In the early 1950’s the Harris family lived in Nzega and, of the more than 80 dams and boreholes Harris had made, (he earned the nickname ‘Dam Harris’) one in particular was completed in Mwanhala in 1963 and worked well until 1998 when El Nino winds made a 30 metre gap in the wall. Repair work was carried out with the help of the charity ‘Friends of Urambo and Mwanhala’ and was completed nine months ago. The dam now has fish in it, there is rice growing below it and the people have water. Those wishing to contribute to the charity should contact Cathy on 01884 xxx120 (Thank you John Budge for sending this item from the TIVERTON GAZETTE -Editor).

THE TIMES (18th October) featured a cartoon showing two men looking at a newspaper headline: ‘Tanzania bans used bra imports.’ One man says to the other: “It’s a storm in a D cup”. The accompanying article reported that Tanzania had banned imports of second-hand underwear saying that the used garments might spread skin diseases. Pants, bras, stockings and petticoats were to be removed by inspectors examining consignments of used clothes (Thank you Paul Hardy and John Ainley for this item -Editor).

A strange article apparently appeared in the NEW SUNDAY TIMES OF MALAYSIA which was then quoted by the LONDON TIMES on October 22. The article began: ‘So there is this guy in Tanzania. He’s hugely in debt. He borrowed money from friends and relatives to start a business project and everything went wrong. He became depressed, began spending the cash on alcohol and prostitutes. Now they want the money back. He’s only 24….. He begins hatching plans, logical at first, then increasingly irrational and desperate. What he must have, he decides, is their pity. He needs to suffer a misfortune so great that nobody with an ounce of human compassion would trouble him again over something as trifling as a bad loan …… he cut off his genitals….. he’s lying in a hospital bed, skint, castrated ….. as he opens his eyes his first visitor turns out to be his flint-hearted great aunt from Bagamoyo. “You dumb dick-less bastard. Where’s my 50 bucks?”……… He overplayed his hand didn’t he? He should have started with a toe, and worked his way up…….. (Thank you Randall Sadler for this item -Editor).



Jayantilal (Andy) Keshavji Chande has been invested by Queen Elizabeth II into the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire as an Honorary Knight Commander. The Order dates back to 1917, having been created by King George V. It recognises outstanding contributions to society. Mr Chande has been closely associated with a large number of educational, social welfare and charitable institutions in Tanzania and has also contributed greatly to UK-Tanzanian bilateral relations. Amongst his many activities over many years, Mr Chande has been a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils, a leading light in the Tanzania Red Cross, World President of The Round Table, Vice-President of The Britain-Tanzania Society and the Representative of The Royal Commonwealth Society in Tanzania.

A fish of the famous species coelocanth, which appeared to vanish 65 million years ago, was caught by fishermen in Kilwa in mid-September. The Chairman of the National Committee which is researching the fish, Professor Phillip Bwathondi, said that the coelacanth was found only by chance as it was being dried ready for sale. It weighed 40 kilograms and was 1.32 metres long. It was transferred to the marine park in Dar es Salaam.

The Government has set aside Tshs 54 million to be used in seeking a national dress for Tanzania. Education Minister Joseph Mungai told journalists at the Maelezo auditorium in the city that dress designers would be called upon to enter the fray by presenting samples of dresses they had made or were designing for consideration as a national dress. He called on interested designers to register themselves with the Regional Administrative Secretaries (RAS) in their respective regions so that their names could be included in the race for a national dress. He said the designers would then be required to present their samples to the RAS’s who would present them to the National Coordinator of National Dress -Mwananchi.

At the August 25 -30 Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit meeting in Dar es Salaam in September, which was attended by some 25 heads of state, President Mkapa was given a standing ovation when he called for an end to the sanctions against President Mugabe by the European Union and the US. President Mkapa said “It has not worked, it will not work, and it only makes the life of the ordinary people in Zimbabwe unnecessarily difficult.” The SADC summit also supported the call to reinstate Zimbabwe as a member of the Commonwealth from which it was suspended when the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union began implementing its land distribution policy in 2000.

President Mkapa was out of action in hospital in Switzerland in November and December. As this issue of Tanzanian Affairs went to the printers he was said to be recuperating following a hip operation.

There was a demonstration in Dar es Salaam on 10th October against the death penalty. Chairman of Amnesty Internationa1’s Tanzania Chapter Israel Magesa told the demonstrators that President Mkapa had never assented to any execution since he came to power in 1995. However, some 100 criminals sentenced to death by the courts over these years were still waiting in jails wondering what their fate would be -Guardian.

Tanzania collected 14 medals as seven of its companies gained prizes at agricultural exhibitions held in Rostock, Germany from April to October last year. Premier Frederick Sumaye urged Tanzanians to change their attitude and invest more in non-traditional agricultural products which now had a bigger market than the traditional ones. He made the call when he presented prizes to the winners. He said that during this interim period when markets for traditional products like coffee, cotton, tobacco and others have declined, it was important that “we make changes in our agricultural production and start producing crops which will be accepted and are competitive in international markets.” He named the products that could be cultivated as flowers, spices and vegetables.



MICHAEL DOREY OBE (80) who spent 12 years in Tanganyika from 1948, became a DC in 1953. Following service with HM Inland Revenue (1962 -71) he returned to Dar es Salaam for two years as a Senior Assessor in the East African Income Tax Department. He died on 28th January 2003.

RAYMOND INSKEEP (76) an archaeologist who spent most of his life working on African archaeology died on 3rd August. He first went to Tanzania as a young man at the invitation of Louis and Mary Leakey to excavate at the painted rock-shelter of Kisese 2 where he established the surprisingly early date of the first art there -The Times.

ALAN LINTON (83), who died on June 3 last year, was the son of the then Anglican Bishop of Persia and served for 15 years in Tanganyika from 1947 becoming a District Commissioner in 1955 (Thank you Simon Hardwick and John Sankey for sending this item -Editor).




IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS IN TANZANIA: A FIRST INVENTORY. Neil & Elizabeth Baker. Published by Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, 2002. ISBN 9987-558-04-6. £30. Available from The RSPB, International Division, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG 19 2DL

Many years of desk and fieldwork have culminated in the publication of this monumental work -a milestone in the history of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania and for bird conservation in Tanzania. For many years, the spectacular mammal wealth of Tanzania has overshadowed the very rich bird fauna of 1000+ species including some notable ones found nowhere else in the world. Using a clear and concise set of internationally agreed criteria developed by World Conservation Union and BirdLife International, all the known information about birds in Tanzania has been analysed in a systematic way to come up with a set of 80 Important Bird Areas (IBAs). These sites are judged (on the basis of the information currently available) to be the most important places in Tanzania for globally threatened birds i.e. those species that are considered most at risk of extinction in the near future.

The book starts with some introductory sections summarising ornithology in Tanzania, the importance of the country for bird conservation, the IBA process, what conservation activities are currently take place; it describes different types of protected areas and lists the most important conservation issues.

The bulk of the book is of course, the IBA site accounts. A vast amount of information (up to 4 pages per site) is nicely presented. For each IBA, there is a sizeable map, a site description, bird information with key species highlighted in a table, a section on other threatened/endemic wildlife, conservation issues affecting the site, ideas for future action as well as a list references/further reading.

The authors have been helped in their work by many dozens of people both resident in Tanzania (these are acknowledged in the book) and from outside Tanzania who contributed a lot of information to the IBA project. Together, they represent a huge amount of knowledge about Tanzanian birds. This knowledge base is obvious to anyone reading many of the site accounts.

Many of the IBAs in Tanzania are already protected within the existing protected areas network but a few are totally unprotected. Amongst these, perhaps the most important are the Kitulo Plateau and Usangu Floodplain in Southern Tanzania and the Wembere Floodplain/Lake Kitangire/Lake Eyasi complex in the Eastern Rift Valley.

The book will have many uses. It will be used by local, national and international decision makers to guide planning and conservation work. It may be used by bird watching tourists to get information on some of the best sites for birds in Tanzania. It should be used by protected area managers to inform their management plans. It will form the basis of IBA site-protection groups as have already been started in neighbouring Kenya following publication of their own IBA book in 1999.

The authors have done an excellent job of bringing a mass of information together and presenting it to the world, but, as they say, this should be seen as a first step. Tanzania is a vast country and some areas are very poorly studied. The writing of the book (and the Tanzania Bird Atlas project, which the authors have been running for nearly 20 years), has highlighted the gaps. They are also at pains to highlight that if further conservation action does not follow from the publication of the book, their work will have been in vain. Much of the information given in the book is accessible via the BirdLife International website ( and following the links in the datazone tab.
Zul Bhatia

THE BATTLE OF TANGA 1914. Ross Anderson. Tempus Publishing ISBN 0752423495. Pp. 158. £16.99. p/b.

ARMIES IN EAST AFRICA 1914-18. Peter Abbott. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1 84176 4892. Pp 48. £8.99. Available from PO box 140, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN8 2FA, U.K.

The conflict in German East Africa in the First World War has become widely known from films like The Africa Queen and William Boyd’s novel The Ice Cream War. These two paperbacks will be of interest to those who would like to know the real facts behind the legends. Ross Anderson’s scholarly publication concentrates on the disastrous British expedition to capture Tanga in November 1914. The plan was not in itself unsound -a seaborne assault by an expeditionary force sent from India, while the King’s African Rifles (KAR) diverted the main German forces under the control of Col. Paul von Lettow Vorbeck. Unfortunately, the disembarkation of the inexperienced Indian Army troops at Tanga was a shambles, and morale was further lowered when they met unexpected resistance from a small force of Schutztruppe (the German equivalent of the KAR). Heavily outnumbered, the Germans withdrew from the town under cover of darkness, but the British Force Commander, General Arthur Aitken, failed to send out patrols and did not realise that the town was undefended. Von Lettow now acted swiftly and rushed the bulk of his forces from Moshi to Tanga by rail. The Royal North Lancashire Regiment suffered severe casualties and some of the Indian units panicked and fled to the rear. In the face of stiff German resistance and with unreliable troops, General Aitken decided that the situation was untenable and ordered the expedition’s withdrawal. Von Lettow could hardly believe his good fortune -his 1500 men had defeated an Anglo-Indian force of over 9000. Aitken left East Africa in disgrace and was given no further command.

Peter Abbot’s Armies in East Africa 1914-18 is primarily intended for those interested in regimental history, uniform and equipment. There are eight attractive full-page colour plates showing the British, Indian, South African, Belgian, Portuguese and German units involved in the fighting. The book has a useful potted history of the whole East Africa campaign, covering the allied offensives in 1915116 and the incredible trek by von Lettow through Tanganyika and Mozambique until his final surrender in Northern Rhodesia.
John Sankey


The author examines two different means of holding people to account, namely:
(1) The practice of ritual ‘breaking a pot’ which is a powerful form of curse in the Mount Meru area of northen Tanzania, and (2) Local government audit, a practice that is currently being reinforced as part of local government reform under foreign donor support of ‘good governance’, at both local and central government levels. Superficially, the two practices appear to have little similarity, but the author suggests that the two accounting systems have more in common than might be supposed. He asserts that both practices are forms of verification, aimed at disclosing truth and bringing retribution for misconduct in order to attain accountability on the part of those responsible.

The author attempts to compare the indigenous (pot breaking) and imported (rational) mechanisms for holding people to account, both of which are currently in use in Arumeru District, and concludes that the two systems neither fit neatly into an ‘irrational/rational’ scheme nor could they conceptually be seen to complement or substitute each other in local government audit. He has also cited several field cases based on interviews of informants’ testimonies of people who, after ritual breaking of pots, had suffered some calamity (usually death) as a result of being linked, by action or by kin, with some kind of social transgression. Further evidence is presented of people who had confessed to transgressions and paid compensation to plaintiffs for fear of the effects of the pot, which can be construed as empirical evidence that the procedure of breaking pots is successful in holding people to account for their actions. Whether it is successful solely because of its pyschological impact upon individuals who believe in its efficacy is difficult to say. However, the author has not been able to rationalise the mystical powers of the pot.

Before a pot is broken, a notice of intent must be posted some weeks prior to the actual ceremony. Clan elders will normally give their consent to break a pot only if they are satisfied that other channels of dispute resolution, e.g. normal clan fora, the police and the courts, have been exhausted. In other words, pot breaking is undertaken as a last resort. Given that the pot is believed to be so powerful, elders are reluctant to allow it to be used without good cause. To break a pot, it is also necessary to obtain a permit from ward or village government. When a threat is made to break a pot, there is an opportunity for reparations to be made. Fearing the pot’s lethal effects, which may affect an individual culprit or the culprit’s clan, many offenders either expose themselves or are exposed by kinsmen. Confession is followed by appropriate reparation as may be decided by the village authority, after which the dispute is resolved.

Then the author analyses the procedures of local government audit and suggests the idea behind audit is scientifically familiar in so far as it relies on sampling techniques to provide a picture of reality. However, accounting remains vulnerable to error, or subversion. At present, auditors are not highly trusted, not only because the methods they use are not understood by most Tanzanians but because it is rightly or wrongly assumed that auditors can be, and are frequently bribed. Arumeru people interviewed by the author showed more faith in the pot than they did in modem systems of financial accountability. They mistrusted accountants and auditors, just as they did the entire system of government. The second reason for mistrust relates to shortage of competent accountants. Until this situation changes, some audits are likely to lack thoroughness and credibility. Thirdly, more often than not, annual audit reports by the Government Comptroller and Auditor General in Tanzania point out serious irregularities which are the responsibility of others to investigate, e.g. police, anti-corruption bureau, and Parliament. Sadly no serious effort has been taken to find out the culprits and punish them. Observers of this indifference to deal with suspected cases of theft, embezzlement and corruption have cynically attributed such inaction to lack of will on the part of politicians, some of whom may be implicated in corruption. Some adverse audit reports resulted in court prosecutions (with few convictions), some transfers or retirements and some no action at all.

In view of this, the way in which modem audit technology, when combined with other institutions of government, leads to accountable outcomes is in some ways more mysterious than the ritual of pot breaking. Modern audit technology does not instil the same fear in suspected culprits, given that the consequent punishment is by far less severe than that associated with pot breaking. Whereas pot breaking is directed at specific individuals and their kin who believe in the mystical powers of the pot, modern audit technology is far less feared by culprits, given the relatively benign consequences of being found guilty. Besides, it is against Government of Tanzania Law to condone mystical powers/witchcraft as a means of extracting confession from suspected citizens. On the other hand, it is unlikely that many auditors and accountants outside of Arumeru District believe in the power of the pot even if they were subjected to it. In the final analysis modern accounting technology has to be adopted at all levels of government. Irrational folklore should have no place in accounting of public funds.
Augustine Macha

THE LANGUAGES OF TANZANIA: A BIBLIOGRAPHY (Orientalia et Africana Gothoburgenisa No.17). Jouni Filip Maho & Bonny Sands. Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, G6teborg, 2002. ix & 428pp (paperback). ISBN 91-7346-454-6. Swedish Krona 300 (approx. £23.20: information on ordering can be found at

Tanzania is blessed with an abundance and variety of languages. It is the only country in Africa which can claim to host all four of the continent’s major language families -Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan and Khoisan. The Niger-Congo phylum is represented by more than 100 Bantu languages (as commonly defined), including the national language and lingua franca Swahili. Afroasiatic and Nilo-Saharan are represented by a small number of Cushitic and Nilotic languages respectively: the most widely spoken of these is Eastern Nilotic Maa, the language of the Maasai. One click language, Sandawe, is generally thought to be related to the Khoisan languages of southern Africa. Tanzania’s other click language, Hadza, is a fascinating isolate whose genetic affiliation remains undetermined.

For many years the best guide to the literature on Tanzania’s indigenous languages was the second edition of W. H. Whiteley and A. E. Gutkind’s A
Linguistic Bibliography of East Africa, published in 1958. This practical volume was produced with screws holding the cover boards in place, a loose­leaf format intended to facilitate the insertion of supplementary material. If this didn’t get across the message that there was still linguistic work to be done, then the many pages in the Tanganyika section with little more than a language name printed on them should have done so. It wasn’t until the 1970s that researchers began to make significant progress in filling in some of the gaps. Edgar Polome’s overview of ‘The Languages of Tanzania’ (1980) provided a bibliographic update and record of obscure manuscripts and other items that Whiteley and Gutkind had missed. And there matters largely stood still, though researchers continued to gather and (less frequently) publish material on Tanzania’s languages and dialects.

Maho and Sands’ book, has finally provided us with the rich bibliographic resource that Tanzanian languages deserve. An explanatory ‘Introduction’ is followed by a section listing ‘General Reference Works’. This is followed by sections headed ‘Asian Languages’, ‘Bantu Languages (Excluding Swahili)’, ‘(South) Cushitic Languages’, ‘Khoesan Languages’ (= Khoisan, including both Sandawe and Hadza for convenience), ‘Nilotic Languages’ and finally ‘Other Languages’, a residual category which includes English and Tanzanian Sign Language. Each language heading includes some general information (a map showing its location, the estimated number of speakers, and alternative language or dialect names), followed by the references themselves, which are split into two categories, primary descriptive works and other, assorted, materials. There are two indexes at the end of the book: one listing language names and the other listing authors. The volume as a whole is well produced, though many libraries will want to bind their copies with hard covers.

The only major omission from the bibliography is Swahili: as the authors explain the literature on this language is so voluminous that it would require a volume of its own. No attempt has been made to include literature in local languages, for example vernacular religious and educational texts: to do this properly would require specialised research in libraries and institutions both within and outside of Tanzania. These omissions are well justified. To make up for them the bibliography provides a number of bonuses. As should be evident from the summary of its contents, The Languages of Tanzania includes both indigenous and introduced languages. It also includes many references which are non-linguistic, but provide general historical and ethnographic information.

This makes it an excellent resource for anyone interested in Tanzania’s different linguistic communities, as well as providing specialised linguists with the opportunity to gain a wider perspective on the peoples they are studying. And the references themselves are both thorough (including, for example, page counts where these are known) and in some cases helpfully annotated. The authors have also set up a web appendix to the bibliography, listing relevant web links (at

Specialists will find plenty to quibble about: language names misspelled, dialects omitted, references missing … But this is inevitable with an undertaking of this size and complexity, and the authors are to be congratulated on the work they have done. Research currently underway on Tanzanian languages -for example by SIL Tanzania teams in the field, and by the Goteborg-supported Languages of Tanzania (LOT) project in the University of Dar es Salaam ­means that the new bibliography will soon need updating anyway. Let’s hope then that this is only the first edition of many, and that Maho and Sands can be persuaded to periodically update and improve their bibliography. In 1958 Whiteley and Gutkind gave us loose leaves and detachable boards and plenty of blank spaces: now we have their electronic equivalents and better technology to process an admittedly greater volume of information. Meanwhile, the paper edition that is currently available can be highly recommended.
Martin Walsh

HIGHER EDUCATION IN TANZANIA: A Case Study. Daniel Mkude, Brian Cooksey & Lisbeth Levey. lames Currey: Oxford, Mkuki wa Nyota: Dar es Salaam 2003. 114pp. £9.95 (pb).

This book, part of a series on ‘The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa’, sponsored by four V.S. foundations, is designed to share information about higher education in Africa and promote supportive measures in research and collaboration. It offers historical background, extensive evidence about the goals and accomplishments of Institutional Transformation Programmes, the financial strategies, economic trends and legal policies that affect the system. In view of the broad generalizations -and minimal attention to the early influence of socialism and current political-economic realities –the goals it envisions seem quite ambitious.

Perhaps more realistic is a recent Oxfam report: Debt for Poverty Reduction: The case of education in Tanzania. which, among other things, explores the country’s Basic Education Master Plan (BEMP). An equally realistic account can be found in America, January 2003, vI88, Of Many Things, George M. Anderson’s interview with officials of the St. Augustine University near Mwanza. The clergy note the extent to which poverty and the H.I.V.-AIDS factor adversely affect access to education, and the minimal advantages produced by recent World Bank and IMF debt reduction policies.

Frances Katherine Vavrus, Desire and Decline: Schooling Amid Crisis in Tanzania. New York: P. Lang, 168 p., 2003. Claire Mercer, Performing Partnership: Civil Society and the Illusions of Good Governance in Tanzania, Political Geography, v. 22, no. 7 (September 2003), p. 741-63. Explores consequences of recent efforts by the IMF, World Bank, and international donors to promote “good governance” in the face of debt problems.

Jyotika Ramaprasad, The Private and Government Sides of Tanzanian Journalists. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, v. 8., no. 1 Winter 2003. p 8-26.

Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania. Milton Makongoro Mahanga. Dar es Salaam University Press. ISBN 9976603436. P/b. £18.95. Distributed by African Books Collective, The Jam Factory, 27 Park End Street, Oxford OXl IHU. A study based on research in unplanned and planned areas of Yombo Vituka, Dar es Salaam. It argues that adequate housing for the urban poor is a source of income generation and therefore a means of improving livelihoods. It emphasises that the urban poor are able and willing to contribute to better social services and housing, but that the land allocation system and lack of access to credit are major constraints. The author is Member of Parliament for Ukonga Constituency, Dar es Salaam.

African Music for Schools. Mbati-Katana. Fountain Publishers. ISBN 9970022946. ppl90. £20.95. Available from African Book Collective, The Jam Factory, 27 Park End Street, Oxford OXl IHU.

This songbook for children brings together East African songs from many heritages. It includes children’s play songs, dance and story songs and some patriotic party songs, from the ethnic or language groups of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and related groups in neighbouring countries. The songs bear witness to centuries of African life, and their transcription aims to make music accessible to children from their own cultural traditions. The book includes the musical scores and song texts, translations of the texts, notes on the structure of the music, and suggestions for story telling, poetry, drama, art or dance which teachers or other adults may introduce to bring the songs alive and use them creatively, allowing the children to participate fully in their performance.

. Horniman Museum Day Conference, 24 October 2003

This first Colloquium in the UK about visual culture in eastern Africa provided a platform for a wide range of scholarly presentations by ten researchers from museum anthropology and other relevant fields. The scholars introduced and explored the actuality and to a lesser extent the theory of the region’s Visual ‘Traditions’. The purview was inclusive, both in terms of the region’s geography and its myriad visual practices. The wide scope of these small scale, ongoing traditions –such as the use of sticks for communication, many kinds of personal adornment and portable sculpture, several systems of drawing and ‘ready-mades’ ranging from debes to cattle –reinforced the notion that the big question is not what is art, but rather “when is art”. Aesthetic values make the connexion between ideas and things.

Larger than the conventional East Africa of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the eastern herein is flexible in order to engage aspects of the shared cultures and histories of the peoples of the Nile and Rift Valleys, the Great Lakes, Indian Ocean and to a lesser extent eastern Congo and Zambezia. Most of the presentations offered some evidence of regional interaction: for sculpture and masquerade (Kingdon, Israel), concerning pastoralist aesthetics and artifacts (Arero, Ostberg, Oteyo), concerning styles of drawing (Court, Marner, Neiderstadt) and about the kanga (Spring, Clarke). For example, the ‘frame’ and slogan format of the kanga has been consistent along the eastern Africa littoral for nearly one hundred years, while its use and imagery differ somewhat in time and by place. Research has been carried out about the kanga’s social uses and slogans, but as yet there is scant systematic study of its visual content of motifs and imagery. Perhaps, this will be stimulated by the upcoming, 2005 kanga exhibition at the Sainsbury African Galleries of the British Museum. Indeed, the curator is seeking evidence of hand-printed kanga, which were still for sale in Zanzibar town in the late 1960′ s; it seems only the printing blocks are available nowadays.

The Horniman Colloquium was an opportunity to view Tanzania’s visual practices in a larger context. In fact, no effort was made to extract what is specifically Tanzanian, although nationality was considered in the presentations based upon evidence from Kenya and Ethiopia. One reason is that systematic scholarship by Tanzanians about their visual art practices is slight to the point of underdevelopment, apart from the early 1960’s efforts of Prof S J Ntiro and current undertakings of archaeologist Prof Felix Chami and Waiter Bgoya of Mkuki na Nyota Publishers. Critical research has yet to catch up with the plurality of art practices, apparent in the renewal of the Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar Museums, innovations in ‘Tinga Tinga’ and other kinds of modern practice including fashion, local patronage [cut Chami] -all are part of the visual arts discourse in Tanzania and all have regional resonance. Please note the term ‘tribe’ was not employed to discuss this unit of ethnic, local, community practice; consider that kabila whether in Swahili or Arabic does not have the colonial, historical connotation of its English translation.

One theoretical ‘tradition’ that requires fresh unpacking is the assertion that there is no art in eastern Africa. Belief that there is/was ‘no art’ was due to a basic assumption, inscribed in western art historical scholarship and commerce in the late 1930’s that focused solely upon the traditions of figurative sculpture in west and central Africa. This construction was/is grossly inaccurate, even for its exclusions of west Africa’s traditions (C Steiner, J Picton). In the past two decades, western scholarship in African archaeology and contemporary art have interrogated and extended the canon to include eastern Africa and its array of art forms (Coote, S Hassan, Mack, Visona et al).

The sessions were attended by forty-five people including the presenters. The Colloquium, hosted graciously by the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London, was co-convened by Hassan Arero the Horniman’s Keeper of Anthropology and Zachary Kingdon, Curator of the Africa Collections, Liverpool Museum, who intend to publish the proceedings. We are thankful for this first cultural harvest. Uushukuru.
Elsbeth Court

‘BWANA SHAMBA’ by Peter Wilson. Following the demise of the Pentland Press, Peter Wilson has acquired the remaining copies of his illustrated autobiography. His book contains a forward by Vice-President and Prime Minister of Tanganyika Rashidi Kawawa. Autographed copies may be ordered @£15 plus £2.50 p&p (double p&p for overseas) from Peter Wilson, PO Box 304, Horley, RH6 7NE. (cheques payable to P M Wilson please).



When I wrote enclosing the snippet of news about the gift towards a museum at Livingstone’s house at Mikindani, I said I was unaware that he had lived in that town. You probably knew that, but my curiosity was stirred, and, after some reading, I find that Livingstone commenced his last journey there (to explore the course of the Ruvuma as a route to Lake Nyasa) but following that disappointment he tried to find the source of the Nile at Mikindani Bay. Presumably he stayed in a house in the town which is now to be made into the museum. Having discovered this, my reading then made me doubtful if the Arab Tembe at Tabora is the one where he stayed or a reconstruction of it.
John Rollinson

In the recent ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ you asked for contributions from your readers that mention Tanzania in the media. I regularly see articles about Tanzania on the BBC website There are other websites that also include news from Tanzania including and Some of these articles are very interesting, and at least could be mentioned in your magazine, even if not printed in full. Every few weeks I receive an e-mail claiming to be from the wife or family of a deposed African dictator or army leader, asking for my help to access millions of dollars that were placed in foreign bank accounts by their husband or father while they were running their country. The money they claim belongs to the family, but they need a foreigner to access it for them. I have no intention of helping these families access money presumably stolen or otherwise unjustly obtained while their husband or father was in power, despite the financial rewards they tell me I stand to gain if I help them. The only way they could have got my e-mail address is because I regularly correspond bye-mail with people in Tanzania. I must have received at least a dozen of these e-mails so far from countries as far apart as Nigeria and Sierra Leone to the Congo. Of course I just delete them from the computer. Do you have any better idea as to what I could do with them? Catherine Lee

Your readers may be interested to hear that BBC Radio 3 is introducing on January 1, 2004 a new website celebrating the African music scene across the UK at Our African hosts will offer tips on gigs, clips of their favourite CDs, news from the studio and gossip from the dance floor, covering styles from Afrobeat to zouk and from laid-back mbira to Tanzanian hip-hop. You’ll find profiles of the big international artists on tour and interviews with a wealth of African musicians based here in the UK. We hope to create a community of music-lovers, celebrating the UK’s rich heritage of African musical traditions, as well as the fresh energy of new styles and fusions being created here every day. It is expected that there will be some coverage of Tanzanian hip-hop, such as the X-Plastaz, but we would like to cover more traditional music as well. We were wondering if there would be some space in TA to request your readers to send their recommendations on Tanzanian music in Africa and the UK? We have had a meeting regarding music from the region and are very keen to develop knowledge and information for the website.
Meera Sengupta Mob: 07811 xx1 231

It is regretted that there was a serious error in the Obituaries in the last issue. That for Mrs Josephine Rollinson should have been for Mrs Josephine Sharp.
The Obituary should have read as follows: Mrs Josephine Sharp, wife of the late former Commissioner for Town Planning in Tanganyika, Robert Sharp, who has died of cancer, directed or took part in more than 39 of the productions of The Dar es Salaam Players at the Little Theatre. Her proudest moment was when, in 1964, President Nyerere attended a production of ‘Twelfth Night’ which she directed. She was also sometime President of the Women’s Service League.

Thank you to the reader who has written as follows: ‘Concerning the article about HH the Sultan of Zanzibar in Tanzanian Affairs No. 76, the Zanzibar Revolution took place on 12 January 1964, i.e. rather more than ‘three years later’ than the Queen’s Coronation – Editor.

Christine Lawrence has pointed out that in the review “Out of the Box” in TA No. 75 Colin Hasting’s e-mail address should have been: