Archive for September, 2004

TA ISSUE 79

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AS THE ELECTIONS APPROACH

The long-gestation process of the American electoral system is being emulated in Tanzania. Although the country’s general election is more than a year away, hardly a day goes by without some new development on the political scene as parties and personalities prepare themselves for the struggle ahead. The following represents a very brief summary of what is being reported in the English language and Swahili press.

THE NATIONAL PICTURE
On the mainland the political situation remains stable and largely peaceful. Most of the news is of internal strife amongst members of Tanzania’s dozen or so opposition parties.
Under intense pressure from these opposition parties the Government finally agreed in July that it was now appropriate to review the composition of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to accommodate members from different political parties. Its new structure would be clarified when the Government presented before Parliament a 14th Constitutional Amendment Bill later this year – Guardian.

The chairman of the main opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF) Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba, has said that the breach of laid down procedures and outright rigging of elections by the Government would not deter CUF from taking part because it had become accustomed to such actions. He said that, instead of boycotting the elections, his party would embark on voter education and the training of CUF representatives – Mtanzania.

As this issue of TA was due to go to the printers the Swahili press was speculating about reports that the CCM parties in Tanga and in Magu, Mwanza region were divided but this could not be confirmed. CCM has a remarkable record of unity over the years. Potential presidential candidates are, however, stepping up their efforts in the hope of attaining the ultimate prize.
There was a minor incident on June 16 when a rowdy gang attacked Prof. Lipumba while he was on a tour of Bukoba Urban constituency. He escaped unhurt, but several other people in his entourage were injured and had to be hospitalised. He said that the personal effects and TShs 395,000/- belonging to one of those injured were stolen in the commotion. The police subsequently arrested six people – Guardian.

ZANZIBAR
As always, the political situation in Zanzibar is much more boisterous but Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pandu Ameir Kificho, told a delegation of visiting UK MP’s at the end of July that the Zanzibar House had been carrying out its affairs democratically. He said that representatives from both the ruling CCM and CUF had been working together democratically and harmoniously. He said the democratic spirit prevailed during debates in the House – Guardian.
A CUF spokesperson in Zanzibar has said that his party intended to form a coalition government if it won. It had promised to offer one of the highest posts to the current Isles President, Amani Karume. He said that a coalition government was the only option to heal the wounds of political tension brought about by CCM and CUF rivalry in the Isles. “We want to show our kindness. We’ll form a coalition government, as we pledged, as that is the sure way of resolving the political problem in Zanzibar,” he said amid thunderous applaud from CUF supporters.
But Zanzibar CCM Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha then ruled out any possibility of the formation of a government of national unity in the Isles. He told the seven MP’s visiting from the UK that due to political disparity, there was no possibility that an opposition party would be able to implement the ruling party’s policies. “Doing so would amount to killing itself politically,” he added – Guardian.

Donor concerns over the misuse of financial aid for implementation of the peace accord or Muafaka in Zanzibar between the CCM and CUF have been vindicated. A three-man ad hoc committee’s report has confirmed the misuse of funds in the procurement of vehicles by members of the Muafaka secretariat. On April 24th the former project manager of the Presidential Commission on the Accord, Mbarouk Omar Mohamed, was transferred to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam and appeared in court to answer charges of embezzling some TShs 29 million of public and property. In May it was reported that Police had arrested Mohamed at the Dar Es Salaam International Airport where he was about to board a Kenya Airways flight out of the country. – Majira.
A CUF spokesman claimed in June that soldiers were being moved to the CUF stronghold of Pemba ahead of the elections. “Ships arriving in Pemba are full of soldiers. Why send so many soldiers to Pemba while we are not in a state of war?” he queried. He challenged those claiming that CUF was a terrorist organisation to come up with concrete evidence to support their allegations that the opposition party was behind a spate of bombings that rocked Zanzibar a few months ago. In his speech during the Zanzibar Budget debate in the House of Representatives, CUF Shadow Finance Minister, Abass Muhunzi said the Government had not published a report on the bombing incidents. “People are wondering why the government has decided to remain mum on the Zanzibar bombings while a report on the State House fire has already been made public,” he said – Guardian.
There have been a number of attacks on CCM party property including the CCM HQ in Kisiwandui and the CCM branch in Boma Kitope, the night before a planned rally. The Kitope area has many residents of mainland origin and they have been facing threats from CUF members warning them against registering as voters. At Kisiwandui on July 11 the attackers injured a senior official and damaged the official car of CCM Deputy Secretary-General Saleh Feruzi. Field Force Unit (FFU) officers guarding the building fired in the air to disperse the crowd. The procession was initially peaceful and traffic police officers posted in front and at the back were at hand to bolster security. However, the mood of the marchers changed abruptly when they reached the CCM building. The procession was meant to give support to a speech delivered by CUF Secretary-General Seif Shariff Hamad, shortly after his return from abroad – Sunday Observer, Uhuru and Nipashe.

CUF Secretary General Seif Shariff Hamad has been quoted in Nipashe as saying that some highly placed people were conspiring to arrest him and top CUF officials just before the elections. He also said that come what may he would win the Zanzibar presidency.

The Zanzibar House of Representatives suspended CUF Chambani MP Abbas Juma Mhunzi for defaming Zanzibar President Karume by alleging that oil prices in the Isles had been set according to state house instructions for the benefit of Zanzibar VIPs – Majira.

As this issue of Tanzanian Affairs was being sent to the printers we received a copy of a letter from CUF MP’s which accompanied a petition signed by 5,000 people, and has been sent to Secretary General of the United Nations Koffi Annan – Editor. Amongst many allegations made in the letter were the following:
‘Under the Muafaka it was agreed to set up a new Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) in which the Opposition will be represented, that a credible Permanent Voters’ Register will be compiled, that the state-controlled media will give equitable coverage to all parties, that the Police and other state organs will be reformed to make them non-partisan and that the judiciary will be reformed to make it impartial and enhance its standing in the eyes of the public…..
With the elections only eighteen months away, the situation is becoming volatile:

– A number of substantive areas of the Accord such as the judicial reforms, police and state organs reform, publicly owned media reforms and reform of the ZEC Secretariat are yet to be implemented;
– The delayed Voters’ Register has still to begin to be compiled;
– The Zanzibar Government has embarked on a major campaign to register people from Mainland Tanzania who have not been ordinarily resident in Zanzibar for a minimum of 10 years as the two parties had agreed;
– The Electoral Commission, which is dominated by the ruling CCM, is busy manoeuvring to redraw the electoral boundaries to favour the ruling party, trying to reduce the number of seats in Pemba, which is an Opposition stronghold, to Unguja where they hope to have better control;
– The Zanzibar Government is also busy beefing up its Special Defence and Security forces, employing only CCM members, and establishing their camps in marginal electoral constituencies to ensure the ruling party wins.’
The letter ended: ‘Your Excellency, after Rwanda and some other calamities in Africa over the past decade, we hope that the international community, and especially the United Nations, will not be caught napping again. Zanzibar may be a small place, but even small people have their rights for which they can fight.’

WHICH PARTY WILL WIN?
The results of a number of local council by-elections on the mainland on June 6 indicated that CCM should win the national elections next year with ease. CCM won almost all the seats. In Bariadi East, Mwanza Region, a stronghold of the opposition UDP, its candidate, John Cheyo, nicknamed Bwana Mapesa, himself the leader of the party, was narrowly defeated. The seat was formerly held by a former UDP MP but it fell vacant after the MP crossed back to CCM following some misunderstanding between him and John Cheyo. After the Returning Officer announced that the CCM had won, Cheyo accepted that his rival had defeated him. He was quoted as having said that he was returning to Dar es Salaam with a clean heart and without grudges even though there had been a few irritating election hitches here and there.
This Bariadi spirit however was lacking in Kilimanjaro Region where the ruling CCM also defeated the opposition by winning three council seats previously held by Augustine Mrema’s Tanzania Labour Party (TLP). Here, when the returning officer announced the results, TLP immediately stated that it would challenge them in court. TLP alleged foul play by the National Electoral Commission alleging that the Commission officers had brought forged forms to the constituency in favour of CCM. Mrema accused the CCM of vote stealing. Mrema also took offence when another opposition party, CHADEMA, defeated TLP in one ward.
In Tanga CCM won 790 seats out of 821. The rest went to CUF (21), TLP (7), UDP (2) and CHADEMA (1) – Uhuru.

WHO WILL BE PRESIDENT?
According to the Swahili press, a poll conducted by the Business Times and the Media Express companies, which involved 37,119 respondents, put Foreign Affairs Minister Jakaya Kikwete in the lead as the next President of Tanzania on 23% followed by the main opposition CUF chairman Professor Lipumba with 19%. The Chairman of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim got 11% and the names of some ten other possible candidates were mentioned. (For more information on this subject see TA No 78.)
 

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ELECTRICITY FROM NATURAL GAS HAS FINALLY ARRIVED

July 15 was a historic day in Tanzania. After some thirty years of planning and preparation, a US $260-million ‘gas-to-electricity’ project, involving the construction of a 225-km natural gas pipeline from Songo Songo Island in southern Tanzania to Dar es Salaam, the country finally began producing electric power from natural gas. The electricity is being produced at the Ubungo power station in Dar es Salaam.
“This milestone marks a huge step towards reducing our over-reliance on hydro-electric power, which has been so costly to the economy in recent years,” Daniel Yona, Tanzania’s Minister for Energy and Minerals, said. He welcomed the implementation of the project, saying it was coming as the country faced a serious shortage of energy. The 2003 water inflow into the Mtera reservoir, the most important reservoir in Tanzania’s hydropower system, dropped to only 40% of the 60-year average and the water level had reached record lows.
Paul Kurnet, the Vice-President of Globeleq East Africa (the project’s major shareholder) and Managing Director of Songas Ltd, the company conducting the project, said that the power plant would initially supply 75MW of gas-fired power, and a further 40MW within three months. The development would also provide water and electricity to the 40 villages along the pipeline from Kilwa where the gas is extracted.
Experts estimate that there are over 450 billion cubic feet of natural gas at Songo Songo Island, enough to last between 20 and 50 years.
Recurrent droughts have had severe effects on the country’s power supply during recent years. Blackouts and power rationing resulting from low water levels in hydroelectric dams have forced the state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company Ltd (TANESCO) to rely on diesel-powered generators. Two-thirds, or 381MW, of Tanzania’s installed capacity is hydro-powered. Less than 10% of Tanzania’s population has access to electricity, with average per capita power consumption being 0.023MW. The vast majority of the population uses firewood for energy, a situation that endangers the country’s forests – from the UN’s IRIN Humanitarian Information Unit (which does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations).
SONGAS has also signed contracts with Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) and Twiga Cement Company (TCC) to sell a total of 10 million cubic feet of gas to them daily. TCC has spent $1.1 million to convert its oil-powered system so that it can now use natural gas.
The Guardian has reported that at least 8,000 commuter buses (daladalas), city taxis and other buses have been earmarked for conversion to use natural gas so as to limit pollution. There is also a proposal to build a pipeline to Mombasa by 2006 to supply gas to neighbouring Kenya.

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THE RISE OF TELEVISION IN TANZANIA

Jacob Knight writes: In the past five years or so, the number of Tanzanians with televisions has risen at an amazing rate so that now, most ‘middle class’ urban Tanzanians own a TV. When I visited Mazengo Secondary School in Dodoma recently, I was told that nine out of the ten teachers have a TV.
In Dar-es-Salaam there are now seven terrestrial channels. The longest established, claiming to have 76% share of the viewers is ITV, owned by Reginald Mengi and the IPP media group (www.ippmedia.com) which broadcasts to the whole of Tanzania a mix of news (in Swahili and English), Swahili dramas, imported soaps and dramas from America, the UK, and South Africa, music videos (mostly Tanzanian these days) and an impressive selection of European football matches. There are also some children’s programmes and imported cartoons. While the tone of the news programmes is quite well balanced, there is some evidence of bias. When I was there Reginald Mengi had donated some money to establish a school for Maasai girls in Monduli and about 10 minutes airtime was devoted to pictures of the girls at various celebrations on national news bulletins for several successive days in a fairly blatant act of self promotion. ITV’s sister channel (owned by Reginald Mengi’s son) has recently been renamed from ITV2 to Channel 5 (East African TV). This broadcasts mostly music videos to major cities in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
The second longest established TV station (ignoring state-run TV Zanzibar (http://www.tvz.co.tz/) and the biggest competitor to ITV is Channel 10, owned by the Africa Media Group. This group also broadcasts DarTV and CTN stations in Dar-es-Salaam.
Star TV is based in Mwanza (www.startvtz.com) and broadcasts a mix of programs including some BBC and Voice of America news, although you need a satellite dish to receive it outside the main cities.
Finally, TV Taifa is the national TV channel, officially launched in 2000 though it has really only been widely available since last year. Tanzania was apparently the last county in the world to have a national TV channel, partly due to the late Julius Nyerere’s reluctance – he viewed it as a waste of money and feared that it would divide the urban and rural populations, which indeed it has done. In rural villages there are still very few TVs, run on generators or photovoltaics where there is no electricity.
I was shown round the ITV/Channel 5 studios in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam by Robert Mmbando, a news coordinator. The equipment is not of a standard one would see at a BBC studio, but there are two air conditioned studios and powerful computers for digital video editing which are helping to make the output more and more professional.
The advertisements, mainly for beer, soap, toothpaste and AIDS awareness are also gradually improving in technical quality. The general view seems to be that South Africa is the leader, followed by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in that order. In the music field, the widely held view is that Tanzania has overtaken Kenya, and while many of the senior posts at ITV are currently occupied by Kenyans, Tanzanians are keen to get ahead in the TV field as well.
Music videos and televised beauty contests seem to have led to a significant relaxation in attitudes to modesty, with bikini clad women appearing quite regularly on TV, something which would have been unthinkable ten years ago. However, this attracts vocal criticism and opposition particularly from religious leaders. In response, the Aids awareness adverts have been ‘toned down’ from shocking messages about using condoms to a slogan: Usione soo, sema nae kuhusu kusubiri, kuwa mwaminifu au kutumia kondom (Don’t be embarrassed – talk to each other about waiting, being faithful, or using a condom) as used in the current multi media campaign Ishi” (live).
Like it or not, it seems that TV is here to stay in Tanzania.

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TANZANIAN TERROR SUSPECT CAPTURED IN PAKISTAN

Tanzanian Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a top al Qaeda terrorist suspect, one of the world’s most wanted men with a $25 million price on his head, was taken into custody in Pakistan on August 6th for his suspected role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. He was arrested along with 13 others after a 14 hour gun battle with security forces in Gujarat, 110 miles southeast of Islamabad.
Ghailani’s mother in Tanzania was quoted as saying that her son was a harmless, religious boy who had gone abroad to study six years earlier. “What I look forward to is my son getting a fair trial and that our (Tanzania) Government will ensure that my son is not tortured. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation had visited her house on several occasions over the last six years, ever since Ghailani left home, she said. Ghailani goes by the nicknames ‘Foopie’ or Fupi and ‘Ahmed the Tanzanian’– see also’ Tanzania in the International Press’ below – Editor

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BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

Exchange Rates: £1 = TShs 2,000
$1 = TShs 1,100

Presenting the government BUDGET estimates for the 2004/5 financial year on June 9, Minister of Finance Basil Mramba said priorities for help would be the poor sectors including farmers, peasants and petty traders. The Minister outlined measures which would be taken to support the agricultural sector as well as provide allocations for defraying transport cost for fertilizer to selected regions which get adequate rainfall for farming.
He proposed exemption from excise duty for wine and brandy produced from locally grown grapes in order to expand the local market and increase production in Dodoma Region, and black tea and packaged tea from VAT in order to enhance competitiveness following liberalisation of the tea market in the East African Community.
Mramba asked the Parliament to approve a TShs 3,347.5bn/- budget of which TShs 2,239bn/- was recurrent expenditure and TShs 1,091.5bn/- for development expenditure. Out of the total budget, TShs 1,739.2bn/- would come from domestic revenue and the rest from foreign loans and grants, the sale of shares in state companies and domestic financing.
The Minister announced increased excise tariffs on carbonated soft drinks and beer and established excise duty on satellite television broadcasting at a rate of 5% of the retail selling price as well as increased excise tariffs for cigarettes, wine and spirits. He also announced reduced visa fees for foreigners entering Tanzania on business from 200 US dollars to 50 US dollars. He said the government had allocated funds to cover emergency power supplies and that TANESCO would be supported to meet contractual charges in respect of IPTL and SONGAS.

Opposition leaders have criticized the government’s decision to increase funding for security organs saying the move would cause chaos in next year’s elections. Minister for Home Affairs Omar Mapuri defended the decision saying it was timely in the wake of increased banditry. “We’ll strengthen the war against banditry and other acts of evil. Our aim is to have free and fair elections. Power hungry people who would cause chaos will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

Fees in government day secondary schools have been lowered to TShs 20,000/- from TShs 40,000/-. Each school will get TShs 20,000/- for each student to make up for the deficit, Mungai said, adding that non-commercial private schools and seminaries would each get a subsidy of TShs 10,000/- per student. He said the Government would also support people’s initiatives in the construction of libraries and laboratories. “A development subsidy of TShs 7 million/- will be given in support of people’s initiative in the construction of a classroom and TShs 9 million/- for a teacher’s house,” the Minister said.
The number of subjects on the secondary school curriculum would be reduced from 13 to 9 to put emphasis on core subjects, namely civics, Kiswahili, English, mathematics, biology, history, geography, physics and chemistry – Guardian.

The Government on July 6 announced increases in salaries of civil servants on average by 9% to 12.5% in the 2004/2005 financial year. According to the changes graduate teachers would get TShs 140,000 up from TShs 123,000 while graduate doctors would get TShs. 200,000 up from TShs. 66,000 monthly salary – Mwananchi.

The National Bank of Commerce (NBC) Ltd today has unveiled what it said was set to become the largest VISA-enabled ATM network ever in Tanzania. NBC was offering its clients this international service through its growing association with VISA International. The Bank also lowered its minimum balance on Savings Accounts to TShs. 5,000; it has established 29 Automated Teller Machines across the country and launched Internet Banking. The VISA connectivity will enable anyone with a VISA-enabled debit or credit card to access their external or foreign accounts through any NBC ATM in Tanzania.
NBC has a new Managing Director, Mr Christo de Vries, who has succeeded Gerald Jordaan, who in 1999 became the first non-Tanzanian managing director of NBC after privatisation of the formerly state-owned bank in a deal which brought majority shares under the ownership of South Africa’s Absa Group Ltd – Financial Times.

A group of hotels including the wildlife lodges at Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Seronera and Lobo and Mafia Island have been sold to private sector investors who paid some $11.6 million… The investors plan to invest a further $14 million in a upgrading the lodges – Guardian.

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NEWS FROM THE FAITHS

The former Institute of TANESCO in Morogoro is to be converted into a Muslim University. This was announced by President Mkapa when he was inaugurating the Muslim Development Foundation (MDF) in May. TShs 1bn/- has been collected for the project. The President contributed TShs 10m/- to the fund and Vice-President Ali Mohammed Shein pledged TShs 5m/-.
Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume contributed TShs 9m/- and Prime Minister, Frederick Sumaye, pledged TShs 5m/-. – Guardian.
Muslims who camped in Mwanza for a week doing self-help work in constructing a secondary school have been hailed as a people who have ‘rediscovered themselves.’ Imams who participated in the self-help project called on Muslims to stop complaining and do whatever they can to liberate themselves from poverty and ignorance – An-Nuur.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jakaya Kikwete has revealed that certain people are questioning his close relationship with the Lugoba Catholic Church in his constituency of Chalinze. “Some say I have a political agenda in donating handsomely to Lugoba Church while others, especially fellow Muslims, have gone to the extent of questioning my sincerity in the Islamic faith that I profess.” He said that he was helped by Lugoba church to pursue further studies and that he could have ended at Standard IV in school if it were not for the church’s assistance – Mwananchi.

Bishop Godfrey Mhogolo of the Central Tanganyika Diocese of the Anglican Church was quoted in The Mirror (July 13) as saying that the Government was spending a lot of taxpayers’ money on unnecessary seminars and workshops in big conference halls instead of addressing the problems facing village folk. On next year’s general elections, Bishop Mhogolo advised Tanzanians to take whatever they might be given by the candidates as bribes to buy their votes, but said that such candidates should not be voted in. “I want this message to spread that if a stupid candidate comes to you and gives you money, cloth, alcohol or whatever to influence your decision, take it but do not vote for him/her,” he said.

Members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives should debate the increasing number of churches now under construction in the Isles especially in rural Zanzibar and not the legality of the operations of the radical Uamsho group of Moslems (JUMIKI) according to the Islamic newspaper An-Nuur. The MP’s should also ask the Government if it was aware of the existence of a questionnaire with 71 difficult questions set by the Tanzania Pentecostal Church. Failing to answer these questions was the cause of many Moslems joining Christianity. This move came after some MP’s had asked the Government in the House to de-register JUMIKI for allegedly inciting the largely Moslem population of Zanzibar.

There was fighting and chaos at a burial ceremony in Shinyanga municipality involving Moslems and Christians when an Acting Secretary of the main Mosque in Ndala Division, Ramadhani Kitumbo, announced that Christians and non-believers were not allowed to participate in burial and wedding ceremonies that involved Moslems. According to Mtanzania one of the Moslems attending the funeral told journalists that the order to segregate Christians and non-believers was issued by a special Moslem Committee. Another said that aggrieved Moslems had joined their Christian and pagan relatives to fight the fundamentalist section of the Moslem community in the area. The radical Imam involved was subsequently summoned and warned.
The Express in its July 5th issue reported that the US would increase the amount of money designated for Tanzania in its fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. The article then went on to examine the attitude of the Catholic Church to Aids. Extracts: ‘Although caring for many AIDS sufferers in the country, it has been argued that the Church is a killer rather than a healer. Its critics say that as long as it continues to reject condoms, it can be charged with contributing to the spread of the disease. Following the teachings of the Church, the proper and only way of halting the spread is to foster a change in moral behaviour. The Pope had made it clear however that the Church would not change its perception on condoms and soften its ban, despite the prevailing circumstances of rapid spread of the disease. The Church refused to deal with human realities and, because of this, Christian teaching would be upheld at the cost of many people’s lives…. A church that did not pay respect to the circumstances in which it preaches had failed in its mission….’
The Government of Zanzibar sent Sheikh Kurwa Shauri back to his home in Tabora insisting that his actions posed a threat to national security. Muslim fundamentalists then started a campaign aimed at pressing the Government to reverse its decision. Sheikh Shauri had been arrested at the Zanzibar port the moment he set foot on the Isles as an order issued in 1993 was still valid. He was said to have been repeatedly warned to stop making derogatory statements.

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FIVE NEW COFFEE HYBRIDS

Five improved Arabica coffee hybrids which have been developed by the Lyamungo Coffee Research Institute are to be distributed to coffee growers around the country. Officiating at the climax of the Northern Zone Coffee Farmers Open Day on July 16, attended by 500 farmers, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Prof. Pius Mbawala directed the institute to speed up the distribution of the hybrids to farmers. One of the major constraints to productivity and growth of the coffee industry had been the continued cultivation of old varieties that were low yielding and highly vulnerable to disease, he said. “The salient features of these samples include the required high yield, disease resistance as well as large bean size and good cup quality,” Prof. Mbawala explained. Each of the new varieties boasts resistance to Coffee Berry Disease (CBD) and Coffee Leaf Diseases (CLR). They should reduce costs of production by up to 50%
Chairman of the Board Directors of the Institute, Edwin Mtei, said the formal pre-release of the five improved Arabica varieties would not have been possible without the generous support of the European Union (EU) – Guardian.

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TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

Needless to say the arrest in Pakistan of Ahmed Ghailani (from Zanzibar), who is accused of having masterminded the bombing of the American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi attracted massive coverage in the media all over the world. The heaviest coverage, over several days, was in Pakistan’s newspapers. After the capture of Ghailani the Pakistan DAILY TIMES (July 31) quoted the Pakistan Interior Minister as saying: “We have now been quite successful in apprehending some of the most important figures of the Al-Qaeda including Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Ramzi Al-Sheban and many others…. Pakistani security forces had been acting on a tip-off when they raided a suspected militant hideout. Ghailani, his Uzbek wife, and up to eight other foreigners, including two South Africans, were among those arrested according to Pakistan’s NATION newspaper (August 6). ‘They were strangers, and they acted as such, keeping mostly to themselves,’ the newspaper said. Investigators were scouring a computer and several disks seized from Ghailani and the others after a 14-hour gun battle with security forces in the city of Gujarat, 175 km southeast of Islamabad. Ghailani’s driver led police to his hideout. Among those found in the house were three women and five children. Ghailani had brought two other foreign comrades to his ‘safe house’ after the group became nervous that security forces were closing in on the hotel in Gujarat where they had been staying.
The security forces have also caught his local contact, Ejaz Warraich, a member of Millat-e-Islamia who rented the safe house for Ghailani. Ghailani, who reportedly could not drive a car at the time of the bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, was probably the most senior Al Qaeda operative caught in Pakistan since the arrest in March 2003 of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. “It is a big achievement for our security forces,” Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told the Pakistan National Assembly. It seems to have led on to the arrest of several other suspected terrorists.

The attack by pirates on a party of British students in Pemba in July received massive publicity in the British press. The DAILY EXPRESS filled its front page and two inside pages with articles under the headline ‘Shot by pirates – Terror ordeal of teenage British girl on gap-year trip to paradise island’. The article in THE TIMES on 5th July under the heading ‘Britons on gap year are shot by African pirates’ wrote: ‘The 25 students taking part in a gap year diving expedition were forced to bury their heads in the sand while the pirates stole money, jewellery and watches. “When the shot went off, everyone thought it was some sort of celebration,” one of them said. “Then, without any warning, the pirates just started shooting”. The headline in the INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS read: ‘Home at last: Survivor of the Pirate Raiders.’ (Thank you Douglas Gledhill for sending this from Australia – Editor) which described how ‘the brave gap year student, Grace Foster, escaped death by one mm when a bullet passed through her, narrowly missing her spine, before lodging in 20 year-old Robert Scott’s thigh.’ Grace said: “Once the bullet is removed we are planning to split it in half and each have a piece in memory of our Pemba Island ordeal.” Police later arrested five suspects in a massive manhunt and recovered the boat allegedly used. One of the suspects had been in police uniform and armed with a pistol; the raiders escaped with, among other things, £2,500, two outboard engines, two computers and two drums of petrol.

Pages and pages of illustrations supported an article in the July issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE under the heading: ‘Hunting for Glory – with the Barabaig of Tanzania.’ Extracts: ‘The Barabaig live on the margins of Tanzanian society, struggling to maintain their cultural traditions. The Government prosecutes anyone hunting elephants outside of licensed safaris so hunts are conducted in strict secrecy. The Geographic’s photographer spent six months with the Barabaig before he was allowed to join a hunt….. each man receives two to four spears…novices must prove themselves before earning more than two weapons… Rushing in for the kill the hunters face the danger of losing life or limb…. three hunter were killed during the writer’s time with them……They walk for 12 hours a day and eat nothing for the duration of the hunt, which can last a week or more. Only the first two men to kill will become ‘superheroes’. The article concluded: ‘No one knows exactly how many elephants the Barabaig kill each year but the number is relatively small. Conservationists agree that these traditional practices pose no threat to Tanzanian’s robust elephant herd estimated to exceed 100,000.’

A letter from a British reader in the July issue of NEW AFRICAN contrasted the generosity and tolerance to refugees and asylum seekers offered by African countries with the xenophobic attacks typical of Britain. ‘Tanzania shares what it has with millions of refugees…..the right-wing media and some British opposition politicians should take a leaf from Tanzania…..’ the letter said.

The EAST AFRICAN (May 10) revealed the contents of an unpublished mid-year donors’ (including the World Bank, the IMF, Canada, France, Germany, UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries) review of the ‘Poverty Reduction Budget Support and Poverty Reduction Support Credit.’ The development partners said they were seriously concerned by the continued delay in preparing a new Bill on corruption. The long delay appeared to indicate a lack of commitment by the Government they said. However, President Mkapa criticised the media and politicians for accusing his government of corruption, saying instead that such media owners should explain to the public where they got their capital and how they recouped their losses. Tanzanian Attorney General Andrew Chenge said: “It is unfair to generalise in evaluating our fight against corruption because efforts have been made to curb the vice; there is no pending new Bill on corruption. What’s in the pipeline is making amendments to the anti-corruption law; this is being dealt with by other stakeholders such as the Tanzania Law Reform Commission,” he said.

NEW AFRICAN (August) published the results of a poll of its readers to nominate the ‘greatest African of all time’. The late President Julius Nyerere came 4th in a list of 100. He was described as ‘a great leader who refused to allow the trappings of power to corrupt. He was respected by his country, Africa and the rest of the world.’ Needless to say number one on the list was Nelson Mandela – ‘a living legend’; number-two was Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah; and, number three was Robert Mugabe. No other Tanzanians were on the list. Kofi Annan was 10th; Michael Jackson was 41st, F W de Clerk 50th, the William’s sisters 73rd, the Queen of Sheba 87th and Helen Suzman 100th.

The GUARDIAN WEEKLY (30th July) and the INDEPENDENT (3rd August) reported that the 354 – pupil Mvumi Secondary School is expected, if the share price of Marks and Spencer rises over 400p to receive from its Chief Executive, Stuart Rose, up to £500,000. Mr Rose’s connection with Mvumi began three years ago. He had spent eight years in Tanzania as a child and was looking to donate money to a project when he met the head teacher at Mvumi Mr Richard Morris. He has already paid for the building of a new school administration block. (Thank you Janet Bujra and Liz Fennell for sending these items – Editor).

Reporting on numerous violations of human rights of African students in Russia, NEW AFRICAN (April) described the growth of racism in the country. One case quoted was that of a Tanzanian student, Isaac Mwita, who was taking a pre-University Russian language course and had been viciously attacked by a group of five skinheads. One of them stabbed him in what seemed a ritual manner and left him writhing in agony, after they had stripped him of his jacket and forced him to lie on the ice-covered ground on a day when the temperature had fallen to minus 15 degrees. He was hospitalised in critical condition but was eventually released and returned home to Tanzania.

The American publication AFRICA NEWS REPORT (6th July) quoting from the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE (July 1) reported that researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Tanzania’s Muhimbili University College of Health Services had found that women taking multivitamins (vitamins B-complex, C and E) significantly delayed the progression of HIV compared to those in the study who received a placebo instead. Researchers randomly assessed 1,078 HIV-infected pregnant women who were enrolled over a two-year period beginning in April 1995 and were followed until August 2003. ‘All women received standard doses of antenatal folic acid and iron, and all children received six-monthly doses of vitamin A, as per standard of care in Tanzania.’ It added that anti-retroviral therapy was unavailable at the time of the study to the majority of women in Tanzania, including those who were eligible for participation in the study. During the study, 299 of the 1,078 women either died from AIDS-related causes or progressed to WHO stage 4 (equivalent to AIDS). Among the 271 women who received multivitamins, 24.7% progressed to WHO stage 4 or died of AIDS-related causes; among women who received multivitamins with vitamin A, the total was 26.1%; for those who received vitamin A alone, it was 29%; and of those who received the placebo, it was 31.1%. Moreover, women in the study who took multivitamins had ‘higher CD4 immune cell counts, lower viral loads, and reduced complications of HIV infection, including oral thrush, oral ulcers, difficulty in swallowing, diarrhoea and fatigue. Our data suggest that multivitamins delay the onset of disease progression and thus extend the time until such therapy is necessary. Multivitamin supplementation is inexpensive: US $15 per person per year.

The Nairobi-based EAST AFRICAN STANDARD (July 26) reported that Microsoft Corporation is appealing to Kiswahili experts to help it create a standardised technical glossary for its Kiswahili program. The company has launched an interactive website where experts can contribute their suggestions. The website offers volunteer participants a platform to debate and help create Kiswahili translations of over 3,000 English computer terminology words. Patrick Opiyo, who is managing the Corporation’s Kiswahili programme, said that when the Kiswahili language program was complete, over 100 million people would have access. He put a closing date on the scheme of August 11, 2004 after which the project moderator would begin the review and selection. The final draft deadline was to be September 3, 2004 – Thank you Ron Fennell for sending this item – Editor.

The ASIA PACIFIC MISSION FOR MIGRANTS in Hong Kong reported on July 19 (following a Press Release from the LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE in Dar es Salaam on July 16) the case of the rape of a Tanzanian maid by an official of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Dar es Salaam. The Centre strongly condemned this act and criticized the Tanzanian Government for even considering taking financial compensation from Saudi Arabia. This was offered as the diplomat enjoyed diplomatic immunity. The Centre demanded that the diplomat should be taken to court – Thank you Ken Mpopo for sending details of this case – Editor.

The ANTIQUES TRADE GAZETTE of 15th May described the sale of close to 100 items at Christie’s in London of books on the life and extraordinary times of Richard Burton. An 1872 first issue of the publication ‘Zanzibar’ that sold for £6,500 contained the sheet in which Isabel Burton, just a few days after publication, presented the book ‘With the hearty best wishes of Richard Burton for the success of the Livingstone expedition’ to a Lieutenant Llewellyn Dawson who was to lead a search expedition into the interior from Zanzibar – Thank you John Sankey for sending this item – Editor.

THE TIMES (5th May) quoted Bob Geldof of Live Aid as saying that there was ‘initiative fatigue over Africa’. The ‘Commission for Africa’ set up by Tony Blair had held its first meeting in London in May. Asked why there should be yet another commission, President Mkapa, who is a member said: “I would ask you why preachers preach every Sunday in spite of the fact that the Bible has been with us for 2000 years. It is as simple as that. Sometimes inculcation can energise people to do something……We hope to produce the energy that will generate action and implement recommendations that may well be a replication of what has been said before.” The BBC’s FOCUS ON AFRICA (July-September) under the heading ‘Africa’s champion – UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is taking up Africa’s cause on the international stage’ included an article by British Aid Minister Hilary Benn. He wrote that he was broadly in favour of the establishment of the Commission. But there was another article by William Mervyn-Gumede which took a very cynical view. It asked who were the ‘stooges’ in the Commission and decided that it was the African members. Mr Blair had been under fire over Iraq and this was a useful diversion. Mr Blair should have noted that many African countries were still waiting for the G 8 countries to fulfil previous promises to Africa. They could have pointed out that rich countries gave their farmers $320 billion in handouts, more than six times the amount they gave to poor countries in aid. ‘One of the commissioners, perhaps President Mkapa, might have insisted on fair global trade as a pillar of any effort to reduce African poverty’ the writer said.

The EASTERN AFRICA MAGAZINE in its July issue published a letter from Dr Frederick Kassulamemba describing the Britain-Tanzania Society as doing a superb job in bringing development to one of the poorest countries in the world. Even more satisfying was its success in helping to win the war on debt cancellation by the British Government.

An article in the April issue of the NEWSLETTER OF THE JUBILEE DEBT CAMPAIGN quoted President Mkapa as saying how much he wished the campaign success and commended it for its new initiative. Tanzania’s debt relief had been directed towards the social sectors and, as a result, the primary school population had increased by 50%; over 31,000 new classrooms had been built; hospitals were being refitted and the rate of immunisation had reached 83% – Thank you Sylvia Voisk for sending this – Editor.

The American publication AFRICA NEWS REPORT gave the results in August of the ‘diversity lottery’ for persons wishing to obtain permanent resident visas in the USA. 9.5 million persons applied during 2003 of whom 100,000 were successful, including 356 from Tanzania.

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CRIME

As in most other countries Tanzania is suffering from an upsurge in crime. Recent cases include the following:

On 9th June the wife of former Prime Minister John Malecela was attacked by bandits on the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro highway when she stopped to change a flat tyre. Mrs Malecela’s 18-year-old son was beaten up when he refused to hand over his mobile phone.

The Swahili press reported on August 10 that Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Evarist Manumba (59) had been gunned down by burglars who entered his home in the city. Police said two bullets entered his hand and leg. He died later died at Muhimbili hospital due to excessive bleeding. It happened at 7.45 pm when the burglars overpowered a guard and a housemaid. Manumba did his post-graduate studies in Economics and Health Planning in the eighties at South Bank and Leeds universities in the UK.

On May 21 robbers stole TShs 3.8 billion from the Moshi branch of the National Bank of Commerce. TShs 129 million was recovered. During succeeding weeks some 51 persons were arrested for the crime. The first 18, led by a four-man defense team, denied the charges in a packed courtroom on July 20. – Nipashe.

Nipashe reported on July 4 that about six bandits shot dead a Swiss investor Walter Peter (42) at his home at Ngongongale village, Arumeru district, in Arusha region and made away with property. The deceased settled in the village in 2001 and was erecting a tourist hotel. There were reports that he was not on good terms with his neighbours who accused him of hiring and firing labourers indiscriminately.
A British national, Stephen Forwood (62), a tourist accompanied by his wife, was sentenced to serve two years in jail by the Ilala District Court in Dar es Salaam. He was found in possession of three sticks of bhang (marijuana) on arrival at the Dar Es Salaam International Airport. But, a day later, on July 26, the Magistrate rescinded her judgment and sentenced him instead to a suspended sentence and a fine of TShs 20,000. Forwood’s counsel had earlier prayed for the court to review the sentence as his client was a stranger in the country with a family who came from a society where, for someone to be found with small amounts of marijuana for personal, use was not a crime – Majira.

Majira has reported that two suspected Ugandan bandits were killed in Arusha when they engaged the police in a shoot out in the main street. The police had been tipped off that the bandits were intending to rob a prominent shop in the municipality.

On August 1st at 9.30am six armed thieves waylaid a bus carrying 32 overseas tourists (including ten Britons) travelling from Moshi to Arusha and robbed them of more than TShs5 million and $2,600 as well other personal belongings. The robbers used two motorbikes to pursue the bus from Moshi. No one was injured. In mid-August seven Dutch tourists visiting the ancient ruins at Kijichi village in Zanzibar were robbed of back packs, wristwatches and money – Uhuru.
The Guardian reported on June 12 that a gang of thugs had cordoned off part of the busy Uhuru Street in Dar es Salaam and raided a number of shops in the area. The gangsters were dressed in military fatigues and brandished AK-47 assault rifles. Hawkers operating in the area dived for cover. Shops closed. A number of commuters jumped out of daladalas through the windows and ran away in different directions. While some thugs kept watch, their colleagues proceeded to rob nearby shops, appearing to specifically target those selling mobile phones.
However, in spite of this crime wave the number of tourists visiting Zanzibar continues to increase. From January to June 2004 more than 34,000 tourists entered, compared to 39,000 from January to October 2003. (Mwananchi)

A suspected robber was shot dead in Dar es Salaam at 8pm on August 7 when police ambushed a gang of thugs robbing customers at ‘Traders Grill’ on Bagamoyo Road. The gangsters had stormed the restaurant a few minutes earlier and fired several shots in the air before ordering patrons to lie down and surrender their mobile phones, cash and other valuables. Police rushed to the restaurant and shot the robber dead after he refused to surrender and attempted to shoot the officers. Three other gangsters sustained gunshot wounds in the incident, but managed to escape in a Toyota Chaser saloon. Police engaged the robbers in a high-speed chase and upon reaching Kijitonyama, near the National Science and Technology Commission headquarters, the gangsters’ car collided with another vehicle and landed in a ditch. But the thugs gave police the slip once again after abandoning their car and escaping from members of the public who had attempted to lynch them. The Police said it should not be difficult to trace the suspects as they all had gaping wounds and that it was possible that they had sought treatment in private hospitals – Guardian.

Meanwhile, the police have not been idle. They destroyed 850 illegal arms from 883 suspects from January to December 2003 and as part of the 2004/2005 budget the Government will be recruiting 2000 more police constables. In Dar es Salaam they arrested two witchdoctors accused of illegal possession of firearms. They were quoted as saying that robbers often deposited their weapons with witchdoctors for their blessing before setting out to steal – Nipashe.

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