PRIVATISATION OF HISTORICAL SITES

BagamoyoBagamoyo Old Fort

In order to preserve some of the more than 500 ancient sites in the country, the Government has started a programme under which some would be leased to Tanzanian private operators who would be expected to preserve them for the future and bring them into sustainable use. According to a feature by Perege Gumbo in the Guardian (October 10): ‘Leasing began last September when the Bagamoyo Old Fort building was leased to Akana Lodges and Hotels of Dar es Salaam. The fort, one of the oldest stone houses in the country, was built by Abdallah Selemani Marhabi and fortified by Sultan Barghash who reigned from 1870 to 1888. Barghash had around 5,000 soldiers in the fort to protect Bagamoyo from the local Wazaramo who fought against the influence of the Omani-Sultan Barghash in 1875. Later the fort became the property of the famous Indian trader Sewa Haji, the great donator of wells, the still existing Mwambao School and the existing hospital, in Bagamoyo Town. Sewa Haji later rented the fort to the Germans as a garrison. It was later used as a police post up to 1992 after which it has been used as the local headquarters and training centre of the Department of Antiquities. Historians have, however, doubted the truthfulness of the belief that the fort was used as slave quarters during the slave trade. The lease will allow the Government to collect monthly concession fees from the new operator’.

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