Edited by John Cooper-Poole (UK) and Marion Doro (USA)

LORDS OF THE FLY: SLEEPING SICKNESS CONTROL IN BRITISH EAST AFRICA 1900-1960. Kirk Arden Hoppe. Westpoort (Connecticut), Praeger, 2003. ISBN 03250 71233. h/b 216pp. £37.99

In his book Lords of the Fly Hoppe looks primarily, but not exclusively, at the relationship between disease control and the exercise of power at various levels in colonial Uganda and Tanganyika.
In Uganda from 1903 and Tanganyika from the 1920s, the imperial government introduced measures aimed at curtailing the spread of sleeping sickness, which the author contextualises as part of Britain’s ‘civilising mission’ for the colonies. Underlying the apparent benign paternalism, however, lay less benevolent practices. The colonial regime introduced a number of coercive measures to tackle disease and eradicate the tsetse fly. In both Uganda and Tanganyika, at various times and in response to shifting colonial and scientific agendas, officials forced people to relocate to new settlements, conscripted their labour to clear the bush habitat of the tsetse fly, restricted local trade and travel to contain the disease and subjected individuals to intrusive medical examinations. In fact these enactments went beyond disease control and showed that the state intended to create communities that were also easier to administer, tax and economically develop according to imperial prescription. The British government correlated disease control with the restructuring of both African society and its environment.
Hoppe also shows the exercise of power from other perspectives. Some African leaders, most notably the Ganda Kabaka, supported the forced removal of people from the tsetse infested shores of Lake Victoria because it increased Ganda influence over disputed territory. Other chiefs decided whether to cooperate with the authorities on the basis of how it affected their standing with the state and/or their community. From a different standpoint, research into the cause, spread and elimination of the disease enhanced the influence of the scientific community. Science, Hoppe argues, legitimated the actions of the colonial state and projected it as both rational and humanitarian.
In addition, Hoppe illustrates how the asymmetrical power relations between the colonial state, local elites and scientists on the one hand and rural communities on the other, militated against the effectiveness of colonial policies. He suggests that the state failed to prevent the spread of tsetse belts because of popular defiance. People avoided relocation and broke trade embargoes and quarantines because they deduced that the risk of falling sick was far outweighed by the economic gains achieved by resistance. Disease control therefore altered the nature of authority and patriarchy within African societies and affected African attitudes towards the colonial state.
Questions of power pervade the text. In his introduction, Hoppe gives a good overview of the main themes in the book. The second and third chapters focus on investigations into the disease in Uganda following a mass outbreak at the turn of the twentieth century. By the 1920s the focus had shifted to Tanganyika, where scientists responded to the threat, rather than the immediacy, of an epidemic. Chapters four and five provide insights into the career of Charles Swynnerton whose experiments in bush clearing and villagisation in Shinyanga formed the basis for tsetse control in both colonies from 1935. Bush clearance and resettlement had important implications for labour mobilisation and land tenure, which Hoppe analyses in chapter six. The book is well written, the narrative vivid and the argument clear. The reader is left with a strong impression of the way the colonial state functioned with the support of its scientific and chiefly collaborators.
What is less strong, however, is the impression ‘from below’. With some notable exceptions, such as the discussion of Tanganyikan attitudes to resettlement in the 1930s (pp. 119-126), Hoppe makes little use of oral testimony. Perhaps the difficulties he had in interviewing people suspicious of outsiders (p. 21) precluded this, but a more extensive use of personal narratives would have added greater depth to his extensive use of archival material. Given that the agricultural restructuring of African economies was also a key component of colonial policy, more could have been said about bovine trypanosomiasis (nagana) especially since this gave rise to contentious debates between veterinarians and conservationists over the sagacity of game and, as an unfortunate consequence, fly protection. Hoppe looks at the failure to contain tsetse belts and the consequential shift to the proclamation of game reserves, but omits the livestock perspective. Nonetheless, this fascinating book should appeal to readers interested in African environmental history as well as the social impacts of British colonial policy.

Karen Brown

MAKRAN, OMAN AND ZANZIBAR: THREE-TERMINAL CULTURAL CORRIDOR IN THE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN (1799-1856). Beatrice Nicolini (translated from the Italian by Penelope-Jane Watson). Brill, Leiden. 2004. Pp. xxvii + 179. Eur 78.00/US$112.00, cloth. ISBN 90 04 13780 7.

Beatrice Nicolini’s book on the Western Indian Ocean in the first half of the 19th century focuses mainly on political history, about which readers of Christine Nicholls’ The Swahili Coast: politics, diplomacy and trade on the East African littoral, 1798-1856 (1971) and M. R. Bhacker’s Trade and Empire in Muscat and Zanzibar: Roots of British Domination (1992) will already be familiar. The story revolves around the life of Sa’id bin Sultan Al Bu Sa’idi (or Sayyid Sa’id), who became Sultan of Oman in 1806, and famously moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1840 to take advantage of East Africa’s flourishing commerce. Although the author claims to be considering a number of ‘historical-political-institutional aspects’ (p.xxvi), in practice her story is a traditional diplomatic history. She focuses on major figures like Sayyid Sa’id, Robert Townsend Farquhar, Captain Atkins Hamerton, and even Napoleon Bonaparte, and her account is based on European travel writings and British Government correspondence and gazetteers. Nicolini also gives a broad outline of the history and culture of the Swahili coast that is accessible to the general reader and fairly competent. The book’s most significant contribution is bringing into the biography of Sayyid Sa’id the story of European and Omani involvement in Makran (the southern, coastal area of Baluchistan, located in modern-day Iran and Pakistan), and reconfirming the importance of this region to Oman and East Africa during the 19th century.
This said, there is much more work to be done in tracing connections between early 19th-century Makran on the one hand and Oman and East Africa on the other, for Nicolini has only given us a rough sketch. Her main argument in this regard – that Oman depended on the loyalty of Baluch troops because of the comparative ‘untrustworthiness of the Arab troops’ (p.34), and because Baluch loyalty was paid for out of the commercial connections between Oman and Makran – is one that is only asserted, not demonstrated. Nicolini (and/or her translator) is unapologetically ‘Orientalist’ in her language, but offers no useful aspects of an ‘Orientalist’ approach – mainly, the close application of philological method to vernacular language documents. The book is based entirely on European language sources, most of which have already been used, with greater rigour and acuity, by Nicholls, Bhacker, Edward Alpers and Abdul Sheriff, to name a few. The book offers little of value for the specialist, but the general reader will enjoy its well-crafted narrative and accessible overview of Makran and Swahili cultures and histories. As typical with Brill, the production quality of the book is excellent, although the single map falls far short of Brill’s high standards – it is rather crude, does not identify the Makran region as such, and omits East Africa entirely.

James R. Brennan

MASOMO YA KISASA: CONTEMPORARY READINGS IN SWAHILI. Ann Biersteker et al., 2005. Africa World Press Inc., Trenton, NJ & Asmara, Eritrea. 362 pp. ISBN 1-59221-139-9 (pb). £16.99

This book is designed to enable intermediate – level students of Swahili to comprehend authentic material, by providing a transition between an introductory textbook and the unassisted reading of original texts.
The twenty -seven reading passages, from Tanzanian and Kenyan sources, cover a wide range of topics. Two texts are transcriptions of spoken Swahili and the rest are from publications; styles include the journalistic, literary and scholarly. The extracts are aimed primarily at university students intending to work in Swahili – speaking areas. Each text is followed by related grammatical and cultural notes, comprehension questions on the text and suggestions for further spoken and written activities. The book ends with a vocabulary list containing the more difficult words from all the texts, with their English meanings.
The overall plan of the book is excellent, as are the explanatory notes and the follow-up work for each reading passage. Particularly useful are the margin glosses in simple Swahili for the underlined difficult /new words in each passage. This is a second edition, which – bearing in mind the time needed to prepare the first edition of a book of this quality – means that the texts are not quite as contemporary as might be assumed from the title. They are dated between 1965 and 1984. Anyone expecting to find fairly recent texts on such issues as HIV/AIDS, tourism, crop failure, the modern music scene, new industries etc will be disappointed.
However, there is plenty of material here to extend readers’ understanding of East Africa, and ‘Masomo’ can be warmly recommended for the independent reader as well as for class use.
Joan Russell

WHEN POLITICAL PARTIES CLASH. Eds. T L Maliyamkono & F E Kantongolo. Tema Publishers. 2004. 331pp. ISBN 9987250351. £24.95. Distributed by: African Books Collective

“When Political Parties Clash” sets out to examine the forces which produce conflict both in and between political parties in the Tanzanian political arena, and half succeeds. In its analysis of the CUF – CCM rivalry in Zanzibar and the self-destruction of NCCR on the mainland, the book offers an enlightening historical perspective and a thorough treatment of the legacy of Nyerere’s “one-party democracy” to current political party activity in the country.
However, where the book fails is in its main tool of analysis, surveys conducted among the Tanzanian electorate. Not only are the samples small and unrepresentative, but the conclusions drawn from their findings clearly display the authors’ bias and are not adequately justified by their findings. The view of some interviewees that inter-party conflict stems from ideological differences is dismissed as uninformed, for instance, whereas the same respondents’ opinion that power struggles are the main cause of conflict between parties is treated as incontrovertible proof. This lack of academic rigour lets down an otherwise plausible explanation of the factors contributing to the build-up of tension between CCM and CUF, and the decline in the electoral fortunes of mainland-based opposition parties. Frequent grammatical and syntactical errors confound the problem as the reader is left struggling not only to follow the somewhat muddled argumentation but also the meaning of individual sentences.
As a narrative of the processes which led to the current political climate in both Tanzanian territories, this book is worth a read. As an analytical study of political party conflict in Africa however, it’s useful only as a partial contribution to a much wider debate.
Ellen Kelly

DESTINATION FIVE: Memories of an Irish Vet in Wartime Tanganyika. Robert P. Lee. Nordeal Ltd, Kilpedder, Greystones, Co Wicklow. E-mail: ISBN 090767779-7. p/b pp263. £15 incl. p&p.

Although published in 2003 this very interesting book has hitherto escaped our notice. The author was posted to Tanganyika as a newly qualified vet in 1944, reaching the country by a circuitous sea voyage of ten weeks. Most of the book is concerned with his tour of just under three years, firstly at the headquarters of the Veterinary Department at Mpwapwa and then as Provincial Veterinary Officer, Western Province, based at Tabora. He returned, by now a Professor, to Tanzania in 1982 as consultant for a livestock development project on Pemba, funded by the Irish Government, and the last two chapters tell us about this project and give us some well thought out reflections on the changes since he first went to what had become Tanzania.
The Veterinary Department concentrated on control and prevention of disease in herds, rather than treatment of individual animals. The approach was holistic involving nutrition and husbandry as well as development of the livestock industry. The thinking of the Department in 1944 was largely conditioned by memories of the terrible rinderpest outbreak just over forty years previously. This had swept down through East Africa to South Africa with devastating consequences. It was reckoned that ninety percent of the cattle in Maasailand died, which in turn led to the death of some fifty percent of the human population who were unable to develop alternative food sources in time to avoid starvation. To scotch further outbreaks constant vigilance was needed, backed by immunisation campaigns, and Lee was responsible for the production of huge quantities of vaccine at the Veterinary Laboratory at Mpwapwa. This was shipped around the country in beer bottles!
There is much of interest about technical aspects of the Department’s work, but it is explained in easy terms which could be appreciated by this scientifically illiterate reviewer. There is also much about the author’s exciting travels to many parts of the country on the trail of suspected outbreaks of disease in cattle or to supervise the field staff who included local Veterinary Guards, who performed many vital functions, not least the provision of figures from which a national census of livestock was compiled annually. Other front line staff were the Game Observers, most of whom seem to have been elderly British gentlemen who spent their lives under canvas monitoring the movement of the game herds and watching for signs of disease.
Apart from descriptions of travel and the work of the Department, the author gives us some vivid glimpses of the social and domestic life of the expatriate officers at that time. There are also interesting excursuses on such topics as Colonial Office health advice, and how von Lettow- Vorbeck exploited the tsetse areas to confound the British in WW1.
The only irritations are the lack of an index and the poor quality of the maps. Otherwise a thoroughly good read and strongly recommended.

John Cooper-Poole

PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES: THEORY AND PRACTICE OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN TANZANIA, R Mukandala, S Mushi and C Rubagumya (eds), Fountain Publishers, Kampala, 2004

The measure of this book is how far both Tanzanian political life and Tanzanian scholarship has shifted from the revolutionary fervour of the 1970s. Written by political scientists at the University of Dar es Salaam, it is based on analysis of a quantitative study carried out in 1997, the key elements of which were a sample survey of 640 voters in a range of constituencies and a set of 100 interviews with members of parliament. It is the changing role of parliament and of the MPs who make it up, that is the focus of this work, underpinned by the basic assumption that parliamentary supremacy is key to Tanzania’s ‘transition to democracy’. ‘Democracy’ is here defined in terms of the ‘western-type liberal’ model, with its philosophical foundations in Hobbes, Burke, Rousseau, Bentham, Mill and other Western thinkers. Forms of ‘socialist democracy’ under the single party system which were developed in Tanzania over nearly thirty years are described, usually in negative terms, and contrasted with present realities (multipartyism, initiated in 1992), but the theories and politics which drove them are not subject to debate.
Whilst Burke’s speech to his electorate in Bristol in 1774 is quoted by two of the authors in this collection, no mention is made of any contrasting African experience of building a postcolonial polity. Given Tanzania’s relative political stability and distance from grosser forms of corrupt and brutal power-seeking common elsewhere in the continent, there are surely lessons begging to be learnt? One of these – its relatively successful exercise in ‘nation-building’ under socialism (spoken in Swahili) – comes out incidentally in Gasarasi’s chapter. Commenting that few MPs these days refer to the ‘national interest’ as their motivating drive, he notes that ‘Multipartyism has completed the death process of the national ujamaa ideology, which in many ways had shaped the understanding of the notion of Tanzania’s ‘national interest’.
The methodological basis of this study is spelt out in a useful chapter, but critical doubts about the unquestioning value given to quantitative data are not addressed. Whilst considerable care went into designing a sample which would allow for generalisation, the substance is less weighty. Rather than an account of the relations and dynamic interplay of parliament, party, government and the voting public, we get little more than a survey of opinions on procedural issues. Opinions, even collectively expressed, are not always a good predictor of behaviour – compare for example Liviga’s report on voters’ assertions that it is the ‘individual’s merit’ which counts, and that gender is not a factor which influences their votes, with Kiondo’s description of how women candidates are actually treated1. From this opinion survey we learn that both the voting public and the MPs concur that it is ‘the pursuit of individual benefits [which] is by far the greatest motive to seek the office of MP’; that few voters believe they have much influence, that both voters and MPs concede that Presidential powers and party patronage still prevail – all fairly unsurprising results repeated in more than one chapter.
Killian’s concluding piece is worth a second thought. Its central thesis is that the previous parliament under single party rule was characterised by vigorous and lively debate, with much internal contestation within the ruling party; whereas the introduction of a multiparty system stifled intraparty dissent and made the major party (still the CCM!) increasingly mindful of its need to hold onto power at any subsequent election. Parliamentary debates became ‘dull and boring with lack of critical analysis and automatic approval of legislations’. If only this conclusion had been explored in the interviews with MPs and voters!
1. In an earlier book edited by some of the same authors: Liberalisation and Politics: the 1990s Elections in Tanzania, ed Mukandala RS and Othman H, Dar es Salaam University Press, 1994).
Janet Bujra

SPEECHES ON DEVELOPMENT, by Dr Wilbert K.Chagula. Edited by Alison McCusker. Published by Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, P.O. Box 4302, Dar es salaam. TShs 12,000 (incl. postage) in E. Africa, US$20.00 (incl.Postage) elsewhere. First published in 2000 this is a collection of speeches delivered at various national and international meetings over three decades mainly during the formative years of Tanzania’s development as an independent nation. The speeches cover a wide range of topics from science and technology to rural development, academic research, and the political and economic challenges facing developing countries. Proceeds from the sale of the book will contribute to a foundation established by the University of Dar es Salaam to fund research by Tanzanian students.
(information supplied by Mary Punt)

Matthew L. Luhanga, Daniel J. Mkude, Tolly S. A. Mbwette, Marcellina M. Chijoriga, and Cleophace A. Nigirwa, HIGHER EDUCATION REFORMS IN AFRICA: THE UNIVERSITY OF DAR ES SALAAM EXPERIENCE, {203 pp., ISBN 9976603940], and STRATEGIC PLANNING AND HIGHER EDUCATION MANAGEMENT IN AFRICA: THE UNIVERSITY OF DAR ES SALAAM EXPERIENCE, {225 pp., ISBN 9976603959}, Dar es Salaam University Press, Ltd., 2003. £18.95 each
Readers familiar with the evolution of the University of Dar es Salaam through its various stages, ranging from its early commitment to socialist policy under President Julius Nyerere through its partnership in the University of East Africa until its current status as an independent university under a donor-seeking management policy to cope with financial problems will find these two volumes of great interest. All of the contributors are members of the UDSM faculty, and include the Vice Chancellor, Professor Luhanga.
UDSM’s Higher Education Reforms in Africa follows a carefully designed pattern that begins with the broad context of higher education development in Sub-Saharan Africa and its historical sequences. As events unfold at UDSM – financial difficulties, student unrest and dissatisfaction – they lead to the reform process of the Institutional Transformation Process (ITP) designed to cope with financial management and sustainability as well as promoting gender equity. The authors then analyze ITP’s model which it labels as “unorthodox” as it copes with issues such as strategic plans, implementation and evolutions, and points to its strengths and weaknesses as the process moves forwards. Clearly, the “lessons learned” are offered in a frank – and acknowledged as possibly “biased” descriptive account of various functions such as expertise, leadership, management, and relations with students. On the whole the analysis is straightforward although at times confusing as least for non-academics — in any case, the process was clearly a learning experience that undoubtedly served as an encouragement to donors who began to come forward in 2000 with financial assistance.
Strategic Planning and Higher Education Management in Africa.
This volume is focused on strategic planning and management designed to cope with the cumulative effect of politicized socialistic governance, inefficient structural management and student unrest. A major conditioning factor, of course, was, and continues to be – insufficient funds for educational needs. But, a lack of vision and consensus was also an issue. Since management is a function of reconciling the range of values and culture of a society, and in the case of UDSM where the Western liberal arts tradition and socialism were at odds, where does one draw the line? This volume explores the history of strategic planning, the details of how it was developed and applied, and ultimately how an organizational culture identified, implemented and monitored techniques at all levels of the University. It was not an easy task, and UDSM drew on the experiences of eight African universities to develop its own appropriate policies. The internal and external problems extended to educational as well as administrative matters, and UDSM benefited from developing a management Corporate Strategic Plan based on Five-Year Rolling Strategic Plans.
These two volumes are not an “easy read”. Written in the style of academic committee reports, often without explanation, they nevertheless constitute a significant record. Numerous annexes of interview with former officials, interview notes, and extensive bibliographies enhance the evidence and enrich readers’ experience.
As a postscript, however, it should be noted that management plans are only a part of an institution’s educational mission. UDSM’s financial circumstances continue to create difficulties for students and faculty alike. With a current student population at 12,000 campus residences are overcrowded and student protests continue to be a problem, and in April 2004 UDSM closed in response to an “illegal” student demonstration re: a students’ loan bill. Financial problems and minimal public funds minimize library facilities and cause low faculty pay, subsequent “brain drain” and a “consultancy culture”, all of which hamper the learning environment. These factors create stressful competition about the various units within the University. Nevertheless, foreign donors – such the Carnegie Corporation in New York and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)-create a positive environment of hope and improvement, especially in the areas of science and technology, marine technology, as well as gender equity. Moreover, the UDSM is developing a major commercial enterprise – the Mlimani City Project – as an income generating enterprise on a portion of its property that it has leased to several business elements. Beneficial results are expected to begin during 2005.

These problems are not unique to UDSM; contributors to African Higher Education: An International Reference Handbook, Indiana University Press, 2003, point out that lack of funding, inadequate financing, brain drain, structural adjustment programs add to the governance process difficulties in most African universities.

Marion E Doro

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.