Archive for May, 2006

HAKI ELIMU

Some months ago an NGO, HakiElimu, published an article on the state of education in Tanzania which the then Minister of Education considered to be biased and over critical. The government suspended its operations. HakiElimu’s Chairperson protested that its reports were meant to identify education challenges and bottlenecks to allow relevant authorities to address them. She emphasised that HakiElimu was an independent organisation with a clear mandate under the terms of its registration. Just before TA went to the printer the Guardian reported that the government had stated that it was willing to extend an ‘amnesty’ and to lift the ban imposed on HakiElimu if it apologized for what was described as ‘ridiculing government efforts in development of the education sector in the country.’ But in her rejoinder, Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director and former board member of HakiElimu said the claims against the NGO lacked substance.
It is understood that negotiations are under way to try and resolve the deadlock.

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BIRD FLU

Tanzania, with the support of USAID and the German Technical Development Agency (GTZ), has stepped up surveillance of migratory birds following the first confirmed case of avian influenza, subtype H5N1, in Nigerian poultry. Three to five million birds have already been sighted in Tanzania during their annual migration southwards from Asia and central Europe, where they may have been in contact with birds carrying the virus. Because migration is an ongoing, cyclical process, the birds flying back up north in the spring may infect birds in Europe and birds coming back in the fall may infect birds in Africa. Villagers who raise free-range poultry are easily exposed to droppings from migrating wild aquatic and shore birds. Tanzania has established a comprehensive surveillance programme that will allow health and veterinary officials to launch effective and appropriate disease prevention and control measures quickly in case of an outbreak. Wild bird surveillance is currently being conducted by the Tanzania Bird Atlas Project, with oversight from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.” – Guardian.

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INTELLIGENT SWAHILI DICTIONARY

by Jacob Knight

Kamusi projectThe Kamusi Project website

The Yale University ‘Kamusi Project’ www.yale.edu/swahili/ has hosted an online Kiswahili–English dictionary since 1995. It is a well used resource and a live dictionary which anyone can add new words
to.

However, until now, learners of Kiswahili have had a fundamental difficulty when using any dictionary. In English and other European languages, the end of words may be changed according to the tense etc, but a learner looking to translate say “needed” should be able to find “need” in a dictionary without too many problems. In Kiswahili, however, numerous prefixes and infixes are added to the beginning of words, so to translate say nitaenda the student had to know that this is
from verb -enda before they could look anything up in the dictionary. To translate atakapopigwa they needed to know firstly that this is from verb -pigwa and secondly that it is a passive form of the verb -piga. Read the rest of this entry »

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AID

Among recent donations of aid to Tanzania have been 18 million euros (TShs 25.3bn/-) in budget support and for help in the fight against HIV/Aids from Germany; from Italy 2 million euros (TShs 2.8 billion) for HIV/AIDS control; from the US $700,000 (TShs 850 million) for help in monitoring bird flu; TShs 11 million from Norway for rural electrification; Korea $20 million (over TShs 20bn/-) to finance training of trainers, the construction of vocational training centres (VTCs) and information technology centres (ITCs) in Dar es Salaam; and, from Britain £700,000 (TShs 1.4 billion) for famine relief. Britain has also announced that it will provide £310 million over the next three years to support the Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (Mkukuta). DfID is the largest bilateral contributor of budget support to Tanzania having provided £330m over the last six years, including £85 million this financial year.

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I.D.CARDS

As from April 1 all Zanzibaris were required to have identity cards. The purpose is to identify residents of Zanzibar and provide Zanzibaris with documents allowing them easy movement within the East African region. The identification card project, which started in June 2005, was undertaken by an Israel-US firm, Super Com, at a cost of about $2 million. Civil servants need to show them before getting their salaries. To qualify for a card, persons must be Tanzanians of Zanzibar origin or have been resident in Zanzibar for at least 10 years. The measure was implemented amid escalating incidents of armed robbery on the islands – suspected to have been committed by non-Zanzibaris – as well as civil service fraud in which the government has lost more than $1 million annually to ghost workers – IRIN.

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DROUGHT AND THEN FLOODS

Tanzania’s climate remains harsh. At the beginning of the year famine was reported in several areas of the country and in February President Kikwete said the government would reduce the budgets of some ministries, if need be, to import food for hungry people. The President announced in February that he was going to hire electrical generators to relieve the shortage of electricity. He said that power shortages were critical, and daily rationing had been increased from 8 to 16 hours. He pointed out that this was because water levels at the Mtera and Kidatu dams had dropped due to the continuing drought. As the impact of the power rationing continued to be felt across the country, the public has expressed concern over a government ban on use of charcoal in urban areas. But two months later, after heavy rain, the dams started to refill and the severe electricity cuts in Dar were eased.

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BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

Exchange rates: 1 £ = TShs 2,124 1 US$ = TShs 1,216

The onset of the fourth government in the history of Tanzania came without the usual stories of inheriting empty coffers which is a very good sign of things to come. The market welcomed the new government enthusiastically with the CRDB Bank announcing a record profit of TShs 4bn. However, the value of the Shilling has been falling while headline inflation continued on an upward trend to 5.4% in February 06 from 4.5% in September ‘05. Read the rest of this entry »

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AIR TANZANIA CO. LTD. COLLAPSES

The merger between the South African Airways and Air Tanzania Corporation that resulted in the formation of ‘Air Tanzania Company Ltd’ has collapsed. Minister for Infrastructure Development, Basil Mramba, told the National Assembly that the two parties were negotiating on how to end the deal without hurting one another. In 2002 South African Airways (SAA) paid $20 million for a 49% stake in ATC. It was expected that half of the $20 million, would go into the 49% shareholding, and the rest would be directed toward the capital and training account earmarked for capitalisation. Before privatisation, ATC owned one passenger aircraft, a Boeing 737-200. Some have accused SAA of failing to meet part of the management agreement. Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Margaret Munyagi was quoted in the East African as saying that Air Tanzania was in a “worse state than before it was taken over by SAA”. SAA in turn accused Tanzania’s government of not “being serious” in failing to release about $30m needed to implement Air Tanzania’s business strategy to reverse continued losses.

In April the government announced it had decided to dispose of ATCL, following years of losses. It had become insolvent after accumulating losses amounting to TShs 24.7bn/- in the four years since it had merged with South Africa Airways. However, the minister made it clear that there was a need to start a national airline that would meet the expectations of its clients and the country. A number of potential investors including Precision Air, Ethiopian Airlines and Gulf Air had expressed interest – Guardian.

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COMMONWEALTH GAMES TRIUMPH

Samson RamadhaniSamson Ramadhani

Tanzanian Samson Ramadhani (a police officer) won the gold medal in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on 19th March. He was in fierce competition with Kenyan Fred Mogaka throughout much of the race and finished the 34 seconds ahead. “I knew that the Kenyans were very strong – they were the favourites to win – but I didn’t use my strength. I used my brain” Ramdhani said. According to the Arusha Times he returned home with not only the gold medal but also with some newly acquired football skills from ‘Down under.’ Ramadhani had spent his final hours at the athletes village enjoying a game of ‘kick-to-kick’ with his compatriots and emergency services personnel. ‘Australian Convicts’, an organization which promotes Australian Rules Football overseas, donated two balls to the runner, in order for him to bring the game home to his fellow Tanzanians.

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THE WALKING DREAM

By Jane Bryce

When my parents arrived in Tanganyika in 1949, they were sent to the Rondo Plateau, a remote area in the south, where my father’s job was to map a forest. This he was to do by foot safari, camping in the bush for up to weeks at a time, with a team of porters to carry the tents and provisions. Before she became pregnant with me, my mother went on foot safari with him. I have the pictures they took – a record of the dying days of colonialism, the white administrator with his canvas bath, dinner served at a folding table by lamplight, my mother washing her hair in a stream…but my memories are all of Moshi, where we lived from when I was three to seventeen. My parents spent nineteen years in Tanzanian Government and left in 1968.

safariThe writer’s father’s office at the Hardwoods Research Station, Moshi

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