Archive for September, 2006

CORRUPTION

Of all the challenges facing the new president the problem of corruption must be at the top of the list. The media has reminded him that some of the 30 leaders accused of engaging in corrupt practices and who were named by the Warioba Corruption Commission in 1996 are still in his administration. He himself has declared several times his intention to fight corruption and even asked the public to give him names of dishonest leaders. Later he said he knows such leaders but has decided to ‘give them time to reform’. Read the rest of this entry »

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THE £160 MEDAL

The catalogue of DNW Auction in London for sales on July 11 described details of a copper medal with an interesting history. It shows Britannia on one side holding a scroll and on the other a laurel globe and sextant. The medal, which was sold for £160, was originally given to 150 Tanganyikan members of the Royal Geographical Society’s East Africa Expedition (1878 – 1880). The medal cost at that time £41.16 shillings and the silk cord to suspend it £12. The expedition was launched to find a feasible route from Dar es Salaam to the Central African lakes and was led by Alexander Keith Johnston. However, a few weeks after setting off from Zanzibar, he succumbed to dysentery and command of the expedition passed to another Scot, Joseph Thompson, who was only 21. The catalogue explains how Thompson’s coolness and tact were remarkable and how he successfully conducted the expedition across the desolate regions of Uhehe and Ubena to the north end of Lake Nyasa and then found a hitherto unexplored track to Lake Tanganyika. He also reached Lake Rukwa from which he marched back via Tabora to the coast at Bagamoyo before returning to London in 1880 (Thank you John Sankey for this – Editor).

the medalThe Royal Geographical Society East Africa Expedition medal

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TAZARA AND CHINA

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway (Tazara) will be ‘concessioned’ by Tanzania and Zambia to a Chinese investor according to the Guardian. The two governments which have run the railway since its inception in 1976 have identified a Chinese firm with the capacity to run the 1,860 kilometre railway profitably. After lengthy discussions that took years to conclude, the two governments agreed to give it to China considering the role it had played in its construction and maintenance. Tazara has in the recent past been beset by declining profits triggered by technical problems.

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CRIME

Two government ministers are among the latest victims of crime. Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Dr Batilda Burian, lost her mobile phone worth over TShs 400,000 from her home in Kijionyama. A second robbery then took place at the new house of neighbouring Deputy Minister for Defence, Omar Yussuf Mzee. Mrs Mzee told the press that her ornaments (including 22 rings) made of gold, diamond, and rubies worth millions of shillings were taken. She offered a TShs 500,000 reward but to no avail. Mrs Mzee said she kept the 22 rings so as to match her dresses – Mtanzania. Read the rest of this entry »

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SUSTAINABLE ENERGY AWARD

The NGO “Mwanza Rural Housing Programme” (MRHP) has been awarded the “Africa Award” worth £30,000 in the prestigious ‘Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy’ – a programme now in its 6th year. MRHP, who have been working in the area for 15 years, saw an urgent need to find a way to improve the quality of housing in the region without adding to the problems of severe deforestation by using traditional wood fired brick kilns. MRHP’s solution was a kiln using widely available agro waste including cotton waste, rice husks, coffee husks and in some cases sawdust as fuel source.

BricksBricks waiting to be fired (photos www.ashdenawards.org)

Completed houseCompleted house using bricks fired in an MRHP designed kiln

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BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

(Exchange rates: £1 = 2,426 TShs, 1US$ = 1,244 TShs on August 6th 2006 )

The economy recorded a lacklustre performance for the year 2005. Though there was an increase in value of exports by 13.8% to $1,676.3 million this was matched by a similar increase in value of imports to $ 2,661 million leaving a trade deficit of $985 million equivalent to 5.8% of GDP. There was a 10.8% decrease in foreign reserves to $2,048 m which is equivalent to 6.4 months of imports as opposed to the targeted 7 months. This may have contributed to the 3.6% depreciation of the shilling to an average of TShs 1,128.8 to the dollar. Read the rest of this entry »

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NEW MONKEY GENUS

Monkeys are among the most heavily studied wild animals on earth, and it is getting on for a century since a new species of them was last recognised by zoologists. The monkeys were discovered in Tanzania last year by Tim Davenport of the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and his colleagues.

Kipunji MonkeyThe Kipunji monkey – photo Tim Davenport/WCS

The monkeys were originally named the ‘highland mangabey’. However, examination of their DNA and skeletons, proved that they are related to baboons of the Genus Papio, even though they do not look like baboons. As a result, the monkeys have now been assigned to a genus all of their own by the journal SCIENCE – Rungwecebus (after Mount Rungwe, where the first colonies were found) kipunji. The kipunji has pale grey-brown fur, with off-white fur on its belly. Sixteen colonies have been found in the Rungwe-Livingstone Forest and Ndundulu Forest Reserve. This is the first new genus to be identified amongst primates for 83 years. (Thank you Ron Fennell and Simon Hardwick for sending details of this from the Economist and the Times (May 12).

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DARE TO DREAM

Every individual on the planet has the capacity to shine. By being open minded, free spirited and with a belief that anything is possible, we can shine and positively affect all those around us. One such individual, Grant Pierce, an Australian mining engineer and recognised long term philanthropist in Tanzania, has had a profound effect on 42 children from rural villages in Nzega. For the last eight years he has been assisting a small school called Isanga Primary. By 2003 a choir had emerged consisting of 42 children (between 11 and 18) from Lusu, Bujulu and Isanga primary schools.

Golden Pride ChoirThe Golden Pride Choir at Stimmen Festival, Germany – photo Grant Pierce

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THE WALKING DREAM (Part 2)

Jane Bryce continues the story of her return recently to Tanzania, where she spent much of her childhood. The first part was in the last issue of TA. She is writing about her return to Moshi.

I’ve walked a long way now, but something is growing in me. I’m certain I’m getting close, that this is the edge of the neighbourhood where I grew up, and if I just keep going, I’ll inevitably get there. I strike off onto a bush path – like any African, I’ll always look for a short cut when the main road is getting long-winded. I’m weaving through the backs of colonial era houses, solid and well built, surrounded by gardens. These are the kind of houses my friends lived in, the houses I visited with my mother, the gardens I played in. I am in suspense, waiting for that particular corner, that special landmark, which will tell me I’ve come home. Then I’m walking down a wide, well paved road with old trees on either side. I know this road. It’s called Kilimanjaro Road, and runs west to east, with the mountain on the left hand side still hidden by cloud, and the Police Training School grounds where we used to see groups of Chinese sitting in a circle when the communists were courting President Nyerere. My road, the road with my house on, branches off this one. It used to be called Rombo Avenue. I know exactly where I am. In another few minutes, I will be there. Read the rest of this entry »

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“TANZANIA – A DONOR COUNTRY”

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has commended Tanzania for its immense contribution to hosting refugees from the Great Lakes region.

Jakaya KikwetePresident Kikwete and UN Secretary General Koffi Annan

During talks with President Kikwete at the seventh ordinary meeting of the African Union in the Gambia in August, Dr Annan said Tanzania should be considered ‘a donor country’. He said it was unfair for the UN to recognise countries that give material and moral support to refugees as the donors and forget the host countries. President Kikwete said that, although Tanzania had been hosting a number of refugees, its contribution had not been recognised by the UN as was the case with countries that give material support. “Hosting refugees is very risky because a country’s security is put in jeopardy and the adverse impact on the environment is likely to last long” he said.

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