Archive for May, 2008

ZANZIBAR – A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT

An important conference of some 200 members of the CCM Central and National Executive Committees was held in March, symbolically in Butiama, the home village of the nation’s founding father Julius Nyerere. There were two main items on the agenda – firstly, what to do next in terms of disciplinary action or prosecution of those accused of corruption and secondly, what to do next in Zanzibar after almost two years of detailed negotiations led by the Secretaries General of the CCM and the leading opposition party in Zanzibar, the Civic United Front (CUF), to resolve the ongoing political differences in the Isles.

Hopes in Zanzibar, especially in Pemba which supports CUF overwhelmingly, were high because it had been widely reported that a power sharing agreement (Muafaka) had been finally reached and only needed ratification by CCM’s Central Committee. After what was reported as having been an acrimonious six-hour meeting however it became apparent that elements of the CCM party in Zanzibar, including apparently President Karume of Zanzibar, were not prepared to accept power-sharing with the opposition. The CCM declared that before such an arrangement could be concluded there would have to be a referendum in which the people of Zanzibar would be able to vote for or against such a proposal.

This caused astonishment and anger amongst the opposition parties whose MP’s walked out of the National Assembly meeting in Dodoma and later organised a massive and peaceful protest demonstration in Zanzibar. Much of the national media was also critical of the CCM. The Citizen wrote: ‘The politicians may have their differences but the people still want them to work together in the interests of Zanzibar.’

At the time of going to press CUF announced that it was ruling out any further dialogue with CCM on the dispute but CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, John Chiligati said that it was wrong for CUF to claim that CCM had scuttled the Muafaka. He said: “CUF will march until they get sore feet but their attempts to break off negotiation with CCM will not help them.” Muafaka could not be reached by negotiation teams without the approval of the party leadership. He said the teams merely prepared recommendations. “After CUF gets tired of demonstrating they will return to the table” – Nipashe.

Mwananchi has reported that as people were celebrating the 44th anniversary of the 1964 Revolution in Zanzibar some had begun to ask questions as to what it had really involved. They wanted to apologise for what they did. One of them, Ali Omar Juma (aka Lumumba). declared that he had nightmares remembering how innocent people were hacked, their houses raided and their property robbed. He said the basic aim was to liberate the country, but some of those who joined the crowd had ulterior motives which were ‘inhuman and cruel’.

Deputy Secretary General of CUF (Zanzibar), Juma Duni Haji was later quoted as saying in Nipashe that the 2010 elections would be marred by violence if the Muafaka was not implemented. Speaking at the University of Dar es Salaam on occasion of the 44th year of the Union, Duni said President Kikwete knew full well that without a coalition government there would be no free and fair elections in the island. Talking about the ‘marginalisation’ of opposition supporting Pemba island Pemba, Duni said that of the 15 Zanzibar ministers only one came from Pemba, there was one deputy Minister and only two permanent secretaries.

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A PAIN IN MTWARA

Rob Wilson writes: In 2006 I planned a ten-week tour of Tanzania to research the potential for expansion of our Nottingham-based ‘Tanzania Book Project’ (TA No 89). I was beginning in Lindi and going on from there to Mtwara, Tabora, Shinyanga, Kagera and Mara. But the first week proved to be more than my body was willing to handle. The Municipal Director of Mtwara was showing me the entire region on what was a bumpy four day tour. I began to have stomach pains on the third day but shrugged it off as just the bumps from the journey. But on our final day, my stomach was starting to give me real pain. Having not slept a wink that night, on my return to Mikindani, I asked a friend to drive me to the nearest doctors’ surgery. The doctor took one look at me, gave one small prod at my stomach and that was all he needed to diagnose appendicitis. He explained that I needed to go the Mtwara hospital immediately for surgery.

I asked my friend to take me to the hospital. He gave me a very puzzled look before explaining the statistical chances of even surviving an appendectomy at a local hospital. He drove me directly to the airport, where, by chance, there was flight ready to depart for Dar with one spare seat reserved for emergencies. I was very much accepted as an emergency.

On arrival at the Aga Khan hospital in Dar the surgeon just smiled at me and calmly said: “Surely you won’t let us bush doctors operate on you? Do you not instead want to risk your life and fly home to the security of your fancy western hospitals?” It would seem that he had met too many arrogant British travelers in the past who thought they knew more than doctors and was rather enjoying the situation. He did eventually take the scenario seriously enough to operate but I swear that he still had smile on his face.

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“GO BACK TO SOCIALISM & SELF RELIANCE”

by Joseph Kilasara

This year President Kikwete will unveil his third budget which one could say is entirely his own and uninfluenced by the previous legacy. Over the past two years the country has witnessed little or no difference in terms of government’s priorities let alone its approach in addressing our economic development conundrum. Maybe it is because the same political party has been in power since independence – TANU then CCM.

Mwalimu Nyerere listed four requirements needed for a country to achieve development – People, Land, Clean Politics and Good Governance. Interestingly, the last is belatedly a new phenomenon even in business circles worldwide which suggests that Mwalimu was way ahead of his time. In fairness, only two are actually needed to make a country i.e. Land and People. This may explain the countryless Antarctica (although some scientists are currently camping there). Through clean politics we get clean leaders who in turn with good governance formulate the right policies which guide the peoples’ interaction with land to achieve development. Malaysia is 50 yrs free this year while Tanzania is 47th and there perhaps ends their similarities. Of the four ingredients you may wonder which one has eluded our beloved land.

With Mwalimu our economic policy was based on “Ujamaa na Kujitegemea” – Socialism and Self Reliance – which gave the country a clear sense of direction. With Mzee Mwinyi it was Ruksa or liberalisation. Mr Mkapa coined the idea of ‘sell fast at any price’, while Mr Kikwete is taking a slow approach under his ‘new speed, new vigour and new zeal’ mantra.
Interestingly all this time CCM has continued to rightly believe in Mwalimu’s policy of Socialism and Self Reliance. This disparity between what the party believes and what its government is doing may be the main reason for our own undoing. Instead of the party creating clear policies with defined goals which the government should achieve, we have the government dictating party policies which have all but disappeared. In Mwalimu’s own words “Kazi ya chama ni kuweka Sera na kazi ya serikali ni kuzitekeleza” (The job of the party is to set policies and the job of the Govt is to implement them).
Socialism and self reliance as a vision remains as relevant today as it was in 1961. The difference lies in definition and approach. Socialism today means social justice and the right to social mobility while Self Reliance means social and economic empowerment. The privatisation process, major mining projects and energy procurement projects which ignore local ownership can hardly be said as targeted to achieve that. By allowing even up to 100% foreign ownership it goes even against the spirit of programmes like the Black empowerment programme in South Africa or affirmative action in America. The irony here is that our posterity cannot claim racism or apartheid to correct the anomaly. A political party is formed by a group of people with common beliefs and ideals who together sell them to the public to get a mandate to form a government to implement them. Their beliefs and ideals then become the basis of their policies. The difficulty here is that CCM has all but lost the meaning of a political party as it is difficult to see the commonality of beliefs among its members. That is why we see the Bank of Tanzania and Tanesco scandals, the purchase of a presidential plane, the Radar saga, Bujagali, government’s house sales, etc emanating from within. No wonder the president is talking about separating business from politics.
Now, as it appears that the government has halted the indiscriminate privatisation process it is imperative that they go back to the party and formulate clear policies on Socialism and Self Reliance. On protecting the national interest, Tanzania can borrow a leaf from China in its dealings with Mr Rupert Murdoch. He deployed all his capitalist sweets to penetrate the huge Chinese media market only to come out with a wife instead as the Chinese were only interested in technical know-how rather than selling their assets, believing strongly: “China’s profits are for China”. (read: Rupert’s Adventures in China: How Murdoch Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife). Again, China this year, through its state Company Chinalco bought a £7bn stake in Rio Tinto in an attempt to kill the potential merger between Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton’s which, if happened, would create a world steel mining monopoly (about 80% market share) which in turn would affect China’s sources of vital natural resources.
It is from this scenario that the role of the NDC (National Development Corporation) should be revisited to spearhead development and industrialisation of our economy by giving it the technical and financial capacity to invest in strategic industries both at home and abroad. This should be in line with the idea of creating sovereign-wealth funds for investment purposes. The stake to be built up by NDC could in future be divested to the public, while the sovereign funds become a front to earn a return on the country’s foreign reserve instead of letting Jeethu Patel & co find a scam way of utilising it.
The budget
In Mr Kikwete’s first budget one notable pledge was to reduce dependency on donors by increasing revenue collection. Though officially it is claimed that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, some key indicators paint a very different picture. With a 45% budget deficit in 05/06 i.e. 11.5% of GDP, the country is heavily dependent on donor’s generosity. The government tax revenue which in 05/06 was 13.6% of GDP is also heavily dependent on Dar es Salaam which contributed 83.2% with 12 regions contributing less than a percentage point. Of this revenue almost 45% came from import taxes, implying that the internally generated revenue is only 7.5% of GDP. By applying the revenue/GDP ratio, Arusha, which contributed 3.2% of revenue will have contributed 5.7% of GDP while Mwanza (2%) is 3.6%. In the other cities in the country the disparity is enormous! The actual contribution to GDP is however highly influenced by agriculture (30%) which again contributes little in tax revenue.
This gives us a snapshot of the level of economic activity in the country which renders the per capital income (US$319 in 05/06) almost meaningless as the majority of people are outside the economic mainstream. As the new Minister of Finance (Mr Mkullo) also aims to improve revenue collection, not only should he strive to reduce donor dependency but more so the dependency on Dar es Salaam, thus widening the collection net, improving productivity and reducing income disparity. His immediate work is definitely cut out. He will need clear guidance from the Central Bank the structure of whose governance defeats the spirit of corporate governance. The Governor is also chairman of the Board which includes his two deputies and the Ministry of Finance Permanent secretary (his boss), effectively overseeing himself while lacking independence from the government.
Hence the culpability of the government in the bank’s scandals. Granting the bank operational independence, separating the job of Chairman and Governor are key to ensure corporate governance. The Bank can also improve its own image by refraining from post-mortem approaches (reporting after the event) and instead adopt a forward looking approach as this will improve the bank’s credibility which is at an all time low.

In the capital markets the dividend yield on some of the leading shares e.g. Tanga Cement is 13% while the yield on a risk-free 364 days Treasury Bill was also 13% in December 2007. One cannot stop wondering whether the shares are overvalued or it may be the case of investor’s irrational exuberance driving the price upwards. The situation is not different in the case of other leading shares. The stock market needs to ensure investors are well informed about the companies’ performance which is not happening at the moment.

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BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

Exchange rate: $1 = 1,250 TShs £1 = 3,300 TShs

A visiting mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in February extolled Tanzania’s economic growth trends despite ongoing global turmoil in trade and industry. The mission was impressed that the country`s economy has grown steadily to 7.5% in 2007/08, even as they noted that manufacturing and construction had continued to experience expansion. The mission suggested that for continued growth to be maintained the government had to strengthen domestic revenue collection efforts and judicious public spending and continue with a quality monetary policy. Monetary targets for end-2007 had been met thanks to improvements in the Bank of Tanzania’s conduct of open market operations; interest rates had declined sharply from the high levels reached in 2007. The outlook for 2008/09 was positive as investment, both foreign and domestic, was expected to remain buoyant, underpinning continued high economic growth. Tanzania faced two major challenges. First, domestic monetary policy had to be seen striving to return inflation to its target level while ensuring sufficient liquidity to allow further healthy growth in bank credit to the private sector.

The agreed priorities should focus on agricultural development, education, health, and infrastructure. The mission welcomed the decisive action taken by authorities to address the recommendations of the special audit of the External Payment Account (EPA) at the Bank of Tanzania. The year 2008 ‘Doing Business Report’ has painted Tanzania positively, although there was still said to be room for improvement. Tanzania improved from the previous year’s performance by 20 ranks, a performance which experts consider to be low compared with the resources potential the country is endowed with. Areas that required immediate improvement, included getting licences; employing workers; registering property and acquisition of credit from financial institutions. In these areas, Tanzania’s performance had not been impressive considering that it scored 170, 151, 160 and 115 positions respectively out of 178 countries.
On the ease of doing business across the globe, Tanzania ranked 130, behind Uganda, with the best countries and their rankings in brackets being Singapore (1), South Africa (35), Kenya (72), Zambia (116), Uganda (118). There had also been no improvements in terms of the duration through which an applicant waited to obtain a business license – 308 days in 2008. In dealing with licences in Tanzania, an applicant has to through 21 procedures – Guardian.

The Government announced in January an increase of the minimum wage for civil servants from TShs 80,760 to TShs 100,000 per month from July. Then, on January 11 it said that it had reduced the minimum wage for workers in export-oriented and labour-intensive private industries from TShs 150,000 to TShs 80,000 per month. The government had had lengthy discussions with stakeholders and the wage board and said that it had to accommodate genuine fears of losing external markets to competitors if exports become too expensive. A proposed increase in the statutory minimum wage from TShs 48,000 to TShs 150,000 alone would have eroded the manufacturing industry’s unit selling price margins by between 73% and 800% – Guardian.

The Government has been trying to introduce legislation to commercialise electricity supply in the country. TANESCO has been forced to increase tariffs substantially. It needs TShs 1.6 trillion to improve power production and distribution infrastructure. The 400-MW Kiwira power project, 400-MW Mchuchuma project, and 1,200-MW Stiegler`s Gorge projects should be expedited.
But MP’s opposed a proposed government Bill which they said would open the doors to private players, particularly foreign investors. This would be unfair because of the shaky purchasing power of most Tanzanians and TANESCO’s financial woes. We should first empower the state-owned firm financially and stabilise its performance before allowing in private players,” observed one MP – Guardian. Tanzania has saved almost $1 million since 2004 by substituting imported diesel with locally produced natural gas generating electricity. 12 companies are exploring oil and gas reserves in twelve blocks along the coast from Mtwara to Tanga and villagers in Songo Songo are now enjoying power, clean water and clinics and the project has generated employment for the local population – East African.
At the end of April the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Company (DAWASCO) published the names of prominent people who had not paid their water bills. Those named included the MP for Kyela Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Investment Centre, Emmanuel ole Naiko, two permanent secretaries, the Tanzanian Christian Church and a former minister. DAWASCO said that it was losing TShs 2.5billion monthly in unpaid water bills, mostly well-to do customers – Guardian.

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REVERSE PROSTITUTION

A $1.8 million groundbreaking World Bank-backed experiment being launched this year in Tanzania, aimed at halting the spread of Aids, was described in the London Financial Times on April 19. The project will counsel 3,000 men and women aged 15-30 in southern rural areas over three years, paying them $45 a year on condition that periodic laboratory results prove that they have not contacted sexually transmitted infections. There will be a control arm of people not offered payment to track the effects of the project precisely.

The designers of the project believe that the payments, when combined with careful counseling, could play an important role in reducing HIV infection. Commenting in its leading article under the heading ‘Cash for safe sex’ the FT wrote: ‘This bribery to stay free of HIV will be controversial but it may increase the bargaining power of young women and give them an alternative to accepting money from richer, older boyfriends. Can the plan really work? It might. The world of development policy needs more dangerous ideas rigorously evaluated. This one is a long shot. It should be supported anyway.’

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TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

President Bush’s visit to Tanzania in February received widespread international coverage. For example, the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST (February 18) reported that President Bush had signed a 5 year $698 million new aid package for Tanzania. In Arusha President Kikwete spoke about Barack Obama and the excitement of the American presidential election. “The US is going to get a new President. Whoever it is, for us, the most important thing is, let him be as good a friend of Africa as President Bush has been.”
US president Bush at a health centre near Arusha
At a joint press conference in Dar es Salaam President Bush said “America doesn’t work with thieves” and added: “The decision to back Tanzania’s efforts to fight poverty has been prompted by President Kikwete’s stand against corruption.” President Bush described Mr Kikwete as a “smart and role model leader in Africa.”

Security was extremely tight during the visit. US security officials camped on the roof a one of the buildings in the State House complex and sniffer dogs were roaming the State House grounds. President Bush arrived in a massive bullet proof limousine which was equipped to fend off heat-seeking bombs from more than 100 metres. Some of the security guards took time off in Arusha in the evening to visit the Greek Club. On the way back to their hotel they were mugged!
President Bush summed up the visit by saying: “It was very moving for us racing through the streets of Dar es Salaam to see thousands of people there greeting us. I really do want to extend my thanks.” President Kikwete gave Mr Bush a stuffed leopard and lion and Mr Bush gave Mr Kikwete a pair of basketball star Shaquille O’Neil’s athletic shoes. In April the US said it would increase the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) assistance to Tanzania by an additional $303m, bringing the total amount contributed to over $817m. Again in April they gave some $2.3 million to strengthen smallholder horticultural export market linkages for high value vegetables – Thank you Christine Lawrence and Elsbeth Court for sending parts of the above and Ron Blanche for sending another part from Singapore – Editor.

The London GUARDIAN WEEKLY REVIEW (February 29) wrote: ‘Never mind the bubonic plague, or T.B. or Aids, no disease in the history of the human species has caused more sickness or death and no disease has proved harder to defeat than malaria. It destroyed armies during the first and second world wars and counts among its illustrious victims Alexander the Great, Dante, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Oliver Cromwell and Lord Byron. Meanwhile in Tanzania Shadrack Nuru, a nine months old baby in Bagamoyo, is one of 340 babies who are part of a newly energised global campaign to defeat this tenacious killer. They are participating in clinical trials which are under way to test the efficacy of the most promising malaria vaccine yet devised. Half of the babies have been injected with the prototype vaccine known as RTS.S and half with a control vaccine.

Shadrack, because he is at the centre of a major international research project, has a much higher chance of surviving than the average baby in the country where local doctors estimate that more than 100,000 chil- dren died from malaria in 2007. The cash for the project has come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Salim Abdullah, who heads the Bagamoyo Research Centre, was quoted as saying: “I believe we are the first generation in human history with a serious chance of beating malaria. But I would not have dreamt of saying such a thing 10 years ago when we were alone, neglected and unfunded – Thank you Sister Lucia CSP for sending this – Editor.

BIRDS, the publication of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, indicated in its May/July issue the concern being expressed by people from Lake Natron regarding a proposed new soda ash plant. This is said to threaten the only breeding site of the African Rift Valley’s millions of lesser flamingos – among the world’s most sensational wildlife experiences. The Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators was quoted as saying: ‘Over and above tour operators’ losses, the country will lose in terms of employment, taxes and the economic trickle-down effect.’ The scheme is a joint venture between the government and Tata Chemicals of India. A spokesman for Tata was quoted as saying “It could well be that this project is impossible to carry out without significant risk to the survival of the lesser flamingo, but that point, in our opinion, has not yet been reached.” Representations about the issue have been made to the parliamentary Committee on the Environment in Dar. Thank you Robert Wise for this – Editor.

The NEW SCIENTIST (19th April) wrote: ‘Despite being one of the world’s poorest countries, Tanzania has become a role model in how to reach global targets for reducing death rates of children and mothers – putting most of its poor African neighbours to shame. So says the World Health Organisation which reported that, of the 68 nations that account for 97 per cent of the world’s childhood and maternal deaths, only 16 are on track to meet millennium development goals in children under five by two thirds and maternal deaths by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. Between 1999 and 2004 Tanzania increased the annual amount spent on health care per citizen from $4.70 to $11.70. No other African government matched this. As a result child mortality fell by 11 per cent between 2000 and 2005 and Tanzania should be able to reach its target’ – Thank you Keith Lye for this and many other contributions – Editor.

An article in DEVELOPMENTS Issue 41 under the title ‘Net Benefit’ reported on an unprecedented joint venture to protect against malaria between the Japanese giant Sumitomo Chemical and A-Z Textiles based in Arusha. Sumitomo are the creators of the Olyset net which is guaranteed to last at least five years; it never needs re-treatment; its polythene technology makes it virtually tear-proof so it can be washed up to 20 times and still remain effective; its control – release technology enables the non-toxic insecticide to be contained within the fibre, not coated on the outside; it has a quadruple insecticide effect on mosquitoes – bite inhibition, repellency, knockdown and kill. Started in 2004, production has now reached 10 billion nets a year. Some 3,200 people, mostly women, have gained employment.

Kate Elsheby, writing in the April issue of NEW AFRICAN described a visit to ‘the mesmerising, yet little-known Katavi National Park in south-west Tanzania. There are more hippos than anywhere else in Africa. The park receives only 1,200 visitors each year in contrast to the Ngorongoro crater which recorded a record 375 cars on one day alone in August 2007. The animals at Katavi are completely wild and not like other parks where they are used to vehicles and sit watching like moody, camera-weary models. During the dry season Katavi’s crocodiles display behaviour unique to this area which resulted in the National Geographic Society coming out to film them in 2007. The crocodiles slither into caves along the riverbanks to hibernate: lying still, their heart beats slow to two beats per minute, and they remain like this for up to six weeks….’

The ANTIQUE TRADE GAZETTE (November ‘07) reported that the first European credited with successfully climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was Hans Horst Meyer. He eventually reached the summit on his third attempt; On his first he was defeated by deep snow and ice; on the second he was taken prisoner during the Abushiri revolt. In 1891 he published a book on his climbing and this book was recently put up for auction at Christie’s. Gallerie Minerva of Zurich bid £4,200 for it – Thank you John Sankey for sending this – Editor.

The EAST AFRICAN in its March 31 issue devoted two pages to the person it described as ‘Tanzania’s one-man backbench.’ It wrote: ‘Zitto Kabwe, the MP for Kigoma, is at the face of a new breed of young politicians who have lit up the public imagination by incessantly questioning authority and crusading against corruption.’ It went on: ‘Tanzanian society itself is in a state of ferment. For the first time, public pressure is mounting on leaders to account for their actions. And nowhere has this pressure for change been more evident than in Parliament where Kabwe and company have emerged as voices for reform and probity. He represents the new breed of radical nyerereist MP’s who have risen up to revive Nyerereism as an ideology of simplicity and the rejection of the empty worship of wealth…..the man has forced the government to start looking afresh at lopsided mining contracts that Tanzania has signed with multinational mining companies over the years. What CCM bigwigs did not realise was that Kabwe is riding the crest of a wave of popular resentment of mining companies because the people were perceived as not getting a fair share of the revenue from the expanding gold exports…. Kabwe is a trained Trade Economist…. At university he was suspended twice following a student strike…he joined the CHADEMA party in 1993 AND is now Deputy Secretary General. He say he will not contest the next election because he wants to undertake further studies but he is under strong party pressure to change his mind.

The NEW INTERNATIONALIST (October ’07) reported that a number of falconers in the United Arab Emirates have been in negotiations to lease land from the Hadzabe tribe, who dwell near Lake Eyasi and are one of the oldest indigenous groups on the planet. The Hadzabe apparently do not object provided they can continue to co-exist on the land. However, the article says, the Tanzanian government plans to take them off the land and relocate them in ‘shanty towns’ “Their right to their land and their way of life is under threat and protest is gathering worldwide” Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Head of the UAE Falconers Club, is being petitioned to intervene in the case by falconers and also to help to see that the Hadzabe are treated with respect – Thank you Sister Lucia CSP for sending this – Editor.

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MISCELLANY

In two years time 24 100m-plus-high power generators able to produce 50 MW of power (almost 10% of Tanzania’s current power needs) are due to have been erected in Nijapanda village in Singida region as part of the first commercial wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa. The company behind the $113m project is ‘Wind East Africa.’ “It’s important that Tanzania diversifies its power sources,” says project manager Mike Case. “The country is very reliant on hydro-electric power, which means that in times of drought, there is a power deficit. Oil-generated power is very expensive, so wind power offers a cheaper and more reliable alternative.”
The demand for power in Tanzania is growing by more than 50 MW a year, fuelled partly by an expansion of gold and nickel mining in the north of the country. At present, electricity is sourced from power plants more than 1000 kms away. This first wind farm will mean that power-hungry industries will soon be provided with electricity generated locally.
According to wind expert Dr Ladislaus Lwambuka, from the University of Dar es Salaam, Africa is now ready for wind power on a commercial scale. There are already plans, if the first phase of the project goes well, to double the number of wind turbines and increase Wind East Africa’s output to up to 100 MW – BBC News.
People braving torrential rain to see the Olympic Torch procession pass through Dar-es-SalaamPeople braving torrential rain to see the Olympic Torch procession pass through Dar-es-Salaam
The Olympic Torch for the Beijing Olympic Games passed through Dar-es-Salaam as the only African leg on its world tour to reach China. Thousands of people turned out to watch the procession despite torrential rain and flooding. There were no reports of protests which have affected the other legs of the torches journey.


An article on the BBC NEWS website ( 10th April) describes how a small army of women are trying to restore the labyrinthine alleys and carved wooden doors of Zanzibar Stone Town. “Among them is 31-year-old Asma Juma, one of six Zanzibari women who have been trained to plaster. She is part of a team restoring a dilapidated old spice house which will be reborn as a tourist hotel. All the women have been taught by Vuai Mtumwa, who says that they all like the work because of their desire to renovate Stone Town. “They work hard, they come every day,” Mr Mtumwa says. “They are working like men. Some work they can’t do – they don’t climb the scaffold.” Mohammed Mughery, from the Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society, fears for the future of Stone Town. “Most buildings are made of coral stone and lime mortar. So they need to be attended often. Just a small crack if left will become wider and will lead to the collapse of the building.”
Although the heritage society is making its contribution by renovating the wall of an old trader’s house, there are still dozens of other buildings which need urgent attention. The women plasterers are ready to help out. They’re just hoping that the funds are provided before Stone Town disintegrates beyond repair.”

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OBITUARIES

Frank Humplick, the gifted singer, guitarist and composer of many melodies which are still popular with the present generation and stir memories of yesteryear, died in August 2007 in Lushoto. His death was commemorated by a 3-page article in the 7th January issue of the EAST AFRICAN MAGAZINE. His father was a Swiss civil engineer and was among the engineers who built the Tanga-Arusha railway at the turn of the 20th century. His mother was a Chagga. Although his death passed unnoticed, the article said that one had only to visit the record library of Radio Tanzania, Dar es Salaam to realise how prolific a composer Frank was. In the early TANU meetings at Mnazi Moja in Dar, before Nyerere mounted the stage Humplick’s song ‘Yes No’ would be played to attract crowds. It became a protest song for nationalists. Also in his youth he studied horticulture and wrote about many of the crops introduced by the Germans to Tanganyika.

Major General Mwita Marwa died in Pretoria in January. He was buried in Tarime. Major General Marwa led Tanzanian soldiers in the capture of Masaka and Entebbe during the 1978/79 Kagera War with Uganda. In recognition of his distinguished service the President conferred on him several military medals including the Kagera, Uhuru, Jamhuri, Muungano, 20 years of TPDF, Tanzania Long Service, and Tanzania Eminent Service medals – Guardian.

The former Tabora Regional Commissioner Ditopile Mzuzuri died in a Morogoro hotel in April while on a business trip. President Kikwete was among those who delivered condolences to the family. The had resigned as RC in 2006 following manslaughter charges he was facing in connection with the fatal shooting of a commuter bus driver in Dar es Salaam on November 4, 2006. – Guardian

TRAGEDY AT MERERANI

On 29th March there was a major tragedy at the famous Mererani Tanzanite mining site near Arusha. Some 75 miners were feared dead after rainfall triggered the collapse of some of the pits following floods caused by heavy rain. Some 166 people were said to have been working inside eight pits, some as deep as 300 metres under the ground, by the time the floods struck. 93 were pulled to safety. There have been torrential rains all over the country.

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REVIEWS

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

WHY PLANNING DOES NOT WORK: LAND USE PLANNING AND RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS IN TANZANIA. Tumsifu, Jonas and Nnkya. Mkuki na Nyota Dar es Salaam. 2007. ISBN 978 9987 449 682. pp360. p/b £29.95. Available through African Books Collective, P.O. Box 721 Oxford, OX1 9EN. www.africanbookscollective.com.

Town planning is struggling back into vogue after three decades of discredit. The World Planning Congress published a ten-point declaration ‘Reinventing Planning: a New Governance Paradigm for Managing Human Settlements’ in June 2006 that it took to the United Nations Third World Urban Forum in Vancouver for endorsement. The theme of UN Global Report on Human Settlements 2009 will be on ‘Revisiting Urban Planning‘. This return to planning is well overdue – but what sort of planning?

Physical planning in the rapidly growing urban areas of the developing countries of the South lost the plot in the 1970s when it became evident that the processes for determining and controlling land use by the public sector (local government) were being overtaken by the magnitude and speed of urban population growth and economic and social change. Private sector investors could not wait for, or be bothered with, the seemingly tortuous bureaucratic procedures entailed in obtaining planning permission. New migrants in search of urban opportunities could not wait for nor afford officially approved housing or licences to start enterprises. In short, planning and building standards could not be afforded, building permit procedures were too slow, town plans bore no relation to municipal budgets so they were rarely implemented, and there were not enough planning officers and building inspectors to ‘police’ new developments. As a result people, rich and poor alike, did their own thing and the authorities could not control them.

On the other hand, professional town planners saw themselves as the upholders of planning standards, procedures and legislation (that were largely inherited from former colonial administrations) that would ensure efficient, livable and beautiful towns to be proud of. They worked in ‘administrative black boxes’ that were secretive and exclusive and did not engage those who were ‘being planned’. Planning was seen as a technical process that ordinary people would not understand.

So, if there is to be a return to planning, what should the new planning be like? What should be its aims: control, promotion or both? Who should do it: planners, investors, citizens or all three? What is the interface between planning and plan implementation, or should there be no need for one? There are many glib and seemingly obvious answers to such questions, but in the real world of the cut-and-thrust politics of urban development they are far from easy to put into practice.

This is borne out by Tumsifu Jonas Nnkya’s new book ‘Why Planning Does Not Work? Land Use Planning and Residents’ Rights in Tanzania’, which is a fascinating and detailed analysis of planning, power and land rights in Moshi over the last thirty-years.

The story starts with a brief overview of Tanzania’s colonial planning inheritance, providing a lead up to the heady post-Arusha-Declaration times of “building a socialist and self-reliant egalitarian society” in Tanzania that characterised the late 1960s and early ‘70s. It saw the adoption of a national ‘growth-pole’ policy aimed at stimulating more “balanced development” away from the economic dominance of Dar-es-Salaam. Moshi was to be one of the nine regional growth-poles, for which it needed a new town plan that included significant extensions to the town boundaries, incorporating villages, previously under rural district administration. After two years of deliberation and dispute, the plan, which had been drawn up by “two non-resident planners and an engineer from the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development in Dar-es-Salaam”, was approved in 1975, setting the scene for the rest of this often disturbing but at times encouraging account of “government versus the people”.

Dr Nnkya probes, recounts and analyses the interests and strategies of the wide range of different interest groups and actors engaged in the processes of planning in Moshi and its implementation through a series of captivating case studies, starting with the new town boundary. He digs deep into the political interests of the town council; describes the dismay of villagers at finding themselves liable to pay new urban licence fees; reports on how the Ministry of Works discovered that the airport, for which it was responsible, had been turned over to housing, requiring the construction of a new one; and tells how a group of villagers charged the Town Council with trespass in the High Court in a case that took ten years to resolve.

Building upon these and other examples of the lack of consultation and transparency by those in authority, the book examines a range of different issues such as how the planners and public sector developers faced civil disobedience that prevented the demarcation of new housing plots; the official appropriation of land that was deemed to be “inefficiently used” by a psychiatric hospital for therapeutic farming, which ended up as luxury housing for senior officers of the administration, despite widespread media coverage and public protest; and how even when the Planning Department was requested to plan a neighbourhood by its residents, who had themselves paid for its survey, they were not involved or consulted about the new layout, which bore little relationship to what was on the ground or what they needed and was therefore ignored.

Despite all of this, the book is not just a catalogue of horror stories or an account of conservative resistance to change. A picture of slowly evolving institutional change and effective public participation in Moshi’s planning and development is built up throughout the middle section of the book. This is largely achieved by the insightful and analytical introductions and closing summaries to each chapter and the reflective commentary that binds together the myriad of quotations from letters, minutes, judgements and the author’s his own discussions with those who had been involved. In the penultimate chapter Moshi rides gloriously into the sunset of the United Nations sponsored Sustainable Moshi Programme, hand-in-hand with citizen consultations and participatory decision-making in the planning and management of the town.

Throughout the book Dr Nnkya draws on the work of contemporary planning theorists and international experience to provide a coherent basis for his commentary and analysis, thus drawing out lessons for urban governance, management and planning of relevance to many African towns and cities, beyond the borders of Moshi and Tanzania.

The book is beautifully written in the fast-moving, easy-flowing traditions of the best of analytical investigative journalism, making it an exciting read for all those interested in the complexities of local politics and the creation of sustainable and just urban environments in Africa. We eagerly await Dr Nnkya’s next book, in which he promises to provide “an account of the changes that have taken … place in planning practice under political pluralism and a liberal economy”. This, we hope, will give a similarly exhaustive treatment to the first ten years of the Sustainable Moshi Programme – an example of the new urban planning.

Patrick Wakely

MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL TANZANIAN. Al Noor Kassum. L B Tauris and Co. Ltd, London and New York 2007 Distributed by Macmillan Distribution Ltd, £24.50. p/p. 158 pages, including 12 of b/w photos and letter reproductions. ISBN 978 1 84511 583 8).

By current political memoir standards, this fascinating book is remarkably short considering that it covers a long and impressive career at the top of politics in pre- and post-independent Tanzania, with the (first) East African Community in Arusha and at the United Nations in Paris and New York – as well as doing much else besides.

Yet, this work by Al Noor Kassum – ‘Nick’, to those who know him – is a major contribution to 20th century East African history, the more so given the real scarcity of African political memoirs . There is something here for everyone. The book should be of special interest, though, to the modern generation of Tanzanians (who did not know Mwalimu Nyerere), and to all who have an interest in the decolonisation period in Tanzania and the country’s relationship with its East African neighbours.

Nick starts with his father’s migration from India to Tanganyika in 1896, and describes the development of his family’s businesses in colonial Dar es Salaam – including the grocery store that served the British Governor and which first brought the author into contact in the early 1940s with Julius Nyerere who, as a teacher at Pugu, used to shop there. He then describes his schooling in England before the outbreak of WWII, and in India during the war, how he qualified as a lawyer in London and subsequently established a legal practice in Dar. Nick’s increasingly close relationship with the Aga Khan and the leading role he played in the Ismaili communities in London and Tanzania are evidenced. He then documents his growing interest in educational reform – in 1954 the Aga Khan appointed him Administrator of the Aga Khan schools in Tanganyika – and his involvement in pre-independence Tanganyikan politics (first as a Town Councillor, then a Member of the Legislative Assembly, and from 1959 MP for Dodoma and Chief Whip of the TANU parliamentary party).

Continuing the catalogue of impressive public service, Nick then sets out his time as: Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Information (1961); Parliamentary Secretary of Industries, Mineral Resources and Power (1964); posts with UNESCO (1965) in Paris and New York, and then Secretary of ECOSOC (1967) in New York; Deputy General Manager of Williamson Diamonds (1970); EAC Minister of Finance and Administration (1972); and, for thirteen years, Minister for Water, Energy and Minerals (1977).

After leaving formal Government service in 1990, Nick has continued to serve Tanzania – as Chairman of the Dar es Salaam University Council, Chairman of the National Development Corporation, Chancellor of the Sokoine University of Agriculture (succeeding Mwalimu in that role in 1993), Trustee and Interim Chairman of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, and as the Personal Representative of the Aga Khan in Tanzania.

Much in this book is politically engaging. I was especially fascinated by Nick’s accounts of: Nyerere’s forthright defence of the 1967 Arusha Declaration (responding to the big unease it caused many leaders, who lost their privileges) and the Ujamaa villages programme; of the suspicions Tanzania generated regionally and internationally during the Cold War by its growing relationship with China (especially with the construction of TAZARA); of his analysis of the multiple reasons for the break-up of the first East African Community and how the lessons learnt have been applied in the construction of the new EAC; and of the way he helped develop Tanzania’s mineral and Songo Songo gas resources, kept the country supplied with essential oil imports at a time when Tanzania could not afford them, and spear-headed the most rapid expansion of the national electricity grid that the country has ever seen.

Nick’s description of more personal happenings are equally engrossing – such as: the attitude in pre-WWII England to an East African Asian schoolboy (a rare sight in those days); of his eight-day journey home on the last flying boat to Tanganyika after the declaration of war, meeting the founder of the Boy Scouts, Baden Powell, on the way; of how he nearly joined the British Royal Air Force in India; of the colourful Independence Day celebrations in Tanzania in 1961; of the Zanzibar revolution, the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, and other aspects of the Mainland’s relationship with Zanzibar; of how he rose to senior positions within the UN, and the ‘tussle’ between UN Secretary General U-Thant and Nyerere in 1970 over whom Nick should next serve; of his family’s reaction in 1971 to the nationalisation of their properties; of how he out-manoeuvred the secretive management of Williamson Diamonds (then dominated by De Beers) to get Tanzania a better long-term deal in the diamond industry; of his conversations with Mwalimu each time the President appointed him to the various senior public positions he held; of his meetings (as EAC Finance Minister) with Idi Amin, at the time the Ugandan dictator was expelling the Asians; of Mwalimu’s anger when Amin’s troops invaded Tanzania in November 1978 and of the President’s bitterness at Kenya’s stance; of the protracted saga over the Sunday driving ban (but no mention of the equally dubious fuel ration card system!); of how he performed an informal intermediation role in the 1980s between the Government and the World Bank/IMF when they were at logger-heads with each other; of the stressful months at the end of 1983 when a British newspaper alleged he was complicit in secret and corrupt oil deals with apartheid South Africa (wholly untrue allegations that were eventually fully retracted and compensated); and of his astonishment at not being re-appointed a minister in President Mwinyi’s drastic cabinet changes in 1990.

Nick documents his friendship over the years with Benjamin Mkapa – who wrote him a sympathetic letter in 1990 after he was dropped from the Cabinet and who, in the Foreword to the book, describes Nick as a ‘towering figure in the Asian community’ who ‘has made a contribution to the building of the nation of Tanzania that should speak volumes’.

In the moving and more personal final chapter, Nick reflects on the character and legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere (whom he admired greatly and quotes extensively throughout the book), and on Tanzania’s future. He concludes with paragraphs about his family and his association with current President Kikwete.

I happily declare an interest, and also make a suggestion. As he kindly acknowledges in the book, I worked closely with the author throughout the 1980s when he had ministerial responsibility for Water, Energy and Minerals. He was a dynamic, able and likeable minister, who performed well on both the domestic and international stages. It was a challenging and exciting period, bridging the Nyerere-Mwinyi Presidencies. Had space permitted, there is much more that he could have written.

My suggestion is that the author should consider having his book translated into Kiswahili, so that its contents can become more accessible to all Tanzanians.

My only disappointment with the book (apart from several unexpected typographical errors) is that it is too short! Nevertheless, I hope it will encourage others in similar leadership positions, in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, to record for posterity their own personal experiences of the Independence era.

Roger Nellist

INDEPENDENT? TANZANIA’S CHALLENGES SINCE UHURU: A SECOND-GENERATION NATION IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD. Knud Vilby, Uppsala, Nordiska Africainsitutet, 2007. Pp.213. ISBN 978-91-7106-590-2.

Based on a series of interviews with former and current political and party leaders, community leaders and ordinary citizens, this book seeks to re-assess the Nyerere legacy from the perspective of those who were there at the time. It also seeks to examine how Tanzania’s past interacts with current structures of globalisation in shaping the country’s current and future prospects.

The interviews highlight official (and especially Mwalimu Nyerere’s) thinking behind key policies, most notably: Ujamaa; nationalisation policies; universal primary education in the 1970s; the decision to abolish cooperatives; and the economic reforms began after Nyerere’s departure in 1985. In relying on key players in these decisions – figures such as former Vice-President Rashid Kawawa, Nyerere’s former private secretary Joseph Butiku – Vilby offers an interesting account of how policy was formulated, debated and contested within government and party. In listening to the voices of farmers, religious leaders, and former regional officers, the book explores the impact and contradictions in the implementation of those policies. There are also interesting chapters on corruption, HIV and AIDS, and agricultural development in Tanzanian policy.

The absence of Zanzibar from the story is a serious gap, ignoring some serious political fractures which are crucial to Tanzania’s story today. The narrative can at times feel disjointed, and too much emphasis is perhaps placed upon the issue of population growth. But ultimately this book is a satisfying first-person account of Tanzania’s post-colonial history.

Michael Jennings

EAST AFRICA ART BIENNALE EASTAFAB 2007:
Exhibition catalogue prepared by Yves Goscinny, 2007. Dar es Salaam. ISBN 9987–8975-5–X. p/b pp 216 with many colour images; cost: £20 plus postage (in EU: £10). In East Africa, available at La Petite Gallery and Novel Idea Bookshop, Dar es Salaam; Tulifanya Gallery, Kampala, Uganda and RaMoMA (Rahimtullah Museum of Modern Art), Nairobi. Overseas, available directly from the author or PO Box 23165, Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Related publications: ‘Tinga Tinga, Popular paintings from Tanzania’ ‘2003 East African Art Biennale’ and ‘2005 East African Art Biennale’, each at £20 plus postage.

Back story. In 1998 Yves Goscinny initiated a project ‘Art in Tanzania’ whose primary purpose is to hold a bi-annual exhibition which showcases and documents contemporary art in Tanzania. For example, in 1999/2000 it featured the works of 36 local artists including established movements of Makonde sculpture and ‘Tinga Tinga’ painting. This marked a fresh start in strengthening the local infrastructure for development in and through the visual arts. ‘Fresh’ because public art in Tanzania has had little strength, nguvu since the golden years of Professor/Artist Sam Ntiro, Commissioner of Culture (1962-72) and the inclusive Society of East African Artists.

2007 East Africa Art Biennale: EASTAFAB. Since 1998, the platform for visual art has expanded considerably due to overall betterment in East Africa and, in Tanzania, and specifically, to the energy and focus of Mr Goscinny. Now, he is Executive Director of the Biennale Association which held its third international exhibition in November 2007, in Dar es Salaam. The organizers selected more than 100 artists from 26 countries, while concentrating on five: Uganda, Tanzania, Cuba, Kenya, Mauritius. The resulting, very interesting range of regional and international art works offers stimulating comparisons for art-making as well as for the conditions for art in the global South. The especial focus on art from Cuba is a fruitful product of cultural exchange.

The Catalogue. Like an album of snapshots and ephemera this attractive publication for the 2007 EASTAFAB conveys the sensibility of a purposive selection, herein, for modern art practices relevant to Tanzania. While the bulk of the catalogue is visual material, it is more than a book of pictures. Its contents generously reach out to the viewer-reader: visually and verbally.

Visually, there is a wonderful variety of images across the range of two-dimensional mediums, techniques and styles of representation by more than a hundred makers, most of whom live in the global South, while those from Europe tend to be ‘intimate outsiders’– who have long-term commitments to Tanzania. While some works employ ‘African’ clichés such as a market or hunting scene painted boldly in bright colours, the majority of entries are individualized, imaginative and well-composed works that have the capacity to engage the beholder’s gaze.

Verbally, there is a peppy introduction, basic information in alphabetical lists by artist and country, two large sections which present the individual artists and several short essays. Two sections, one for seasoned artists and the other for emerging artists, consist of information about each artist. Overall, the text inputs are uneven, which I appreciate is part of the story, but sometimes, they are not translated (which is more tantalizing due to use of penmanship, below). In a few cases there is no text, apart from an image of a work. Many artists (40) wrote their statements by hand. As an aesthetic device, handwriting links artists to each other with the effect of lessening differences in their backgrounds while it also creates warmth between the artist and the reader.

The short essays concern socially- and politically-implicated art: art for society’s well-being and share the specific innovations of three projects taking place in East Africa. EASTAFAB’s guest artist Bruce Clarke discusses the relationship between political commitment and art making, based upon wide concepts of art and his own reality of political violence in South Africa and Rwanda. He pursues his own practice of mixed media and collective endeavors like the Garden of Memory in Rwanda for which each victim of genocide is being symbolized by incised stone (query absence of an image of the Garden). The two other projects use painting and drawing therapeutically to assist people who have crises to handle: ‘Positive Bodies’ involves the painting of ‘body maps’ as part of a process to assist people in coming to terms with HIV-AIDS in Kenya and ‘Childsoldiers’ similarly uses drawing with teenagers who have experienced violence related to child soldiers in northern Uganda.

This cornucopia of evidence is vast and raw, being neither homogenized, nor perfectly edited, nor uniformly anglophonie. Its shortcomings and mild unruliness are part of its charm which, involve rather than annoy the viewer-reader. In fact, the criteria for good practice differ between catalogues and books. For art catalogues, the basic criteria are coherent and comprehensive coverage for the artists with clear reproduction of their work; on these terms, EAST AFRICA ART BIENNALE EASTAFAB 2007is close to exemplary.

The book itself is a pleasant object and has delighted colleagues (at SOAS and the BM) who have said “what a beautiful cover”, “how apt an image for a biennale in Dar”, “how well it is produced”, “a big book from Tanzania”, “is it for sale in London?”!! The front and back cover display a panorama landscape photograph of a tranquil beach scene with the title handwritten in the foreground sand EAST AFRICA ART 2007 BIENNALE. This image immediately conveys the character of EASTAFAB: (i) its locality in the tropics that in turn reinforces its perspective from the South; (ii) its topicality — sand letters are like a snapshot, indicating its ‘moment’ in time, (iii) its openness — an expansive view of art practices in the region and toward those which have resonance with Tanzania. Overall, this catalogue is of better quality than the art books produced by art organizations in Nairobi and Kampala.

May this review raise an issue for the Britain-Tanzania Society. If the membership would like to advance awareness of art in Tanzania, here is a small suggestion. Could we use the platform of the Society’s annual Christmas card to share an apt image by a local artist, possibly via the Biennale Association?

*Readers are welcome to the exhibition “Positive Bodies” 17 April – 21st June 2008 at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Russell Square. Also, nearby, the British Museum’s permanent display kanga includes works by veteran painters Mohamed Charinda and Robino Ntila, Sainsbury Africa Gallery (Rm 25).

UTENZI, WAR POEMS, AND THE GERMAN CONQUEST OF EAST
AFRICA Swahili Poetry as Historical Source. Jose Arturo Saavedra Casco.
2007. $29.95
This book examines Swahili narrative poetry that in spite of being available in published editions for many years, has not previously been studied from an historical perspective. The poems were written on the eve of the First World War by the authors who were all residents of the Swahili coastal towns of mainland Tanzaniaformerly Tanganyika Territory. This poetry narrates the stories of episodes in the wars of conquest, fought between the German colonial forces and indigenous Africans. Most of the poems belong to a literary genre known in Swahili as utenzi, whose oldest preserved samples date from the eighteenth century. This genre originally depicted epic themes linked with the prophet Mohammed and the heroes and martyrs of the Muslim faith. The poems were first preserved only by oral means, being subsequently recorded in manuscript form in the Arabic script. This poetry was recited in public during local religious festivities, or on other civic occasions. During the nineteenth century this poetic style was increasingly applied to philosophical and didactical subjects, and by the second half of the nineteenth century the first historical poem was written in Mombasa. The German conquest of East Africa is the event that has inspired more poetic works of this kind than any other event in the modern history of the region.
Among the poets were those who depicted the horrors of the war, but others were enthusiastic in their praise for the establishment of the German rule.

The book includes a study of the historical context in which the poems were produced, and the social origins of the poets who composed these works. This enables the reader to understand better the opinions and views expressed in the poems. The study proposes that this kind of historical poetry represented a unique, indigenous manner for the transmission of historical accounts of the conquest from the perspective of the Swahili, and not simply a repository of facts already registered and discussed by Western scholarship.

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