The government has banned the export of food for six months in response to the famine that has hit 42 districts in 16 regions. The regions affected and the number of most seriously affected districts are Arusha (7), Dar es Salaam (3), Dodoma (1), Iringa (2), Kagera (2), Kilimanjaro (5), Manyara (2), Mara (4), Mbeya (1) Mtwara (1), Mwanza (5), Coast (2), Shinyanga (7), Singida (2), Tabora (3) and Tanga (1). A total of 115,000 tonnes of cereals in the Strategic Grain Reserve were to be transferred from Rukwa and Ruvuma regions to famine-ravaged areas – The Citizen.
The government has raised work and residence permit fees for foreign workers by between 25 and 300 per cent. The new class ‘A’ permits for big companies, industries, fisheries, mining and transport have gone up from $1,600 to $2,000. Class ‘B’ permits for expatriates have jumped from $600 to $1,500. Class ‘C’ permits for missionaries, researchers and students are up from $120 to $500. Visitors’ passes are $200 and re-entry passes $50 – The Citizen.
Conquering Kilimanjaro Quickly
A 42-year-old Russian-American investor in Mwanza, Igor Kucherenko, has set a record by ascending and descending Mount Kilimanjaro within 35 hours. The normal time is six to eight days. It is the third time he has climbed the mountain.
Disturbances in Mara Region
There were serious disturbances in Mara Region in May when some 800 invaders armed with machetes, rocks and hammers entered North Mara’s African Barrick Gold Mine and seven people were killed. This was the third attack on the mine but previously security personnel and police had managed to keep the invaders at bay. The invaders had been trying to steal gold ore from the site. In late July, at the company’s AGM, it was announced that company profits had increased by 25% to $245 million – The Times.
Ban on animal exports
Three cheetahs were intercepted in Arusha in May just as they were about to be smuggled outside the country. They have now been fitted with satellite collars for future tracking and have been released into Tarangire National Park – Daily News.
On August 19 the government announced a ban on the export of wild animals ‘until the current regulations can be reviewed.’ Prime Minister Pinda took the decision after a number of MPs from both main parties in parliament had condemned widespread corruption in the industry. Among the accusations made, one concerned an incident in which live wild animals worth millions of shillings were transported abroad via a Qatar Airline cargo plane from the Kilimanjaro International Airport. “The aim of this decision is to give ourselves time to review current procedures so that this trade becomes beneficial to our country,” the PM said. The House passed the budget estimates for the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, after the Director of Wildlife left his position pending further investigations – Majira.
High Profile Visits
The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a visitor to Tanzania in May, when he signed three bilateral agreements with President Kikwete, including $180 million credit for water supply projects in Dar-es-Salaam and providing doctors and training for a 300 bed “super specialty” hospital in Dar-es-Salaam to be built with assistance from the Chinese. The hospital will be located at the University of Dar es Salaam site and will specialise in treatment of heart disease and cancer.
In June, Hilary Clinton (US Secretary of State) also visited Tanzania, and was in country when US authorities confirmed the death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of al-Qaida’s leaders thought to be the mastermind behind the Kenya and Tanzania embassy attacks in 1998. Tanzania has been chosen as one of only four countries (with Ghana, El Salvador and the Philippines) for President Obama’s new ‘Partnership for Growth’ initiative. The US is also to assist Tanzania in training of the navy to help reduce the threat of piracy in the region.
Tanzanians were hugely excited when their under 23 team (who had already beaten Cameroon), beat a powerful Nigerian side 1-0 in Dar-es-Salaam in June. However, the Nigerians won the away tie 3-0 after the Vijana Star’s goalkeeper Seif Juma had to be substituted by Jackson Wabdwi after sustaining an injury, and thus ended the Tanzanian team’s dream of qualification for the London Olympics.
Railways – RITES Leaves
After the prolonged struggle between the government and RITES (the Indian company which had been running Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) since October 2007), RITES personnel left for home in July. The Railway Trade Union claimed a victory and said that the company had been underperforming with sporadic industrial strikes. Before privatisation, TRL had had 1,800 cargo wagons. Now it had only 600 – The Citizen.