Archive for September, 2011

CURRENT CASES IN TANZANIA

They just will not go!
Citizen reporter Florence Mugarula raised the issue on many peoples’ lips in an article on July 29. She wrote: ‘In developed nations, leaders leave voluntarily when their governments run into trouble. In Tanzania, those responsible just will not go, even in the face of a crisis under their watch.

One exception to this rule has been former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi who in 1976, as a Minister, stepped down following the deaths in Shinyanga of people on remand, who were being investigated over the killing of witchcraft suspects.

The reporter went on to wonder why this President’s son, Dr Hussein Mwinyi continued to hold on to his position as Defence Minister despite the recent bomb explosions at army bases in Dar es Salaam. Why had Energy Minister William Ngeleja remained in office in view of the serious power rationing ?

By contrast, back in 1996, the then Finance Minister, Prof Simon Mbilinyi resigned over corruption allegations and, five years later, Minister of Industry and Commerce Iddi Simba resigned over an issue of sugar imports licensing.

The BAE Saga
No scandal in Tanzania has received as much attention as the BAE Radar case, both in Tanzania and in Britain. As this issue of TA is going to press Tanzania has still not received the £29.5 million which the British Senior Fraud Office had decided BAE should pay to Tanzania for the supply of an air traffic control system in 1999. The background has been explained in numerous earlier issues of Tanzanian Affairs. The sale provoked outrage at the time and BAE agreed finally, in February 2011, to pay back the £29.5 million to Tanzania.

In November 2010 the UK’s Department for International Development and the Tanzanian government drew up plans on how to spend the money. They agreed that it should be invested in education – £4.4m for school textbooks plus 192,000 desks, 1,196 teachers’ houses and 2,900 pit latrines. However, BAE then attached conditions before it would pay.

Both parliaments become involved. In Tanzania, MPs were angered by this and sent a delegation to UK in July 2011 to find out what was happening. One of the MPs said: “Every hour the money is sitting in the BAE bank account, is an hour preventing the children of Tanzania, from enjoying what is theirs. The kids are sitting on the floor; the teachers are sharing houses, the desks, the books, seven people using one photocopied book …..”

Meanwhile BAE indicated that it wanted to be involved in deciding how the money should be spent, and that it had appointed Lord Cairns to head an Advisory Board that would ‘guide the company as to the optimum means of applying the £29.5m for the benefit of the people of Tanzania in accordance with all applicable company policies.’ There were proposals that British NGOs might supervise the use of the money.

The Tanzanian response was swift. Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Mwembe said that Tanzania would not allow British NGOs, commissioned by BAE Systems, to operate in the country.

In the British House of Commons the Overseas Development Committee strongly criticised BAE for dragging its feet. It urged the company to pay the amount in full and raised the possibility of taking the matter back to court if the payment wasn’t made.

It questioned the right of the company to set up its own advisory board to decide on how the money should be spent – rather than give the money directly to the government of Tanzania, as Tanzanian MPs had requested.

Committee Chairman Malcolm Bruce MP asked whether it was not “offensive” for the company to suggest it knew better how to spend the money than the government of Tanzania. He advised BAE to hand over the money “as soon as possible”.

EPA Scandal – the latest
According to the Citizen on Sunday, in July, foreign donors started pressing the government to fully disclose the outcome of investigations into the TShs 133 billion External Payment Arrears (EPA) account scandal and prosecute all culprits. (Details in earlier editions of TA).

The donors included the African Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, the EU, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, UK and the World Bank, which are together providing some $450 million (TShs 678 billion) in budget support to Tanzania this financial year.

The lost sum was apparently siphoned out of the EPA account, which was under the watch of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT). It was fraudulently paid to 22 companies during the 2005/6 financial year. Fifteen people had been charged in court so far…….

The government has also been hard-pressed to explain why all those involved in the scam had not been prosecuted and to provide proof of the TShs 60 billion it said had been surrendered by suspects.

The Richmond case
The Citizen has reported the latest news on this case. In a surprising decision, the only person arraigned over the Richmond power scandal, which led to the resignation of the then Prime Minister, has been acquitted of forgery. It was alleged that in June 2006 a Mr Naem Gire forged documents that misled TANESCO’s Tender Board into believing that Richmond had the capability to produce 100MW of electricity.

This court decision has embarrassed the prosecution which had failed to prove that Mr Gire had a case to answer. The magistrate said she had evaluated each piece of evidence by the prosecution but found that everything regarding the documents was done by a Mr Mohamed Gire, a brother of the accused.

The Meremeta Company
Another issue worrying some MPs is the Meremeta Company. They have asked the government to tell the truth on the alleged billions of money lost. Chadema Shadow Minister for Defence and Security, Joseph Selasini, said a Select Committee should be formed to find out the truth, commenting “The opposition camp has been trying for the last five years to find out about the ownership of the Meremeta Company and we have received no satisfactory answers”. The Premier had once told the nation that this was a military company so no more details would be revealed – Nipashe.

The Opposition camp in the National Assembly also queried the decision by the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) to sign a contract with Jeetu Patel, one of the key accused in the Bank of Tanzania EPA scandal. The contract was for importing power tillers from India for agricultural improvement in the country.

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PARLIAMENT – BEHAVIOUR OF MPs

MP for Same South, Anne Kilango Malecela (CCM) asks a question in Parliament to January Makamba (Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals) about the fuel problems.

Some observers see the latest developments in the National Assembly, where some opposition MPs are creating something like mayhem at times, as a healthy sign that Tanzanian democracy is now working as it should be, and that an active and lively opposition is an important element of any such democracy. Parliament was no longer a mere rubber stamp. The current vibrancy of the House was similar to that of parliaments in established democracies the world over.

Other observers, quoted in the Citizen, accustomed to the more genteel behaviour of MPs during the period of one-party government, accused some of the new MPs of ‘gross misconduct.’ Chrisant Mzindakaya, who was an MP for 40 years before stepping down in 2010, said booing, heckling and engaging the Speaker in shouting matches were ‘unpatriotic and cheap politics’. Similar concerns were raised by former Prime Ministers Salim Ahmed Salim and Joseph Warioba, who said blatant violation of the rules in Parliament should not be tolerated. Others said that lawmakers might soon be exchanging blows if the situation was not checked. Deputy Speaker Job Ndugai said the chaotic scenes were a sign of declining morals among leaders, who would stop at nothing to make political capital.

Budget estimates
Several ministers had a rough time in defending their budget estimates this year. Those for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals had to be withdrawn after Prime Minister Pinda intervened following what the Daily News described as a heated, emotion-charged debate to ask parliamentarians for another chance to work on them. The MPs agreed unanimously that they would be tabled again after three weeks. For further details see ‘Business & the Economy’ section below.

MPs accuse Energy Minister of laxity

Minister of Energy & Minerals, William Ngeleja.

Speaking at a seminar for MPs organised by Energy Minister Ngeleja, several MPs accused him of what they termed ‘empty promises and lame excuses’ for the longstanding power problems hitting the country. Attacking TANESCO representatives, one MP said: “We’re not interested in your PowerPoint presentations or grand-sounding plans. What we want is electricity and we want it now! Your expertise or your education is useless to us if you cannot find ways to solve the power problems once and for all.” David Kafulila (Kigoma South-NCCR-Mageuzi) advised the government to revise power purchase agreements. Augustine Mrema (Vunjo-TLP) wanted to know why the government had agreed to buy electricity generated by the Dowans plant which had been bought by Symbion, while the same government refused to allow TANESCO to buy the generators – Mwananchi.

The Minister said that electricity rationing would soon cease when Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) started supplying an additional 90MW into the national grid. Mr Ngeleja appealed to MPs to forget the Dowans issue, saying it was “mired in politics….”

Permanent Secretary in trouble
A letter addressed to unnamed ministry officials by the Ministry of Energy’s Permanent Secretary, David Jairo, was released in which he had apparently asked for donations of TShs 50,000 each to ‘make the presentation of his budget estimates a success.’ The Prime Minister quickly reacted and said that this was punishable, unbecoming conduct and he was as angry about it as MPs were. The PM was quoted in the Daily News as saying that he felt like sacking the offending Permanent Secretary immediately but could not do so because he had no mandate. It was President Kikwete who could discipline him. A CCM MP said that he would not support the Minister in his budget proposals. “We virtually live in the dark. The officials who cast us into this predicament are well known. Their heads should roll,” he said.

Health budget
Kigoma-South MP (NCCR-Mageuzi) David Kafulila provoked heated exchanges during the debate on the budget estimates for the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare. The legislator caused confrontations between opposition and ruling party MPs after alleging that the government had spent millions of money for treatments abroad of minister’s family members and that it was sluggish in collection of taxes. This made ruling party (CCM) MPs very annoyed and Kafulila was asked by the Acting Speaker to withdraw his statement. But Kafulila substantiated his claims with a quotation from the late Mwalimu Nyerere, and the atmosphere in the House became so hot that the chairperson had to adjourn the session seven minutes before the official closing time – Mwananchi.

Four MPs ordered out

Chadema MPs Tundu Lissu (right), Pastor Peter Msigwa (left) and Godbless Lema being escorted out of the parliament

The atmosphere in the House was not improved when the Speaker ordered four Chadema MPs to leave the chamber for what was described as ‘violating parliamentary standing orders.’ One was charged with failing to sit down when told to do so and the others had apparently switched on their microphones to speak without permission.

“Jeopardising stability”
Government Chief Whip William Lukuvi said that a speech by Mr Lema, the Chadema Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, aimed at inciting people against their government and was jeopardising the country’s stability. Mr Lukuvi identified the offending words as: “It is better we fight, rather than live peacefully while we are denied our rights. Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice”.

Rostam Aziz resigns
Parliament was shaken again when the prominent and influential CCM MP for Igunga, a member of the Party’s Central Committee and head of President Kikwete’s presidential election campaign in 2010, Rostam Aziz, suddenly resigned from his parliamentary seat. In his resignation speech he referred to what he called “gutter politics” as the reason behind his departure. He also indicated that he might not give any support to his party to retain the constituency.

In accepting the resignation, the CCM Ideology and Publicity Secretary, who is bringing considerable energy into his job of ‘cleansing’ the party, said that Aziz had responded to the Party’s plea that some of its members should take such action. “We are grateful that he (Rostam) has responded to the call” – Daily News.

Chadema lost no time in launching a special operation, christened “Operation Chukua Igunga” designed to take the seat from CCM.

MP’s expenses
This very hot issue in the UK has now arrived in Tanzania’s parliament. Chadema’s Zitto Kabwe has proposed the scrapping of the TShs 70,000 subsistence allowances and TShs 80,000 sitting allowances paid to each MP daily and to use the money saved for the development of MP’s constituencies.

Prime Minister Pinda said that this was a misinterpretation of the law. It was a constitutional matter. “There is no way the government can act without following due procedures … It can take a long time,” he said. In a popular move Kabwe then forfeited his entire allowances for the period of the lengthy budget debate – Mwananchi.

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HUNTING

The Guardian on Sunday has published a detailed analysis of the lucrative hunting industry following moves to implement the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009 which, amongst other things, limits the number of hunters and forces foreign firms to give 25% of their shareholdings to Tanzanians. Foreign-owned companies allocated hunting blocs should not exceed 15% of the total hunting companies at any particular time. Thus only nine foreign hunting firms out of 27 will be allocated hunting blocs for the period 2013 to 2018, out of the 65 which applied.

Some observers fear that if 18 major firms are forced to leave Tanzania, over 5,000 Tanzanians might lose their jobs, with the Treasury likely to suffer a loss of nearly $15 million in tourism-related taxes annually.

A Tumaini University lecturer in Wildlife, Corporate, and Land Laws, Nyaga Mawalla, said the WC Act was contravening the investment guarantees offered to investors under the Tanzania Investment Act of 1997 and the Constitution of the United Republic. “The Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to protection and equality before the law,” Mawalla stated and added, “The Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of 2009, favouring hunting firms owned by a majority of Tanzanians, was discriminating against those Tanzanians who had purchased 25% of the shares from the foreign firms”.

Government’s position
The spokesperson of the Natural Resources and Tourism Ministry Matiko Mwita, said that arguments with regard to a bad law were supposed to be raised during the enactment of that law and not now. “Why [are] these people criticising the Wildlife Conservation Act this time around when we are in the process of allocating hunting blocks?” he asked. His ministry was not responsible for making laws. A ministry spokesman said that he was only implementing the laws, regardless of whether they were good or bad.

Under new tourist hunting rules, Tanzania is increasing the cost of licence fees for prime hunting blocks from $27,000 to $60,000 a year. The revised guidelines also categorize the hunting blocks into five depending on the type and number of animals to be hunted.

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BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

Compiled by Valerie Leach
Economic management in Tanzania continues to be challenging. Large food surpluses in the West are stockpiled as transportation bottlenecks prevail, consumer prices rise, especially for food and fuel, and districts in the North of the country and neighbouring countries to the North face acute food shortages.

Bags of maize stuck at the railway station in Mpanda District, Rukwa Region, due to lack of transport. Photo: Musa Mwangoka - The Citizen

While a ban against private food crop exports officially remains in place, Tanzania has opened its doors to drought-affected countries to negotiate directly with it in the drive to procure food. “Neighbouring countries confronted with a food crisis are welcome to deal directly with the government instead of farmers, traders or agents in border regions for food purchases,” Prof Jumanne Maghembe, the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives said. He said Tanzania has a surplus of 1.7 million tonnes of food. Tanzania’s move comes against a backdrop of rampant food smuggling to neighbouring countries. The Tanzanian police estimates that more than 400MT of maize is trucked daily out of the country through Mara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro to Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia – East African News Agency.

Food prices in Tanzania have risen sharply. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the headline inflation rose to 13% in July from 10.9% in June. Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 15.9% for the year ending July 2011. Food and non-alcoholic beverages account for 47.8% of Tanzanians’ ‘shopping basket’ – The Citizen.

Fuel prices have also risen sharply. The NBS reported that energy prices rose by 34.2% in the year to July 2011, compared with a rise of 29.0% in the year to June 2011. The increasing prices of food and energy contrast with stable prices of other items in the consumer price index.

Price movements of different components of the Consumer Price Index - Source: National Bureau of Statistics, www.nbs.go.tz

The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) announces new fuel prices fortnightly. Early in August EWURA published indicative prices which sparked a boycott by major oil importing firms. Following the boycott, EWURA slapped a three-month no-sale ban on BP Tanzania, a firm in which the government has a 50% stake, and strongly warned a couple of others. Two top executives of BP (Tanzania) Limited were arrested in Dar es Salaam. They were granted bail and are due to appear in court to answer charges related to economic sabotage. EWURA is also monitoring conduct of oil dealers Total and Oryx following reports that some of their filling stations resisted selling fuel at the new prices. New prices announced mid-August effectively restore the pre-boycott oil price levels. Minister Ngeleja justified the increase, saying it was prompted by two major factors: an increase in oil prices on the world market and a fall in the value of the local currency relative to the American dollar – The Guardian.

Huge queues at Sinza petrol station in August - Photo Jackson Odoyo

Tanzania’s economy to grow by 7.3% in 2012
Tanzania’s economy is expected to grow by 6.9% this year and 7.3% in 2012, according to a new report of the African Development Bank, African Economic Outlook. The report also says that the country’s economic growth faces great risks, including increasing fiscal deficit, and inflationary pressure from fuel and food prices. “The infrastructure deficit such as lack of reliable energy may pose a threat to the struggling economic growth not only in Tanzania but also in other countries,” said Prof Mthuli Ncube, the African Development Bank (AfDB) chief economist. Last May, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2011 growth forecast for Tanzania to 6% from 7.2% in March, saying frequent power outages would hurt output while food and fuel prices could push inflation to higher levels – Daily News.

Imports and Exports
During the year ending May 2011, the current account deficit widened by 3.6 per cent to USD 2,607.4 million compared with the year ending May 2010. This was the result of a larger increase in imports than the increase in export earnings. The increased cost of imports was mainly on account of persistent increases in global oil prices. Moreover, there was a significant rise in imports of fertilizer that could be associated with the implementation of Kilimo Kwanza. In the year ending May 2011, a total of 313,400 tons of fertilizer were imported compared with 235,000 tons imported in the similar period a year earlier. In the year ending May 2011, the value of exports of goods and services amounted to USD 6,447.1 million, an increase of USD 1,399.3 million when compared with amount realized in the year ending May 2010. This development was largely driven by good performance in gold, manufactured goods, coffee, tobacco, cashew nut as well as receipts from travel and transportation services. Exported manufactured goods include cement, textile apparels, edible oil, wheat flour, plastic products, soap, paper products; and glass and glassware products. (Bank of Tanzania, Monthly Economic Review, June 2011).

Highlights of the Budget Session of the National Assembly, June-August 2011
This year’s budget session has been a lively one with MPs from all parties questioning budget proposals. In three ministerial budgets the Premier had to intervene. The first time, he withdrew the Energy and Minerals Budget and asked Parliament for three weeks to prepare emergency plans to deal with power rationing. MPs had rejected budget proposals for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, forcing the Prime Minister, who is head of government business in Parliament, to postpone it to August 13, when the government pumped in TSh1.2 trillion for short, medium and long term power generation aimed at easing the power crisis.

In addition, the MPs rejected budget proposals for the Ministry of Transport, prompting the cabinet to convene an emergency meeting that authorised an additional budget of TSh95 billion.

In the debate on the budget for the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, the Prime Minister moved quickly to allay MPs’ fears over land grabbing by assuring them that the government’s lease system guarantees that no one person can wholly own land in the country. “This is one thing that the government should be praised for,” the Prime Minister said. “No one can own land in this country and we have said that, come what may, we will not budge on this.” He added, however, that while there were areas where land is a critical issue, there was ample land in other areas that people were free to move into. “We should not fear to welcome investors in land if such investment will be beneficial for the country,” pleaded Mr Pinda – The Citizen.

Experts have warned that new tax waivers announced by the Treasury will further increase revenue losses incurred by the government through excessive exemptions and other generous fiscal incentives, which are currently put at nearly TSh2 trillion. The experts also argue that contrary to the government’s position, the fiscal incentives – which mostly comprise tax holidays, investment allowances and tax credits, timing differences, and general tax reductions – will not necessarily attract investments. Research undertaken by local and international institutions has established that the concessions play only a marginal role in influencing investors’ decisions. “Experience shows that a high occurrence of tax exemptions reduces the tax base, creates room for bribery and corruption, and increases the appearance of loopholes for tax evasion.” researchers at the Christian Michelsen Institute of Norway noted in their June 15, 2011 report on tax opportunities and challenges in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique – The Citizen.

Energy
Members of Parliament cautiously welcomed the government’s emergency power generation plan and called for prudent use of the billions of shillings that will be invested. But some opposition MPs accused the government of ignoring proposals to cut its unnecessary expenditure to fund the emergency plan instead of borrowing from the commercial banks – The Citizen.

The government’s emergency power production plan indicates that 572 megawatts (MW) will be produced between August and December, with the National Social and Security Fund (NSSF) coming in as a new player who will produce 150 MW. Other players who will contribute to the power pool are Symbion which will inject 112 MW, IPTL who will produce 100 MW and Aggreko who will supply 100 MW. The emergency plan will cost TShs 523bn. Tanesco will manage TShs 115bn from sales of power and the government will obtain a TShs 408bn loan from a bank – Daily News.

Aggreko generating equipment is offloaded in Ubungo, Dar-es-Salaam - photo Victor Makinda

Land
The government will establish the land bank to facilitate protection of land and make it easily available for investment purposes in a move which seeks to avoid conflicts among investors and villagers. It will also enable people in the area to benefit from land resource at the same time enhance sustainability of extensive land-based investments, Minister Tibaijuka told the National Assembly. She said under the new arrangement, villagers would have shares in the invested land but under invested value method of land valuation. Shares and profit will be shared among the investors, relevant district council and the central government. She said a bill for the establishment of the bank would be tabled in the House after completion of necessary preparations. The Minister also said that the government would establish Land Compensation Fund to be used for compensating parties moved from their land for national development projects – Daily News.

Agriculture
The government will implement two ambitious agricultural programmes during the 2011/12 financial year, namely the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) and the Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF), to boost agricultural production. Presenting his office’s TShs 3.4trl budget estimates, the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, said that the government has set aside TShs 1.5bn while donors have pledged TShs 26.3bn for the 20-year SAGGOT programme. He said the government in collaboration with International Agriculture Development Fund, African Development Bank and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa would start implementing MIVARF next month. MIVARF to be implemented in 7 years, will cover all regions in the country plus Zanzibar – Daily News.

Crop Marketing
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives is preparing a new procedure dubbed ‘commodity exchange markets,’ in order to improve the crop marketing system for major cash crops. Tabling his 2011/2012 budget estimates, Agricultural Minister Prof Jumanne Maghembe said his ministry, in collaboration with other sectoral ministries and stakeholders, were preparing the system which would be a special marketing system for farmers. “This system will start being implemented for crops which are already in the process of being sold through the warehouse receipt system,” he said. The Minister said further that the budget allocated for the Grain and Mixed Crops Board for implementation of the commodity exchange markets was TShs 8.19bn – Daily News.

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NILE WATERS DISPUTE

Egypt’s control over the Nile waters came to an end late in May when, at a ceremony in Kampala, six countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda) ratified a ‘Cooperation Framework Agreement’ (CFA) that repeals the colonial treaty of 1929. The World Bank Trust which manages the resources of the Nile Basin, had been blocking development projects along the river outside Egypt and Sudan because the existing ‘Nile Basin Initiative’ lacked a legal basis which the new CFA now provides – East African.

Without waiting for the new agreement Tanzania has already tapped the waters of the Nile by pumping water to Shinyanga and Kahama. It is now planning a new project to take water to a population of 420,000 people in Tabora Region.

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POPULATION GROWTH

Tanzania’s population growth rate of 2.9% is just 4 points below the highest rate of growth in the world according to Mr Samwel Msokwa, the UNFPA Programme Specialist on Population and Development, interviewed in the Daily News. But, it is set to go down in 2012. The expert said that this was likely to be viewed as a positive development by analysts. Time and again the government had been worried over the country’s population growth trend, saying it created high rates of unemployment if it is not matched with economic growth.

Tanzania’s Director of Programmes at UMATI, Mr Simon Mbele, hailed the development, saying that the high population growth rates remained a major challenge to government’s efforts to reduce poverty and provide adequate social services. He said the major concern, according to their statistics, was that the increase in the number of people was not reflecting a proportionate growth of the economy. Mr Mbele noted that it had been argued in some circles that such population growth is good for the country and that it creates large markets and therefore positively contributes to growth and development. On the contrary, he said that for population growth to be productive, it should have a demographic dividend. “A demographic dividend is a situation where the people in a country possess high productive skills that create both domestic and international competitiveness.” he said.

The country has carried out four post independence censuses including 1967, 1978, 1988, 2002 and the fifth is set for next year.

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TANZANIA & LIBYA

Tanzania and other African Union (AU) members called in July for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of peace talks between the Libyan government and rebels. Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Mwembe said: “We, as Tanzanians, are saddened by what the Libyan people are going through. We support the declaration to protect the lives of the people and we are calling on NATO to cease fire” – Majira.

The case brings to mind the events of 1978 when Tanzania was at war with Uganda. Told by Ugandan President Iddi Amin Dada that this was a war against ‘the enemies of Islam’ Colonel Gaddafi sent thousands of Libyan troops to beat back the invading Tanzanians. But, according to eye witnesses, many were mown down like flies and were buried in Uganda. Gaddafi offered to pay huge sums for the return home of the others who had surrendered, but Mwalimu Nyerere refused the money saying that Tanzania did not trade in human beings. They were returned as soon as the war was over.

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A GRAND PRIZE

EGG Energy http://egg-energy.com

Wipro Services, an Indian software firm, and Knowledge@Wharton, the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, recently launched their second annual ‘Innovation Tournament’. It challenged innovators from around the world to compete for a total of $40,000 in cash prizes. From some 160 submissions, forty four teams made it to the semi-finals and were asked to submit video presentations. From those, the top fourteen entrants were invited to Philadelphia in April to present their ideas to a panel of judges made up of academics and industry leaders.

The Grand Prize went to EGG-energy (Engineering Global Growth) for their battery-swapping service in Tanzania. ‘About 500 million people in Africa live without access to electricity. In Tanzania, 90% of the population has no electricity even though 80% live within three miles of the grid. High grid connection fees and lack of infrastructure funding make access difficult. So, to power lights and charge small devices like cell phones, most low-income households in Tanzania rely on kerosene, AA batteries or even car batteries – methods that can be expensive, dangerous and bad for the environment.’

EGG-energy has offered a solution to Tanzania’s electricity shortage by offering clean, rechargeable 12-volt batteries that households can rent for an annual subscription fee. The batteries, about the size of a brick, are enough to power the typical Tanzanian household for about a week. “We install our customers’ home electrical system, we charge the batteries, we swap batteries and we distribute batteries to swapping stations for more distant customers,” explains Rhonda Jordan a company representative.

The company also offers complementary appliances including light bulbs, cell phone chargers and radio adapters. Over time, customers save up to 53% in energy costs. So far, the small for-profit company has brought electricity to 2,000 people with a single charging station and eight employees. The goal by 2015 is to have 9,000 customers and $7.2 million in revenue. Thank you Susan Fennell for this – Editor

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KILIMO KWANZA

Numerous reports have been coming in about recent developments under the ‘Agriculture First’ or ‘Green Revolution’ Policy:

– The Tanzania Investment Bank is loaning some TShs 17 billion in response to applications (mostly from savings and credit cooperatives) for 170 agricultural development projects.

– A rice development project designed to benefit 3,000 people in Tabora, Singida and Morogoro districts is focusing on paddy production, seed production and processing.

– To boost coffee production the government is extending the subsidy already given to food crop farmers, to coffee farmers.

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MISCELLANY

Moslem youths entertain at the Futari (breaking the fast) ceremony in Mwanza, sponsored by the Vodacom Foundation.

A villager from Migoli (Iringa District) fetches water from the Mtera dam. A bucket is sold for TSh 500 due to the current water scarity - Tumaini Msowoya

Famine
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.

Work permits
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

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with President Kikwete


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.

Hilary Cinton during her visit to Dar es Salaam


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.

Football News
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.

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