Compiled by Donovan Mc Grath

Land grabbing, a growing menace (New African, May 2011)
‘Land grabbing in Africa is not a new thing. What is new is the scale, breadth, and ease with which land can now be acquired in Africa …’
Extract continues: ‘Tanzania is a good case study … The country’s economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 25% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climate conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area, which puts a great strain on this fertile land. To raise money, Tanzania has several options, including hunting concessions, and selling off large tracts of land to foreign investors. But many people think … it is a false economy. “There is no such thing as spare land in Africa,” says Geoffrey Howard of the International Union for the Conservation for Nature based in Nairobi. His comments are echoed by Makko Sinandei of the local NGO, Ujamaa Community Resources Trust in Tanzania: “Now in Dar es Salaam they send an investor to the land, without even understanding if the land is spare or not … if you are evicting people, there is clearly no space!”’

Tanzania to double sisal-fired biogas capacity – East African (July 4-10, 2011)
In a bid to look for an alternative source of electricity, the ‘Hale Estate Power Plant,’ installed as a pilot project 10 years ago, has successfully generated about 300kW of electricity.’
Extract continues: ‘Tanzania’s sisal fired biogas power capacity is set to nearly double as the country’s sisal board steps up its drive to develop clean energy from the crop…’ The Tanzania Sisal Board ‘is investing $31 million to increase the capacity of its Biogas electricity plant. Studies show that the Hale plantation in Tanga could provide approximately 7000 kilowatts of clean sisal energy each year that will be fed into the country’s national grid.’

East Africa: Why political federation has been difficult to achieve – New African (April 2011)
Extract: ‘… when the old East African Community (EAC) collapsed in 1977, Ugandans and Tanzanians were bewildered that their Kenyan brothers and sisters actually celebrated the demise of the regional bloc. Whereas the socialist-leaning presidents of Uganda and Tanzania, Milton Obote and Julius Nyerere, were busy preaching brotherhood and oneness, the capitalist-leaning President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya was snatching any and every opportunity to enrich his people at the expense of the collective community; even including using resources pooled from the regional kitty… Kenyatta had deceived Nyerere into switching some land on their common border. One such piece of land, it is said, is where the current Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa sits. That swathe of land is said to have belonged to Tanzania while the foot of … Kilimanjaro, was Kenyan territory. But calculating that a harbour could generate a fortune in the future, as compared to the foot of a mountain, with occasional tourists here and there, Kenyatta convinced Nyerere to swap the two pieces of land… Mt Kilimanjaro has remained the foot of Kilimanjaro with occasional tourists here and there. [Meanwhile] Mombasa is now the exit and entry point for all maritime goods and services that dictate life in the land-locked hinterlands of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR-Congo and Southern Sudan… Continued mistrust and suspicion among the region’s leaders and citizens are still hampering attempts to create a total federation… For example, over 70% of Tanzanians do not want complete unity. They cite fears such as Kenyans moving into Tanzania to grab their land…’

Rainy season of CCM’s soul: Watch out for Asthma – East African (April 25 – May 1, 2011)
Writer Elsie Eyakuze shares her opinion in The East African. Extract: ‘CCM, of late, might just be in the midst of a rainy season … the CCM Youth Wing meeting in Dodoma last month is what alerted me to the idea… In a surprising coup against traditional oligarchy, the youth wing actually dared to come out of their meeting with threats and ultimatums. “We’re tired of looking like mobsters,” they said. “Whe’re serious about business and the corrupt elements of the party need to leave!” … More surprising yet, the old guard actually did something with this impetus rather than smothering it! … Something is blooming, something is trying to come out of the dark soil of the party… There are going to be consequences, no doubt. Although calls for the resignation of so-called corrupt party members have been quite loud, no one has actually been named, so we swim in a puddle of rumours…’

What is a failed state? Look over your shoulder
– East African (June 27-July 3, 2011)
Extract: ‘… that most hated, controversial and debated report, the “Failed States Index,” the one for 2011, came out last week. African countries dominated the 2011 list. According to the index … African nations make up seven of the top 10 worst cases, and 14 of the top 20 failed states. Somalia, which is almost perennially reported to be in hell, was number 1, for the fourth year running… Kenya is placed 16th … 17th is … Burundi, Uganda is 21st. Rwanda is … 34th. The “good news” for the EAC is that Tanzania does much better, placing 65th… [T]he least failed nations [you guessed right] are all Caucasian.’

Netherlands slashes budget support to Dar – East African (May 30- June 5, 2011)
Extract: ‘Tanzania is bracing for a tough year ahead following a decision by one of its key donors, the Netherlands, to cut its funding for 2011/2012 budget … The Netherlands government will reduce its budget support to Tanzania and other countries by 12% despite its commitment last year that aid to Tanzania would not be reduced… [T]he Dutch coalition agreement heavily emphasised budget cuts because the government budget deficit [is] too big to be sustainable… According to Dr. Koekkoek [Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands], Tanzania is no longer on the list of development partner countries of the Netherlands due to the consequences of reducing the co-operation budget… The Netherlands is the number nine import source of goods to Tanzania and number six export destination for Tanzania.’

Microsoft Kiswahili pack launched for Tanzania – East African (June 6-12, 2011)
Extract: ‘Microsoft has launched the Kiswahili interface pack of its Windows 7 operating system which allows users to switch anytime to any language of their preference including Kiswahili. “… The availability of Windows 7 in Kiswahili is a remarkable step towards eliminating the language barrier to technology access,” said Louis Otieno, Microsoft’s Eastern and Southern Africa general manager …”’

Mosquitoes trapped by smelly feet – Daily Telegraph (13/07/2011)
Extract: ‘Scientists in Tanzania are developing a new trap for malaria-spreading mosquitoes using the odour of human feet to lure them… Scientists came up with the idea after seeing how mosquitoes were drawn to smelly socks… Dr Fredros Okumu, who is leading the project at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, said mosquitoes work through smell rather than sight… Scientists hope to simplify the devices in order for them to be made and sold by villagers.’ Thank you John Sankey for this item – Editor

Miracle cure in the Tanzanian bush? – New African (July 2011)
‘Somewhere in the hinterland of Tanzania, a traditional healer is turning heads with his miracle cure. Government ministers and money-men in helicopters, poor people in rickety buses, foreigners from Europe and the Middle East …’
Extract continues: ‘Babu (which literally means grandfather) is the Rev. Ambilikile Mwaisapile, a 76-year-old retired pastor of the Lutheran Evangelical Church [TA 99], who says he heard a call from God some years ago to leave his home in Babati to the southeast and settle in the remote village of Samunge in Loliondo District, where he was instructed to gather bark of a certain tree and make an infusion which would cure many chronic ailments, including Aids, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. Babu’s reputation has spread since he started dispensing his cup last year … He makes no money from his activities as a “mganga” (traditional healer) charging only 500 shillings (£0.20) per head… The herbal infusion is made from the bark of the Carissa spinarum tree, which grows across Africa and Asia. It has been long used by the local Maasai to flavour food and in Ghana to make a healthy broth for the sick. It has also been established for centuries as a part of the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of traditional medicine to cure a range of ailments from epilepsy to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)… The big pharmaceutical companies are apparently quite aware of the potential of the Carissa tree, which was brought to the attention of the WHO some years ago (but the WHO was apparently unimpressed and uninterested)… [C]harismatic healing must … be discounted as there is no contact between Babu and his patients… Babu says that his cure takes 2-3 weeks to have full effect.’

Dar fashionistas show off their best at fashion festival – East African (July 11-17, 2011)
Extract: ‘Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, is increasingly becoming a fashion centre with the growing stature of the Swahili Fashion Week hosted by highly talented Mustafa Hassanali… The Dar Fashion Festival was founded in April by Lucy Naivasha, Christine Lasway, Irene Maingi and Madeline Kimei … The four women entrepreneurs say that they wanted to improve the business acumen of the predominantly women clothes sellers who had to contend with high costs of marketing despite the ever growing number of fashion outlets in the city. “The fashion festival is beyond a fashion show… The business aspect of it is very important…” says Lasway. The fashion festival kicked off on the night of June 23 … at the Heineken House in the city’s upmarket Mikocheni suburb… Later on June 25-26, the designers converged at the Greens, a plot tucked between posh office blocks in the Oyster Bay area in Kinondoni municipality. The occasion was the climax of the inaugural fashion festival and it was graced by among others acclaimed Tanzanian top fashion designers Khadija Saad Manamboka and Ally Remtullah…’

Tanzania: Male circumcision campaign target 2.8 million – PlusNews Global (www.plusnews.org)
Extract: ‘Three randomized controlled trials in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda provided evidence that male circumcision can reduce a man’s risk of becoming infected with HIV through heterosexual intercourse by as much as 60 percent. The UN World Health Organization recommends male circumcision as one of the tools for HIV prevention … An estimated 70% of Tanzanian men are circumcised, according to government surveys, but prevalence varies from region to region. “In some districts up to 80% of men, especially in the western parts of the country, are not circumcised,” [said Bennet Fimbo, HIV/AIDS adviser to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health]. “In places like Zanzibar, Pemba and coastal areas, where the population is predominantly Muslim, [the] circumcision rate is almost 99%.” He noted that HIV prevalence tended to be lower in areas of the country where male circumcision was common. “In Zanzibar and Pemba, the prevalence is less than 1 percent, while around Lake Victoria, Mbeya and Iringa regions, circumcision is low and HIV prevalence is 14-20 percent.” The programme will focus on seven regions in western Tanzania where levels of male circumcision are particularly low: Iringa, Kagera, Mara, Mwanza, Rukwa, Shinyanga, Tabora …’

EAC be warned: Not all Marriages are made in heaven – East African (May 2-8, 2011)
According Elsie Eyakuze, who wrote this article for the Opinion section in The East African, the Tanzanian mainland and islands still hold different points of view even after 47 years of integration.
Extract: ‘One [Zanzibari] taxi driver told me with satisfaction about how this past Ramadan month many black tourists and mainlander women had been beaten and chased off the streets for wearing “inappropriately revealing clothes”… Forty-seven years of integration hasn’t even come close to homogenising the Mainland-Isles points of view about the world or anything in it. And that’s not in the brochures. . . [I]n Nairobi[,] … Kenyan friends [chatted] about regionalism. They wanted to know why Tanzania was being a coward about it … Talk about divergent world-views… I imagine that whatever needs fixing between us, Zanzibar and the Mainland shall find as amicable a way of fixing it as we know how. Because, well, we’re Tanzanians until the death of the Union do us part…’

In Tanzania, mobile banking races ahead of the laws – Africa Renewal (April 2011)
Extract: ‘”Mobile banking” [see TA 98] … was only introduced in Tanzania in 2008. But some of the 20 million telecommunication subscribers, more than 9.2 million are already registered with mobile banking services. . . While aspects of mobile banking are covered in an ad hoc way under existing laws and regulations, there is no comprehensive law to regulate the fast-growing sector…’

Meeting The Tippler: Robin White remembers a giant of Tanzanian journalism – BBC Focus On Africa (July-September 2011)
Robin White, founding editor of BBC Focus On Africa magazine, wrote an interesting article on, who he describes as “the less than perfect stringer”, Adam Lusekelo (July 25, 1954 – April 1, 2011) [Obituaries TA 99], adding to the many articles and obituaries published following the death of the Tanzanian journalist. White recalls the time in 1982 when he went to Tanzania to unearth news stories, interview politicians or perhaps find a new reporter. For much of the time his search proved fruitless.
Extract: ‘Nyerere might be a great talker and writer, but Tanzanian journalism seemed to be as moribund and possibly as frightened as the sleepy official at the ministry of information [whom White had met earlier and asked for assistance, but to no avail]. On my last but one day in Dar es Salaam I opened a Sunday newspaper and casually flicked through the pages without much hope of finding anything of interest. My eyes alighted on this column near the back of the paper. It began: “I was sitting in a structurally adjusted hotel lobby, in one of those hotels receiving massive amounts of IMF money, when a structurally adjusted rat scuttled across the structurally adjusted bar counter.” Suddenly my trip to Tanzania had been worthwhile. I had found a stringer. The writer of this column was Adam Lusekelo. Apparently he wrote this kind of stuff every week, mocking government policies, mocking bureaucrats. Looking back, it is amazing how he got away with it… I tracked him down; we had a drink (in one of those IMF adjusted bars) and so began our collaboration and friendship… At just 56, Adam has died rather young, a victim of diabetes. But during his lifetime Tanzania and Tanzanian journalism has been transformed. Gone is the one-party state, gone is the fear of speaking your mind. Adam was never afraid, or never showed his fear…’

African Barrick Gold tries to soothe City after mine violence – Times (May 18, 2011)
Extract: ‘An armed raid on [African Barrick’s] goldmine in Tanzania … left seven people dead … About 800 “criminal intruders” armed with rocks, machetes and hammers attacked Tanzanian police, who had been called to prevent them taking ore from the North Mara mine… African Barrick reassured the City that its operations and production at the site were unaffected…’

Tanzania : Super for some – African Report (July 2011)
‘In June, MPs in Dodoma backed a government development plan worth more than $27bn over the next five years, which calls for a “super-profit” tax on companies operating mines in the country. Debate will continue, but the talk has already worsened the mood of mining investors.’

Violence Against Children – Guardian (Aug 9, 2011)
Extracts: ‘The study, published … by Dar es Salaam’s Muhimbili University in collaboration with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, finds that nearly three out of every 10 girls and nearly three out of every 20 boys in Tanzania claim to have experienced sexual violence.’
‘Almost three-quarters of girls and boys questioned had experienced physical violence before the age of 18 at the hand of an adult or an intimate partner. Attitudes to domestic violence were also scrutinised. Nearly 60% of girls and 52% of boys believed it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife under certain circumstances, including a refusal to have sex, burning the food, going out without telling him or neglecting the children.

‘Andrew Brooks, chief of child protection in Tanzania for Unicef, which financed the study, said its findings are difficult to weigh internationally. “In Europe and North America, statistics would be collected differently, through social workers’ reports,’’ he said. “In Africa, only one other country, Swaziland, has carried out a similar household survey but only girls were interviewed. It is very clear that, by any measure, the Tanzanian figures are quite alarming.’’’

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