The State House has strongly refuted claims in leaked US embassy confidential diplomatic communications stating that President Kikwete accepted gifts from the owner of the Kempinski Hotel chain, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates. It was alleged that in 2006 the owner flew President Kikwete to London when he was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, for a “subsidised shopping expedition” and made a $1 million contribution to the ruling CCM party. However, the cable accepts that the latter was a “legal contribution under current Tanzanian law”. The President was said to have authorised the company to construct two new hotels on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and another on the Serengeti Plains, overlooking the main animal migration routes.
The Director of State House Communications denied the allegations, dismissing them as outright lies. He also produced an e-mail message from a woman who is quoted by the former US ambassador denying to have told him so.
A presidential spokesperson said: there had never been a time, ever, when President Kikwete was flown by anybody to London on a subsidised shopping trip to buy suits. “All his travels to London or any other places in the world, have been duty assignments paid for by the government of Tanzania” he said.
On the reported authorisation to construct hotels, permission was given by the third phase Tanzanian government and not by Mr Kikwete’s administration. President Kikwete had declined to grant permission to Kempinski Hotels to build on the Ngorongoro Crater on the strength of environmental concerns. “The President is a modest man. He wears very simple suits. And the government has an adequate clothing budget for the minister for Foreign Affairs and the President. Contacted in Australia the US Ambassador said: “It was absolutely not true, a complete load of rubbish and an absolute defamation of my personal character.” The Kempinski management has since left and the former Kilimanjaro Hotel is now trading as the Hyatt Regency, Dar es Salaam – The Citizen.
Chinese businessman’s wife killed
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe, has assured the Chinese community in Tanzania that the killing of Han Bing, the wife of the Chairman of the Chinese Business Association in Tanzania, had been an incident of banditry and was not xenophobia. Han was carrying some TShs 30 million without any security escort. Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, Suleiman Kova, said three people were being held over the incident – Mwananchi.