LETTERS

It is not often that my name is mentioned twice in the same magazine so I thought that readers who are interested in Tanzanian history and publications – post German – may like a bit more general information. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies at London University has published a brochure entitled “Administering Empire” with a list of pretty well all the publications of personal memoirs with an introduction by Tony Kirk-Greene CMG, MBE, FRHistS, Emeritus Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. The Tanganyika Rifles Officer who actually changed the flag at midnight is a friend of mine and lives nearby. To the list might be added “Towards Uhuru in Tanzania” by G. Andrew Maguire.

“Tanganyika Notes and Records” up to the time of Independence is also available on microfiche at the Rhodes House Mandela Library in Oxford which is part of the Bodleian Library, courtesy of the Government of Tanzania.

I am grateful to Dick Eberlie for his kind words about books written by former members of the Colonial Service which came to an end in 1966 when Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a Memorial at Westminster Abbey inscribed with the words “Whosoever will be Chief among you, let him be your Servant” which is a quote from the King James version of the Bible, St Matthew Chap XX verse 27.

Thereafter we became H.M.Overseas Civil Service. Tanzania was of course never a colony but a League of Nations Trusteeship Territory subject to annual visits by the United Nations. Settlement of immigrants from Europe and elsewhere was restricted as they could only hold leasehold land – not freehold. And Local Authority approval had to be obtained and compensation paid where appropriate. It was also prescribed by the Order in Council 1920 that “The interests of the indigenous population shall be paramount”.

I like to think that we honoured our mission.

Finally you mentioned one of my daughter’s two books.
“The Clever Rat and other African Tales” is available from Glenmore, Deanland Road, Balcombe, West Sussex, RH17 6LX Tel. 01444-811220 and “Tales of Abunuwas and Other African Stories” is published by “Mkuki na Nyota” at PO Box 4246, Dar es Salaam and available in England from Africa Books Collective, PO Box 721, Oxford, OX1 9EN. Prices are £12­99 and £15-95 respectively but cheaper on Amazon. Readers may like to know that these two books together retell in English with coloured illustrations (by English and Tanzanian artists respectively) the well known childrens’ stories “Hekaya za Abunuwas na Hadithi Nyingine” which has for many years been a primary school reader throughout Swahili speaking East African schools.

John Lewis-Barned

Large scale aid
Having read Theroux and de Waal, Robert Wise (TA 102) is concerned, rightly, ‘… about the effectiveness of large-scale aid which provides much money but fails to ensure local people are involved and trained.’ His concern will only be heightened by the East African piece entitled ‘So Homosexuality is unAfrican? What About Living on Handouts?’ (TA 102, p32), and had he also read Graham Hancock’s Lords of Poverty (now rather dated) and Dambiso Moyo’s Dead Aid (very current), he might start lobbying his MP!

I have written in to TA before on the subject, and won’t bore readers again with all the arguments against continuation of most ODA (official development assistance) to the LDCs. Just to relate a cautionary tale: a friend of mine, high up in DfID, some years ago, in response to my inveighing against the aid programme, cynically said, ‘If we (by which he meant the West) do not give it, China will gain undue influence in the LDCs’, thereby immediately revealing the kind of mindset which pervades Western governments, and, I hasten to add, many of the West’s huge charity bodies like Oxfam, SCF and World Vision: that aid-giving is a matter of international power politics and little else, as of course it was during the Cold War. ‘The West knows Best for the Rest’, as one might put it!

Mr Wise asks for monitoring and evaluation on small-scale projects. I would like to ask aid-giving governments and the UNO for the equivalent at the other end of the scale, because I have a sneaky feeling (often revealed by ‘think-tanks’) that much ODA aid has benefitted the First World rather more than the Third. Is it time, as Mr Wise infers, to concentrate on the usually more effective and efficient small-scale programmes, run, as often as not, on a volunteer basis, like the TDT’s?

In toto they are still ‘drops in the ocean’, but surely, after half-a-century of Independence in Africa, isn’t it time to withdraw the deadening hand of ODA, the mega-aid gravy-train? Most polls of taxpayers in the West show majorities in favour of doing so, and many Africans think likewise, if letters to the BBC Africa Service are any guide.
A.D.H. Leishman (Mr)

Biomass Fuels
I am particularly interested in the piece on Biomass Fuels in the last issue of TA. I wonder how this level of timber conservation is still possible. Sixty years ago the people of Ukerewe provided their own solution. They had a strong tradition of self-help manifested in the voluntary construction of roads, and, in the present context, growing their own firewood. The islands were even then densely populated and there was very little surviving ‘natural bush’ to provide firewood or building materials. Each household had to plant and maintain about half an acre of a fast growing deciduous tree and each village established a larger plantation for communal use.

Do these practices still exist in Ukerewe? Have they been adopted elsewhere in Ukerewe? They should perhaps be common practice.

Don Barton, District Commissioner, Ukerewe 1958-61.

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