by Donovan McGrath

Decline of fishing in Lake Tanganyika ‘due to warming’ BBC News online published an article by the environment correspondent Matt McGrath on the ‘new research [that] blames rising temperatures … as the key cause of decline in one of the world’s most important fisheries.’ Extract continues: ‘Lake Tanganyika is Africa’s oldest lake and its fish are a critical part of the diet of neighbouring countries. But catches have declined markedly in recent decades as commercial fleets have expanded. However, this new study says that climate warming and not overfishing is the real cause of the problem… The chemical analysis of the cores and the fossils found there indicate that fish numbers have been dropping in parallel with the rise in global temperatures. The scientists say that in tropical lakes a warming of the waters reduce the mixing between oxygenated top layer and the nutrient-rich layer at the bottom. This increasing stratification of the waters means fewer nutrients get to [the] top, meaning less algae which means less food for fish. “Our idea was to look at the fish fossil and record and see when that decline actually started,” said Prof Andrew Cohen from the University of Arizona, “If it happened before the start of industrial fishing in the 1950s, you’d have strong evidence that the decline is not simply driven by this fishing activity and that’s exactly what we found.” The scientists don’t discount the impact of fishing over the past six decades… “Fishing in the lake is a Wild West activity, there are nominal controls but no teeth,” said Prof Cohen…’ (8 August 2016)

Rwanda, Tanzania ban sale of Samsung Note 7, Kenya holds back The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘Kenya will not join Rwanda and Tanzania in effecting a ban on the importation and distribution of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has been dogged by battery issues that has seen its production terminated… Rwanda and Tanzania effected a ban … citing safety concerns. Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority communication manager Innocent Mungy urged citizens who had bought the Samsung Note 7 to switch it off and return the device where they had purchased it, and sellers to follow the safety instructions provided by Samsung…’ (15-21 October 2016)

‘Seeds of hate’ sown as Tanzania starts LGBT crackdown The (UK) Guardian correspondent Sophie Tremblay says the ‘situation for the gay community deteriorates as ministers partially ban lubricants and restrict pro-gay charities …’ Extract continues: ‘Tanzania’s justice minister has announced controversial new plans to suspend the registration of any charity or non-governmental organisation that supports homosexuality. Claiming that he was protecting the “culture of Tanzanians”, Harrison Mwakyembe’s announcement comes days after the country’s health minister imposed a partial ban on the import and sale of lubricants to discourage gay men from having sex and “curb the spread of HIV”… The sudden crackdown has come as a surprise in a country that has until recently been tolerant of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Unlike in neighbouring Uganda … Kenya and Zimbabwe, gay Tanzanians have not experienced the same levels of violence and discrimination, and politicians have until now generally ignored the topic. James Wandera Ouma, the founder and executive director of LGBT Voice Tanzania … has said the plans are proof that “the environment for the LGBT community is very bad right now and it’s getting worse.” Ouma said the political mood shifted in early July, when Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner for Dar es Salaam … told citizens during a religious rally that he had started to crackdown against gay people. Makonda said he would use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to identify and arrest people suspected of being gay. Ouma said since Makonda’s speech he knew of at least 20 men who had been arrested by police outside bars and clubs popular with the gay community… Though sodomy is a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment, there is no law prohibiting homosexuality in Tanzania…’ (8 August 2016)

Tanzania suspends U.S.-funded AIDS programs in a new crackdown on gays The Washington Post online. Extract: ‘… Tanzania is turning its antihomosexual fury in a new direction – targeting HIV/AIDS programs that have helped tame a disease that once ravaged the region… [T] he minister of health announced that Tanzania will ban HIV/AIDS outreach projects aimed at gay men, pending a review… Tanzania’s actions appear to mark the first time that a country has suspended parts of the United States’ hugely successful foreign HIV/AIDS initiative in an attempt to crackdown on the gay community… The ban comes after months of bitter speeches and threats from Tanzanian officials aimed at the gay community and at organizations treating its HIV/AIDS patients. This year, police raided two U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS organizations and seized confidential patient information and supplies, officials said. In September, the deputy minister of health, Hamisi Kigwangalla, accused HIV treatment organizations of “promoting homosexuality.” “Any attempt to commit unnatural offenses is illegal and severely punished by law,” Kigwangalla said in the statement. People convicted of same-sex liaisons in Tanzania can be jailed for up to 30 years… But even as assistance programs have sharply reduced the death toll from AIDS, some countries in eastern Africa have been escalating their campaigns against homosexuality… Even though Tanzania’s penal code refers to homosexuality as “gross indecency,” the government had long permitted organizations to help gay men who had AIDS or who were at risk of contracting it. But since John Magufuli was elected president last year, the government’s tolerance on the issue has disintegrated. Although Magufuli has not said anything publicly about homosexuality, a number of his appointees have made harsh remarks… The government also banned the distribution of lubricants that help ensure that condoms do not tear…’ (23 November 2016)

The octopus hunters of Zanzibar BBC News online (UK). Extract: ‘The powdery white beaches of Zanzibar’s east coast are best known as a holiday destination. But each day, as the tide begins to ebb and the beachgoers return to their hotels, a small army of men and women armed with sticks and spears wade out across the coastal flats in search of one of the Tanzanian island’s finest delicacies – octopus. During a single low tide a skilled octopus hunter can spear more than 10 of the slimy invertebrates, which thrive amid the maze of rocks, corals and sea grass that lie beyond the beaches. The catch is highly prized by the island’s tourist hotels and provides an important source of protein for coastal communities. Tanzania is the largest producer of octopus in the western Indian Ocean… Traditionally a female-dominated activity, more men are now turning to octopus for a source of income. “The octopus has helped me to drive my life forward,” said Ali, who makes about £1.90 ($2.30) per kg (2Ib 3oz) for his octopuses. According to data from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, catches in Tanzania have increased from 482 tonnes in 1990 to more than 1,250 in 2012…’ (19 October 2016)

Tanzania reiterates total ban on use of plastic bags by next January The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘The government … will not back down on its decision to ban the use of plastic bags in January [2017]. Owners of plastic bag manufacturing factories have been advised to take the necessary steps to stop production before the deadline, and invest in the production of alternative bags and plastic waste recycling facilities. The instruction was contained in an advertisement posted in various media outlets … by the Vice President’s Office… [T]he Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, January Makamba … said that by instituting the ban, the government had revisited the 2006 regulation on the production, importation, sale and use of plastic bags …’ (20-26 August 2016)

On Resilience: How Ninon Marapachi Went From Poverty In Tanzania To Wall Street Domination Forbes online (USA) published Ally Bogard and Allie Hoffman’s interview of the 38-year-old Tanzanian woman who works for one of the biggest banks on Wall Street. The following is a summarised extract of the interview beginning with what Ninon Marapachi says about herself when the interviewers posed the question “What would be the most surprising thing about your professional journey that even the people that were closest with you wouldn’t know?”: Ninon answered by saying that the thing she had learned, more than anything throughout her career, was to ask for things, which she always got. Originally from Tanzania, the hardship of her family situation caused her to push herself so hard that to literally think of failure was not an option. She always knew she really needed to make it, because she needed to change her family’s situation. Ninon received a scholarship through the Norwegian government and spent her last two years of high school in Norway. Later, Ninon talks about her early beginnings in Wall Street: “My sophomore year, I started as an intern at Merrill Lynch in NYC. In 2001, 50 of us interns met with a very senior leader. After he presented, I emailed him, thanking him and asking him if he’d be available to talk to me one-to-one. He said yes. I got in front of this senior leader, I told him my story and my background – I told him I’m not American, I don’t have a visa, my family are very poor and I love working in finance. I told him I’d love to be hired, but if they wanted to hire me, then they should hire me as soon as possible, and I gave a very clear deadline for reclassifying and opting to graduate early. It was kind of crazy ask; it just came to me to be that bold. Literally on July 1st, 2001, I got called to his office and he said, ‘You asked for this,’ and there was an offer in front of me. I’ve been there ever since.” Towards the end of her interview Ninon said: “I have a story to tell and I want to impact a lot of people … who might not believe that a black woman can be in finance, an African woman can be on Wall Street…” (16 November 2016)

Taarab maestro’s last lovesong New African magazine. ‘Mohammed Juma Bhalo’s passing robbed the East African coast of one of its brightest lights. Paul Goldsmith celebrates a departed rock star, and traces the history of his art.’ Extract continues: ‘On the night of 5 April 2014, the Taarab music star, Mohammed Juma Bhalo … passed away. He died in his home in the heart of Mombasa’s old town holding his wife’s hand… The singer of traditional Swahili ballads and love songs was born in Malindi, Kenya and went to Tanzania as a young lad, where he worked as a fisherman and at other manual jobs. He returned to Mombasa, where he began to concentrate on his career as a musician… During his heyday … beginning in the late 1960s, Bhalo achieved rock star status across Kenya’s coast and beyond. Taarab is a modern offshoot of a much longer literary tradition. It achieved popularity during the pre-World War II period through the music of the Zanzibari diva, Siti binti Saad. Another legendary member of this cultural tradition, Bi Kidude, will be forever associated with the drums she still beat with vigour as a centenarian… [T]he people of Mombasa accorded Mohammed Juma Bhalo a sending-off worthy of a true Sheikh. Massive crowds formed in the streets around his home to escort the jeneza to the overcrowded mosque …’ (November 2016)

Private schools seek tax waiver The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘… “The government should equate schools to business institutions and waive taxes to allow the smooth delivery of quality education,” said Peter Nayar, director of Eden Garden Education Trust, which runs a chain of schools. The chairman, of the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges Mrinde Mnzava, said that the government should find a way to waive taxes charged on private schools to make them affordable for more Tanzanians…’ (15-21 October 2016)

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