TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

by Donovan McGrath

African Billionaires: 30 under 30 (Forbes Woman/Forbes Life)
Jokate Mwegelo is one of the 30 under 30 class of 2017 in the June edition of Forbes Africa USA). A millennial who made her mark as a beauty queen, musician and actress in under a year and convinced Africa’s youngest billionaire to invest in her start-up company. Extract continues: Jokate Mwegelo has more followers than AKA and Bonang Matheba put together. She inspires girls from Angola to Zimbabwe without even trying. For an entrepreneur in a Tanzanian town, she has a celeb-style media following… It’s been a long road to here for 30-yearold Mwegelo. Her journey began in 2006 when taking a gap year after high school. To pass time, Mwegelo volunteered for the United Nations and entered the Miss Tanzania contest… She wasn’t crowned queen, but left an impression, which ushered in opportunities for acting; her debut was a role in a movie called Fake Pastors. The movie’s success was genuine. “This was a time when the movie industry was becoming more commercialized in Tanzania…” … It paved the way for more roles and earned her two awards in the Zanzibar International Film Festival and a stint as a musician collaborating with the likes of Nigerian multiple award-winning hip-hop star Ice Prince… “My parents were very strict and valued education…” … She graduated in Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Dar es Salaam… “As a former beauty queen, actress, media personality and fashion enthusiast, I felt I could do so much more with my image and for the industry… I felt like we needed a female billionaire…” … Five years ago, Mwegelo used her savings to found Kidoti Company, a lifestyle brand… She started designing clothes for popular artists, and then received a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire, Tanzanian Mohamed Dewji. It changed everything… Kidoti designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags… [T]hey partnered with China’s Rainbow Shell Craft… The company promises to be a big success for Mwegelo, it doesn’t end here. She says giving back is a key part of her life. She launched ‘Be Kidotified’, a campaign which empowers young girls … She also launched ‘Msusi Wao’ translated ‘their hairsylist’, which connects hair dressers, financiers and customers. Africa certainly needs more female billionaires… (3 July 2017)

Everton’s Invasion in Tanzania Echo News (UK) online:
The Scouse invasion of Tanzania has begun… Koeman, Rooney and co flew direct on a special charter from Liverpool… Some went via Dubai, others through Oman and Qatar. The more creative opted for a night or two in Zanzibar before heading for Dar es Salaam … Everton players Idrissa Gueye and Leighton Baines, amongst others, visited Uhuru Primary School in Dar es Salaam. Extract continues: For the locals, though, there is no doubt who the main attraction [was], Rooney. … Keane, Tom Davies and Mo Besic headed off to meet members of Albino United Football Club, while Klaasen, Matty Pennington, Phil Jagielka and Dominic Calvert-Lewin embarked on a Tanzanian cooking challenge at the team hotel. The five-hour connecting flight from Dubai was routine enough, but what awaited fans at Julius Nyerere International Airport was anything but. A convoluted visa process led to lengthy, sweaty and frustrating delays crammed inside a tiny arrivals hall… [T]he delay meant fans were denied the chance to watch Rooney and co in action at Everton’s open training session at Tanzania’s National Stadium… In any case, they’d arrived, and could now take in a bit of Dar es Salaam… An ordeal at times, yes, but whatever else Everton’s historic African trip throws up, it’s already an experience! (12 July 2017)

Barrick Gold, Tanzania begin talks to resolve Acacia Mining dispute
Mining.com (Canada): To say Acacia Mining … is having a rough time in Tanzania is to underestimate the challenges the company, one of the largest gold producers in Africa, has been facing … The miner, Tanzania’s No.1 gold producer, is in the midst of a bitter dispute with the East African’s country’s government, which – among other things – has accused Acacia of tax evasion and illegal operations, served the firm with a $190-billion bill in fines and allegedly outstanding taxes, questioned staff and even blocked one of the firm’s senior executives … from leaving the country. “World’s largest gold miner Barrick hopes to reach an agreement over both the claims against its subsidiary and the current ban on mineral concentrate exports” (see TA117)… The Canadian gold miner said … it had formally begun talks [with] high-rank Tanzania’s government officials … Barrick’s chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli met in June in Dar es Salaam … The stock, however, has lost more than 67% of its value since the export ban came in effect in March this year. The situation is so delicate that the miner warned … it would have to close its flagship Bulyanhulu mine by Sept. 30 if the prohibition is not lifted (31 July 2017).

Tanzania ‘witch killings’ claimed 479 lives from January – June 2017: report Africanews.com (South Africa): Five women accused of being witches and murdered by a mob … were among some 80 people killed each month in Tanzania this year by vigilantes taking the law into their own hands … Thousands of elderly Tanzanian women have been strangled, knifed to death and burned alive over the last two decades after being denounced as witches. The report published by the Dar es Salaam-based rights group Legal and Human Rights Centre showed 479 deaths related to mob justice reported in Tanzania from January to June this year, including women accused of witchcraft. While 117 deaths have been reported to have occurred in Dar (this year), Mbeya sits second with 33 people lynched followed by Mara with 28 and Geita with 26 deaths… Belief in witchcraft in the East African country dates back centuries as a way of explaining common misfortunes like death, failed harvests and infertility… The report comes a week after police in the western Tabora region launched a hunt for the suspected killers of five women in Undomo village. The women were accused of being witches, beaten to death and their bodies burned, police said (1 August 2017).

Tanzania president under fire for urging refugees to return to ‘stable’ Burundi
The Guardian UK (online): Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, has drawn fierce criticism from activists after urging thousands of Burundian refugees to return to their home country. Magufuli has ordered the suspension of the registration and naturalisation of thousands of Burundian refugees, and told home affairs minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, to stop granting them citizenship. “It’s not that I am expelling Burundian refugees. I am just advising them to voluntarily return home,” said Magufuli. “I urge Burundians to remain in their country, I have been assured, the place is now calm.”… But Joseph Siegle, director at the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Magufuli’s comments were “at odds with the situation on the ground, as all available reports on Burundi by the East African Community, African Union and UN demonstrate that the situation is getting worse and refugee numbers are increasing”. Siegle is among a number of regional experts who have attacked Magufuli, pointing out that the situation in Burundi remains dangerous… Magufuli’s order came shortly after he held talks with Pierre Nkurunziza, his Burundian counterpart, at the border town of Ngara on 20 July. Tanzania hosts 241,687 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers [hosting] “… more Burundian refugees than any other country.” … “Tanzania has an ongoing obligation under international refugee law to ensure that Burundians fleeing violence and persecution can remain in Tanzania,” said Maria Burnett, associate director at Human Rights Watch… (29 July 2017)

School bus crashes in Tanzania killing dozens
The Guardian (UK) online: A school bus has crashed in Tanzania killing 32 schoolchildren, two teachers and the driver after it plunged into a roadside ravine in the northern tourist region of Arusha, a senior police official has said. “The accident happened when the bus was descending on a steep hill in rainy conditions,” regional commander Charles Mkumbo said. “We are still investigating the incident to determine if it was caused by a mechanical defect or human error on the part of the driver.” The pupils killed in the accident, which occurred at about 9.30am in Karatu district, were aged 12 to 13, and from the Lucky Vincent primary school on their way to visit another school, Mkumbo said. Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, described the accident as a national tragedy in statement. Tanzania, the second-largest economy in east Africa, has a poor road safety network but buses remain the main form of public transport between towns. More than 11,000 people were killed in road accidents in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016, according to government data. (6 May 2017)

Cancer rates are soaring in Africa, yet Tanzania’s radiotherapy hub stands idle
The Guardian (UK) online: A state-of-the-art oncology clinic lacks the funding and staff to get its equipment up and running, despite thousands of people requiring life-saving treatment. The white bulk of the cobalt-60 radiotherapy machine is just visible inside the dark cement bunker. The electricity in the room at Bugando Medical Centre is shut off. The machine, donated last year by the Indian government, looks ready to go, but it has yet to deliver a life-saving dose of radiation. Medical staff at Bugando, a tertiary care and teaching hospital in Tanzania’s second largest city, Mwanza, are keen to start offering radiotherapy to the growing number of cancer patients arriving at the hospital’s doors… But getting the expensive technology up and running has been a long struggle…The World Health Organisation warned recently that non-communicable diseases are likely to kill more people in Africa than infectious disease by 2030, and Bugando is on the frontline of this fight… (20 March 2017)

Tanzania to lose $553 million annually if Acacia exits its market
The East African (Kenya) online: … In the report on Acacia’s economic and tax contribution to Tanzania, the mining company’s total direct, indirect and induced economic contribution in Tanzania last year included more than 36,000 jobs, about $339 million of labour income, and nearly $214 million in tax payments. “In total … Acacia’s total tax contribution last year was an estimated $214 million,” the analysis shows. The total workforce was 3,000, whose wages and benefits totalled over $101 million, with an average of $34,000 per employee. “About 2,800 were Tanzanian nationals who received an average annual wage of $20,000, up from $17,000 in 2015. The average annual wage for its Tanzanian workers in 2016 was over 10 times higher than the average earnings of $1,878 for other Tanzanian workers throughout the economy in 2016,” the report states… (1 August 2017)

John Magufuli: Tanzania’s rising star
New African (UK/France) online: This edition featured a profile of Tanzania’s current president under the subheadings: “The Magufuli magic”, “An unlikely candidate”, “The bulldozer swings his scythe”, “The backlash” and “Magufuli balance sheet”. Extract: In the 1970s, responding to taunts from socialists Tanzanians that neighbouring, capitalist Kenya was a ‘dog eat dog’ society, the Kenyans came back with ‘Tanzania is a man eat nothing society!’ They were not far wrong. Tanzania’s nationalised industries and collectivised farms failed miserably to meet demand and led to empty shops as shortages of virtually all products, including essentials, began to bite. This has become a dim and distant memory in the country today. The shops are overflowing, prices are some of the lowest in the East African region and there is a sense of optimism and wellbeing. The transformation has been brought about by successive presidents who succeeded the iconic Julius Nyerere… Each leader has stepped in at particular tipping points and by force of personality and style, moved the country along a notch or two… The big question now was what sort of leader Magufuli would make… The answer was not long in coming. Right from the word go, he not only set out to make good his elections pledges, he went further – to the delight of the masses, but growing concern among the establishment. He did the unthinkable – he cancelled Independence Day celebrations and all the extravagant expenses government traditionally splurged out. Instead, he wanted the day spent on street cleaning and enthusiastically participated, emulating Rwanda’s President Kagame. He slashed the budget for the usually opulent opening of parliament by almost 90% and demanded that the money saved be spent on purchasing hospital beds and on road works. He cancelled foreign travel for government officials and put a stop to the purchase of first-class tickets. He decreed henceforth, government meetings would be held in state buildings rather than in expensive hotels. He trimmed down the delegation of 50 set to tour Commonwealth countries to just four. He publicly warned those selected as ministers and other government functionaries that he would not tolerate corruption, laziness or excessive bureaucracy. He told them they should expect nothing more than to work tirelessly to serve the people of the country alongside him. He made it very clear that the gravy train had come to an end. Government posting no longer meant a life of ease, privilege and the opportunity to make money… He made surprise raids at government offices to see for himself who was at their desks, who was absent and who used the well-worn trick of leaving their jackets on the chairs to indicate that they had just stepped out for a moment when in fact they may have been gone for weeks… [O]peration ‘squeezing the boil’ as they dubbed it … While he was busy ‘squeezing the boil’ of incompetence and corruption, Magufuli and his team also rooted out over 10,000 ‘ghost workers’ from various government departments. A nationwide fraud audit had discovered that $2m a month was going to pay the non-existent workers. The swinging blade did not stop there… The public servants found to have fake certificates were ordered to resign voluntarily or else they would face prosecution for the crime, which is punishable for up to seven years in jail… Despite the president’s popularity with the masses … his blunt leadership style, sometimes controversial statements and impromptu decisions … have been criticised, mostly by the opposition and also, increasingly by the lay public… In this context, he came under fire for failing to travel to the northern town of Kagera where 11 people had died and 192 injured following an earthquake. His response to the afflicted, who said that as a result of drought they had nothing to eat, shocked many. He asked them if they expected him to cook food for them. The National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) has accused him of deliberately kicking out Muslims from senior government positions … Despite such sentiments, President Magufuli remains hugely popular. Policies such as free secondary education, free health care for elderly people, tax collection reforms and giving the war on drugs serious attention have all made him popular, especially among the ordinary people who live in rural areas, who see him as their saviour… A senior diplomat in Tanzania says that the majority of civil servants now show up for work, while in the past, many were busy attending seminars, and rarely had time to stay in office and do the work… The opposition have described President Magufuli as ‘a dictator’ … [H]is critics say that Magufuli has personally threatened media owners of newspapers critical of his presidency at public rallies and over 10 people have been charged for criticising him on social media since he became president. John Pombe Magufuli ‘s supporters and critics both agree on one thing. Everything this president has done has been unprecedented in the history of Tanzania… (8 June 2017)

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