by Dr Hildebrand Shayo

Should Tanzania be concerned about the UK and USA’s banks’ hike in interest rates?
When the Fed in the US or the Bank of England raises interest rates, what happens To Tanzania? Is Tanzania secure, bearing in mind the government’s commitments and government repayment to loans on the table, given like any other nation has borrowed from international financial institutions that use hard currency? If any further financial commitments and repayment are necessary, were these interest hikes anticipated in the nationally approved 2023/24 national budget? If not, how will this increase in interest rates affect Tanzania’s economy, which is already struggling to find enough dollars for imports of essential items like oil and other goods and services?

When the Fed or Bank of England raises interest rates, it is obvious that they intend to boost borrowing costs generally. The choice results in higher interest rates for everyone, raising the cost of loans for both businesses and consumers. Furthermore, this will result in a significant shortage of greenbacks, which will have an impact on many economies, including Tanzania, which depends on foreign exchange to facilitate trade.

Tanzania should be prepared to soon face the effects of US monetary policy, which will generally raise the cost of lending across the economy. Everyone ends up paying more in interest since higher interest rates make loans more expensive for both firms and consumers. Therefore, the crucial question is: Are we ready to withstand the sting of rising interest rates?

To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it is crucial to know for example that the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday 26th July 2023 increased its benchmark lending rate by 0.25% points to combat the US market’s prevalent above-target inflation. For the UK, the Bank of England envisaged hikes exceeding 200bps by year-end and a peak policy rate above 5% by early next year is something that cannot be overlooked in Tanzania. There are indications that the rate may be hiked higher to boost their economic prospects, according to the discussion that followed this US federal decision and the expected Bank of England decision rates scope.

Will this decision spare Tanzania, which like many other countries in the region is suffering from a shortage of the widely used trade currency, as evidenced by the recent shortage of the US dollar supply that prompted oil importers to voice their concerns to the government, even though this is likely to attract more investment into the US market?

Tanzania will have a difficult mountain to climb to manage the consequences of this rate increase. While it may seem like Tanzania should seriously consider increasing its domestic production by reviving its domestic industries that use local raw materials, or seriously consider switching over machines and engines that used imported oil to gas, or generally seriously consider achieving output that will mitigate this impact, this isn’t a one-day action.

As a nation, in my opinion, it is high time to face reality and accept that this shift would only strengthen the US dollar and damage other currencies, including the Tanzanian shilling. Changes in interest rates have an impact on how consumers and businesses access credit to make critical purchases and make financial plans. Even some life insurance policies are affected by it.

I do recognise that as a country we might be tempted to look to raise money through Euro bonds on the global market, but if this is going to be the only solution, we need to be ready because there will be significant charges with higher interest rates as the markets all over will react to the Federal Reserve decision.

In a way, our desire to create more jobs for young Tanzanians graduating from colleges and universities as well as those who want to start their businesses will be unable to obtain bank credit and likely be severely hampered by the gradual reduction in borrowing by businesses or the failure of new businesses to access credits at reasonable affordable rates.

When the Fed or Bank of England adjusts interest rates, it’s crucial to consider the effects on the economy, including lending and borrowing, consumer spending, and the stock market. My reflection aims to spark conversation about how we can assist the government in working with the central bank to find workable solutions because these changes will soon have an impact on how Tanzanian consumers will pay more for the capital needed to make purchases and when businesses will face higher costs associated with expanding their operations and funding payrolls.

The use of many strategies, in my opinion, including loans, swaps, exports of products and services, promotion of tourism, closer coordination of remittances, or attracting more FDIs, can help Tanzania overcome this difficult and challenging time in our development history.
While these actions may seem great, I believe there is one area that needs extra attention – specifically purchasing gold, that can be utilised as a hedge in this situation – but mistakes and lessons of the past when the government through the central bank was involved in purchasing gold must be considered.

It is more crucial for the government to set aside money to assist projects that promote exports and import alternatives. In this regard, policy banks like the TIB Development Bank or commercial banks can carry out the export guarantee plan, but caution must be exercised to prevent misuse by learning from lessons from the past where such government support was seriously mismanaged at the expense of Tanzanians.

Unquestionably, an increase in interest rates in the US or in the UK will induce or persuade investors to place their capital in equities and bonds and assets on the US market in search of big returns.

Changes in interest rates have a ripple effect on many aspects of the economy, comprising mortgage rates and consumer credit and consumption, and stock market movements. Nonetheless, due to the impact of interest rate changes on the global economy, most commodities traded on the international market, such as oil, will cause Tanzania to experience greater economic hardship if the proper strategies and actions are not taken on a timely and strategic basis.

My main concern is how interest rate instruments are being utilised while also thinking about what needs to be done to calm markets and prevent potential bank runs. I will go into more detail about this in the next issue and how strategically Tanzania can overcome this global challenge. But first and foremost, I worry that higher interest rates will increase pressure on Tanzanian banks, which will restrict lending. This will in turn undoubtedly damage small companies and businesses and other borrowers that seek sanctuary in this sector of the economy that is considered a major source of tax revenue for the government and importantly job creation for the army of young graduates from colleges and universities.


by James L.Laizer

Tanzania ranked among best tourist destinations in Africa
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation ranks Tanzania as Africa’s second top tourism performer after Ethiopia, citing a substantial increase in visitors and positive industry developments. According to Dr. Hassan Abbas, Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the tourist sector was negatively impacted by COVID-19, but new investments and the government efforts, including in producing the ‘Royal Tour’ documentary have helped to improve performance. The number of tourists increased from 250,000 in the first quarter of 2022 to more than 400,000 in the same period this year.

“This is a very good step in the tourism sector because we have come out of Covid-19 and soon we will release fresh data on the number of tourists for the half-year. We continue to thank Tanzanians for continuing to invest in the tourism sector, many good things are coming,” said Dr Abbas when briefing on the outcome of Africa tourism conference held August, 2023 in Mauritius. He also said that Tanzania has been made a member of the council responsible for developing global tourism strategies and plans as well as the UNWTO’s vice-chairman.

Speaking at the Mauritius event, director of tourism Dr Thereza Mugobi indicated that Tanzania has acquired lessons that may assist in revolutionizing the tourism industry. These concerns include expanding private sector participation and making additional investments in tourism infrastructure: “Mauritius has made serious development in beach tourism, and it also works with the private sector very closely. The private sector always conducts tourism research and shares recommendations with the government. In Tanzania, we also work with the private sector, but we need to invest more” said Dr Mugobi. She also suggested that hospitality standards are important to make tourists come back. During the Mauritius event, Dr Abbas announced a renewed six-member board of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), containing members from both private and public sectors, with Ambassador Ramadhan Dau appointed chairperson, succeeding Judge Thomas Mihayo who retired at the close of his tenure.

Anti-poaching efforts paying off in Tanzania as wildlife population increases.
Tanzania has announced a steady rebound in its elephants and black rhinos’ populations as anti-poaching campaigns and ongoing enforcement and intelligence work continue to keep poaching efforts down. The number of black rhinos, an endangered species, has increased from 163 in 2019 to 238 in 2022, surpassing the target of having 205 rhinos by the end of 2023, the then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mohamed Mchengerwa, said in June 2023. Presenting the tourism ministry’s budget in Parliament, Mr Mchengerwa said the elephant population also increased from 43,330 in 2014 to c.60,000 in 2022. As a result, Tanzania currently boasts Africa’s third-highest elephant population.

“Wildlife security reports indicate that no elephant deaths have resulted from poaching between July 2022 and April 2023,” said Mr Mchengerwa. He added that anti-poaching campaigns were boosted by efforts to control illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, and encroachment in protected areas. This is a strong indication that poaching has been dropping in Tanzania but not a time for complacency either. According to the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), black rhinos and elephants remain critically endangered species because of the demand for their horns and tusks in the illegal international market. WWF says poaching for the illegal trade is the greatest and deadliest threat to these species, as the horns and tusks are traded to be used for traditional medicine and increasingly as a status symbol to display success and wealth. Ongoing efforts will be required. Mr. Mchengerwa also stated that conservation efforts remain evident as the country accommodates the largest populations of lions and giraffes at 14,912 and 24,000, respectively. “12,058 poaching suspects have been apprehended, and the ministry has conducted special intelligence operations enabling the prevention of poaching and illegal harvesting of forest resources,” he said. This suggests that the use of a holistic approaches such as anti-poaching operations, intelligence, local community buy-in and better coordination among state agencies has helped enforce a legal framework that supports conservation and sustainable management of wildlife and protected areas in Tanzania.

Zanzibar announced an increase in its room tax effective from 1st July 2023.
The Zanzibar Revenue Authority (ZRA) has embarked on collecting new infrastructure levy from hotels, that comes into operation effective from July 1st, 2023. The tax changes will cover both five-star hotels and guest houses that shall charge from US$ 1 to US$ 5 or its equivalent in Tanzania Shillings per guest per night. According to the ZRA’s public notice, the tax is payable by a guest staying in any Isles hotel or guest house and the management shall be responsible for its collection.

Hoteliers and tourism stakeholders in Zanzibar have said the introduction of the levy for every hotel room occupied per night is likely to negatively affect the sector. However, the government has upheld that the levy will have no meaningful impact on the private sector. According to Ms. Saada Muya Salum, Zanzibar’s finance minister, the new levies would be implemented immediately with effect from 1st July 2023. “Hoteliers will have to see how to implement this, and I don’t think it is going to affect their businesses to that extent. What we are doing is creating a conducive business atmosphere; for example, regarding the issue of electricity, we have removed VAT on solar panels,” Ms Mkuya said.

The hotel stakeholder groups responded that having additional levies damages the competitive edge that Zanzibar has against other island nations in the Indian Ocean. “Hotels are already charging 15 percent VAT already, now add $5 dollars; this is keenly felt by consumers who might be forced to look elsewhere,” said one hotelier in Stone Town who preferred anonymity. The hotelier added that despite a rebound in the sector with handsome numbers of arrivals, this is an industry that was ravaged by the pandemic and many of the businesses are still in the recovery period. The chairperson of the Zanzibar Association for Tourism Investors (Zati), Rahim Bhaloo, said the new development has taken the industry stakeholders by surprise, adding that there was a need for prior engagement given the dynamics and nature of business. However, the chairperson of the Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Ali Amour, said infrastructure tax changes needed to be implemented in accordance with the laws, indicating. That such levies support increases into tourism infrastructure such as roads.


by Ben Taylor

Marburg virus outbreak over
The Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, announced in June that Tanzania was officially free from the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), after completing 42 days of monitoring per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

In a post on Twitter, the minister reported that May 31, 2023 marked the end of the monitoring period since the last patient recovered. “I’m officially announcing that the Marburg Virus Disease in the Kagera region is officially over,” she said. “We have managed to end the disease with great success. Today is a happy day; it’s a day to celebrate.”

On March 21, 2023, Tanzania had officially declared the country’s first Marburg virus outbreak. It was the second country to report the disease after Equatorial Guinea, which continues to battle with the disease. Across March and April nine cases were reported in Tanzania, including eight laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case. The last confirmed case was reported on April 11, and the sample collection of the second negative PCR test was on April 19. All cases were reported from Bukoba district, Kagera region. Among the confirmed cases, three have recovered, and six deaths have been reported, of which five were confirmed cases, and one was probable. Cases ranged from 1 to 59 years old. Six cases were close relatives, and two were healthcare workers who provided medical care to the patients.

WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described the development as “good news” in a statement posted on Twitter. “My appreciation goes to health [and] care workers, the government of Tanzania, WHO colleagues, and all partners for their efforts to end the outbreak in just over two months,” he said. “The key lesson is that we need to continue investing in epidemic preparedness,” he added.

WHO confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus disease in the central African country of Equatorial Guinea on February 13, 2023. In the past, the disease was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

According to WHO, the Marburg virus spreads between people via direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with infected people’s blood, secretions, organs, or other body fluids and surfaces and materials such as bedding and clothing contaminated with these fluids.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines against Marburg virus disease. Outbreak control relies on contact tracing, sample testing, patient contact monitoring, quarantines and attempts to limit or modify high-risk activities such as traditional funeral practices. (The Chanzo)


by Ben Taylor

Government outlines five priorities for education sector in 2023/24
The minister for education, science and technology, Prof Adolf Mkenda, has outlined five priority areas for the education sector in the coming year. He was speaking in Parliament, presenting his ministry’s TSh 1.67 trillion (around £540 million) annual budget.

“The government will complete the review of the 2014 Education and Training Policy and the Education Curriculum and begin its implementation with the aim of strengthening knowledge and skills for graduates of all levels of education,” said Prof Mkenda.

The budget also aims to increase the opportunities and quality of technical training in secondary education and mid-level technical colleges, as this is seen as playing an important role job creation for young people. As part of this effort, the minister noted that the government will facilitate the renovation of technical secondary schools and provide them with learning and teaching equipment. The government will also expand training of vocational education teachers, establish 130 new vocational colleges and expand access to vocational education from 380,000 students each year to 680,000 students.

Thirdly, the government will develop the concept of industrial training (teaching factory), similar to apprenticeships. The idea is that this will enable students at every level to gain skills through practical experience that will be useful to them for either future formal employment or self-employment, explained the minister.

A fourth priority is to strengthen the country’s capacity in research, the use of science and technology and innovation to stimulate the growth of an industrial economy. In strengthening research, Prof Mkenda said, among other things, the government will conduct research in 177 areas, including education, science and technology, language, agriculture, business, fishing, livestock, medicine, human rights, people’s development, and communication. “The government will do this to increase knowledge and solve various challenges in society,” he explained.

Last but not least, the government also aims to increase the opportunities and quality of primary and secondary education as well as higher education.

Facing a combination of rapid population growth and high levels of unemployment, the ministry of education, science and technology has a vital but challenging role to play in taking the country forward. Critics have highlighted that between 2015 and 2023 the government has allocated, on average, 14% of the national budget to education, well below the 20% recommended standard for developing countries.

If the government were to meet this target, “it is clear that many challenges could be solved and the quality of education in the country could be raised,” said Dr John Kalage, executive director of HakiElimu, an education-focussed NGO.

Others pointed to a lack of joined-up thinking in the ministry. According to Ms Husna Sekiboko (Special Seats – CCM), employment was offered to around 29,000 new teachers this year, while more than 300,000 qualified teachers remained unemployed. (The Citizen)

Government to act “against immorality”
The government has said that it will take strict action against all those who are proven to encourage and engage in acts that violate the Tanzanian society’s moral code. Speaking in Parliament, the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa stressed that the issue should not rest on the government’s shoulders alone but requires cooperation across the whole of society.

He was speaking in reference to the moral decay that has been discussed since The Citizen newspaper published an investigation into students’ behaviour in schools earlier this year. The paper’s investigation, focussed on two secondary schools in deprived neighbourhoods of Dar es Salaam, concluded that the causes of poor exam results were indiscipline and moral decay among students. In the report, students under the age of 18 were identified as engaging in prostitution and others in homosexuality.

“We have to protect our future generations against foreign cultures that endanger the well-being and development of the Tanzanian society,” said Mr Majaliwa. He added that the government has directed all schools to continue providing education to students from pre-primary to form six about the consequences of engaging in immoral behaviours.

“I strongly urge my fellow Tanzanians to work together to raise our voices so that we can put an end to immorality that has a big impact on our current and future generations,” he said.

He noted also that the law review commission has already reviewed some aspects of legislation, gathering opinions from various stakeholders to work on them, with the aim of identifying areas of weakness that contributed or provided loopholes for the spread of such practices. He said the government was involving all important stakeholders from the Mainland and the Zanzibar Islands.

Draft new education policy released
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has released the first draft of the proposed new edition of the education and training policy and curricular, which takes a competence- and skills-based approach.

The proposed new draft of the Education and Training policy describes the “formula” of education as “1+6+4+2/3+3+”. This stands for one year of pre-primary education, six years of primary education, four years of ordinary secondary education, two years of advanced secondary or three years of technical education and three years (or more) of tertiary or higher learning education.

The Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adolf Mkenda, said that the completion of these documents follows the promise of President Samia Suluhu Hassan she made in Parliament in 2021, saying that the government will review the education and training policy of 2014 and all curricula.

Minister Mkenda assured that the new draft matches with economic trends, including the 21st century technological needs in the world.

The draft, which was released on the ministry’s website, aims to establish a “vibrant, diverse and result-oriented policy and curricular”, and thus to increase the skills and competences of graduates in various fields in order to meet the demands of national and global jobs markets.

Moreover, the public will have a wide choice of enrolment options to ensure that the education offered provides life skills, vocational skills and creativity to match market demands.

The move according to the document, will give graduates a power of critical thinking, innovation, leadership and communication and information technology know-how, so that they can cope with challenges in the community and forge ahead.

The proposed new edition of the Education and Training policy will repeal the current education system of 2+7+4+2+3+, where a student graduates from higher learning after 18 years of learning. The new system has 16 years of learning up to graduate level, in line with countries like South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia and Finland. (The UK generally has 17 years.)

With the proposed policy, the students will start primary education at six years, ideally after one year of pre-primary education that is intended to prepare the pupil to for formal schooling. The proposed system also provides room for those out of the education system to be enrolled in formal education according to set criteria, so that they can benefit from the opportunities in the formal sector. The government will have in place a national equivalent criteria and respective award for all levels of education. The draft policy also proposes that those in the compulsory education (primary and secondary) will keep on enjoying fee-free education.

In terms of curriculum, some of the proposed changes are to focus on competences in each subject.

For Standard One and Two pupils, the proposal of the curricular is to undertake the key subjects of reading, writing, basic English, mathematics, traditions upholding, arts and sports, environment and health.

Subjects for higher levels of primary schooling are Kiswahili, English, French, Chinese, Arabic, mathematics, history of Tanzania and ethical values, divinity, arts and sports, science, geography and the environment.

For the ordinary secondary education the subject list in the proposal are history of Tanzania and ethical values, history, geography, English, Literature in English, Kiswahili, Arabic, Chinese, French, sports, physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, agriculture, additional mathematics, computer science and bookkeeping.

Others are business studies, textiles, fine art, music, theatre arts, home management, food and nutrition, bible knowledge, Islamic and Kiswahili literature.

The main fields for O-level vocational education include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, automotive engineering, transport and logistics, clothing and textile, agriculture and food processing. Others are hospitality and tourism, commercial and business support services, printing, extraction and processing of minerals, cosmetology, creative arts, ICT and electronics and sports.

Minister Mkenda said the draft had been made available for the public to present their views before the final procedure to make the document official. (Daily News)

Call for improved menstrual hygiene facilities in schools
One in ten schoolgirls in Africa miss classes or drop out completely due to their period and substitute pads or tampons for less safe and less absorbent materials such as rags, newspaper or bark. This is according to a UNICEF report, cited by a Tanzanian NGO Urithi wangu (My Legacy) seeking solutions to the problem.

Running a three-day workshop to teachers from different parts of Dar es Salaam, who would in turn train their pupils on how to keep safe with washable pads, Urithi Wangu Programme Officer, Amina Ally said such skills being will help teachers to gain an understanding of the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) including checking how the content can be incorporated into classroom teaching.

The UNICEF report points to three ways that girls and women are disadvantaged by challenges relating to menstrual hygiene. First, the lack of affordable sanitary products and facilities for girls and women keeps them at a disadvantage in terms of education when they are young and prevents their mobility and productivity as women.

Second, the lack of clean and healthy sanitation such as toilets and running water means that girls often do not have anywhere to change or dispose of pads safely and in privacy at school.

Third, the taboo nature of menstruation prevents girls and their communities from talking about and addressing the problem; raising awareness and education to eliminate the stigma of menstruation is a large part of the battle.

Urithi Wangu conducted a preliminary study to understand the actual situation of WASH services in Tanzanian schools. The results showed the importance of having a sustainable sanitation policy in schools that not only focuses on handling WASH services, but also barriers to access to safe menstrual equipment for adolescent girls. This includes findings that 29% of respondents said that pads and tampons are available at school, 59% reported that the toilets were not friendly and did not meet the needs of young girls and those with special needs, 50% said that their schools have special sections/rooms for girls to cover up during menstruation, and 75% said they did not have a safe disposal method for used pads. (Daily News)


by Laela Adamson

School children sit at their desks, singing and clapping at a primary school in
Dar Es Salaam, Credit | AFP

Tanzanian students who struggle with English feel bullied – a major barrier to learning

In many postcolonial contexts, early learning is conducted, and assessed, in a language that is unfamiliar to learners. About 40% of the world’s population cannot access schooling in a language that they understand and that is regularly used in their communities. This figure may be as high as 80% in sub-Saharan Africa.

Language policies in some countries preserve a role for mother tongue or other familiar local languages in the first years of schooling. This is the case for example in Kenya, Botswana and Ethiopia. In Tanzania, the national language – Kiswahili – is the language of instruction in primary schooling. The use of Kiswahili at this level was seen as integral to forging a new national Tanzanian identity after independence. But nearly all countries switch to English, French or Portuguese by the start of secondary schooling.

School children sit at their desks, singing and clapping at a primary school in Dar Es Salaam, Credit | AFP

Tanzania is no exception. Although there was a shift in the wording of the language policy in 2015, there was strong opposition to change. Young people continue to experience an abrupt transition to English when they enter Form 1 of secondary school from 14 years old.

There is clear evidence that the compulsory use of English makes learning more difficult and contributes to poor outcomes. Research has also found, however, that many students and teachers wanted to retain English as the language of instruction.

To try to unpick this perplexing confusion, I sought to explore students’ experiences of language in school, alongside their broader attitudes and aspirations relating to education and language. My study confirmed previous findings that compulsory use of English limits learner comprehension and participation. More significantly, I found that underlying student fear of poor expression in a new language – and being laughed at or mocked by teachers and fellow students – was a prevalent barrier to learning and participation.

The findings from this study are a clear pointer that any new approaches must include changes to classroom management. Laughter and humiliation should not be allowed as responses to mistakes.

The study
This study was conducted over eight months in two secondary schools in the Morogoro region of central Tanzania. The urban school had more than 1,500 students and included both lower and advanced secondary level, forms 1-6. The rural school was a newer, community school, with 600 students in forms 1-4. This study was designed for depth of understanding, so it focused on only two schools. There may be differences in learners’ experiences in different schools and regions across the country, but the challenges found in these two schools were similar to those reported in the wider literature.

The research approach was ethnographic – through observation in and out of class as well as formal and informal interviews with students and teachers. During this research, young people were free to speak Kiswahili, English or a mix of these two. Although there were other local languages used in the communities, they were not widely used in school. This is perhaps different in other regions of the country where there is a more dominant local language.

I trained and worked with a group of pupil researchers from the two schools. They conducted their own interviews, co-facilitated workshops and helped to interpret the findings and explain their meaning in the Tanzanian context. I wanted to recognise the importance of their accounts and explanations.

What we found
The vast majority of pupils in this study had not used English as a language of instruction before starting secondary school at age 14 or above. They also had limited exposure to English outside school. Only a small number of pupils at the urban school had attended private, English-medium primary schools.

To enable learners to understand, most teachers translated lesson content into Kiswahili. This happens elsewhere too, but it is much less common for teachers to allow students to answer questions in a familiar language. In this study I observed learners asking to speak in Kiswahili and being told that this was not permitted. Students had to translate their knowledge into English to respond.

Many students explained that they preferred to remain silent. This is because if they tried to answer and failed to express themselves, they risked being laughed at and perceived as unintelligent by their teachers and classmates. A female Form 2 student in the urban school said:

You will be laughed at, which means we are afraid of the shame … fear, again.

Students’ fears were not unfounded. I recorded many instances of laughter punctuating student responses in class. These include some which were led by teachers who seemed to be using humiliation and fear of failure as strategies to motivate learners to work harder. In some cases, threats of physical punishment were also used against students who were unable to complete a task.

This study found that girls were particularly worried about cruel comments from other girls that they termed “gossiping”. Learners’ experiences of negative emotions may differ based on gender but this was not the focus of my study.

Requiring young students to use an unfamiliar language to participate in learning works against the global aspirations for inclusive and equitable quality education. In Tanzania and other sub-Saharan African countries, some important work is being done with local teachers and teacher educators to develop multilingual, translingual and language supportive approaches to teaching.

The key feature is the use of a familiar language for exploratory discussion and to support learning of both subject content and the target language. Currently on a small scale, it is happening in a several countries, including Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Research is also under way to explore opportunities for expanding to a larger scale.
Students must feel safe to talk and experiment with language and ideas without fear of shame.

Laela Adamson is a Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. She has received funding from the Education Development Trust (Tim Morris Award) and the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council, grant number: ES/W005484/1.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


by Ben Taylor

Air Tanzania receives first-ever cargo plane
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on June 3rd attended the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) to receive the country’s first-ever cargo plane. The Boeing 767-300F touched down at around 3 PM, where it received a water cannon salute. The arrival of the freighter is expected to enable investors and businesspeople who were previously forced to export their cargo using other airlines to use the one by Air Tanzania.

Speaking shortly after the plane touched down, President Samia said the plane’s arrival resulted from Tanzanians’ prayers and hard work, urging them to keep up with the spirit.

Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) Managing Director, Ladislaus Matindi, said the newly acquired craft would significantly reduce costs for exporting cargo, mainly agricultural, fisheries and livestock products. The plane, which can carry up to 54 tonnes of freight, has a range of 11,070 km and a top speed of 850km/h, according to Mr Matindi.

He explained that ATCL’s evaluation of the company’s performance in the air cargo transportation market in the country had shown great hope and the demand for more cargo planes. ATCL is transporting seafood from Mozambique to China at an average of eight tonnes per trip, he added.

Minister for Works and Transport, Makame Mbarawa, told journalists that the cargo plane would relieve farmers and business people by cutting down costs for exports and imports of various products.

According to the data Mbarawa shared, Tanzania produces 24,971 tonnes of fish, meat, flowers, vegetables, and fruit products annually, supplied to India, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Romania and Malta. He complained that only an average of 420 tonnes, equivalent to under 2% of the consignment, uses the country’s airports, noting that a big chunk of it was being flown through the neighbouring airports.

“Since we had no cargo aircraft, our transportation costs were higher than neighbouring countries,” Mr Mbarawa told reporters.

Saturday’s arrival of the cargo plane occurred against the backdrop of talks between ATCL and Kenya Airways (KQ) over a potential cargo transportation collaboration between the two companies. According to reports, the collaboration between KQ and ATCL is expected to focus on the demands of the global market for cargo transportation, including perishable commodities.

However, there was some controversy over the purchase of the aircraft when this was listed among the areas of concern highlighted by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Charles Kichere, in his report for the 2022/2023 financial year, where he reported an anomaly in the procurement.

According to CAG, the last instalment of the payment to the plane’s manufacturer was inflated, whereas instead of ATCL submitting an invoice of $37 million, it submitted an $86 million invoice.

The revelation caused an uproar among members of the public, prompting President Samia to dismiss Mr John Nzulule, the Director General of Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA), to pave the way for an investigation into the matter. (The Chanzo)

Workers on Standard Guage Railway construction go on strike
Turkish workers employed by the Turkish construction company Yapi Merkezi on the Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway project went out on strike on August 5. They are demanding payment of their wages, which they say have not been paid for the past seven months.

When the strike entered its seventh day, the Yapi Merkezi workers stated, “We will continue our strike until our voices are heard and until we receive our wages. We do not do charity, we want what we deserve.”
Ömer Tanriverdi, one of the Yapi Merkezi striking workers, told Bianet, a Turkish press agency based in Beyoglu, Istanbul, that he has been
working on the project for 10 months and hasn’t received his salary since February.

“The company has put us in a difficult situation,” Tanriverdi recounted. “When financial difficulties increased, they deducted US$600 from friends who wanted to leave, claiming it was for the plane ticket. Lately, as more people quit their jobs, they raised this deduction to US$3,000, and now it’s up to US$4,000. People are practically held captive here.”

The Turkish workers’ union told reporters there were also problems with delayed salary payments for Tanzanian workers on the project.

In January this year, Yapi Merkezi, a Türkiye-based construction company, launched the construction of the fourth phase of the Dar-Mwanza SGR project, the Tabora-Isaka section, whose construction is supposed to be completed in mid-2026. (The Chanzo)


by Philip Richards

Cricket youth enter first ever World Cup
The qualifiers for the Under-19 ICC World Cup were hosted in late July and August in Dar es Salaam. This holds immense importance for Tanzania as the country has never participated in the prestigious World Cup event before.

The Tanzanian team faced the likes of Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Namibia with the would-be winner joining regional winners from Asia, East Asia Pacific, Europe, and America as well as the 11 full members in the qualification pathway ahead of the global finals in Sri Lanka in 2024.

Tanzanian skipper John Nyambo was reported to be keen to secure a place in the finals, promising that the Tanzanian team will fight hard to win by utilising the home ground’s advantage. “We are determined to make history, even though we face formidable opponents,” said the 17-year-old captain, highlighting the team’s commitment to achieving their World Cup dreams. (Daily News 26/7/23)

Cricket match at Zanzibar

Regardless of the outcome of the qualifiers, the u19 team will hope to contribute to the history of the sport in the country. Cricket was first played in what is now Tanzania in 1890 on Zanzibar by the British Navy as recreation for the officers and crew. Cricket spread to Tanganyika after the British took over the League of Nations mandate in 1919. The national side played its first game in 1951 and became an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001. It is currently 31st in the T20I rankings of the ICC. One of the most well-known local players to play on the international stage was John Salanky. A right-handed batsman and right-arm off spin/medium pace bowler, he played for Glamorgan County Cricket Club between 1972 and 1976.

Football – national team qualify for AFCON 2024
A goalless draw against qualification group winners Algeria away from home has secured the national team Taifa Stars a place in the African Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast next year. Having reached their first Nations Cup in 1980, the Taifa Stars failed to appear again until the 2019 finals but are now back again.

Coach Adel Amrouche, who was born in Algeria, masterminded a success few saw coming in a challenging group. The Algerians, who had already qualified, left their key superstars such as West Ham’s Said Benrahma and former Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez on the bench until the second half, when it was too late for them to make any impact.

The result left Taifa Stars on 8 points in the group, one ahead of Uganda and enough to secure qualification. Earlier they had achieved 1-0 victories against Uganda and Niger, and a 1-1 draw against Niger. (BBC)

World Athletics Championships – Budapest 2023
Less positive news for Tanzania’s in athletics as the ongoing challenges were highlighted in the country’s poor representation and performance in the recent world championships in Budapest. The country only sent one athlete, Alphonce Simbu who took part in the men’s marathon event, and he did not finish.

This contrasts with the stellar record of Tanzania’s neighbours, most notably Kenya, who sent 52 athletes and walked away with ten medals, including three golds. Uganda came away with two gold medals.


by Donovan McGrath

Twickenham veteran runs ultra-marathon across Tanzania
(BBC News online – UK) A British veteran is spending her 37th birthday running an ultra-marathon across Tanzania. Extract continues: Tricia Sinclair, from Twickenham, is raising money to help fellow veterans tackle the “petrifying” obstacle of reintegrating into civilian life… Ultra X Tanzania [is] a five-day race which traverses Mount Kilimanjaro … “I want to inspire others to really challenge their mental resilience,” she said. Ms Sinclair was in the army for 14 years between 2008 and 2022 and served five operational tours. She now works as the director of fitness for charity REORG, which helps rehabilitate veterans, military and emergency services personnel through functional fitness and jiu­jitsu. She hopes to raise £30,000 from the ultra-marathon to allow 100 people to go through the charity’s fitness programme. Ms Sinclair is to run 155 miles (250km) during the challenge including the 3,700m climb up Kilimanjaro… (12 June 2023)

Tanzania aims to connect 8 million citizens to broadband alongside mobile network operators
(Fintech Times online – UK) Extract: With an aim to achieve 80 per cent broadband penetration by 2025, the Tanzanian government, supported by the World Bank, has partnered with a number of mobile network operators to begin project ‘Digital Tanzania’. The government aims to see the extensions of broadband services to 1,407 villages – benefiting over eight million Tanzanians across the country. H.E. President Suluhu of Tanzania said: “This project will see all 26 regions across Tanzania’s mainland reached with quality and reliable telecommunication services compared to Zanzibar which was wholly covered in November 2022. “The presence of services is of great significance not only in rural areas but also in town areas as it accelerates development and inclusion politically, socially, and economically as well as for the safety and security of the nation. The implementation of this project is in line with the government’s commitment to improve telecommunication services and facilitate youth with opportunities in the ICT sector”… Suluhu has … commended the excellent implementation of the ‘m-mama’ program in partnership with the Vodacom Tanzania Foundation which has remarkably decreased the maternal mortality rate across Tanzania… (16 May 2023)

Interview: Gains of USAID Administrator Samantha Power’s visit to Tanzania
(Time Africa Magazine online – USA) Extract: On her first day in Tanzania, Administrator Samantha Power travelled to Arusha, where she visited a community farm. She met with cooperative farmers and representatives of the Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) to learn how TAHA, supported by USAID, has successfully driven economic growth and generated jobs for thousands of women and men by partnering with farming communities, the private sector, and the Government of Tanzania. While at TAHA, the Administrator announced an additional $260 million in U.S. funding to address the global food crisis that has been exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the severe drought in the Horn of Africa region. This new funding includes support for programs in Tanzania, as well as other countries and regional initiatives. Administrator Power then met with a group of women conservation leaders who work in partnership with USAID in Tanzania. The conservation leaders shared how they are helping local communities benefit from conservation efforts, including sustainable fisheries, carbon credits for forest preservation, and wildlife tourism. The Administrator commended their leadership in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in conservation and development… [Tanzania] Vice President [Philip] Mpango and the Administrator then joined a celebration of the national expansion of the m-mama public-private partnership between USAID, Vodacom Foundation, and the Government of Tanzania. The m-mama program provides emergency referral and transportation to newborns and expectant mothers… (24 June 2023)

United States and Tanzania Announce a $24 Million Food Security Project
(African Business Magazine online – UK) Extract: During this year’s Nane Nane event in Mbeya, the United States government and the United Republic of Tanzania announced USAID’s new food security activity Tuhifadhi Chakula (“Let’s Save Food”), a five-year, $24 million initiative to be implemented by the Tanzania Horticulture Association in partnership with the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) Centre. By targeting and reducing food loss and waste, the USAID Tuhifadhi Chakula project will increase food security, improve livelihoods, increase employment, and generate export opportunities for Tanzania – especially among women and youth. In Tanzania, 40-50 percent of crops are lost between the field and the end market. USAID’s Tuhifadhi Chakula project will work with farmers, traders, processors, and other actors in the value chain to cut food loss and waste in half. The project was designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and aligns with its National Post-Harvest Management Strategy. The project will initially operate in the Arusha, Mbeya, Morogoro, Njombe, Pwani, Tanga, and Zanzibar regions of Tanzania… (9 August 2023)

A stunning gem, to honour a slain geologist, unveiled at Smithsonian
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: The jewel rested on a cushion in a small black box covered with cloth in a vault at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, put on a pair of white cotton gloves, pulled off the cloth and opened the box. “So, this is the stone,” he said, holding it under the fluorescent lights—a lustrous, green 116­carat gem called a tsavorite. With 177 facets, it glittered as he held it. “It’s truly a beautiful stone,” he said. “When you look at the colour of it, it just doesn’t look like anything else that we have.” Technically a garnet, it is named the Lion of Merelani. And, as with many a precious gem, it comes with a story. . . [N]amed in part for the Merelani region of Tanzania where it was found. it was put on display along with the Hope Diamond, the Carmen Lúcia ruby and other spectacular jewels in its hall of geology, gems and minerals. It is the largest precision-cut tsavorite in the world … The museum said the stone, which was found in 2017 and cut over three months by renowned gem cutter Victor Tuzlukov, was donated by Somewhere in the Rainbow, a private gem and jewellery collection, and by tsavorite mining executive Bruce Bridges, in honour of his late father… Bridges’s father, geologist Campbell Bridges, discovered tsavorite in East Africa in the 1960s—reportedly while fleeing from an angry buffalo—and brought it to prominence. He had lived most of his life in Africa, often in a treehouse near his mines, and was known as the old lion. But in 2009, he was murdered in Kenya by a gang of illegal prospectors who had been threatening him and trying to drive him away from his mines, his son said in an interview. On Aug. 11, they ambushed him, his son and four of their employees, and stabbed the elder Bridges to death. “Losing my father is the worst tragedy in the history of our family,” Bruce Bridges said. “And the driving forces in our lives have been to see justice … and then on top of that to ensure that my father’s dream and legacy for tsavorite lives on.” “What better way than to have all of this come full circle and have this particular, one-of-a-kind tsavorite in the National Gem Collection,” he said… (20 April 2023)

UK students pledge ‘career boycott’ of insurers over fossil fuels
(The Guardian online – UK) Extract: Hundreds of students and recent graduates of top UK universities are pledging a “career boycott” of major insurers, saying they will not work for firms including Lloyd’s of London if they support controversial fossil fuel projects. More than 500 current and recent students from the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Edinburgh and others have warned they will keep a close eye on firms that fail to shift to climate-friendly policies. “We refuse to put our professional careers at the service of climate wreckers that insure those responsible for the climate crisis,” the letter – sent to insurance market Lloyd’s of London, as well as individual firms including Beazley, Hiscox, Chaucer and Tokio Marine Kiln – said. “Insurers’ lack of action on climate change will cost them talented workers.” A Deloitte survey recently found that more than half of Gen Z recruits tended to research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job, while one in six have already changed jobs or sectors over climate concerns. A further 25% say they plan to move roles because of their employers’ climate impact in the future… The students’ letter explained signatories would pay particular attention to insurers that decide to work with TotalEnergies and Equinor, which they said were currently seeking insurance for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) – scheduled to transport oil from Uganda to Tanzania – and the Rosebank oilfield – which is the largest undeveloped oilfield in the North Sea. The students noted that nearly two dozen insurers had already ruled out supporting the African pipeline, including several that worked within the Lloyd’s of London market. “Since 2017, at least 41 insurers have adopted restrictions on underwriting coal, 22 on tar sands and 13 on conventional oil and gas. But Lloyd’s of London and many Lloyd’s managing agents are lagging behind and putting our lives at risk by continuing to insure oil and gas,”
38 Tanzania in the International Media the letter said… (24 May 2023)

Scientists warn Africa is splitting in TWO: 2,000-mile crack that appeared along south-east of the continent is widening by one inch every year
(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: A massive crack ripping through Africa is set to split the continent in two and form Earth’s sixth ocean, scientists have warned. Countries along the southeastern coast would become a giant island, creating an entirely new sea from Ethiopia to Mozambique. The so-called Eastern African Rift formed at least 22 million years ago but has shown activity over the last few decades – a crack appeared along the deserts of Ethiopia in 2005 and is widening at a rate of one inch per year. It is a result of two tectonic plates moving away from each other, but the exact mechanism was not fully understood at the time. Now, a study published in June found that a massive ejection of super-heated rock coming up from our planet’s core is driving the rift. While Africa is not expected to tear for at least another five million years, Somalia and half of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania will form a new continent when it does… A 35-mile crack that appeared in 2005 already shows signs of a new sea near Ethiopia. And another tore through Kenya in 2018 following heavy rainfall, forcing people to leave their homes and shut down roadways… (6 July 2023)

‘Gut-churning’: anger as Hungarian president addresses major women’s rights conference
(The Guardian online – UK) Extract: Some leading delegates at a women’s rights conference in Rwanda have expressed shock at the appearance there of the Hungarian president, an anti-abortionist criticised for an anti-equality stance. Katalin Novák, an important player in the international “anti-gender movement”, was invited by the Rwandan government to speak at the Women Deliver conference in Kigali … where reproductive rights is one of the areas under discussion. “We were taken aback,” said conference attendee Bruna Martinez, an activist from Brazil and member of Young Feminist Europe. “We don’t understand why a woman like this would be invited.” Before becoming president in 2022, Novák served as family minister in Viktor Orbán’s government and was key in implementing the government’s pro-natalist policies. She has said Hungarian women “shouldn’t compete with men” or expect to earn the same amount of money… Novák, former leader of the Political Network for Values, an international organisation that works to oppose abortion and same-sex marriage, was on a state visit to Rwanda and Tanzania. To applause, she told the conference’s opening ceremony … “I’m the first woman president of my country.” She said that increasing the fertility rate is Hungary’s goal for gender equality and expressed hope that her teenage daughter will feel empowered to have “even 10 children if she chooses to”. Delphine O, a French special envoy for the global Generation Equality initiative, tweeted that Novák’s “so-called ‘pro-family’ values are at odds with what feminists in the room stand for”. . . Maliha Khan, the president and CEO of Women Deliver, said that she had agreed to platform Novák at the behest of the Rwandan government. “If we want to achieve what we want to achieve, we have to partner with and talk to people who we don’t agree with on many, many things,” she said… (19 July 2023)

‘Green colonialism’: Indigenous world leaders warn over west’s climate strategy
(The Guardian online – UK) UN summit in New York hears how resources needed for sustainable energy threaten Indigenous land and people. Extract continues: World Indigenous leaders meeting … at an annual UN summit have warned that the west’s climate strategy risks exploitation of Indigenous territories, resources and people. New and emerging threats about the transition to a greener economy, including mineral mining, were at the forefront of debate as hundreds of Indigenous chiefs, presidents, chairmen and delegates gathered at the 22nd United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “It is common to hear the expression to ‘leave no one behind’. But perhaps those who are leading are not on the right path,” the forum’s chairman, Dario Mejía Montalvo, told delegates … as the 12-day summit opened in New York in the first convening since the pandemic outbreak. The longtime advocacy group, Cultural Survival, in partnership with other organizations, highlighted how mining for minerals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt and copper – the resources needed to support products like electric car batteries – are presenting conflicts in tribal communities in the United States and around the world. As countries scramble to uphold pledges to keep global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre­industrial levels by 2030, big business and government are latching on to environmentally driven projects such as mineral needs or wind power that are usurping the rights of Indigenous peoples – from the American south-west to the Arctic and the Serengeti in Africa… During a special panel discussion, Edward Parokwa, executive director of the Pastoralists Indigenous Non-Governmental Organization (Pingo’s Forum), said a mass migration has ensued of thousands of Maasai violently displaced from their Tanzania homelands to make way for a luxury game reserve … A UAE-based company is believed to be behind the big game hunting operation. “And it’s happening in the name of conservation,” Parokwa said… (23 April 2023)

Tanzanian killed in Ukraine: We told him not to go
(BBC News online – UK) Nemes Tarimo’s family in Tanzania warned him against agreeing to fight with Russian forces in Ukraine, but the 37-year-old had a big incentive to sign up. Extract continues: … [His] relatives learnt of the news that confirmed their worst fears. He had died in combat… One [relative] says they last heard from him in October when he had said he had agreed to sign up with the Russian mercenary group Wagner. “Nemes informed me and some other family members about joining Wagner, and we advised him not to,” the family member … tells the BBC. But for the young man, whose relatives describe as polite, God-fearing and supportive, there was an offer that was hard to resist. The family says that Tarimo, who had ambitions to be an MP with the opposition Chadema party, had been in Moscow as an ICT master’s student at the Russian Technological University. But he was then imprisoned some time after January 2021 for what was described as drugs-related offences. Last year, he was enticed with a deal: sign up and be pardoned or stay in prison. “He said he would join to free himself,” the relative says. This case echoes that of 23-year-old Zambian student Lemekhani Nyirenda, who has also been in prison in Russia and died last year fighting with Wagner. . . Last September, Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin was seen in leaked footage outlining the rules of fighting, such as no deserting or sexual contact with Ukrainian women, and then giving the prisoners five minutes to decide if they want to sign up. . . Russian state-owned domestic news agency, Ria Novosti, interviewed someone who said he had fought alongside Tarimo. He said the Tanzanian had died while trying to help a wounded soldier. The Federal News Agency says that Tarimo was awarded a posthumous medal “for courage” by the Wagner Group… (20 January 2023)


by Martin Walsh



LAITI NINGELIJUA: MAISHA NA USANII. Nicco ye Mbajo. TuwaKadabra Productions, Dar es Salaam, 2020. 141 pp. (paperback). ISBN: 9789987971091. TSh. 10,000 (available in Tanzania from Elite Bookstore at Mbezi Beach and Kona ya Riwaya Bookshop in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam. It can also be obtained from the reviewer at

Nicco ye Mbajo (1950-2021) was a popular Swahili writer and illustrator, cartoonist, editor, and co-founder of the Swahili magazine SANI (established in 1978). He was among the popular Swahili writers of the 1970s and 1980s such as Hammie Rajab, Kajubi Mukajanga, S.A.M. Kitogo, and Ben Mtobwa, who created an extensive body of work that combined entertainment with social criticism. Unbeknownst to many, Mbajo was also the father of the famous SANI cartoons, such as Lodi Lofa (the city loafer), Madenge (the cunning school-boy), Ndumilakuwili (the hypocrite) and Komredi Kipepe (the backward country-bumpkin). They represent certain personality types that the urban environment in Tanzania produced, contrasted with a set of rural characters, who stand for backwardness and simple-mindedness.

Mbajo, however, was also a gifted musician and choir director, who even founded a dance band up-country in the 1970s. His active career as an artist, cultural producer and entrepreneur spanned the period from the 1970s to the 2010s, from Ujamaa to Mageuzi, experiencing and navigating privatisation, liberalisation, and multiparty democracy.

In his autobiography he looks back on this career, which, as the title Laiti Ningelijua (“If I Had Known”) signals, ultimately fell short of what he would have thought possible, given his talents and artistic abilities. The text is a gripping account of Mbajo’s various attempts to make a living through art and culture in Tanzania, which led to some great successes, but always followed by drastic setbacks. In some cases, Mbajo blames his own misjudgements and bad decisions for his failures, which gives his autobiography the character of a confession. In other cases, however, he was affected by political and economic developments over which he had no control.

The first chapters follow chronological order, starting with Mbajo’s childhood in the village where he grew up as one of ten children of a Christian catechist, to whom he credits his artistic talents. At school, his talents were recognized and used for school festivities and political events of the newly independent country.

During his secondary education in Dar es Salaam (1966-1969), Mbajo became an enthusiastic supporter of President Nyerere’s political vision of Ujamaa socialism. He joined TANU’s youth league and composed political propaganda songs. At the same time, he became fascinated with urban music culture, especially the performances of orchestras such as Kilwa Jazz, Dar Jazz, and Safari Trippers. In all his works, he tried to entertain while promoting Ujamaa ideology.

Unfortunately, at that time there was no possibility of formal artistic training in the country. After O-level, Mbajo was selected for training as an agricultural officer and was posted to Tanga in 1972. Yet, he remained true to his artistic inclinations. During college, he played in a jazz band, composed choir songs, and wrote and directed propagandistic theatre plays. He continued his cultural activities in Tanga and became well known in the region. However, as he neglected his professional duties, he was one of the first to be affected by the redundancy of state employees due to budget restrictions in the mid-1970s.

Mbajo’s account of his various attempts to secure an income during the following two years is adventurous. He eventually ended up in Dar es Salaam, where after some time he was employed by the state-owned Printpak printing press as an illustrator and layout artist. Printpak was a hub for publishers of entertainment magazines, almost all of which focused on photo-novels. Seeing a market opportunity, Mbajo developed a magazine featuring comics and cartoons that was based on the Kenyan Joe magazine. Using their initials, together with his partner Saidi Bawji they registered SANI magazine. It became the longest living Swahili entertainment magazine, published until 2020. However, Mbajo was forced out of the company after a short time. This was a crushing blow for him, especially as he had given up his job at Printpak for SANI.

Subsequently, Mbajo founded a new, similar magazine, which he soon published de facto on behalf of Murtazar Alidina, a Tanzanian media entrepreneur of Asian descent, who financed the magazine and paid Mbajo royalties. In dire economic conditions in Tanzania, this businessman took on several authors and so became the engine of popular Swahili magazines and novels, which could be printed in numbers above 10,000 because he was able to distribute them widely. Mbajo published seven novels during that time, which he summarises and puts into context in the fifth chapter of his autobiography. However, the cooperation with Alidina came to an end in 1985, when the latter emigrated to Canada due to the political “anti-economic sabotage” campaign of Prime Minister Sokoine. The publication of popular literature in Tanzania dropped for a while as a result.

Lacking the capital to continue publishing, Mbajo switched to working as a choirmaster for a number of choirs, mainly from Lutheran congregations. He reports on this in the sixth chapter, which also includes songs he composed himself. In particular, he focuses on the choir competitions which are an integral part of the choir culture in Tanzania and in which his choirs had often been successful. In addition, they took him on trips to neighbouring countries and even to the United States. Eventually, he worked as editor of the church magazine Pwani na Bara (“Coast and Hinterland”) until he retired in 2005.

Mbajo’s autobiography is a unique testimony of an important producer of Tanzanian popular culture in the 20th century and a well written literary work that captivates with its self-critical attitude. It shows first-hand how difficult it was to earn a living as an independent artist in socialist Tanzania. As such, it is an important contribution to Tanzania’s cultural history that complements previous scholarly research.

Uta Reuster-Jahn
Uta Reuster-Jahn, PhD, has been a lecturer in Swahili language and literature at Hamburg University, Germany. Since working in Tanzania in the 1980s, she has been connected to the country. She has widely published on oral literature, popular literature, Bongo Flava music and Urban Youth Language (Lugha ya Mitaani) in Tanzania.

POLICE ADMINISTRATION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IN TANZANIA: A STRATEGIC TRANSFORMATION PERSPECTIVE. Said Ally Mwema. Rhythm Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2023. 264 pp. (paperback). ISBN 9789976535419. (Distributed for free to police forces and training institutions in Tanzania and Zanzibar, and to be made available online – details to be announced.)

Once you get this book by the former Inspector General of Police Said Ally Mwema in your hands, you won’t want to put it down. It offers useful suggestions for enhancing the efficiency and professionalism of the police and provides a road map for developing a more responsive, effective, and community-focused police force, covering new technologies, training programmes, and community policing involvement. Its chapters delve into these complexities, examining the effects of globalization on law enforcement and the need for new thinking and new strategies to keep pace with the evolving nature of crime that is at the forefront of policing.

We learn from Mwema’s book that Major S.T. Davies arrived with 31 officers in Lushoto, Tanga, to establish the first police headquarters, which was later shifted to Morogoro in 1921 and then again to Dar es Salaam along Kilwa Road in 1930. We also learn that the first police station in the country was inaugurated at Lupa Gold Mine in Chunya, Mbeya, in 1925. Policing in the country has come a long way since then, but, as this book makes clear, much more remains to be done.

The security of life and property is the bedrock of the social, economic, and political stability of any nation. Governments are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring internal security through established agencies empowered by law. This duty is distilled into standard policing to enforce law and order in the wake of a safe environment. The standard of policing available to a nation determines the level of development of that country. Unfortunately, Tanzania has not always been able to live up to these expectations, even though currently it is undertaking reforms to enhance policing performance.

Part of the problem is that the police must grapple with a myriad of challenges. The police force suffers a deficit of public legitimacy and support; the public does not trust the police because their performance is deemed inadequate. Also, the public regards the character and level of accountability of the police as grossly unsatisfactory. The policemen and women in the country are generally feared but not respected, and they are widely despised for being very brutal when suppressing people who rise to demand political and civic rights. They are notorious for demanding bribes but very casual when it comes to enforcing law and order. People in communities therefore often want to keep their distance from the police.

The writer proposes several strategies to foster effective policing in Tanzania and the modernization of the force. They are built on the assumption that public security and safety are fundamentally rooted in the communities as they are socio-economic and political concerns. Therefore, engaging the public in policing is logical and essential to build mutual trust and empower the citizenry to be informed and competent partners in support of national efforts to ensure public security and safety.

Community policing requires police leaders who are skilled in community engagement. They also need to be strong believers in the rule of law and collaboration with other security agencies. Currently, there is community disillusionment with the traditional, top-down approach in which community policing is implemented within the existing militaristic structure and where political interference, poor leadership, corruption, excessive use of force and torture, and lack of effective oversight and accountability are endemic. A real change in the regulatory and institutional structure is critical, including an improved enabling environment in which community policing and the criminal justice system are better aligned.

There is a need to assess the impact of strategies adopted so that closer alliances between the police and the community reduce citizen fear of crime, improve police-community relations, and facilitate a more effective response to community problems and sharing of information in a timely, accurate and effective manner between the community and the police. Much work is needed to improve the way community policing is currently done in Tanzania to achieve a high level of sustainable trust between the police and the community of stakeholders. A first step must be to transform the Tanzania Police Force into a Police Service.

Mwema discusses all this and more in this engaging and thought-provoking book. Having had the privilege of reading both the English and Swahili versions, I can confidently say that it will be an invaluable resource for all stakeholders, including law enforcement professionals, criminal justice students, and citizens who care about the safety and security of our country. Not least it offers a fresh perspective on the situation that faces policing today and constructive proposals for a much better future, one that matches our President’s own vision and expectations for a thoroughly modern and professional police service.

It will be challenging to fill Said Ally Mwema’s former role, but in writing this book he has proved himself our best guide. There is something in the book for everyone, which is a credit to the author, not only for sharing his experience and insights, but also for showing us how policing in Tanzania can meet the challenges facing it in the 21st century.
Hildebrand Shayo
Dr Hildebrand E. Shayo is a UK-educated scholar with BA (Hons.) MA and PhD in economics; currently employed at Tanzania’s TIB DFI Development Bank, a 100% state-owned development financial institution, as Principal Officer, Agency Funds Solicitation and Administration expert. Dr Shayo has authored three books, produced more than 300 articles, published widely in national and international publications, and contributed to book chapters. Dr Shayo is a board member of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and a columnist for the national English newspaper Daily News.

RELIGION, EUGENICS, SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS: AN ETERNAL KNOT. Karim F. Hirji. Daraja Press and Zand Graphics Ltd., Toronto, 2023. 378 pp. (paperback). ISBN: 9781990263224. US $37.00 (e-book US $7.99).

This is another spectacular book, written in Hirji’s small home in Upanga, Dar es Salaam, with the help and support of his wife Farida. It continues his previous book Religion, Politics and Society reviewed in Tanzanian Affairs 135.

The first main section, about eugenics, is particularly interesting, because the topic has almost dropped out of contemporary discourse. Eugenics is a belief that “human populations can be made more healthy, more intelligent and less prone to ‘vice’” by processes of selection. These can be positive, as when “gifted people” are encouraged to marry each other. But very dangerous are those who advocate that people who are not gifted, or have illness or disabilities, should be prevented from marrying, or, taking the argument to its logical conclusion, sterilised or put to death. Such beliefs, based on science which underplays the importance of nurture rather than nature, provided Hitler with arguments to justify the genocide of groups with physical or mental diseases or from the fringes of society. With support from eugenicists in the United States he quickly extended this to the killing of Jews, Communists, other political opponents and people from the Slav countries. More Soviet citizens died than Jews during the Second World War, and nearly 2 million non-Jewish Poles.

Eugenics was invented in England, and widely adopted in the United States. Hirji shows that a remarkably wide range of intellectuals signed up to it – Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, and Bertrand Russell, to take just some, and politicians including Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain. In America the ideas were promoted at Harvard University, and eugenics research was sponsored by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations, and was reflected in the thinking of Supreme Court judges such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Presidents such as Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. This partly explains why so many Western leaders were slow to appreciate the dangers posed by Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930s.

In our own times, similar views of ethnic or racial superiority have lain behind the policies of authoritarian leaders such as Narendra Modi in India, Jair Bolsenaro in Brazil, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary. Given the inequalities in the present world, and the willingness of authoritarian regimes to demean and persecute minority groups, this is a story that needs to be retold, and Hirji’s 60 pages are as good a start as any.

The section on science is largely philosophical, examining such questions as “Does God exist?”, or what free will means in a world dominated by advertising and social media, and its relationships with morality, or what can be said about consciousness. Hirji is sympathetic to the view that science and religion are different, and often complementary, ways of looking at the world.

The third section, on mathematics, is largely historical. The first numbers were recorded 20,000 years ago. 5,000 years ago, the South American Inca codified their book-keeping into a formal written discipline with symbols and numbers. Pythagoras’ theorem for the sides of a right-angled triangle was discovered independently in tropical Africa, China, Mexico, Iraq, Egypt and India more than 2,500 years ago. The mysterious number called zero came relatively late. It was first used in India about 1,500 years ago, and the even more remarkable one which we call infinity (it is always bigger than anything you have previously thought of) was at first more a theological belief (in the infinite love of God) than a mathematical one.

Many of the pioneering mathematicians were persecuted, especially when they drew conclusions about the stars and the planets which their sponsors did not want to hear – hence Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. Newton was a mathematician, a person of the world, and also a devout though unconventional Christian, as were many other leading scientists and mathematicians. In today’s world, mathematics is often misused – not least by internet companies which collect data about their users in order to feed them advertising material, or national security agencies which collect information about those they do not like. Or pharmaceutical, tobacco and petrochemical companies which distort statistics to sell their products.

The book is full of interesting reflections. Religion features in all the chapters, but it plays a relatively subsidiary role in the arguments of this volume. Its treatment is always liberal-minded and sympathetic. The book was written before the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the rapid development of the climate crisis, and the unexpectedly fast development of artificial intelligence. But where it concentrates, it provides clear and well-written summaries – of the philosophy of science, and the discoveries of numbers from their earliest identification to the non-Euclidean geometries used by Einstein in his theory of relativity. And of the use of genetics and statistics to develop the pseudo-science of eugenics, and the links between US leaders and Hitler that resulted. Anyone who reads this book can expect to make new discoveries.

Andrew Coulson
Andrew Coulson worked in the Planning Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture in Dar es Salaam 1967-1971 and taught agricultural economics at the University of Dar es Salaam 1972-76. His edited book African Socialism in Practice: The Tanzanian Experience was published in 1979. Tanzania: A Political Economy followed in 1982, with a second edition in 2013. His most recent book, with Antony Ellman and Emmanuel Mbiha, is Increasing Production from the Land: A Sourcebook on Agriculture for Teachers and Students in Africa (Muki na Nyota, 2018). He was Chair of the Britain Tanzania Society 2015-18.


by Ben Taylor

Bernard Membe

Bernard Membe, the former Foreign Affairs Minister and later opposition party presidential candidate, died in Dar es Salaam in May 2023 at the age of 69, after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

Membe was born in Rondo, Lindi Region on November 9, 1953. He began his career as a security analyst at the Office of the President between 1978 and 1989 before proceeding to study International Relations at John Hopkins University, Washington DC, from 1990 to 1992. He then served at the Tanzanian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada for eight years.

He successfully ran to become the MP for the Mtama constituency in 2000 and represented the constituency for CCM for 15 years. He swiftly rose to prominence and was appointed as a minister shortly after the 2005 elections. The high point of his political career was nine years (2007-2015) as Minister for Foreign Affairs under President Jakaya Kikwete, during which time he became known as a polished communicator – particularly when dealing with the international diplomatic community – and also as someone who was highly adept at navigating party politics.

“I knew him for many years,” said President Kikwete in a tribute. “We came a long way and helped each other in many areas. I knew him as a good diplomat, serious activist, scholar, God-fearing patriot, and hard worker,” he said. “I believed and trusted him in all positions he served in my cabinet.”

Freeman Mbowe, national chair of the opposition party, Chadema, said that although they belonged to different political parties, he still appreciated Membe as a keen leader and that he will always be remembered for his service to the country. “In the history of multiparty democracy in our country, Membe remained one of the senior leaders at the ministerial level who did not have the habit of denigrating the opposition,” said Mbowe.

Membe served also at high levels within the CCM party hierarchy, most notably as a member of the National Executive Committee of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party from 2007.

In January 2013, Membe informed his constituents that he would not be vying for a seat in the next parliamentary elections in 2015 thus giving rise to speculation that he may be considering a run for the presidency. Indeed, the battle to become the CCM presidential candidate in 2015 became a heated struggle between himself and the controversial former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa.

It was a contest that threatened to divide the party into the Membe and Lowassa factions. To avoid this danger, party elders intervened to remove both candidates from the process, which ultimately delivered the relatively unknown John Pombe Magufuli to the nomination as something of a compromise candidate. Magufuli went on to become President of Tanzania.

The relationship between Membe and President Magufuli was never a close one, with Membe widely perceived to be organising resistance within CCM to President Magufuli’s anti-democratic tendencies. In 2020, in February 2020, the CCM central committee expelled Membe from the party after accusing him of “indiscipline and violating the party’s ethics and constitution”. He denied any wrongdoing.

In July 2020 he handed back his CCM membership card, shortly after which he joined the opposition party Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT- Wazalendo) and said he was willing to stand as its candidate in the 2020 General Election. He did indeed run for President, coming third with 0.5% of the vote, in an election that was marred by irregularities.

In 2022, Membe rejoined CCM after writing a letter asking for readmission. By this time, President Magufuli had sadly died and President Samia Suluhu Hassan had taken office.

“I have received with sadness the news of the death of Bernard Membe,” said President Samia in a statement posted on Twitter. “For more than 40 years, Membe was a brilliant public servant, diplomat, Member of Parliament and Minister who served our country professionally,” she wrote.

ACT Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe said on his Twitter account: “There are no words that can describe my shock following reports of his death other than thanking God for the life of our elder Bernard Membe. A brilliant politician and a representative of citizens.”

The UK High Commissioner to Tanzania, David Concar, also used his Twitter account to pay tribute to Membe. “Condolences to the government and people of Tanzania over the sad news of the passing of former Foreign Minister Bernard Membe. He was a top diplomat, a voice for international peace, and a supporter of African democracy. We will remember him with respect and fondness. Apumzike kwa amani.”

Prominent business leader and founder of Precision Air, Michael Shirima, has died at the age of 80.

Mr. Shirima’s rise to the top started after he left Air Tanzania in 1979, after becoming disillusioned both with the airline and with the failure of those in office to address the issues he raised with them.
He gave up his dependably salary and had to move his family out of his government-owned house. He survived by running a barbeque business. Later on, he secured a loan and started selling cotton oil, then timber, then exporting coffee.

He decided to invest in the aviation sector, founding Precision Air in 1991. It operated at first as a private charter air transport company, but in November 1993, it began to offer scheduled services to serve the growing tourist market. Based in Arusha, the airline proved successful and grew rapidly, triggering the acquisition of more equipment and the expansion of routes. In 2003, Kenya Airways purchased a 49% stake in the company for $2 million. In 2006, Precision Air became the first Tanzanian airline to pass the IATA Operational Safety Audit.

British diplomat, David Le Breton, has died at the age of 91. Amid a distinguished career in the colonial era Overseas Civil Service and then the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he spent time in both Zanzibar – a brief spell that coincided with the 1964 revolution – and earlier as an administrator in southern Tanganyika. Around the time of independence, he was based in Dar es Salaam, as private secretary to the governor.

He met his future wife, Patricia Byrne, in 1958, when she had recently arrived in Dar to teach English at a secondary school.

Born and brought up in colonial Kenya, David was a fluent speaker of Swahili and felt a strong affinity for Africa. Through a long career of postings, mostly around Africa, he rose to the position of British High Commissioner in 1981 before retiring in 1987. In 1978 he was appointed CBE for his commitment to service amid difficult circumstances in Anguilla.