Archive for Issue 100


Compiled by Donovan Mc Grath

Land grabbing, a growing menace (New African, May 2011)
‘Land grabbing in Africa is not a new thing. What is new is the scale, breadth, and ease with which land can now be acquired in Africa …’
Extract continues: ‘Tanzania is a good case study … The country’s economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 25% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climate conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area, which puts a great strain on this fertile land. To raise money, Tanzania has several options, including hunting concessions, and selling off large tracts of land to foreign investors. But many people think … it is a false economy. “There is no such thing as spare land in Africa,” says Geoffrey Howard of the International Union for the Conservation for Nature based in Nairobi. His comments are echoed by Makko Sinandei of the local NGO, Ujamaa Community Resources Trust in Tanzania: “Now in Dar es Salaam they send an investor to the land, without even understanding if the land is spare or not … if you are evicting people, there is clearly no space!”’

Tanzania to double sisal-fired biogas capacity – East African (July 4-10, 2011)
In a bid to look for an alternative source of electricity, the ‘Hale Estate Power Plant,’ installed as a pilot project 10 years ago, has successfully generated about 300kW of electricity.’
Extract continues: ‘Tanzania’s sisal fired biogas power capacity is set to nearly double as the country’s sisal board steps up its drive to develop clean energy from the crop…’ The Tanzania Sisal Board ‘is investing $31 million to increase the capacity of its Biogas electricity plant. Studies show that the Hale plantation in Tanga could provide approximately 7000 kilowatts of clean sisal energy each year that will be fed into the country’s national grid.’

East Africa: Why political federation has been difficult to achieve – New African (April 2011)
Extract: ‘… when the old East African Community (EAC) collapsed in 1977, Ugandans and Tanzanians were bewildered that their Kenyan brothers and sisters actually celebrated the demise of the regional bloc. Whereas the socialist-leaning presidents of Uganda and Tanzania, Milton Obote and Julius Nyerere, were busy preaching brotherhood and oneness, the capitalist-leaning President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya was snatching any and every opportunity to enrich his people at the expense of the collective community; even including using resources pooled from the regional kitty… Kenyatta had deceived Nyerere into switching some land on their common border. One such piece of land, it is said, is where the current Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa sits. That swathe of land is said to have belonged to Tanzania while the foot of … Kilimanjaro, was Kenyan territory. But calculating that a harbour could generate a fortune in the future, as compared to the foot of a mountain, with occasional tourists here and there, Kenyatta convinced Nyerere to swap the two pieces of land… Mt Kilimanjaro has remained the foot of Kilimanjaro with occasional tourists here and there. [Meanwhile] Mombasa is now the exit and entry point for all maritime goods and services that dictate life in the land-locked hinterlands of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR-Congo and Southern Sudan… Continued mistrust and suspicion among the region’s leaders and citizens are still hampering attempts to create a total federation… For example, over 70% of Tanzanians do not want complete unity. They cite fears such as Kenyans moving into Tanzania to grab their land…’

Rainy season of CCM’s soul: Watch out for Asthma – East African (April 25 – May 1, 2011)
Writer Elsie Eyakuze shares her opinion in The East African. Extract: ‘CCM, of late, might just be in the midst of a rainy season … the CCM Youth Wing meeting in Dodoma last month is what alerted me to the idea… In a surprising coup against traditional oligarchy, the youth wing actually dared to come out of their meeting with threats and ultimatums. “We’re tired of looking like mobsters,” they said. “Whe’re serious about business and the corrupt elements of the party need to leave!” … More surprising yet, the old guard actually did something with this impetus rather than smothering it! … Something is blooming, something is trying to come out of the dark soil of the party… There are going to be consequences, no doubt. Although calls for the resignation of so-called corrupt party members have been quite loud, no one has actually been named, so we swim in a puddle of rumours…’

What is a failed state? Look over your shoulder
– East African (June 27-July 3, 2011)
Extract: ‘… that most hated, controversial and debated report, the “Failed States Index,” the one for 2011, came out last week. African countries dominated the 2011 list. According to the index … African nations make up seven of the top 10 worst cases, and 14 of the top 20 failed states. Somalia, which is almost perennially reported to be in hell, was number 1, for the fourth year running… Kenya is placed 16th … 17th is … Burundi, Uganda is 21st. Rwanda is … 34th. The “good news” for the EAC is that Tanzania does much better, placing 65th… [T]he least failed nations [you guessed right] are all Caucasian.’

Netherlands slashes budget support to Dar – East African (May 30- June 5, 2011)
Extract: ‘Tanzania is bracing for a tough year ahead following a decision by one of its key donors, the Netherlands, to cut its funding for 2011/2012 budget … The Netherlands government will reduce its budget support to Tanzania and other countries by 12% despite its commitment last year that aid to Tanzania would not be reduced… [T]he Dutch coalition agreement heavily emphasised budget cuts because the government budget deficit [is] too big to be sustainable… According to Dr. Koekkoek [Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands], Tanzania is no longer on the list of development partner countries of the Netherlands due to the consequences of reducing the co-operation budget… The Netherlands is the number nine import source of goods to Tanzania and number six export destination for Tanzania.’

Microsoft Kiswahili pack launched for Tanzania – East African (June 6-12, 2011)
Extract: ‘Microsoft has launched the Kiswahili interface pack of its Windows 7 operating system which allows users to switch anytime to any language of their preference including Kiswahili. “… The availability of Windows 7 in Kiswahili is a remarkable step towards eliminating the language barrier to technology access,” said Louis Otieno, Microsoft’s Eastern and Southern Africa general manager …”’

Mosquitoes trapped by smelly feet – Daily Telegraph (13/07/2011)
Extract: ‘Scientists in Tanzania are developing a new trap for malaria-spreading mosquitoes using the odour of human feet to lure them… Scientists came up with the idea after seeing how mosquitoes were drawn to smelly socks… Dr Fredros Okumu, who is leading the project at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, said mosquitoes work through smell rather than sight… Scientists hope to simplify the devices in order for them to be made and sold by villagers.’ Thank you John Sankey for this item – Editor

Miracle cure in the Tanzanian bush? – New African (July 2011)
‘Somewhere in the hinterland of Tanzania, a traditional healer is turning heads with his miracle cure. Government ministers and money-men in helicopters, poor people in rickety buses, foreigners from Europe and the Middle East …’
Extract continues: ‘Babu (which literally means grandfather) is the Rev. Ambilikile Mwaisapile, a 76-year-old retired pastor of the Lutheran Evangelical Church [TA 99], who says he heard a call from God some years ago to leave his home in Babati to the southeast and settle in the remote village of Samunge in Loliondo District, where he was instructed to gather bark of a certain tree and make an infusion which would cure many chronic ailments, including Aids, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. Babu’s reputation has spread since he started dispensing his cup last year … He makes no money from his activities as a “mganga” (traditional healer) charging only 500 shillings (£0.20) per head… The herbal infusion is made from the bark of the Carissa spinarum tree, which grows across Africa and Asia. It has been long used by the local Maasai to flavour food and in Ghana to make a healthy broth for the sick. It has also been established for centuries as a part of the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of traditional medicine to cure a range of ailments from epilepsy to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)… The big pharmaceutical companies are apparently quite aware of the potential of the Carissa tree, which was brought to the attention of the WHO some years ago (but the WHO was apparently unimpressed and uninterested)… [C]harismatic healing must … be discounted as there is no contact between Babu and his patients… Babu says that his cure takes 2-3 weeks to have full effect.’

Dar fashionistas show off their best at fashion festival – East African (July 11-17, 2011)
Extract: ‘Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, is increasingly becoming a fashion centre with the growing stature of the Swahili Fashion Week hosted by highly talented Mustafa Hassanali… The Dar Fashion Festival was founded in April by Lucy Naivasha, Christine Lasway, Irene Maingi and Madeline Kimei … The four women entrepreneurs say that they wanted to improve the business acumen of the predominantly women clothes sellers who had to contend with high costs of marketing despite the ever growing number of fashion outlets in the city. “The fashion festival is beyond a fashion show… The business aspect of it is very important…” says Lasway. The fashion festival kicked off on the night of June 23 … at the Heineken House in the city’s upmarket Mikocheni suburb… Later on June 25-26, the designers converged at the Greens, a plot tucked between posh office blocks in the Oyster Bay area in Kinondoni municipality. The occasion was the climax of the inaugural fashion festival and it was graced by among others acclaimed Tanzanian top fashion designers Khadija Saad Manamboka and Ally Remtullah…’

Tanzania: Male circumcision campaign target 2.8 million – PlusNews Global (
Extract: ‘Three randomized controlled trials in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda provided evidence that male circumcision can reduce a man’s risk of becoming infected with HIV through heterosexual intercourse by as much as 60 percent. The UN World Health Organization recommends male circumcision as one of the tools for HIV prevention … An estimated 70% of Tanzanian men are circumcised, according to government surveys, but prevalence varies from region to region. “In some districts up to 80% of men, especially in the western parts of the country, are not circumcised,” [said Bennet Fimbo, HIV/AIDS adviser to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health]. “In places like Zanzibar, Pemba and coastal areas, where the population is predominantly Muslim, [the] circumcision rate is almost 99%.” He noted that HIV prevalence tended to be lower in areas of the country where male circumcision was common. “In Zanzibar and Pemba, the prevalence is less than 1 percent, while around Lake Victoria, Mbeya and Iringa regions, circumcision is low and HIV prevalence is 14-20 percent.” The programme will focus on seven regions in western Tanzania where levels of male circumcision are particularly low: Iringa, Kagera, Mara, Mwanza, Rukwa, Shinyanga, Tabora …’

EAC be warned: Not all Marriages are made in heaven – East African (May 2-8, 2011)
According Elsie Eyakuze, who wrote this article for the Opinion section in The East African, the Tanzanian mainland and islands still hold different points of view even after 47 years of integration.
Extract: ‘One [Zanzibari] taxi driver told me with satisfaction about how this past Ramadan month many black tourists and mainlander women had been beaten and chased off the streets for wearing “inappropriately revealing clothes”… Forty-seven years of integration hasn’t even come close to homogenising the Mainland-Isles points of view about the world or anything in it. And that’s not in the brochures. . . [I]n Nairobi[,] … Kenyan friends [chatted] about regionalism. They wanted to know why Tanzania was being a coward about it … Talk about divergent world-views… I imagine that whatever needs fixing between us, Zanzibar and the Mainland shall find as amicable a way of fixing it as we know how. Because, well, we’re Tanzanians until the death of the Union do us part…’

In Tanzania, mobile banking races ahead of the laws – Africa Renewal (April 2011)
Extract: ‘”Mobile banking” [see TA 98] … was only introduced in Tanzania in 2008. But some of the 20 million telecommunication subscribers, more than 9.2 million are already registered with mobile banking services. . . While aspects of mobile banking are covered in an ad hoc way under existing laws and regulations, there is no comprehensive law to regulate the fast-growing sector…’

Meeting The Tippler: Robin White remembers a giant of Tanzanian journalism – BBC Focus On Africa (July-September 2011)
Robin White, founding editor of BBC Focus On Africa magazine, wrote an interesting article on, who he describes as “the less than perfect stringer”, Adam Lusekelo (July 25, 1954 – April 1, 2011) [Obituaries TA 99], adding to the many articles and obituaries published following the death of the Tanzanian journalist. White recalls the time in 1982 when he went to Tanzania to unearth news stories, interview politicians or perhaps find a new reporter. For much of the time his search proved fruitless.
Extract: ‘Nyerere might be a great talker and writer, but Tanzanian journalism seemed to be as moribund and possibly as frightened as the sleepy official at the ministry of information [whom White had met earlier and asked for assistance, but to no avail]. On my last but one day in Dar es Salaam I opened a Sunday newspaper and casually flicked through the pages without much hope of finding anything of interest. My eyes alighted on this column near the back of the paper. It began: “I was sitting in a structurally adjusted hotel lobby, in one of those hotels receiving massive amounts of IMF money, when a structurally adjusted rat scuttled across the structurally adjusted bar counter.” Suddenly my trip to Tanzania had been worthwhile. I had found a stringer. The writer of this column was Adam Lusekelo. Apparently he wrote this kind of stuff every week, mocking government policies, mocking bureaucrats. Looking back, it is amazing how he got away with it… I tracked him down; we had a drink (in one of those IMF adjusted bars) and so began our collaboration and friendship… At just 56, Adam has died rather young, a victim of diabetes. But during his lifetime Tanzania and Tanzanian journalism has been transformed. Gone is the one-party state, gone is the fear of speaking your mind. Adam was never afraid, or never showed his fear…’

African Barrick Gold tries to soothe City after mine violence – Times (May 18, 2011)
Extract: ‘An armed raid on [African Barrick’s] goldmine in Tanzania … left seven people dead … About 800 “criminal intruders” armed with rocks, machetes and hammers attacked Tanzanian police, who had been called to prevent them taking ore from the North Mara mine… African Barrick reassured the City that its operations and production at the site were unaffected…’

Tanzania : Super for some – African Report (July 2011)
‘In June, MPs in Dodoma backed a government development plan worth more than $27bn over the next five years, which calls for a “super-profit” tax on companies operating mines in the country. Debate will continue, but the talk has already worsened the mood of mining investors.’

Violence Against Children – Guardian (Aug 9, 2011)
Extracts: ‘The study, published … by Dar es Salaam’s Muhimbili University in collaboration with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, finds that nearly three out of every 10 girls and nearly three out of every 20 boys in Tanzania claim to have experienced sexual violence.’
‘Almost three-quarters of girls and boys questioned had experienced physical violence before the age of 18 at the hand of an adult or an intimate partner. Attitudes to domestic violence were also scrutinised. Nearly 60% of girls and 52% of boys believed it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife under certain circumstances, including a refusal to have sex, burning the food, going out without telling him or neglecting the children.

‘Andrew Brooks, chief of child protection in Tanzania for Unicef, which financed the study, said its findings are difficult to weigh internationally. “In Europe and North America, statistics would be collected differently, through social workers’ reports,’’ he said. “In Africa, only one other country, Swaziland, has carried out a similar household survey but only girls were interviewed. It is very clear that, by any measure, the Tanzanian figures are quite alarming.’’’



Compiled by Hugh Wenban-Smith

This is a second summary report of development research in Tanzania, culled from journals in the library of the London School of Economics. It covers the period January to June 2011. The format is: Journal title; Volume and issue number; Author(s); Article title; Short abstract (in square brackets – shortened version of published abstract).

African Affairs, Vol 110(439) – Lange, S “Gold and governance: Legal injustices and lost opportunities in Tanzania”. [A number of African countries have opened up opportunities for large-scale mining by foreign investors over the last decade and a half. Tanzania, one of the new mining countries, is now among the largest gold producers in Africa, but investor-friendly contracts have resulted in extremely low government revenues from mining, totaling less than 5% of what the country receives in development aid. In response to widespread discontent, the Government amended the 1998 Mining Act in 2010. However improved legal provisions may have limited effect if the present governance challenges are not resolved.]

African Studies Review, Vol 54(1) – Weinstein, L “The politics of government expenditures in Tanzania, 1999-2007”. [What allocation strategy do hegemonic party regimes pursue in order to increase their level of electoral support …? This article examines the patterns by which expenditures were distributed by the Tanzanian ruling party, CCM, across the country’s 114 mainland districts from 1999 through 2007. Overall the study finds that CCM targeted expenditures towards those districts that elected the party with the highest margin of victory.]

African Studies Review, Vol 54(1) – Hillbom, E “Farm intensification and milk market expansion in Meru, Tanzania”. [In Meru, Tanzania, technological and institutional change has turned milk into one of the most reliable and important sources of income for smallholder households. Decades of increased population density have caused land scarcity, leading smallholders to intensify their farming methods and land use, including introducing stall-fed exotic breeds of dairy cows. Meanwhile a growing urban and rural demand has resulted in significant market expansion for milk and increasing cash incomes for smallholders … These factors make the livestock sector in Meru an interesting example of broad-based agricultural development.]

Development Policy Review, Vol 29(1) Supp – Cooksey, B “Marketing reform? The rise and fall of agricultural liberalization in Tanzania”. [This article argues that the liberalization of Tanzanian export agriculture from the early 1990s to the present has failed to take place to the extent claimed by the Tanzanian Government and donor agencies. While internal food markets have largely been liberalized (e.g. maize), donor-inspired attempts to liberalise export crop markets (e.g. coffee, tobacco) have been seriously undermined by the political-bureaucratic class. As in other countries undergoing adjustment under World Bank/IMF programs, a combination of local vested interests and concern with the ‘rigged rules and double standards’ of global commodity markets has led to a systematic but under-reported backlash against liberalization.]

Journal of Development Economics, Vol 94(2) – Cull, R & Spreng, C P “Pursuing efficiency while maintaining outreach: Bank privatization in Tanzania”. [Profitability improvements after the privatization of a large state-owned bank might come at the expense of reduced access to financial services for some groups, especially the rural poor. The privatization of Tanzania’s National Bank of Commerce provides a unique episode for studying this issue. The bank was split into the ‘new’ National Bank of Commerce, a commercial bank that assumed most of the original bank’s assets and liabilities, and the National Microfinance Bank, which assumed most of the branch network and the mandate to foster access to financial services. The new NBC’s profitability and portfolio quality improved although credit growth was slow … Finding a buyer for the Microfinance Bank proved very difficult, although after years under contract management … Rabobank of the Netherlands emerged as a purchaser. Profitability has since improved and lending has slowly grown, while the share of non-performing loans remains low.]

Journal of Development Studies, Vol 47(2)
– van den Broeck, K & Dercon, S “Information flows and social externalities in a Tanzanian banana growing village”. [This article analyses the role of social networks as facilitators of information flows and banana output increase. Based on a village census, full information is available on the socio-economic characteristics and banana production of farmers’ kinship group members, neighbours and informal insurance group members … For the survey village of Nyakatoke in Tanzania the results suggest that information flows exist within all types of groups analysed but output externalities are limited to kinship groups.]

Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol 49(02) – Makulilo, A B “Watching the watcher: An evaluation of local election observers in Tanzania”. [This article evaluates three reports by the leading election observer in Tanzania, the Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee (TEMCO) for the 1995, 2000 and 2005 general elections. It notes that despite the prevalence of the same factors that TEMCO considered as irregularities in the 1995 and 2000 general elections when it certified those elections as “free but not fair”, it issued a “clean, free and fair” verdict on the 2005 general election. This conclusion, at variance with the data, reveals problems in assuring observer neutrality.]



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

As a contribution to this celebratory issue John has reflected on the job of ‘Reviews Editor’:

Being Reviews Editor involves two parallel searches, one for relevant books and another for suitable reviewers.

Lists come from publishers, and the internet is helpful. Equally helpful are suggestions from readers of Tanzanian Affairs who have come across books which they think are worth reviewing. I am always very grateful for such suggestions.

The Membership Secretary tells me of people who have said they would be willing to write reviews, and this is a great help. Over the years I have built up a list of helpful people in university departments who are willing to review themselves, or are sometimes able to recommend colleagues who may do so. The difficulty is to suit the reviewer to the book, especially in the case of the more academic titles.

In all this I have had the invaluable help of Marion Doro in the U.S.A. who has searched out interesting publications on that side of the Atlantic and helped in the search for reviewers.

There are frustrations. One is that not all publishers seem eager to have their books reviewed and sometimes ignore requests for review copies. Then there are the new kind of publishers which seem to exist only in cyber space – I sometimes find likely-sounding titles at such publishers, but have never yet succeeded in getting a review copy from them. I wonder whether they ever actually sell books?

Then there are the occasional, fortunately very occasional, reviewers who fail to produce a review and don’t return the review copy. Doubly irritating, because without the review copy I cannot ask anyone else to write a review.

And, of course, I have to pass on to other people interesting and/or attractive books which I would rather keep longer to browse or read myself.

The pleasant thing about the job is that I see a lot of interesting books and have contact, even if only by email, with interesting people.
John Cooper-Poole

URBAN DESIGN, CHAOS, AND COLONIAL POWER IN ZANZIBAR William Bissell, Indiana University Press, 2011. ISBN 13 978 0253355430. p/b. 328pp. £16.99

Overcoming initial prejudice (American academic faults colonialism: Yawn), I quite warmed to this book. At its heart is the story of the failure of town plans for Zanzibar, particularly those formulated in the 1920s and 1930s, to have much influence on its actual development, then or since. The author has immersed himself in archival records in Zanzibar and elsewhere, as well as absorbing much of the relevant historical literature; and he lived there for a time developing, it seems, some affection for it. Hence, no doubt, his evident exasperation that over a century of effort should have done so little to improve the condition of the poorer parts of Zanzibar Town.

Chapter 1 provides a lively account of the historical development of Zanzibar and how it has been perceived by outsiders: “a curious and haphazard jumble of misleading lanes and provoking culs-de-sac” (Robb, 1879). Chapter 2 moves on to the imposition of a British Protectorate in 1890 and the gradual relegation of the Sultan to a position of dependency, while real authority came to be exercised by the British Resident and his Chief Secretary. It then behoved the new authorities to demonstrate improvement in the administration of this new territory, and Chapter 3 tells how planning became part of this agenda. However, as Bissell notes (p. 113) “Establishing even the barest rudiments of a municipal order was challenge enough: the paucity of officials, difficulties in consolidating rule, and lack of external investment left little room for authorities to contemplate grand urban schemes.” This essentially is the tale told, with a wealth of detail, through Chapters 4, 5 and 6. From Prof. Simpson’s sanitary improvement plan (1913) through H V Lanchester’s first town plan (1922) and its various updatings (the full plan was never published), and indeed on to post-WWII plans by Henry Kendall (1957), the East Germans (1968) and the Chinese (1982), all foundered because of an inadequate legal framework, lack of staff and (most of all) lack of money. Instead, a process whereby plans were endlessly revisited but never implemented became institutionalised.

It’s a sad story. Was there an alternative? Bissell clearly shows that the ambitions of the town planners went far beyond what was feasible in a resource-strapped colonial outpost. As one Chief Secretary, S B B McElderry (this reviewer’s grandfather, as it happens) remarked on the Lanchester plan: “It is difficult … to disentangle the idealistic from the practical elements in these recommendations”. But while the disjunction between intention and reality may have been particularly stark in Zanzibar, Bissell notes that “similar examples can be found throughout the colonial world and beyond … cities large and small moved to embrace planning as a tool of spatial regulation … what is most striking is the extent to which these plans have failed.” The problem seems to reside as much in unrealistic planning as colonialism. Bissell hints at a better way in his concluding Chapter 7: “focusing on the available means at hand and relying on local resourcefulness and indigenous creativity”. But, while a strong case for community involvement in planning can be made, are there many examples of bottom-up activism successfully leading to urban transformation? Therein lies the dilemma (see also UN-HABITAT’s 2009 report “Planning Sustainable Cities” for similar problems facing contemporary planners in Dar-es-Salaam (p. 67) and Moshi (p.76)).

The strength of this book then lies in its documentation of how and why town planning failed in the Zanzibar case rather than pointing to better solutions. Methodologically it is a study in urban history from an ethnographic perspective. Indeed the book opens with a lengthy methodological introduction which non-academics might find a bit tedious (a pre-emptive strike against fellow academics who might suspect the author of straying too far from current ethnographic orthodoxy?). But once into the main story, there is plenty to keep the reader interested. A minor complaint is that none of the several maps is easily legible, making it difficult to pinpoint the location of many of the districts mentioned in the text, but otherwise the book is well-produced with copious notes and references.
Hugh Wenban-Smith

MEDICINAL PLANTS OF EAST AFRICA, by Kokwaro, John O. Third Edition, pp478, 2 maps, colour figs. 195, University of Nairobi Press, 2009 ISBN 9966-846-84-0

The fact that this is the third edition of a work first published 32 years ago, must say something about the demand for it. But who would want to buy and use a book about traditional medicines in this scientific age? The title page clearly states that it is “Not intended as a ‘prescription book’ for use by the general public”, and that is certainly a worthy warning. However, the text contains a wealth of information for scientific researchers, linguists and historians, to mention only a few.

Kokwaro’s enlarged third edition follows the previous ones by arranging the plants in alphabetical order by family, genera and species using their scientific names. Local Swahili and tribal names are clearly set out, followed by information about their traditional uses and applications. This edition is said to include 35% more information than the second one. It also has a colour section of photographs of a wide selection of the species. The author sets out in the introductory pages the values and problems in a way that is essential reading.

In former years, settlers considered native medicine as suspect and unworthy of consideration. True, there were and still are medicine men of bad repute who mixed medical treatment and bewitchment, partly because it had to be kept secret lest someone stole it. But others use traditional knowledge for the healing of diseases in people who cannot afford western medicines. Over the generations the bark of certain trees or the infusion of leaves of wild plants continued to be used at a fraction of the cost of commercial medicines. Wild plants were readily available in places where, unfortunately, they now no longer grow, so the ill person now has no option but to turn to more expensive treatments. Here is a good case for encouraging nature conservation. Chemists are now analysing such plants to find their active principles, which are in turn providing leads to further research. This book is one of those excellent resources that provide basic information, some of it rescued in the nick of time.
F. Nigel Hepper


This is a book for the expert thoroughly immersed in the minutiae of measuring the impact of civic education on democratic participation – in this case isolated rural communities in Tanzania and Zambia (Mtwara and Luapula respectively)

Satu Riutta is meticulous and thorough in preparing for this project both in surveying previous related literature and developing his methodology and questionnaires to ensure consistency and accuracy in any conclusion that his study offered.

The text is supported by a wealth of tables backed by a high level of statistical analysis. One quote will suffice:-

The effects of civic education on cognition “begins with a bivariate correlation of each dependent variable with CE exposure”.

In broad terms he shows civic education does enhance understanding and participation – though with some interesting contrasts between Tanzania and Zambia. Tanzanians were much more sympathetic to government and politics than Zambians, and Tanzanian women in particular gained more from CE than Zambian women.

In lay terms, donors to CE programmes can be assured that there are positive outcomes for democratic participation, though the impact on understanding and participation is affected by complex variables within the Tanzanian and Zambian communities’ studies.
Win Griffiths

RULE OF LAW versus RULERS OF LAW; JUSTICE BARNABAS SAMATTA’S ROAD TO JUSTICE. Compiled and edited by Issa Shivji and Hamudi Majamba. Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Ltd, Dar es Salaam 2011. ISBN 978 9987 08 055 7. 257pp. Available from African Books Collective Ltd, P.O. Box 721, Oxford. £24.95

During years of change and challenge Tanzania has been well served by its judges, their stories largely untold. They were led and inspired by successive distinguished Chief Justices. The late Francis Nyali held that position for over two decades and made a seminal contribution to the development of the judiciary and nation, not least in presiding over the Presidential Commission which was instrumental in ending one- party rule. When he retired in 2000, his was a hard act to follow. The mantle fell upon Justice Barnabas Samatta who, in more than thirty years of public service, had been Director of Public Prosecutions before his appointment in 1976 as a judge of the High Court and later of the Court of Appeal.

After his retirement in 2007, this book was compiled to record and honour Chief Justice Samatta’s impressive contribution to the law. It includes tributes from judicial colleagues, and account of his “Life Journey” and a perceptive summary of major themes in his jurisprudence by the academic editors. However, most of the book reproduces the words of Justice Samatta himself, in a selection of his judgements over the years; most of these involved difficult legal issues, carefully analysed and probably of most interest to lawyers. They include one of the judgements which he delivered in the High Court of Zimbabwe, where he spent three years (1984-1987) on loan from Tanzania. This reviewer remembers Justice Samatta well as the outstanding student in his classes at the young University College, Dar es salaam and forty years later was privileged to see him in action as Chief Justice, the genial and hospitable host of his fellow African Chief Justices at their conference in Dar in 2004. (An occasion recalled in one of the photographs from his career which conclude this volume).

The editors rightly emphasise the principles which Samatta maintained and the concerns which motivated his judicial reasoning: the importance of constitutionalism and the rule of law, manifested in the protection of human rights, in judicial review of government actions and in maintaining access to justice for all. They show how he also pioneered judicial intervention to protect the environment, not least in promoting improvements to the environments of the courts themselves. Above all, as befitted a member of the Judicial Integrity Group of international jurists who authoritatively defined standards of judicial conduct, Chief Justice Samatta practised and demanded the highest standards of ethical conduct by all the judges.

The text ends with some of his extra-judicial statements: on environmental justice, on Tanzania’s constitutional order and his farewell speech, “No one is above the law”. The volume ends with his characteristically well argued disagreement, in a lecture in November 2010, with the recent unanimous decision by a seven-judge Court of Appeal, in what he terms the most important constitutional case ever before a Tanzanian court, upholding the validity of constitutional amendments which prevented independent candidates standing in elections.
Jim Read

LETTERS FROM HELGA 1934-1937. A teen Bride writes home from East Africa by Helga Voigt. Translated by Evelyn Voigt. ISBN 978 1 897508 121. p/b. 239pp CA$24.95

60 YEARS IN EAST AFRICA; life of a Settler 1926-1986. Werner Voigt. ISBN 1 896182 39 9. p/b. 267pp. CA$29.95 2nd printing. (Previously reviewed in Tanzanian Affairs in 1997). Both published by General Store Publishing House.

In 1963 in Mufindi I saw a European lady unloading sacks of tea. It was Helga Voigt. The factory manager told me that Mr and Mrs Voigt were German and had had their own plantation confiscated in 1939. When they returned from internment in 1948 they had to buy it back.

These two book should be read together to put Helga’s letters from Mufindi to her relations in Germany into an understandable context. The books are illustrated with black and white photographs.

Werner Voigt went to Tanganyika as a young man and then entered a “penpal” correspondence with Helga whom he had not met. In 1934 Helga left her comfortable life in Germany to marry a man she had merely corresponded with, because although she was a Lutheran, her mother was Jewish by descent. On arrival in Mufindi Helga lived with Werner’s parents near where he lived. As Werner says “well one day she arrived. We married and she became my dear wife”.

Helga’s letters, which are to her relations in Germany, cover the period August 1934 to September 1937. They have been translated by their daughter, Evelyn, who has written a prologue and epilogue as well as footnotes. Unfortunately there is no map.

Both Helga and Werner lived varied lives and were separated for much of their sixty year marriage, internment in South Africa because of the war, and for long periods when Werner went to other places to earn money. He was in Rwanda when I saw Helga on the tea lorry. They managed to enlarge and develop their plantation, Kifulilo, trying various crops. It is now a tea research station. Helga’s letters clearly show that she was enjoying her experiences, in the mountains, on Lake Nyasa, meeting big game and going to search for gold.

Their first child, Werner, was born in February 1937. Helga evidently also enjoyed developing a household and learning to live a completely different kind of life. There was a German club and they celebrated Hitler’s birthday, although there was marked tension between Nazis and non-Nazis. She apparently had “colossally bad teeth”, and yet somewhere in the Mufindi area a German dentist did root fillings and crowns – a contrast to the situation in later years.

Helga and Werner left Tanzania in 1986 after a violent attack on them on their plantation. The German government eventually helped them to sell their farm and they moved to Canada to be near Evelyn. Helga died in 2010.

These books, read together, are an unusual source of the history of some Germans in Tanganyika, and tell the story of a very long and successful marriage.
Alison Redmayne

EAST AFRICA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN. Edward A. Alpers, Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2009. 240pp. ISBN 978 1 55876 453 8, p/b £25.

Over his career, Ned Alpers has authored an influential array of publications that champion East Africa’s often overlooked place within the larger history of the Indian Ocean World. In the volume under review, nine articles or book chapters previously published between 1976 and 2007 are brought together to showcase Alpers’ body of work. This is not a total history of an oceanic society bound together by monsoon rhythms, but instead a set of largely East African case studies in which the Western Indian Ocean provides the main context. “East Africa” here is long and mostly coastal, running from Somalia to the Mozambique Channel, and this book’s temporal focus is largely on the nineteenth century.

Alpers first came to this subject in the 1970s through his command of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Portuguese sources that he used to produce his first monograph, Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa (1975). Like Ivory and Slaves, each chapter of the present volume shows the author’s irrepressible curiosity and enthusiasm for questions of micro-level social and cultural organizations, which in turn, he argues, have shaped macro-level networks and trends. These local case studies range from an examination of the cultural peculiarities of Gujarati merchant households in Western India, to the specific textile appetites Somali consumers, to the spiritual possession cults of Zanzibari women. Such anthropological attention marks Alpers’ important departure from the imperial “trade & politics” focus which transfixed earlier scholarly generations of the Lusophone Indian Ocean. Slavery emerges, appropriately enough, as the volume’s central topic, never far from any given chapter and oftentimes at its center. The nineteenth century was a time of enormous expansion of slave raiding, trading, and production along the continent’s eastern coast, paradoxically coinciding with its decline in West Africa. Perhaps the most impressive contribution of this volume emerges from reading the book’s final chapters on the Mozambican Channel as a single section. Here, Alpers demonstrates how slave trading runs through the history of violence and dislocation throughout this region during the nineteenth century, and shows how the Mozambican Channel—despite enormous cultural diversities between the Mozambican coast, the Comorian Islands, and Madagascar—forms an important historical unit in its own right, created out of a shared history of commercial violence.

The combination of geographical range and scholarly erudition displayed in these chapters makes for a book that is rewarding to read as a single collection or, alternatively, to be dipped into to satisfy one’s geographical or thematic preference. Although each of these chapters has been previously published, those that touch on contemporary matters have been helpfully updated since first publication. Handsomely produced by Markus Weiner, this volume reminds us not only of the impressive geographical and thematic range of Alpers’ career, but more importantly offers a timely overview of those resilient cultural and social networks straddling the Western Indian Ocean that continue to constitute vital elements of Tanzanian life today.
James R. Brennan

James Brennan is Assistant Professor of History, University of Illinois and Research Associate at School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.

Win Griffiths taught at Mzumbe Secondary School 1966-1968 and then in the UK. He was an MEP for South Wales 1979-1989 and MP for Bridgend 1987- 2005. In 2002 he visited Sierra Leone as part of an attempt to persuade party leaders to respect the outcome of impending elections. He maintains contact with Sierra Leone by linking the Health Board in South Wales which he chairs, to the Ola During children’s hospital.

F. Nigel Hepper, was formerly at Kew Herbarium.

Professor Jim Read is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Public Law, University of London, (SOAS). He was Senior Lecturer in Law at University College Dar es Salaam in the 1960’s and is Joint General Editor, Law Reports of the Commonwealth.

Dr Hugh Wenban-Smith was born in Chunya and went to Mbeya School. His career was as a government economist (mainly in Britain, but with periods in Zambia and India). He is now an independent researcher, with particular interests in infrastructure, urbanisation and transport.

Alison Redmayne went to the East African Institute of Social Research at Makerere in 1963 and later carried out research in the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika where she lived off and on from 1963 to 1998. She visits the Iringa area for about ten weeks most years.



We would like to receive more letters. Even critical ones like this one:

As you know, I am a strong supporter of Tanzanian Affairs and I hope you will not mind if I make some comments on the May-August 2011 issue. Gremlins seem to have struck in several places:. ‘Kilimanjaro’ is misspelt twice – on the cover and on page 38; Loliondo has nothing to do with the Serengeti road (page 14); and the apostrophe is wrong on MPs (p.4), CCM’s (p.6) and goverment’s (p.6).
Sorry to nitpick – can I help with the proof-reading?
John Sankey

(The contentious section of the Serengeti road is from Loliondo to Mugumu – see map in TA 97 – but we accept your criticisms and welcome your offer to assist with proof-reading).